Director of Agriculture

/Director of Agriculture
The Nature Conservancy
April 4, 2019
Nashville, TN
Job Type



Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization 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.The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.

The Director of Agriculture will lead the Conservancy’s agricultural conservation efforts in Tennessee primarily by initiating and strengthening partnerships with producers, corporations, agencies and other partners.  Along with our partners, this position will facilitate adoption of practices that improve soil health and crop yields, improve water quality and reduce adverse flooding.
Direct the sustainable agriculture program of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Tennessee by building the strategic vision, strategies and collaborative partnerships that will increase farm productivity and improve water quality.  Foster and strengthen partnerships with state and federal agencies, agribusinesses, private consultants, commodity groups and others in the agriculture sector. Assist with launch of the Soil Health Partnership in Tennessee and identify and build alliances with agribusinesses to improve sustainability of agricultural supply chains. In addition, this position will advance floodplain restoration strategies that reduce downstream flooding, remove excessive nutrients and create wetland habitats in TN. The Director will serve as TNC’s primary science liaison with the West Tennessee River Basin Authority (WTRBA) by providing strategic guidance on ecosystem restoration, research and monitoring priorities, and writing grant proposals to support shared river and floodplain conservation efforts.
  • Manage awards and secure funding to support soil health research site expansion and farmer engagement efforts.
  • Work with producers, corporations and TNC North America agricultural staff to improve sustainability of agricultural supply chains within Tennessee.
  • Collaborate extensively with the West Tennessee River Basin Authority to support joint conservation efforts including but not limited to, the design and execution of restoration projects, data collection efforts, writing grant proposals, developing research priorities, pursuing, executing and overseeing contracts with universities to initiate research projects.
  • Convene a multistate partnership to develop shared floodplain restoration priorities and funding mechanisms that will double the pace and scale of floodplain restoration projects.
  • Serve as an active team member on TNC’s Mississippi River Basin Whole System project focused on reducing the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Coordinate TNC-Tennessee’s team engagement approach for our government and academic partners to advance conservation strategies in agricultural landscapes statewide.
  • Represent TNC on the NRCS state technical committee and appropriate working groups. Participate in and lead conferences and field days to that support agricultural and floodplain conservation strategies.
  • Work with the Tennessee Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Conservation to facilitate effective implementation of the state’s nutrient reduction strategy.
  • BA/BS degree and 5 years of experience in conservation or agricultural practice, or equivalent combination.
  • Experience writing grant proposals.
  • Proven experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances, with diverse partners, both internal and external.
  • Experience working with the agricultural community.
  • Experience developing partnerships and leading collaborations within the private and public sectors.
  • Effective negotiation, communication skills, and convening skills.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.


  • Graduate degree and 5-7 years’ experience in conservation or agricultural practice, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience synthesizing, interpreting and communicating scientific information.
  • Ability to engage in a wide range of conservation issues, analyze complex problems, rapidly build expertise on new issues, and develop strategic responses or solutions.
  • Experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans with the public and private entities.
  • Demonstrated experience establishing relationships with members of the agricultural community.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in river and floodplain restoration and agriculture.
  • Outstanding track record as a skilled communicator leading to fundraising success with major prospects or equivalent success in sales.
  • Politically savvy and experience in presenting to and communicating with business, governmental, and community leaders.

This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with the Conservancy's Auto Safety Program.  Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers."  Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


To apply to position number 47387, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 17, 2019.Click “submit” to apply for the position or “save for later” to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited. Failure to complete required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration.

If you experience technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact

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