Farm & Community Director

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a Farm & Community Director. The position will be based in Lyons, Nebraska at least 2 days per week. More location flexibility may be offered to the right candidate. The Farm & Community Director will oversee all activities for the Center’s Farm & Community Program. This position is open due to an internal promotion of the current Program Director.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about partnering with staff, community partners, funders, and clients to build capacity for rural communities throughout Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. The Farm & Community Program‘s focus areas are Farm & Food Systems, Community Development, and Native Communities. You will have experience leading programs, being a strong advocate for others, and a demonstrated history of creating a vision to move work forward. 

Who We Are

The Center for Rural Affairs is a dynamic, energetic non-profit organization working to build a better rural future for all. We’ve done this work for 50 years and we do it from rural places with a flexible work environment. Our work creates opportunities for beginning farmers, new business owners, and first-time advocates. The Center’s work is rooted in principles of diversity and inclusion. We believe that a diversity of people and ideas strengthens our work, our workplace, and our communities. We celebrate this diversity and we are committed to advancing practices that create an equitable and inclusive workplace. We take equal opportunity seriously and we welcome and support all applicants and team members.  Additional information can be found at Check to see if our Mission and Values match yours, and read about our work demonstrating how awesome the Center is!

What You’ll Do

The Farm & Community Director reports to the Executive Director and will work to lead and guide a staff team dedicated to creating opportunities and impact throughout Nebraska and Southwest Iowa through partnerships, outreach, training and technical support, community events, connections to capital, and securing the financial resources necessary to do this work.  The Farm & Community Director is responsible for the following:

  • You will direct a team of full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff, as well as contractors; and serve as a team leader by selecting, onboarding, motivating, guiding, and developing team members.
  • You will partner with the Executive Director to develop program strategy and ensure strategy implementation.
  • You will engage with a leadership team to develop and implement organizational strategy, as well as cross-program collaboration.
  • You will collaborate with the CFO in preparing and managing the program budget, as well as coordinate with accounting staff on financial reporting and invoicing to funders. 
  • You will partner with key staff to design and implement systems for measuring the impact of Farm & Community Program activities.
  • You will build relationships with community leaders and partners and collaborate with experts and local organizations to promote the Farm & Community Program and deliver activities.
  • You will collaborate with the Communications Manager to develop a marketing strategy, create and contribute to outreach materials, field media interviews, and place Center work with the news media to promote the activities, outcomes, and successes of the Farm & Community Program and the organization.
  • You will collaborate with the Grants Manager, as well as program staff and contractors, to write, submit, and manage program grants ensuring that all grants are programmatically executed as designed within the funding cycle, and reporting requirements are met to ensure proper support of the program budget.
  • You will be a leader in incorporating the Center's DEI principles effectively into internal processes, external programming and communications, and work relationships, as well as identify opportunities for staff to build their own capacity in centering equity into their work. 

Who You Are & Keys to Success (the must-haves)

To be successful in this job, you will excel in five areas:

  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with team members in the program, across the organization, and with a diverse group of stakeholders. You know how to build alliances with marginalized communities, such as people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, military veterans, and immigrants, and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests.
  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backward and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a collaborative mindset of “power with” rather than “power over” and regularly include others in decision-making. You seek out those who have the experience to guide, advise, and plan how you approach the work.
  • Setting and managing priorities: You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely and can provide clear direction to staff, partners, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in addressing disparities, and you consistently amplify community voices to advocate for more equitable policy solutions. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.

If you were here right now, you would be:

  • Interpreting and applying an understanding of key financial indicators to make better business decisions and use financial analysis to generate, evaluate, and act on strategic options and opportunities.
  • Meeting with community partners building formal and informal networks to move the Farm & Community work forward.
  • Resourcefully securing and deploying funding resources effectively and efficiently.
  • Building an effective, diverse staff team dedicated to achieving outcomes and impacts aligned with all funding sources.
  • Working in rural areas to bring resources, knowledge, and passion for strengthening communities and bringing opportunities.

You have experience with the following:

  • You have five or more years of experience leading and managing teams of staff.
  • You have demonstrated budgeting and grant writing experience.
  • You have demonstrated experience managing complex, high-quality, and sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems and make decisions.
  • You are a planner and can drive projects.
  • You are able to work effectively with diverse groups of individuals and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socioeconomic circumstances.
  • You have high standards of ethics and integrity.
  • You have a working knowledge of food systems, agriculture, leadership development, barriers to capital access, and Native American and Latino cultures.

What Else You Should Know

This is a full-time exempt position based at least 2 days per week in Lyons Nebraska. More location flexibility may be offered to the right candidate. The Farm & Community Director is a member of the Leadership Team. This position has a salary range of $72,000-$90,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center.  Benefits such as 97% employer-paid family health insurance that includes a contribution to a Health Savings Account, 6% employer contribution to a retirement plan, a fantastic Employee Assistance Program, 12 paid holidays plus paid time off between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, Friday Summer Hours, and vacation and sick pay.

The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify, is committed to the full inclusion of all individuals, and takes steps to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations.

How to Apply

If you would like to work for an organization that has a national reputation as one of the top organizations in the country working to make rural communities more vibrant, apply by sending your resume, cover letter, and three professional references by clicking here. In the cover letter, please include how your personal and/or professional experiences have positioned you for success in this role and any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or Racial Equity-related work, skills, or expertise you want us to know about. Please describe how your past leadership roles make you the right candidate for this role. Let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work for the Center.