Habitat Viability Manager

Practical Farmers of Iowa is Hiring a Habitat Viability Manager

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a diligent, respectful and passionate person to serve as a habitat viability manager for the farm viability department. 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 farm viability department provides innovative, personalized support to help farmers achieve their goals. We partner with farmers to implement new on-farm practices, develop markets and create robust farm business plans. We make key connections across the food and agriculture supply chain, develop strategic partnerships and shape the policies that encourage resilient farms to thrive.

We’re seeking a habitat viability manager to lead our working lands conservation efforts and help diverse farmers and landowners incorporate habitat on the landscape. You will play a pivotal role in shaping our habitat programming – building, testing and scaling creative solutions that respond to the needs of PFI members as they implement new practices.

As the habitat viability manager, you’ll work at the intersection of agriculture and native ecosystems, impacting thousands of acres in Iowa. You will develop programs on the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture and private lands conservation, serving as a model for the broader Midwest and beyond.

If you’re passionate about bringing wildlife and prairie back to the landscape, advancing beneficial pollinators and insects on-farm and empowering farmers and landowners to cultivate and enjoy Iowa’s natural habitats, this role is for you. You’ll support the farm viability team by:

  • Leading and developing PFI’s partnerships with organizations in the habitat and conservation space and representing PFI on collaborative projects with partners
  • Managing PFI’s habitat cost-share programs, including promoting and recruiting for the programs, reviewing and approving applications and providing assistance to program participants as needed
  • Developing new habitat viability programs by engaging with PFI members to identify needs; scoping feasible project plans; identifying partnership opportunities; and seeking out and applying for funding to implement program ideas
  • Leading PFI’s habitat viability team, overseeing the habitat viability coordinator and managing staff capacity and program budgets
  • Representing Practical Farmers of Iowa on the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service State Technical Committee

Practical Farmers offers a flexible, fast-paced work environment with opportunities for independent initiative and professional development.


  • Develop and manage partner relationships related to habitat that harness each organization’s work toward PFI’s farm viability goals
  • Manage projects that provide financial or technical assistance to farmers and landowners implementing habitat, including:
    • Prairie strips and field and riparian buffers and borders
    • Precision conservation
    • Pollinator and beneficial bug banks
    • Oxbows
  • Write grant and fee-for-service funding proposals:
    • Generate project and program ideas that develop opportunities for habitat implementation
    • Identify funding opportunities
    • Write narratives, draft budgets and engage partners
  • Oversee staff members, contractors, volunteers and partners who implement habitat financial and technical assistance projects:
    • Supervise the habitat viability coordinator
    • Facilitate teamwork within the habitat viability team
  • Manage internal budgets, processes and collaborations to ensure successful completion of livestock viability projects and deliverables:
    • Manage capacity and budget efficiently to complete work
    • Design and implement processes to ensure consistency and efficiency of habitat viability work
    • Facilitate collaboration between departments and teams to achieve project deliverables
    • Implement viability projects related to habitat as needed
  • Provide support and assistance to farmers and landowners implementing habitat as needed
  • Other duties as assigned or volunteered to support department or team projects

Required Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Strong program planning, design and budget creation skills
  • Strong grant-writing skills
  • Supportive team leader who is able to coach and empower others while providing accountability
  • Strong partnership development skills – able to identify common goals, facilitate organizational alignment, negotiate agreements and create robust collaborations
  • Strong project management and budget management skills
  • Strong process design and optimization skills
  • Excellent interpersonal communication
  • Attentive to the needs of others
  • Creative and innovative
  • Strong ability to troubleshoot and solve problems
  • Continuous learner
  • Diligent and attentive to detail
  • Highly motivated, with the ability to take initiative
  • Knowledge of NRCS and FSA conservation practices and programs
  • Knowledge of working lands conservation strategies and opportunities
  • Knowledge of prairie strips

Desired Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Knowledge of the conservation organization ecosystem
  • Knowledge of precision conservation concepts and tools
  • Ability to provide habitat consultations with farmers and landowners
  • Experience siting and designing prairie strips
  • Three to five years of professional experience preferred

This is a full-time position based in our Ames, Iowa, office with remote work potential. Due to the need to engage with landowners and decision-makers around Iowa, this position requires some travel (mostly in Iowa) and a valid driver’s license. Starting annual salary range for this position is $55,500-$60,000 based on experience and qualifications, with opportunity for salary increase on an annual basis.

The position reports to Kayla Koether, senior farm viability manager. Practical Farmers is a family-friendly employer. The position includes full health care benefits with employer-paid premium, a flex plan, short- and long-term disability, life insurance and generous paid time off. Employer contribution to a 401k retirement plan is offered after one year of employment.

Please apply by completing an application form on PFI’s employment page practicalfarmers.org/employment.