Full-Time NRCS Statewide Local Working Group & Farm Bill Outreach Coordinator
Employment: Full-time, Salary, Exempt
Salary Range: $40,000 – $50,000/yr, based on education and experience
Hours: 40 hours/week, Mon-Fri, flexible
Location: Remote-based, no office provided
Posting Date: April 22, 2022
Closing Date: May 20, 2022 or when position filled
Position: The Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) is seeking qualified candidates for an innovative new position responsible for supporting key Farm Bill programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Massachusetts. The selected applicant will strengthen and develop the NRCS Local Working Group system by working with Conservation Districts throughout the state. In addition, this position will provide outreach and technical assistance to Massachusetts land trusts and qualified Conservation Districts concerning the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
Description: Local Working Groups are composed of agricultural producers, owners/operators of nonindustrial private forest land, professionals representing agricultural and natural resource interests, and individuals representing a variety of disciplines in the soil, water, wetland, plant, forestry, and wildlife sciences who are familiar with agricultural and natural resource issues in the local community. Local Working Groups provide recommendations to the NRCS District Conservationist and the State Conservationist on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation activities and programs.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) protects the agricultural viability and related conservation values of eligible land by limiting nonagricultural uses which negatively affect agricultural uses and conservation values. ACEP has two components: Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
Job Duties and Responsibilities:
- Organize and convene a Statewide Local Working Group (LWG) meeting that represents all agricultural sectors from all counties in the state. This LWG meeting, expected to be conducted at least annually, must be in coordination with the active Conservation Districts across the state, local NRCS District Conservationists, and ag producers from counties that do not currently have an active Conservation District.
- Host other meetings and conduct individual outreach in preparation for the Statewide Local Working Group. This includes activities that go into building the invite list and coordinating with local districts, ag producers, and local field offices, while aiming to identify the needs of farmers in urban and rural areas alike. Traditionally, Local Working Groups are comprised of agricultural producers, owners/operators of nonindustrial private forest land, professionals representing agricultural and natural resource interests, and individuals representing a variety of disciplines in the soil, water, wetland, plant, forestry, and wildlife sciences who are familiar with agricultural and natural resource issues in the local community.
- Coordinate with local Conservation Districts to make sure the farmers and other partners within their district are aware of the opportunity to participate in the Statewide Local Working Group meeting.
- Reach out to producers and other stakeholders in areas that are not currently represented by a local Conservation District and encourage those folks to participate in the Statewide Local Working Group.
- Make special effort to connect with Historically Underserved populations (Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Beginning Farmers, Limited Resource Farmers), Veteran Farmers, and underrepresented sectors such as urban agriculture. NRCS would like to understand barriers to its program assistance and specific needs that current programs do not meet and areas the agency may be able to address in the future.
- Provide outreach and technical assistance to Massachusetts land trusts and qualified Conservation Districts to provide them with the information and guidance needed to engage and participate in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which includes the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) programs. This outreach will include such things as how the programs work, eligibility requirements, and what the ranking process looks like. Participants in these outreach meetings should leave with a better understanding of the types of projects that would be best suited for ALE or WRE.
- Other program-related duties and activities as assigned.
Skills and Qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in related field, including relevant background education (e.g., agriculture, ecology, forestry, soils, wetlands, environmental science)
- Minimum 3 years’ experience in conservation-related activities, including outreach and technical assistance
- General knowledge of State and Federal agricultural conservation programs
- Must be comfortable interacting directly with farmers and other landowners
- Good communicator (verbal and written), with strong interpersonal skills
- Highly organized and detail-oriented
- Self-motivated with ability to set priorities and manage multiple tasks under minimal supervision
- Computer competency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams
- Able to work from home office
- Valid Massachusetts Driver’s License and vehicle for in-state travel as needed