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[CLOSED] Job Opening: Farm Advocacy Program Specialist

Pittsboro, North Carolina, United States | Full-time | Partially remote

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“Advocacy” is a term that can be used in many ways.  Our “Farm Advocacy” program refers to something very specific: assisting farmers who are in financial crisis with expert, in-depth technical assistance to navigate their financial options and get better outcomes than they might without help. Sometimes this assistance saves farms; sometimes it helps farmers access loans for operating expenses or expansion of their businesses, which they may not have been able to access without our help.  We help family farms of all types and descriptions.

The Farm Advocacy Program Specialist will train with our Lead Farm Advocate, observing and learning from them with the ultimate goal of becoming trained as a Farm Advocate. The Program Specialist will also provide administrative support for the Farm Advocacy Program and coordinate with the Lead Farmer Advocate and the Policy Director on agricultural credit-related policy advocacy. The Specialist will eventually take on supervised casework. RAFI-USA is looking for someone with a long-term interest in Farm Advocacy in-depth casework as described above.

Primary Position Responsibilities

  • Training: shadow the lead farm advocate, following case progress, reading all case materials, and attending hearings; watch existing training footage, read relevant regulatory and USDA handbook materials, and identify knowledge gaps for which more resources are needed
  • Direct Service:  over time take on supervised farm advocacy casework. Respond to hotline calls, assist with screening and directing referrals from external sources and the farmer hotline; help disseminate information to farmers on developments relevant to farm advocacy casework;
  • Policy Advocacy: work with the Policy Director and Lead Farm Advocate to identify policy positions that could improve farmers’ access to credit; to create memos and policy proposals for those positions; and to create educational and advocacy content for the general public to support grassroots advocacy efforts.
  • Data Management & Program Administration: ensure that weekly casework and hotline updates and other case-related data are entered into Salesforce. Assist with program administration including board, grant, and financial reporting.

Skills & knowledge: a range of types of experience could help someone become a successful farm advocate. These could include farming experience, legal experience, social work experience, and experience with loan-making and/or financial planning, among others. We do not expect candidates to have all these types of experience or everything listed below, but encourage those with these backgrounds, who have a strong interest in helping farmers through financial crisis, to apply.

Required skills, knowledge, and abilities:

  • Desire to become a farm advocate to help farmers navigate financial crisis
  • Demonstrated experience working with farmers and general knowledge of farming practices and finances 
  • Knowledge of the basics of agricultural credit, in particular the options for, requirements of, and process for obtaining, credit at the Farm Service Agency
  • Detail-oriented and organized. Ability to work at a granular level of detail.
  • Experience with case management and/or working with people in crisis situations. Strong interpersonal skills, especially when working with farmers in stressful situations
  • Self-starter: can take initiative both on projects and work plans, and seek information/research independently. Self-motivated, autonomous work style
  • Curiosity, intellectual engagement, and an active interest in continual learning

Desired skills, knowledge, and abilities

  • Experience in policy advocacy (whether administrative or Congressional) and experience researching/locating federal rules and statute
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Works well within a team environment
  • Experience working in Salesforce or with another CRM

Compensation: 

Full-time, exempt position. Annual salary of $51,750 – $62,858 (depending on experience) based on 40 hours/week. This position has the potential to take on additional responsibility with correspondingly higher salary tiers over time.

Generous benefits package includes paid time off, 401k, medical, dental, life insurance, and long/short-term disability insurance plans. 

Location: NC preferred; Southeast U.S. remote an option

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2024 Beginning Farmer Stipends are Here! APPLY NOW!