Food System Professional Jobs

Food System Professional Employment Opportunities

NAFSN curates this all-access Jobs Board from more than a dozen other job sites as well as the COMFOODJOBS email list. We include positions from throughout the food chain that pay at least a living wage in their locale, and we emphasize opportunities that support local and regional food systems. Unpaid apprenticeships and internships are not included here. 

If you would like us to post a job opportunity, send details with links and contacts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Job Detail: Strategic Initiatives Manager

About Practical Farmers of Iowa:

Practical Farmers of Iowa was founded in 1985, a time when farmers were under great economic pressure. During that time, Iowa agriculture was in a threefold crisis: Evidence of the negative ecological consequences of current farming practices was mounting; the collapse of commodity prices called into question the economic sustainability of agriculture; and the demise of thousands of farms was draining the vitality of rural communities. Amid the turmoil of that time period, farmers sought ways to bring greater diversity to their farms as a means of reducing the need for costly inputs. A group of like-minded farmers came together looking for answers to how to make crop and livestock diversity work for them.

Position Summary:

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a diligent, respectful and passionate person to serve as a strategic initiatives manager for the strategic initiatives team. For 35 years, Practical Farmers has worked to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. The strategic initiatives team works creatively to build collaborative connections between the private and public sectors that accomplish the goals of our farmer members on the broader Iowa and Midwestern landscape.

The strategic initiatives manager will support that team by 1) managing day-to-day work in cover crop and small-grains farmer programs to ensure timely, high-quality program delivery; 2) developing and implementing processes to stimulate effective teamwork; 3) fundraising to support and expand strategic initiatives programs and staff; 4) managing a $1.5 million operating budget; 5) leading grant management and reporting for the strategic initiatives team; and 6) managing strategic initiatives staff and contractors. Practical Farmers offers a flexible, fast-paced work environment with opportunities for independent initiative and professional development.


Position Responsibilities:

  • Ensure timely, successful implementation and administration of PFI’s strategic initiatives related to increasing cover crop and small-grain production in the Upper Midwest
  • Manage annual program budgets totaling just under $1.5 million
  • Manage full-time and part-time staff and contractors working on strategic initiatives program implementation
  • Lead grant writing efforts to secure major government and private funding sources for the strategic initiatives team
  • Lead grant management for the strategic initiatives team, including planning, tracking and reporting work
  • Develop and implement processes for conducting strategic initiatives teamwork efficiently and effectively
  • Review, edit and provide feedback on written work of strategic initiatives staff, including research reports and the results of data analysis
  • Engage in frequent brainstorming sessions with the strategic initiatives director to evaluate current work and develop new work in line with team capacity
  • Communicate persuasively about the success and work of the strategic initiatives program to varied audiences via written media and presentations
  • Write articles, news releases, blogs and reports for digital and traditional media platforms as needed

Position Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience that demonstrates strong writing and critical thinking skills required; master’s degree in nonprofit or public administration or agriculture preferred
  • Three years of work experience in an office setting required; two years of management (including supervision) experience preferred
  • Ability to work efficiently and accurately on complex projects in a fast-paced team environment
  • Ability to anticipate bottlenecks and workflow issues and take preventive action
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Meticulous attention to detail and high organizational ability
  • Demonstrated knowledge of sustainable agriculture, agronomy or related field, or demonstrated ability to learn quickly in a fast-paced work environment
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Excellent writing skills required; experience with grant writing preferred
  • Experience in budgeting and budget management preferred
  • Experience with Microsoft Word and Excel required
  • Ability to communicate effectively with farmers, farm leaders, staff, media, agribusiness and non-farmers, including public speaking
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Ability to work independently and within a team
  • Motivated and a self-starter


Wage, Timing, and Additional Information:

This is a full-time position based in our Ames office. Annual salary range is $50,000-60,000, based on experience and qualifications. This position requires some travel (mostly in Iowa), a valid driver’s license, the ability to lift 50 pounds and the ability to walk long distances. The position reports to Sarah Carlson, strategic initiatives director. Practical Farmers is a family friendly employer. The position includes full health care benefits, a flex plan, short- and long-term disability, life insurance and generous paid time off. Employer contribution to a 401k retirement plan is offered after one year of employment.

To Apply:

Please apply by sending a cover letter, resume and references to Sarah Carlson at by Friday, January 22, 2021.

About the job

Location Ames, Iowa
Field Administrative
Date 05 January 2021

About the company

Company name Practical Farmers of Iowa
Logo logo


Form Company
Employees 0-10


Phone (515) 232-5661


Street 1615 Golden Aspen Drive, Suite 101
City Ames
District Iowa
Zip 50010
Country United States