OFT is searching for a Farmland Conservation Specialist!

The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) is a niche land conservation organization that works to permanently protect Ontario’s farmland and associated natural features from being lost to urban sprawl and other non-agricultural uses. We are seeking a dedicated and motivated Farmland Conservation Specialist to join our team who will be responsible for supporting OFT’s farmland protection and conservation efforts. Learn more about OFT by visiting www.ontariofarmlandtrust.ca.

If you are passionate about preserving Ontario’s farmland, possess relevant experience and skills, and are committed to making a difference in the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s local food supply, we encourage you to apply for the Farmland Conservation Specialist position. Help us protect the invaluable farmland and natural features of Ontario for generations to come.

Job Duties

Farmland Securement (55%)

  • Respond promptly and professionally to initial inquiries from landowners regarding OFT’s Farmland Securement Program and tools, such as farmland conservation easements and donations of farmland
  • Coordinate and attend site visits to assess potential farm protection sites
  • Prepare comprehensive farmland property reports for OFT’s Land Securement and Stewardship Committee
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director to develop and manage approved farmland securement project plans and associated budgets. This includes:
    • coordinating with landowners, partners, contractors and professional advisors (e.g. lawyers, appraisers, surveyors); 
    • preparing technical reports (e.g., Baseline Documentation Reports; Ecological Assessments) as part of the farmland securement process detailing property geography, ecology, and land uses; and
    • maintaining relationships and communication with potential farmland and easement donors on the securement project waiting list
  • Assist in identifying key regions for farmland protection initiatives that support the goal of developing clusters of protected areas of farmland
  • Coordinate OFT’s Land Securement and Stewardship Committee (made up of staff, board, and volunteers) by preparing meeting packages, minutes, and presenting various reports related to farmland securement activities

Farmland Stewardship (20%)

  • Cultivate positive working relationships with current and new landowners
  • Coordinate site visits to monitor for compliance with easement agreements on OFT’s protected properties 
  • Hire and oversee a summer farmland conservation assistant, typically a summer student, to assist with field work
  • Prepare management plans for land stewardship activities that align with the corresponding conservation easement on the property, as needed

Education and Community Engagement (10%)

  • Support the Executive Director in developing policy comments and submissions as needed
  • Collaborate with other OFT staff to develop farmland conservation educational materials for the Education and Community Engagement Program, as well as other communication pieces as needed, such as the Annual Report
  • Participate in Education and Community Outreach initiatives, including events, community meetings, and technical working groups
  • Coordinate OFT volunteer activity that supports the farmland securement

Fund Development (5%)

  • Collaborate with the Fund Development Manager to contribute to fundraising proposals and donor relationship management
  • Identify potential funders and inform the Fund Development Manager accordingly

Administration and Data Management (10%)

  • Track key performance indicators and contribute to annual reporting for progress towards strategic planning goals
  • Participate in the annual review of OFT’s Farmland Securement Program to help make continuous improvements to the program and achieve OFT’s strategic goals
  • Maintain OFT’s databases and written records on protected properties, including potential easement and land donations, easement statistics, monitoring reports, species at risk inventories, and photo library of protected properties
  • Contribute field data to provincial and national scientific databases when appropriate

Required Experience, Skills & Attributes Include:

  • A diploma, degree, or experience in a related field of work or study that would provide sufficient knowledge on a combination of agriculture, ecology, conservation science, and/or land-use planning
  • Strong understanding of the threats facing Ontario farmland and the agricultural sector
  • Passionate about agriculture, farmland protection, land conservation, and making a positive impact for future generations
  • Knowledge and ability to identify a diverse range of Ontario’s flora and fauna, with a particular focus on species at risk
  • Proficiency in using basic mapping software, including handheld GPS systems, to create working site maps
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to represent OFT effectively with external stakeholders
  • Proven expertise in report writing, ensuring clear and concise communication of technical information
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to set priorities, develop work schedules, monitor progress towards goals, and track important data, information, and activities 
  • A collaborative team player with a positive attitude and a commitment to working cooperatively with others
  • Capable of working independently and self-motivated, taking initiative to achieve objectives
  • Ability to travel frequently to farms, particularly during the summer, and traverse fields and forested areas. A valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle are required.
  • Creative mindset and a willingness to learn new skills and adapt to the evolving needs of the position
  • Ability to maintain high spirits and work effectively in adverse weather conditions while conducting fieldwork

Assets Include:

  • Career interests in agriculture, environmental and land conservation, land use planning, non-profit organizations, or a related field 
  • Experience and knowledge in environmental and ecological conservation
  • Project management and budgeting experience, with the ability to effectively manage resources
  • Familiarity with the easement process, including appraisal, surveying, legal work, and knowledge of the Canadian Land Trusts Standards and Practices
  • Experience or familiarity with Knowledge Translation and Transfer or similar extension-type work

For more details, and how to apply, check out the full job posting here: