Director, Climate Initiative

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Yearly Salary




Dist. Columbia
United States


American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, how that land is farmed or grazed, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and helped thousands of farm families make a go of it (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access).

Conserving farmland by the acre and soil by the inch is a powerful strategy for reducing greenhouse gases and enhancing farmland and ranchland productivity in the face of a changing climate. With pioneering research, innovative tools, a network of on-the-ground field programs and aggressive advocacy, AFTs Farmers Combat Climate Change initiative is helping farmers, ranchers, and landowners play a unique role in reducing the growing threat of climate change while improving soil health and increasing food production.

AFT believes that protecting the most productive, versatile, and resilient farmland and improving its soil will benefit farmers, consumers, and the environment. As a nation, we cannot afford to convert our best farmland to sprawling development, losing our productive soils, and forfeiting our ability to produce adequate food, fuel, and fiber to sustain our society. Farmers Combat Climate Change has a three-pronged strategy: reduce the conversion of agricultural land to development and promote smart growth; increase the use of climate-smart conservation cropping systems; and build support for policies that help farmers and ranchers mitigate and adapt to a changing climate.

The Director reports to the Vice President for Programs, who oversees the managers of national programs. The Director also will work closely with the Vice President for ProgramsRegional Offices, who oversees the managers of AFTs six regional offices. The Director will provide overall leadership for AFTs climate initiative and actively collaborate and coordinate with the other program directors to help ensure that AFTs programming is strategic, synergistic, efficiently-delivered, well-received, and impactful.

Preferably the Director will be based at AFTs National Office in Washington DC but could possibly work elsewhere depending on the location.

Duties and Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of this position are to direct strategy, provide leadership, and support program activities for AFTs Farmers Combat Climate Change initiative to advance AFTs mission across the nation. Specific responsibilities include:


  • Designs, develops, and implements the climate initiative strategies and projects;
  • Provides expertise within and outside of AFT regarding climate change and opportunities for farmers to combat climate change;
  • Works collaboratively with the two Vice Presidents of Programs, other national initiative directors, and regional staff to ensure that the climate initiative is effectively integrated into national strategies and regional programs;
  • Works with federal and state policy staff to advance policies;
  • Works with Development staff to raise funds for the initiative;
  • Works with Communications staff to actively communicate about the initiative;
  • Work with the Finance and Administration staff to manage initiative budgets and staff;
  • Provide national visibility for AFT at climate coalitions, workshops, and conferences; and
  • Supports a strong team culture of shared learning about climate change among AFT staff.

The Director must be outgoing and energetic and have direct professional experience working on agriculture and climate issues. The individual must have knowledge of and experience with one or more of the following: agriculture, climate, soil health, conservation, carbon markets, corporate sustainability, and/or farmland protection. The Director must be able to work closely with farmers, ranchers, and agriculture organizations as well as environmental organizations, universities and other research institutions, and state/federal government agencies.

  • A BA or BS degree and a minimum of 10 years of related work experience in agriculture, climate, soil health, conservation, carbon markets, corporate sustainability, and/or farmland protection. Or, 5 years of related work experience with an advanced degree in one or more of the disciplines noted.
  • Technical knowledge of climate, agriculture, and soil health science and policy a plus.
  • Work history of developing and implementing effective programs and projects.
  • Demonstrated project management skill and experience managing diverse teams of individuals, peers, and partners.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in fundraising.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • The Director must be highly motivated with strong interpersonal skills.
  • Must bring a collaborative, outgoing, professional, and innovative approach to tackling these issues.
  • Ability to deliver high quality work in a dynamic organization under time pressure.
  • Ability to travel approximately 33% of time.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience and background. Full benefits package.

Application Deadline: August 31, 2018

American Farmland Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree