Location: Pacific Northwest, DC, or Remote, DC

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 Technical Specialist will help lead AFT’s efforts to provide the most up-to-date information about practices, policies, and programs by which the agricultural sector is a leading industry to combat climate change and build resilient systems that improve farm viability and environmental benefits while improving productivity for food, fiber, and biofuel stocks.

The Technical Specialist will report to the Climate Initiative Director and will work closely with the Water Quality Initiative Director and Regional Office Directors.  Preferably, the Technical Specialist will be based in the Pacific Northwest or at an AFT office in Seattle, WA; CA; or DC; but could possibly work remotely, depending on the location.  Must be able to travel occasionally to regional offices for meetings.

Duties & Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of this position are to research and conduct modeling scenarios to quantify the impacts of agricultural practices on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration potential. This will be used to develop a set of recommendations that will inform policy and program managers building climate action plans. Additional duties and responsibilities will include helping to develop new climate programming that supports other AFT program areas and its regional offices. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Knowledge of and experience working with soil health practices and their impacts on climate change mitigation, adaptation and water quality concerns;
  • Support AFT’s commitment to provide USCA states technical assistance regarding the positive role that agriculture has in combating climate change;
  • Synthesize current scientific literature exploring soil health management systems as directly related to increased C sequestration and GHG reductions;
  • Help research, write, and edit white papers on technical options and tools for evaluating environmental, economic, and social outcomes of farm conservation practices;
  • Provide technical support to AFT’s conservation staff using Nutrient Tracking Tool, COMET-Farm, DNDC, and other tools/models as they estimate potential climate and water quality outcomes at the field-level through on-going research activities across the nation;
  • Work with Development staff, Climate Initiative Director, and Research Director to raise funds for the initiative;
  • Design, develop, and implement projects relating to climate change that align with AFT’s mission;
  • Represent AFT at meetings and conferences related to climate change and agriculture;
  • Work with Communications staff to actively communicate about the work;
  • Provide visibility for AFT at climate coalitions, workshops, and conferences;
  • Support a strong team culture among AFT staff.
  • Other duties as assigned.


The Technical Specialist must be outgoing and energetic and have direct professional experience working on agriculture and climate issues.  The candidate must be able to work closely with farmers and agriculture organizations as well as environmental organizations, universities and other research institutions, and state/federal government agencies.

  • A MS or PhD degree in agronomy, soil science, climate science, conservation, environmental science or similar field with experience using climate and water quality models such as DNDC, Century, DAYCENT, APEX, and SWAT, and tools such as A Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), Nutrient Tracking Tool, COMET-Farm, Field to Market’s Field Print Calculator, etc.;
  • Knowledgeable of climate change mitigation science with specific experience working with agronomic (including rangeland) systems and data;
  • Experience using R or other statistical software packages and meta-data analysis;
  • Experience synthesizing complex, ecological data sets and compiling literature reviews;
  • Basic computer programming language desirable;
  • Comfortable translating complex scientific information to broad audiences; writing reports and presenting at both scientific meetings, farmer/rancher focused workshops, policy makers, and conservation planner training events;
  • Demonstrated project management skill and 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 throughout country as needed (up to 25%).

Application Deadline: May 28, 2019, but will continue to accept applications until hired.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience and background.  AFT provides a full and generous benefits package.

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

Please include a cover letter with resume for consideration. 

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.