California Regional Director

Firm: John Larson
Sacramento or other California location

Payment: Paid
Category: Other
Contact: John Larson

Posted: Jul 6, 2017

American Farmland Trust (AFT), a national non-profit conservation organization, is looking for an outstanding mid-career executive to become the director of its California operation. The California Regional Director is responsible for leading and organizing AFT’s research, public education, demonstration and policy advocacy activities in California in coordination with the national AFT office to advance the organization’s mission of “Saving the Land that Sustains Us” by protecting farmland, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and helping farmers stay on the land. The California Regional Director reports directly to AFT’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Programs. AFT’s principal California office is in Sacramento, but the Director may be located elsewhere if necessary and practical.


The California Regional Director has a wide range of responsibilities, calling for an equally broad set of management skills.

Strategic Planning & Program Development

• Periodically review and update AFT’s goals and strategy for addressing the most critical agricultural land and water resource conservation challenges in California, assuring that they always remain vital, effective and consistent with AFT’s national strategic plan.
• Develop and implement initiatives, programs and projects that will successfully carry out the California strategy and achieve its goals in a manner consistent with the national organization’s goals and initiatives.
• Enlist the cooperation and support of AFT’s national divisions, where necessary and appropriate, to pursue California initiatives, programs and projects.

Management & Budget

• Assign responsibilities to AFT California staff and consultants and oversee their performance
• Develop annual budgets for the California operation that provide sufficient resources to support the activities of the operation
• Develop annual California work plans and manage programs and projects to achieve stated objectives on time and within budget
• Work with AFT’s national management team and organizational support divisions to create synergy between California activities and the national initiatives of AFT.

Policy Advocacy & Communications

• Develop and advocate for AFT positions on important California public policy issues related to achieving the organization’s mission and program goals
• Develop and advocate for policy proposals and, where appropriate, legislation to achieve AFT’s program goals in California and at the national level
• Establish and maintain strong, positive relationships with key policymakers and other governmental leaders at the state and local levels
• Cultivate working partnerships with agricultural, environmental, conservation, academic, research, business and other relevant institutions
• Build a broad, diverse statewide constituency that will actively support AFT’s mission and program goals in California
• As the principal spokesperson for AFT in California, make inspiring and informative presentations to conferences, organizations, public officials and the media
• Work with AFT’s national communications division to develop and implement a communications strategy to support and advance California program goals and activities.


• Working with the California Director of Development and national development staff, coordinate and direct the Campaign for California Farmland, an on-going fundraising initiative designed to expand the California operation and increase its effectiveness
• Cultivate relationships with funders and funding prospects, including foundations, corporations and government agencies as well as AFT members and high net worth individuals
• Develop compelling proposals to secure funds for priority initiatives, programs and projects
• Manage grants and contracts to assure that funders receive complete and timely reports on AFT progress toward program and project goals, including appropriate spending of funds received


The California Regional Director must be a visionary, strategic thinker with excellent leadership ability and a well-developed capacity effectively and sensitively to manage people and projects. This extends to budgeting and financial management as well as cultivating productive relationships with policy makers, other organizations, AFT staff, Board members, donors and fundraising prospects. He or she will have strong verbal and written communications skills as well as detailed knowledge of public policy issues related to land use, conservation and agriculture in California. The position also requires good judgment, attention to detail and the computer skills expected of an organization executive.


Of paramount importance to the position of California Regional Director is considerable experience in development and advocacy of public policy in the fields of land use, conservation and agriculture, particularly in California. Demonstrated success in advancing a policy agenda by marshalling evidence and orchestrating political support will carry significant weight in evaluating candidates. A practical working knowledge of agriculture and an understanding of the culture of farmers and ranchers are also highly desirable. Experience in nonprofit organizational management is also strongly encouraged, though not required. The position also requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to AFT’s mission, though a relevant masters or doctoral degree is preferred.


This is a full-time position with a competitive salary, commensurate with experience. A full benefits package includes health insurance and a 401(k) retirement savings plan.


To apply, please send under the title of “Californian Regional Director Application” a cover letter stating your reasons for wanting this job, a resume and your salary requirements to John Larson at Applications will be accepted until position is filled. No phone calls please.

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, AFT 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.