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Agricultural Program Specialist

Owensboro KY

Job ID: 45876


The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.



The Agricultural Program Specialist (APS) will provide leadership and be part of a team responsible for developing and implementing an effective and results-driven sustainable agriculture program in Kentucky. The program objective is to improve water quality and wildlife habitats in agricultural landscapes in a way that balances socio-economic and environmental considerations with benefits for farm producers and farm-product consumers. Program work will positively impact agricultural landscapes throughout Kentucky, with a special emphasis within the Green River basin. Program work will be closely aligned with the goals of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a key partner in our sustainable agriculture efforts. It is anticipated that the APS will split time working out of both a USDA Service Center in Owensboro, Kentucky and a home office. This is a one-year position with the possibility of extension, dependent upon funding and program success.



Conservation Planning: The APS will identify opportunities and develop strategies that accelerate the adoption of local and regional agricultural conservation practices. She/he will provide leadership and be part of a team responsible for developing an actionable and results-driven sustainable agriculture program that, while focused within Kentucky, will also serve to advance the Conservancy’s work at “whole systems” scale, e.g., the Mississippi River basin.

Partnership Building: The APS will develop effective partnerships with federal, regional, and state agencies, conservation groups, the agribusiness community, academic institutions, and other public and private organizations engaged in agricultural issues. A key focus will be to develop new relationships as well as strengthen existing relationships, resulting in direct and tangible partnerships to implement a suite of collectively-identified sustainable agricultural strategies.

Program Delivery: The APS is responsible for effectively implementing sustainable agriculture strategies identified through this program to meet our conservation goals in a way that also supports our local farming community and farm-based economy. Implementation will entail working with agencies, agribusinesses, farm producers, and academia on new and existing agricultural programs and tools; implementing demonstration projects; and advancing a more rapid and widespread adoption of beneficial conservation practices through workshops, trainings, field days, outreach materials, social media and websites.

Technical Assistance: The APS will provide technical assistance directly to landowners and producers to guide their sustainable agriculture decisions and to help them navigate various agency programs that exist to support sustainable agriculture. These duties will require authorization and training to use several USDA software applications and program tools.



Develops collaborative agricultural conservation strategies.

Tracks progress towards goals and develops solutions to strategies that are not meeting goals.

Engage with the agricultural conservation community by identifying conservation opportunities and priorities, including implementation of ideas that will advance our conservation objectives.

Provides technical assistance to landowners and producers through NRCS programs and assists NRCS partners in program support and administration.

Actively seeks funding to support agricultural conservation efforts.

Build and maintains partnerships to achieve common goals.

Coordinates multiple projects, set deadlines, and manages projects to completion.

Performs tasks with minimal supervision and makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience and context.

May supervise technical, administrative and professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training and development.

Ensures program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.

May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.



Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in agriculture science, government relations, natural resource management or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Ability to organize and facilitate effective meetings and/or trainings.

Relationship building skills to work closely with a variety of partners, i.e. government officials, internal scientists, landowners.

Ability to work effectively with partners towards common goals.

Experience completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s).

Excellent communication skills via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.

Experience using common software applications such as Word, Excel, web browsers, etc.

Must have valid driver's license and good driving record.



Established relationships with agricultural community in Kentucky.

Demonstrated ability (experience) to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders, ranging from government officials and agency professionals, farm producers, academics, private industry representatives, private and institutional donors, and media representatives.

Demonstrated ability (experience) to organize and facilitate effective meetings and/or trainings.

Knowledge of federal, state, and local policies and regulations related to agriculture.

Relationship building skills to work closely and effectively with a variety of partners representing diverse interests across the agricultural spectrum.

Experience with grant writing and fund-raising to support project work.

3-5 years’ experience in agricultural conservation services, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, government relations, or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Ability and willingness to apply science to decision-making and guide activities.

Knowledge of ecological land management and agricultural best management principles including nutrient management and soil health.

Experience completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s).



This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with the Conservancy's Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.



Apply online: to position number 45876, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 24, 2017.

If you experience technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact

Posted November 13, 2017

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