Location: Illinois or neighboring state

American Farmland Trust is the only national organization 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. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues 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. 

The Midwest Regional Director (Director) position offers an exciting opportunity to help shape and carry out the strategic agenda of a growing, forward-looking conservation organization. The Director will provide strategic leadership for American Farmland Trust’s programs in the Midwest Region, with an emphasis on Illinois and neighboring states.

The Director will report to the Vice President for Programs.  The Director will initially be responsible for working with the Midwest Deputy Director to manage six staff and consultants and a budget of approximately $1.2 million while creating new opportunities for growth in the future.

Duties & Responsibilities

Primary Responsibilities for the Midwest Director will include:


  • Develop and lead programs to advance AFT’s mission to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.
  • Work closely with the Vice President for Programs and National Initiative Leaders to adapt and integrate AFT’s national initiatives with opportunities in the Midwest Region.
  • Build and manage relationships with external stakeholders including agriculture, food and public health, environment, economic development and other constituencies.
  • Create programs that support the needs of diverse communities of farmers and landowners in achieving AFT’s mission.


  • Play a leadership role in fundraising for AFT across the Midwest Region.
  • Coordinate with AFT’s development staff regarding individual and institutional fundraising strategy, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Develop funding proposals/reports & complete other activities within identified deadlines.


  • Work with regional and national communications staff to develop and implement strategies to raise the visibility of the organization’s programs in the Midwest.

Management and Administration 

  • Work closely with the Midwest Deputy Director to oversee the overall management of the Midwest Regional Program.
  • Create an inclusive work environment for AFT staff and partners.
  • Develop and implement annual workplans and budgets for the Midwest Region.
  • Supervise and support a team of AFT staff and consultants.
  • Manage project budgets, financial statements, and reports.
  • Complete other duties as assigned.


The Director must be outgoing and energetic and have direct professional experience working with primary constituencies, such as farmers, landowners, public officials, agricultural and conservation organizations and land trusts.  The individual must have knowledge of farmland protection, farmland access, and farm transfer or agricultural stewardship techniques, preferably in the Midwest Region.  It is also strongly preferred that the Director has direct experience working with diverse communities of farmers and landowners such as farmers of color, beginning farmers and women landowners.

The Director must be entrepreneurial, self-motivated, and willing to work in a fast-paced work environment. The successful candidate will have work experience in developing programs as well as creating and executing effective fundraising strategies. Excellent communication skills (public presentation, phone, writing, partner relations) and creativity are essential. A facilitiy with the Microsoft Office is required – additional computer skills preferred.

  • A BA or BS degree and a minimum of 7 years of related work experience in public policy, planning, agriculture, land conservation or natural resource planning. Or, 5 years of related work experience with an advanced degree in one or more of the disciplines noted.
  • Understanding of effective fundraising with individual and institutional funding partners.
  • Previous experience with supervising staff and consultants, including from remote locations, is beneficial.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating programs and budgets is necessary.
  • Direct experience with creating an inclusive work environment and developing programs for diverse communities of farmers and landowners is beneficial.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Located in Illinois or neighboring state with a willingness to work independently and travel across the Midwest Region.


American Farmland Trust offers meaningful vacation, medical, retirement, and other benefits commensurate with a nonprofit organization of our size.

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

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.