Beginning Farmer Engagement Coordinator
Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a diligent, respectful and passionate person to serve as a beginning farmer engagement coordinator for the farmer-led education department. At PFI, our beginning farmer program works with farmers who have been farming on their own for 10 years or less or who want to start farming.
The central goal of this position is to bring new faces to agriculture in Iowa; to create networks and educational opportunities for newcomers to farming; and to connect them with PFI’s network and resources.
For 35 years, Practical Farmers has worked to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. This work has always been rooted in our value of welcoming everyone and creating a culture of mutual respect. We believe that a diversity of people, ideas and perspectives strengthens our ability to find creative solutions, enriches our understanding and broadens our impact.
At Practical Farmers, we celebrate this diversity and are committed to ensuring that our policies and practices create an equitable and inclusive workplace. We take equal opportunity seriously and seek to empower and support all applicants and teammates.
The farmer-led education department is the core of PFI’s long-standing farmer-led education efforts. This department annually delivers a robust educational program of field days, conferences, workshops and webinars. In addition, this department facilitates meetups and other mechanisms to build farmer peer networks and writes farmer-centered content for PFI’s media, including the PFI quarterly magazine, blog and email newsletters.
The beginning farmer engagement coordinator will support that team by:
- Facilitating high-quality, farmer-led educational and networking events geared toward aspiring and beginning farmers. Typically, these topics will include horticulture, urban farming, pasture-based livestock and farm business basics.
- Writing farmer-focused articles, blogs and other outreach on topics related to beginning farmers, their challenges and opportunities, and rural communities for Practical Farmers and for distribution in other farm-related outlets.
- Connecting with aspiring and beginning farmers in Iowa and neighboring states to understand their needs and how PFI can best serve them.
- Collaborating with other organizations working in the first-generation, emerging and beginning farmer space.
- Responding to questions from the public about PFI’s first-generation and beginning farmer work, connecting them to other members with expertise or interest in the topic or to other PFI programs or external service providers.
- Supporting the farmer-led education department in data collection and information management processes.
Practical Farmers offers a flexible, fast-paced work environment with opportunities for independent initiative and professional development.
Plan and facilitate in-person and virtual educational and networking events related to beginning farmers, including:
- PFI’s Beginning Farmer Summit
- PFI’s annual conference
- PFI’s farminar web series
- Educational workshops
- Farmer socials
Write articles, blogs and outreach for PFI publications related to beginning farmers, such as:
- the Practical Farmer magazine
- Our beginning farmer e-newsletter
Be a resourceful first contact at PFI for anyone interested in getting started farming:
- Answer questions and direct people to relevant and helpful resources
Grow and facilitate networks of existing and aspiring beginning farmers:
- Attend non-PFI events to increase PFI’s visibility, connect with new beginning farmers, find new ideas and network with other organizations
- Visit incubator farms
- Ensure PFI has robust and accurate information about the beginning farmers we serve
- Organize and record information on PFI members and contacts into CRM and project management software
- Collaborate with the beginning farmer team
- Deliver educational opportunities within PFI’s Savings Incentive Program and other similar programs
- Update progress on grant deliverables
- Other duties as assigned or volunteered to support department or team projects
Required Qualifications and Characteristics
- A desire to engage with beginning farmers and help them grow successful farms
- Knowledge of Midwestern agricultural systems and sustainable agriculture concepts
- Strong writing skills
- Strong event planning and logistics coordination
- Strong event and meeting facilitation skills
- Strong network-building and stakeholder engagement skills
- Ability to develop and manage a detailed schedule and work plan with little oversight
- Comfort with public speaking
- Ability to follow procedures and work within multiple systems to document, track and report on project activities and outcomes
- Strong listening and appropriate follow-up skills
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Ability to learn and adapt quickly
- Thrives in a learning environment
- Passion for the mission of PFI
- Comfort working with stakeholders from a diversity of backgrounds
- Empathetic and able to build relationships with people of different backgrounds
Desired Qualifications and Characteristics
- Knowledge of barriers to farming for beginning farmers
- Experience with grassroots organizing or outreach
- Experience addressing barriers to getting started in agriculture
- Agricultural production, marketing, business management or supply chain knowledge
- Basic coaching skills for presenters
- Storytelling skills
- Comfort giving and receiving feedback
- Two years of professional experience
- Familiarity with PFI and its programing
This is a full-time position based in our Ames, Iowa, office. The starting salary is $46,500 with annual opportunity for merit-based salary increases and position advancement. This position requires some travel (mostly in Iowa), a valid driver’s license, the ability to lift 50 pounds and the ability to walk long distances.
PFI values its employees and offers a flexible and supportive work environment. Employees are offered a competitive benefits package that includes health insurance with employer-paid premium, generous paid time off, flexible hours, paid parental leave, a 4% automatic 401k contribution after one year of employment and professional development opportunities. Practical Farmers is a family-friendly employer.
Please apply by completing an application form (including contact information, cover letter, resume and references) below. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.