Location: Washington, D.C.

American Farmland Trust is the only national NGO that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. More than any other NGO, AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement, and we continue to raise public awareness through our “No Farms, No Food” message. 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 supported thousands of farm families. Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities.

With the 2018 Farm Bill now passed, AFT is preparing a multiyear strategy aimed at advancing significant policy changes. This strategy will include a direct focus on the next Farm Bill and other federal and state policy initiatives. In addition, AFT’s multi-pronged approach will involve an active research agenda that serves policy goals, advancing new state-level policies through which innovative approaches can be tested and refined, and engaging and organizing key stakeholders across the nation.

AFT believes that there are immense opportunities to advance the national dialogue about agriculture in key areas where AFT has expertise and programming, including the interplay of agriculture and climate change as well as issues involving farmland loss, land access, and farm transfer and succession.

To respond to these opportunities and needs, AFT is creating the new position of Conservation Policy Specialist. The Conservation Policy Specialist position offers an exciting opportunity to help shape and carry out the policy agenda of a growing, forward-looking agricultural conservation organization. The Conservation Policy Specialist will report directly to the Policy Director, while also engaging other members of AFT’s program and policy team.

Duties & Responsibilities

The Conservation Policy Specialist’s primary responsibilities will be to:

• Develop and propose strategies to advance and enhance conservation practices and programs through Congress and federal agencies

• Engage in outreach and communication to congressional offices and committees, federal agencies and administrative officials, and other partners and stakeholders

• Represent AFT at agency and coalition meetings, as well as congressional hearings and briefings

• Draft policy summary pieces, Federal Register comments, testimony, and other content and correspondence

• Track conservation policy developments, including legislation and federal rulemaking

• Conduct research to inform policy positions

• Assist in planning and logistics for events, including AFT’s national conference to be held in May 2020

• Maintain congressional database and perform other administrative duties

• Assist with other projects and assignments as needed


The Conservation Policy Specialist must be outgoing and energetic, creative, organized, and capable of working well independently and as part of a team. The Conservation Policy Specialist will need to be comfortable regularly interacting with a diverse audience – including the staff of elected officials, representatives of partnering organizations, and others.

Additional qualifications include:

• A BA or BS degree (ideally in a relevant field) and a demonstrated interest in public policy involving agriculture, conservation, and/or natural resource planning

• At least three years of relevant work experience, including direct experience relating to agricultural conservation practices and federal conservation cost-share programs (e.g. EQIP, CSP)

• Knowledge of the congressional and agency policy-making process

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills

• Excellent research skills and the ability to summarize difficult concepts succinctly

• Willingness to work around a demanding congressional schedule and deadlines

• Self-motivated, organized, and able to stay on task when managing multiple projects

• Familiarity with the Microsoft Office suite of programs

• Some travel may be required

If you are eager to join our team, please visit this page to apply.

About AFT and Policy

AFT has historically played an outsized role in the development of agricultural policy. At the federal level, AFT was the force behind the Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) of 1981. In 1985, AFT led the effort that incorporated a Conservation Title into the Farm Bill. AFT has played a substantive role in the creation of CRP, EQIP, FRPP, ACEP, and other federal conservation programs. AFT has also worked actively on other titles of the Farm Bill, and on other federal issues, including tax policies impacting farmers and ranchers. At the state level, AFT had a direct role in the creation of 29 farmland protection programs and numerous current use taxation programs—and has successfully championed a wide range of legislation that has supported farmland retention, farmland access, and farm viability.

AFT’s policy work benefits from AFT’s research efforts, which have often been a catalyst for policy change. At the same time, AFT’s policy work is grounded in diverse programming delivered through both national initiatives and six regional offices. This provides AFT with a real world understanding of what’s needed and what works. Beyond this, AFT’s policy work is buoyed by the organization’s reputation as a trusted convener, respected by both the agriculture and the conservation communities.

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.