Job Opportunities with the Leelanau Conservancy

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Newton FallFarm Programs Manager

The Leelanau Conservancy is one of the nation’s top accredited land trusts. For 26 years, our mission has been to conserve the land, water and scenic character of Leelanau County in northern lower Michigan. Since establishing farm conservation as a strategic priority in 2008, we have protected approximately 5,000 acres of family-owned farms and intend to continue an upward trajectory in both farm and natural lands conservation.

Reporting to the Director of Land Programs, the Farm Programs Manager is responsible for implementing all phases of the Conservancy’s Farm Programs projects, with an emphasis on building and maintaining strong, healthy relationships in our community and permanent agricultural land conservation easement transactions.


Positive attitude and strong interest in working in a team environment
Bachelor’s degree in related field (advanced degree preferred)
Minimum of 2 years experience in conservation transactions (ag conservation preferred)
Strong interest in farmland protection and related policy matters
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Experience accessing public funding through federal, state or local matching programs
Background in farming or experience working with farmers preferred
Experience in GIS software/systems preferred
Conservation easement monitoring experience preferred
Please send your resume, three references, cover letter, salary requirements and one writing sample to by December 17, 2014.


The Farm Programs Manager provides programmatic oversight, leadership and direction to the Farm Programs and works with willing landowners to permanently protect their farms. S/he forges and maintains strong relationships with the agricultural community, collaborating organizations, government agencies, and donors while advocating for and promoting policy initiatives to foster the continuing success of farmland preservation in Leelanau County.


1. Reports to the Director of Land Programs.
2. Works closely with the Director of Land Programs and Stewardship Staff as part of the Conservancy’s Lands Team, including support to the Easement Manager as to how farm easements are stewarded.
3. Provides programmatic oversight, leadership and direction, including being the lead staff person working with the Farmland Committee of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.
4. Works closely with the Conservancy Staff, Board and others as needed to successfully fund the Program.
5. Forges and maintaining strong relationships with the agricultural community, collaborating organizations, funders and donors, Conservancy members and the general public utilizing thoughtful and effective outreach strategies.
6. With the Executive Director and Director of Land Programs, either in a supportive or lead role as necessary, advocates for and promoting policy initiatives to foster the continuing success of the Program.
7. Employs both traditional and innovative land protection tools to move Leelanau County farms toward, and ultimately achieving permanent protection.

Overall Program Leadership, Direction and Administration
1. Further develop, with Board, Farmland Committee and Staff participation, a comprehensive program and ongoing strategic planning for agricultural viability and farmland protection in Leelanau County.
2. Primary responsibility for completion of conservation easement acquisition projects over farmland.
3. Collaborate effectively with other organizations in achieving Board-directed objectives and outcomes. Oversee and monitor the Program’s annual and long-term budget and record-keeping systems to ensure they are adequate to meet needs.
4. As appropriate, serve as the spokesperson to the public on matters related to the Program.

Public Outreach and Policy Development
1. Promote awareness of and support for the Conservancy’s Mission and Farm Programs.
Leelanau Conservancy Position Description: Director of Farm Programs Page 2 of 2

2. Build cooperative, effective working relationships with the agricultural community, partner organizations and agencies, the agricultural- and agri-tourism-related business community, neighbors, Conservancy members, the public and the media.
3. Take a lead role in the creation of all Conservancy information to the public related to farming and farmland protection.
4. Advocate for policy initiatives to promote the Program and the viability of local agriculture.
5. Report to the Board and Farmland Committee on Program activities.

1. Develop, with Board approval and assistance of Staff and in coordination with the Director of Charitable Giving, effective, robust strategies to raise funds to meet the Program’s objectives and intended outcomes.
2. Cultivate and maintain positive relations with prospective and active funders, including individual donors, foundations and governmental entities.

Land Protection
1. Prioritize farm parcels for protection, including supporting other staff in land protection work.
2. Work with Board, staff and collaborative partners to identify, develop, and complete new farm projects. Negotiate and draft land protection transactions with willing farmers.
3. Develop and implement an effective system of monitoring and stewardship for farms under option or other agreement, including annual monitoring of farm easements.

Other Duties as assigned
Additional tasks as directed by the Executive Director, Farmland Committee or Board of Directors.
The Leelanau Conservancy is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and an equal opportunity employer.