The Director of Agriculture will lead the Conservancy’s agricultural conservation efforts in Kentucky and Tennessee primarily by initiating and strengthening partnerships with producers, corporations, agencies and other partners. Along with our partners, this position will facilitate adoption of practices that improve environmental outcomes, with an emphasis on soil health and water quality, while maintaining or enhancing the financial position of producers. This role functions as vision and strategy lead for Tennessee and Kentucky’s agricultural program.
Direct the sustainable agriculture program of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Tennessee and Kentucky by building the strategic vision, strategies and collaborative partnerships that will increase farm productivity and improve soil health and water quality. Foster and strengthen partnerships with state and federal agencies, agribusinesses, private consultants, commodity groups, key producers, and others in the agriculture sector. Assist with launch of the Soil Health Partnership in both states and identify and build alliances with the agricultural sector to improve sustainability of agricultural supply chains.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND SCOPE
- Serve as lead on development and implementation of a 2-state Agricultural Strategy for Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Manage awards and secure funding to support Soil Health Partnership (SHP) research site expansion and farmer engagement efforts.
- Work with producers, corporations and TNC North America agricultural staff to improve sustainability of agricultural supply chains within Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Serve as an active team member on TNC’s Mississippi River Basin Whole System project focused on reducing the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Coordinate TNC-Tennessee and Kentucky’s team engagement with our government and academic partners to advance conservation strategies in agricultural landscapes statewide.
- Represent TNC on the NRCS state technical committees and appropriate working groups. Participate in and lead conferences and field days to that support agricultural and floodplain-related agricultural conservation strategies.
- Work with the Tennessee and Kentucky Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Conservation to facilitate effective implementation of the state’s nutrient reduction strategy.
- Engage with producers in Kentucky and Tennessee to understand “state of the state” of local agricultural perspectives, needs and interest in new/ongoing initiatives
- Provide expertise and technical input to TNC Government Relations staff for US and State legislative initiatives (e.g. federal Farm Bill platforms, state nutrient management plan implementation)
- Experience writing grant proposals.
- Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances, with diverse partners, both internal and external.
- Experience working with the agricultural community.
- Experience developing partnerships and leading collaborations within the private and public sectors.
- Effective negotiation, communication skills, and convening skills.
- Valid driver’s license.
- Graduate degree and 5-7 years’ experience in conservation or agricultural practice, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Experience synthesizing, interpreting and communicating scientific information.
- Ability to engage in a wide range of conservation issues, analyze complex problems, rapidly build expertise on new issues, and develop strategic responses or solutions.
- Experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans with the public and private entities.
- Demonstrated experience establishing relationships with members of the agricultural community.
- Knowledge of current trends and practices in agriculture.
- Outstanding track record as a skilled communicator leading to fundraising success with major prospects or equivalent success in sales.
- Politically savvy and experience in presenting to and communicating with business, governmental, and community leaders.
- Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
ADDITIONAL JOB INFORMATION
Builds productive relationships by interacting with others in ways that enhance mutual trust and commitment.
Collaboration & Teamwork
Works collaboratively with stakeholders across levels, geographies, backgrounds, and cultures to improve decisions, strengthen commitment, and be more effective.
Communicates proactively and in a timely manner to share information, persuade, and influence with the appropriate level of detail, tone, and opportunities for feedback.
Takes ownership to help develop others’ skills, behaviors, and mindsets to help them maximize their workplace contributions.
Demonstrates commitment to harnessing the power of differences strategically; consistently sees, learns from, and takes strategic action related to difference; and demonstrates the self-awareness and behaviors to work across differences of identity and power respectfully and effectively with all stakeholder. Actively seeks to build and retain a diverse workforce and fosters an equitable inclusive workplace by drawing upon diverse perspectives.
Thinks and acts from a broad perspective with a long-term view and an understanding of 1) the dynamic nature of large-scale challenges and 2) the need for integrating five key practices: skillfully engaging appropriate people; providing a clear process for change; taking a holistic view of situations; focusing on a small number of strategic actions, while learning from and adapting them over time; and being aware of how one’s own thinking or patterns of behavior may be limiting change.