The grant funded, Agricultural Conservation Specialist position, will be focused on increasing technical assistance to landowners within Florida’s portion of the the Suwannee Basin and accelerate enrollment of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Programs (ACEP). The implementation of these Farm Bill programs will be centered on key land within the Suwannee Basin that directly contribute to water quality and quantity, as well as wildlife habitat for native species.
NOTE: The position is a full-time grant-funded position with 2-years of funding secured but there could be potential for new funding in the future.
The Agricultural Conservation Specialist will also coordinate directly with local, state, and federal organizations on project activities. Working closely with ACT’s land acquisition staff, the Agricultural Conservation Specialist will identify potential landowners for Farm Bill programs, facilitate landowner enrollment with the Farm Service Agency, enroll landowners in EQIP and ACEP programs, track land acquisition projects, utilize ArcGIS and mapping, perform project related communications and landowner outreach workshops, help identify and secure funding, and ensures project timeliness.
The primary responsibilities of the Agricultural Conservation Specialist, but are not limited to:
Land Conservation & Farm Bill Program Enrollment
- Work closely with the Alachua Conservation Trust staff and the Florida Natural Resources
Conservation Service field and central office to assist with project management of EQIP/ACEP landowner enrollments (related budgets, timelines and document/file management) and coordinating with outside consultants/contractors on the completion of required due diligence associated with conservation easement, fee title and other land conservation transactions (including but not limited to title review; environmental site assessments; boundary surveys; baseline documentation; legal review and appraisals).
- Provide GIS and mapping support for ACEP/EQIP conservation projects and planning.
- Ensure ACT’s land conservation transactions comply with federal and state statutes, as well as internal guidelines, policies and Land Trust Alliance accreditation standards.
- Coordinate the project evaluation, prioritization and selection process with ACT staff and relevant agency partners.
Outreach & Communications
- Respond to land conservation/stewardship inquiries from private landowners, community groups,
public agencies and the general public.
- Plan and host landowner outreach virtual or in person workshops centered on Farm Bill program implementation.
- Support ACT staff in outreach to and meetings with private landowners, community groups, public agencies and other conservation organizations.
- Contribute project articles and updates to newsletters, electronic bulletins, website content and annual reports and other communications materials.
Organizational Responsibilities & Development
- Track all grant expenses and deliverables, prepare grant reports, and perform other needed
- Provide general program office support as needed. This includes, but is not limited to: scanning, emailing, record keeping, copying, printing, composing, typing, proofreading, proposals, information packets, and other written materials.
- Attend bi-monthly board meetings and committee meetings as needed.
- Provide information and assistance as needed in preparing grant applications.
- Advance and maintain skills, education, and knowledge of best practices that are relevant to the job description.
Bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) in relevant field (natural resource
planning/management, biological sciences, geography, etc.).
- At least two years of prior experience with conservation easements, fee acquisitions and/or other conservation real estate transactions preferred, including conducting or coordinating associated due diligence.
- Experience communicating effectively with a variety of stakeholders, including local landowners and agency partners.
- Familiarity with Farm Bill programs, especially EQIP and ACEP enrollment
- A self-starter with experience managing multiple priorities, with assignments sometimes coming from a number of sources.
- Must have excellent computer skills – Word, Excel, including experience and demonstrated
proficiency with GPS and GIS (ArcGIS, etc.)
- Previous experience with foundation and government grant writing and reporting preferred.
- Familiarity with Florida landscapes and communities is preferred, particularly an ability to work with rural and agricultural landowners.
- Must have enthusiasm for the mission of the organization and experience working with diverse groups of people in an educational and outreach capacity.
- Must possess excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Must be willing to work some evenings and weekends when necessary.
- Must be willing to travel occasionally and use personal vehicle, as necessary, in the performance of work-related activities – travel expenses will be reimbursed.
- Must be willing and physically able to work in the field and perform site visits.
- Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment to meet established goals and deadlines.
- Must be committed to the organization’s conservation mission and be able to maintain strong, positive, collegial working relationships with staff and Board, as well as outside partners, professional advisors, consultants and private landowners.
- Must be willing to contribute to maintaining a collegial, efficient and ethical working environment with staff, Board and others. A sense of humor is appreciated even if it is not that good.
- Must have a valid driver’s license.