Policy Associate, Agriculture & Conservation (Based in Iowa or Nebraska)

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as a Policy Associate based in Iowa or Nebraska who will work to identify policy gaps, conduct research on potential solutions, and promote policy priorities related to agriculture and conservation issues. Preference will be given to candidates who can office in Nevada, IA or Lyons, NE one or more days per week.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about agriculture and conservation issues and policy. They will be adept at research and highly curious, uncovering resources to get credible answers. They will engage with constituents and other relevant parties to gather input and feedback that informs policy priorities at all levels of government including local, state, and federal. The position involves opportunities for future policy development at the intersection of climate and agriculture.

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 more than 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 www.cfra.org.

What You’ll Do

The Policy Associate will report to a Senior Policy Associate and will work to identify policy gaps, conduct research on potential policy solutions, and work to promote policy priorities. The position is responsible for the following:

  • You will conduct research to identify policy gaps and potential policy solutions; Stay current on media and news related to policy work.
  • You will engage with constituents and other stakeholders to gather input and feedback that inform policy priorities.
  • You will work alongside supporters to advance policy campaigns.
  • You will engage with legislators and legislative staff to educate and promote policy priorities as well as work alongside supporters to advance policy campaigns.
  • You will author reports, white papers, blogs, opinion pieces, and action alerts regarding policy work.
  • You will build and maintain relationships with partner organizations and other key stakeholders.
  • You will contribute to work plan development and apply for grants to support policy work.
  • You will draft organizing appeals to grassroots constituents including an initial contact email, action alert, or call script.
  • You will collaborate with your supervisor and colleagues to continually seek to incorporate the Center's DEI principles effectively into internal processes, external programming and communications, and work relationships.

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 constituents and partners appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a collaborative mindset-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:

  • Meeting regularly with the Agriculture & Conservation portfolio manager to develop strategies that meet program priorities and work plan goals.
  • Using your advocacy skills to influence key policy-making decisions.
  • Providing clear communications to unique audiences through reports, white papers, and opinion pieces that you researched and authored.
  • Building relationships with key stakeholders, partners, and grassroots constituents.
  • Meeting with and educating elected local, state, and federal officials and their staff to promote policy priorities.

You have experience with the following:

  • Keeping up-to-date on policy and diving into the details providing high-level summaries.
  • Researching, uncovering resources, and getting answers that impact issues.
  • Writing opinion pieces, white papers, and/or reports.
  • Engaging with others in the process of educating, advocating, and advancing ideas or issues.
  • Collaborating within and across teams to support organizational goals.
  • Writing and applying for programmatic grant funding.

What Else You Should Know

This is a full-time non-exempt position based either in Iowa with a preference for our Nevada office location or in Nebraska with a preference for our Lyons office location. This position will require occasional travel by car throughout the state to meet with communities and individuals and include both overnight and out-of-state travel on occasion. 

Compensation and benefits:

This position has a salary range of $47,000- $58,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center: a 97% employer-paid family health insurance that includes a contribution to a Health Savings Account, 6% employer matching 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. Let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work for the Center.