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Agricultural Stewardship AssociationAgricultural Stewardship Association

About ASA

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Position Title:  Project Manager

Position Status:  Full-time/Salaried

Reports to:  Associate Director

 

About ASA:

ASA was established in 1990 by a small group of visionary farmers and landowners in Washington County who realized that if they did not conserve productive farmland in this region, they had much to lose, including neighboring farms and local agricultural support businesses, access to fresh local food, their close-knit farming communities, and not least of all, the scenic working landscapes that lie among the Adirondack, Green and Taconic Mountains.  In 2003, ASA extended its service area to Rensselaer County.

Agriculture is not a fringe industry in Washington and Rensselaer counties; it is a key component of our economy that generates close to $200 million in sales and provides thousands of jobs in these two counties.

ASA is proud to have remained vibrant and active throughout its 30 year history and is one of only two land trusts in New York State that focus exclusively on conserving productive land. To date, ASA has conserved 22,900 acres of land on 136 farms and has over 5,000 acres of land in the process of being conserved.

General Position Summary:

The Project Manager works to further the organization’s mission as it relates to conservation and community outreach efforts.  It provides key support to ASA’s land protection and stewardship programs including identifying and advancing conservation easement projects, implementing community conservation projects, preparing baseline documentation reports, developing GIS maps, conducting annual monitoring of conserved lands, and assisting with the overall stewardship program.

Essential Functions:

Conservation Easement Projects:

  • Undertakes all aspects of conservation easement work including: identifying and evaluating potential projects, conducting site assessments, assessing funding needs, easement drafting, land planning, handling negotiations, conducting landowner outreach and correspondence, reviewing title work, commissioning surveys and appraisals, managing and closing projects, assisting with and reviewing baseline documentation reports as necessary.  Works on a variety of conservation easement programs including state, federal and privately funded purchase of development rights, bargain sales, and donated easements.  Creates project budgets and responsible for tracking all associated costs including staff time; and
  • Prepares conservation easement summaries for board review as well as presenting potential projects to the board at board meetings.

 

Conservation Easement Stewardship:

  • Assists Easement Steward with organizing and conducting ground or aerial monitoring site visits to all easement properties on an annual basis; create and maintain records of site visits; and report any stewardship issues to Associate Director;
  • Develops and maintains good communications and relationships with easement landowners.  Assists with organizing 1-2 annual gatherings for easement landowners.  Provides resources on land management, farm leases, and farm transition to easement landowners;
  • Assists with stewardship issues including requests for approvals, notifications, violations and amendments; and
  • Updates stewardship database and assists with archiving/record-keeping activities.
  • Creates Baseline Documentation Reports for easement properties, including use of ArcGIS to create aerial, topographic, soils and photo key maps; conducts site visits and landowner interviews to include necessary information for reports; and
  • Reviews Baseline Documentation Reports and creates supplements, updates and current conditions reports as needed to document changes to easement properties over time.

 

Cartography:

  • Produces maps utilizing GIS applications and GPS equipment for analysis and project facilitation, board and committee meetings, grant proposals, baseline documentation reports, marketing materials, farm tours, etc., as required. 

 

Community Conservation Projects:

  • Develops, implements and/or assists with special land protection, outreach and community conservation projects in coordination with staff that increase organizational effectiveness, diversify ASA’s constituents, and raise community awareness and appreciation for ASA’s work and organizational values; and
  • Assists with creating, facilitating and implementing community conservation projects, such as community forests.  Works with ASA supporters, municipal officials, community members and donors to facilitate projects.  In partnership with applicable community support, creates and implements land management plans and assists with fundraising efforts, as appropriate.

 

Other Responsibilities:

  • Assists in outreach and fundraising efforts to enhance program funding and overall organizational effectiveness, including drafting grant proposals (particularly state farmland protection grants), attending ASA’s fundraising events; and assisting with gifts of real estate, as assigned;
  • Provides support for the Board and related committees as requested by Associate Director or Executive Director. Attends board and committee meetings, including board/staff retreats or workshops, as requested;
  • Represents ASA within the community through a presence in local, statewide and national meetings, coalitions, and task forces and committees.  Assists ASA in promoting collaborative working relationships and conveys opportunities to expand ASA’s networking and partnerships;
  • Supervises volunteers, interns and consultants as requested by the Associate Director; 
  • Attends workshops and trainings to gain skills necessary to improve capacity to fulfill job description and for professional advancement;
  • Keeps current on ASA’s mission, strategic plan, acquisitions and programs as well as Land Trust Standards and Practices, Land Trust Accreditation, and IRS requirements affecting project manager responsibilities at ASA.
  • Other duties as directed by the Executive Director or Associate Director

 

Qualifications:

  • Experience working for a land trust or conservation/environmental organization with a minimum of 2 or more years of direct project management or land stewardship responsibilities with conservation easements or fee owned lands;
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher. A degree in life or physical sciences, environmental science, natural resources management, forestry, agriculture or environmental policy preferred;
  • Superior time management and organizational skills;
  • Highly effective written, oral and presentation skills;
  • Ability to effectively prioritize and manage many projects at once;
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and agility in building rapport with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Proficient with MS Office and GIS mapping or ability to learn.  Familiarity with hand-held GPS units and MS Access based databases a plus.  Must be comfortable with incorporating technology to increase effectiveness;
  • Understands the scope and issues facing agricultural and forestry sectors in the region;
  • Maintains high level of accuracy, attention to detail and quality in work;
  • Familiarity with understanding surveys, topographical, soil and aerial maps;
  • Experience flying in small aircraft or sailing a plus; and
  • Must be willing to work on average one weekend day a month for site visits, events, etc.

 

Attributes:

  • Strong passion for agriculture and forestry and commitment to ASA’s mission and success;
    • Genuinely enjoys engaging with landowners and farmers;
    • Inspires trust and is able to keep sensitive information confidential;
    • Is able to work effectively in rural and urban communities;
    • Strong work ethic and focused on success; a life-time learner;
    • Demonstrates high integrity and commitment to goals;
    • Demonstrates strong problem-solving attributes: drive, energy and creativity;
    • Enjoys working alone and as part of a team; a self-starter;
    • Possesses diplomacy and calm demeanor under stressful situations; and
    • Enjoys and deploys an appropriate sense of humor.

 

Physical Demands:  Outdoor work general involves visits to properties where good physical condition, vision and hearing required to walk and interpret landscapes and natural features.  Properties may or may not have developed trails, roads, etc. and may consist of steep terrain.  Driving to sites requires use of personal vehicle (mileage reimbursement; proof of insurance required).  Ability to monitor properties from a small aircraft.  Ability to carry equipment up to 20 lbs.  Normal office duties as performed at a desk (may require long periods of sitting and computer typing).

 

Work Environment:  Approximately 80% indoor office work and 20% outdoors.  Office work is primarily sitting at a desk with a computer or in meetings.  Most travel is with ASA’s service area with occasional travel within region and beyond for meetings, conferences and trainings.

 

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

Full-time, salaried position with benefits, including vacation and holidays, sick leave, health care coverage and contributions to retirement account after one year of service.  Salary is commensurate with experience.  Training and advancement opportunities.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position.  They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required.  All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

 

TO APPLY:

Send résumé and cover letter detailing specific qualifications to renee@agstewardship.org.  Anticipate job starting by April 1st.  No calls please.