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FCNRCD is hiring an Agricultural Programs Specialist

Job Title: Agricultural Programs Specialist               Supervisor: District Manager

Job Classification: Non-exempt                              Salary: $22-25/hour

Effective Date: 1/19/2024                                           Job Category: Full-time 40 hrs/wk

Anticipated Start Date: March 2024

 

How to apply

Applications accepted until February 4, 2024. Interviews anticipated to be held soon after.

Only digital applications will be accepted without prior arrangements. Send Cover Letter and Resume to Lauren Weston, FCNRCD District Manager, at info@FranklinCountyNRCD.org.

Please direct any questions to info@FranklinCountyNRCD.org.

 

Job Summary 

The Agricultural Programs Specialist supports the work of the Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District (FCNRCD, the District). FCNRCD is a subdivision of state government that is largely grant-funded; we coordinate available resources to promote the conservation of natural resources through education, conservation programs, and technical services. The position is responsible for directly supporting agricultural producers with nutrient management planning, data collection and entry for participation in programs, leading agricultural conservation-related projects from start to finish, writing grant applications and proposals on behalf of agricultural producers, coordinating agriculture-related events, and providing technical assistance related to conservation projects, agronomics, soil health, viability programs, and other topics, as appropriate. This position will receive some support and oversight from the District Manager and other FCNRCD staff.

Requiring a large amount of interaction with varied stakeholders (private landowners, farmers, forestland managers, municipal staff, and project partners), the ability to create and maintain positive relationships is critical. This position includes a seasonal mix of computer-based and out-in-the-field work with the majority of each year being computer-based.

A person who will be successful in this position is a capable “generalist” who is detail-oriented, highly organized, adaptable, independent, and has strong interpersonal, project management, and leadership capacities.

 

Core Competencies

Project Management abilities to lead multiple projects with multiple agricultural producers simultaneously, stay within established budgets and timelines; and help with project leadership and management.


Technical Expertise demonstrated by an understanding of the intersection between agriculture (dairy/livestock primarily, soil health) and natural resources (natural ecosystems, river/stream health, riparian buffers, forestry); and knowledge of water quality issues.


Solution-focused Mindset to initiate creative ideas to achieve the District’s goals and follow through with them; an interest and ability to anticipate and identify obstacles and create solutions.


Education and Outreach Skills to effectively and respectfully involve communities and partners; draw upon strong and consistent communication skills in a variety of public and small settings; successfully plan and host events; and engage in education and outreach to various communities.

 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Agricultural Outreach & Technical Assistance 

  • Host events relating to advancing agricultural water quality, climate resilience, and economic viability.

  • Assist farmers with nutrient management planning, soil sampling, manure sampling, tissue sampling, updating plans, and harvest and nutrient applications recordkeeping, including using precision agriculture systems.

  • Assist farmers with data entry, upkeep, and verification as part of the Vermont Pay for Performance program.

  • Assist farmers and partners with soil health education and technical assistance programs.

  • Assist farmers with navigating various technical and financial assistance programs and regulations.

  • Assist with annual updates of the Guide to Assistance for Agricultural Producers of Vermont.

  • Communicate information on Best Management Practices, Required Agricultural Practices, soils, regional practices related to Vermont farmers, state and federal cost-share programs, one-on-one assistance, and communications such as press releases, newsletters, social media, blog posts, etc. 

  • Maintain deep understanding of farm operations, the current science of conservation practices, and current programs and expertise available from various individuals and organizations.

  • Track and document interactions and discussions.

  • Organize visits and meetings with agricultural producers.

  • Create educational materials and experiences for diverse audiences related to agriculture and natural resources.

  • Assist with regional coordination work as part of the Vermont Agricultural Water Quality Partnership.

  • Perform additional related responsibilities as need arises including working with the District Manager to expand and diversify relevant agricultural services to better serve more farmers.

 

Other Duties

  • Assist with annual spring tree sale activities.

  • Assist with tree planting projects including coordinating volunteers, organizing plantings, and planting trees.

  • Participate in events and educational activities hosted by other FCNRCD team members.

 

 

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Strong interpersonal skills – aptitude for building relationships, trust, and understanding among diverse clients, partners, and stakeholders.

  • Ability to plan and carry out assignments independently and as part of a small team; manage time effectively across multiple projects and determine priorities and goals; and work within existing work plans and deliver on assigned tasks in a timely manner and within budget.

  • Knowledge of agriculture, dairy specifically, and associated practices and conservation-related concerns.

  • Knowledge of soil science, agronomics, and grazing practices.

  • Knowledge of watershed planning concerns and water quality best management practices for a variety of land stewards.

  • Map-making experience with various programs (e.g. ArcGIS); ability to think spatially.

  • Fluency in basic computer programs and ability to quickly learn new software. 

  • Ability to assist with evaluation of effectiveness of ongoing outreach, education, and programming. 

 

Working Conditions & Physical Requirements 

This is a hybrid position (telework, field work, office work) with travel around Northwest Vermont required as needed (access to USDA vehicles provided with maintenance of an infraction-free driving record following background check). Field work may include walking far distances, carrying equipment, and traversing challenging terrain. Employees must have their own reliable transportation.


Individuals will be assigned a desk, phone, and computer at the home office in the USDA Service Center in St. Albans, VT. Computer work may include long periods of sitting, typing, and reading from a computer screen.


Occasional hours on evenings and weekends are required.


FRANKLIN COUNTY NRCD IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local human rights commission, protected veteran status, disability, age (40 or older), political affiliation, and genetic information.



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