American Farmland Trust Water Resource Specialist

Location: within the AFT main office in Washington, D.C. or within driving distance of an AFT field office

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. 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 helped thousands of farm families make a go of it (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access). Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities. AFT’s national office is in Washington, D.C., with a network of field offices across America where farmland is at risk.

AFT’s Water Initiative seeks to achieve measurably cleaner water, sustainable water supplies, increased farm viability, and more effective federal, regional, state, and private sector policies and programs that address water quality and quantity challenges related to agriculture. On-the-ground, AFT staff work with farmers and landowners to share information on the economic and environmental benefits of soil health and structural practices that increase productivity, improve water quality and quantity, and address climate change. National staff support the on-the-ground staff as well as our conservation partners by helping them set ambitious environmental and farmer participation goals and measure progress.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Water Resources Specialist position offers an exciting opportunity to help build AFT’s water-related programs across the country. This early career- to mid-level professional will work with the Water Initiative Director, along with AFT staff in regional offices, other National Initiative teams, and external partners and consultants, to ensure successful implementation and evaluation of multiple projects such as outcomes quantification, watershed, and market-based projects. The Specialist will conduct research, writing, and editing of several white papers. The Specialist will provide oversight to track progress on project workplans and budgets. The Specialist will also assist in fundraising.

Specific position responsibilities include:

• Conduct research, writing, and editing for reports, white papers, and peer-reviewed manuscripts comparing water quality and climate quantification tools; describing methods to evaluate their environmental, social, and economic outcomes; and analyzing corporate sustainability supply chain programs.

• Coordinate activities for multiple projects with the Water Initiative Director and with on-the-ground staff to track progress on project deliverables (e.g., improving water quality at the watershed-scale, measuring environmental, social, and economic outcomes associated with “soil health practices”, designing environmental markets).

• Analyze farm conservation practice data, social survey data, and water quality data generated by the projects to evaluate achievement of goals, track project/on-the-ground progress, and to aid in adaptive management.

• Provide additional support to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Water Initiative, e.g., grant reporting, budget management.

• Represent AFT externally with stakeholders through presentations at conferences.

The Specialist can be based within the AFT main office in Washington, D.C. or within driving distance of an AFT field office. Annual evaluations will be based on specific performance benchmarks.


The Specialist must be entrepreneurial and a creative, capable problem-solver. The person must be highly motivated with strong interpersonal skills. Excellent communication skills (technical, grant and general writing, staff and partner relations, phone, public presentations) are essential. Direct professional experience working with farmers, farmland owners, water quality monitoring and/or modeling experts, state and federal agencies, soil and water conservation districts, and others is an asset.

• A BA or BS degree with a minimum of 4-years of related work experience or an MA or MS degree with a minimum of 2-years work experience in policy and program evaluation, agriculture or agronomy, soil science, water quality/quantity monitoring or modeling, environmental management, or watershed planning.

• Knowledge of soil health practices and their water quality/quantity and climate benefits required.

• Strong research, writing, and editing skills are required.

• Experience analyzing conservation practice or water data to generate descriptive statistics in Microsoft Excel to present information to project partners a plus.

• Knowledge of the following models and tools a plus: Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT) and COMET-Farm Tool, A Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), Agricultural Policy Environmental Extender (APEX), Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and Denitrification-Decomposition (DNDC).

• Ability to coordinate multiple staff and partners in multiple time zones is required.

• Project and budget management and fundraising experience are ideal.


American Farmland Trust pays salaries that are competitive with nonprofits of our budget size, and offers meaningful vacation, medical, retirement and other benefits.

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

Please submit a cover letter 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.