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North America agriculture director

Date Published

United States of America


The Nature Conservancy

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A little about us

Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Your position with TNC 

The Nature Conservancy is seeking a North America Agriculture Director to lead the design and implementation of a strategic, regional approach to influencing how society provides food and water sustainably, within and from North America for local, regional and global results for both people and nature. The Agriculture Director will provide strategic leadership and support across all aspects of our priorities, which encompass complex cross-border projects and partnerships to sustain agricultural production while safeguarding lands and waters.

Our goal for North America Agriculture is to work with partners to implement a Regenerative Crop Systems strategy to improve the health of 25,000 river kilometers and nearly 5 million hectares of freshwater ecosystems, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration by more than 50 million metric tonnes each year. We will achieve these outcomes for climate and biodiversity by catalysing regenerative practice adoption on 50 per cent of major row crop acres (e.g., corn, soy, wheat cotton) in the US by 2030.

Essential functions 

The essential functions of this role include 1) developing and communicating strategy that leads to transformational change in agriculture; 2) creating strong internal alignment to effectively execute projects that drive this strategy at national and regional scales; 3) building partnerships with farmers and ranchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, food and beverage companies, and others; and 4) developing financial resources from public agencies, corporations, private foundations and individuals.

Given the complexity of this work, the director is challenged to create a dynamic, learning organisation that aligns, acts quickly and adjusts often. Theories of transformational change and priority strategies are developed in partnership with internal and external stakeholders and partners, and managed through virtual, high-functioning teams.

Public policy and funding, particularly within the US Farm Bill, plays a key role in many strategies. The Director collaborates with the North America Policy and Government Relations Team and staff across the region to influence public policies and direct resources to TNC priorities. The Director plays a key role in raising funds from corporations, foundations and individuals.

The Director also works closely with TNC’s Corporate Engagement Team to engage agribusinesses, retailers and farmer groups in developing agricultural supply chains that drive improved soil health and nutrient management, and protect land and water and other natural resources, while supporting healthy and profitable production of food, fiber, and other agricultural products sufficient to meet demands from a growing global population.

The Director manages a team of about a dozen staff and influences the direction of several hundred staff in an integrated approach to transform agriculture in North America. The Director assesses legal, financial, reputational, and policy risks on a variety of issues related to program development, public policy, and external partnerships. The Director collaborates in the design of a “HUB” internal data management system to assess internal alignment and track overall progress, and ensures that programmatic commitments, financial standards and legal requirements are met.

The Director will be supervised by the Midwest Director, who also chairs the North America Agriculture Committee, which is composed of key Senior Leaders that help support and advance these strategies.

Minimum qualifications

  • BA/BS degree and 15 years experience in agriculture, business,or conservation, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Experience directing and managing a major program or complex project of strategic importance at a regional or national scale
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation, and generating corporate revenue
  • Experience leading, coaching and motivating staff, setting objectives and managing performance
  • Experience working with highly effective, multi-disciplinary teams and meeting deadlines
  • Experience responding to and leveraging current trends and practices in agriculture and conservation in North America
  • Experience developing partnerships with private sector entities and/or government agencies
  • Extensive networking skills with high-level contacts, and creating shared vision with partners
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the US (estimated 20-25 per cent), and occasionally internationally, as necessary
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages
  • Demonstrated leadership and visionary qualities and ability to work effectively with and through others in a decentralised and geographically dispersed organisation

Desired qualifications 

  • Master’s degree in a related field
  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated
  • Experience working in a heavily decentralised, matrix structured environment, federated NGO or large corporation is a plus
  • Experience developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes
  • Experience delivering practical, adaptable products and services to customers
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs
  • Politically savvy
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