Location: Northampton, MA

American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranchland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save more than 6.5 million acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more. Additionally, AFT actively works to keep more farmers on the land by linking next generation farmers to farmland, championing women landowners and educating farmers on conservation techniques.

The Easement Acquisition Specialist works under the supervision of the Land Protection Director and is a member of AFT’s Land Protection Initiative team. The position’s primary purpose is to further AFT’s strategic acquisition of new agricultural easements within the context of AFT’s mission and broader conservation goals. The Easement Acquisition Specialist will coordinate all aspects of AFT’s easement acquisitions including: identifying funding sources, property research, due diligence, document preparation, site evaluations and coordination with project stakeholders. The position is based in AFT’s office in Northampton, Massachusetts.  

AFT is seeking a full-time Easement Acquisition Specialist to guide the strategic growth of the organization’s portfolio of protected agricultural land.  

Key Responsibilities

  • Coordinating land conservation projects. Specific tasks include: 
  • Working with landowners and other stakeholder to develop and evaluate conservation opportunities on farm and ranch land 
  • Facilitating communications between all parties to easement transactions
  • Coordinating transactional due diligence and record keeping
  • Ensuring that proposed easement transactions comply with legal standards, industry practices and AFT policies
  • Working with agricultural landowners to access federal, state and local farmland protection funding sources. Assist in developing grant proposals for land conservation projects and related capacity building
  • Maintaining detailed and appropriate physical paper files and electronic records 
  • Assisting with development of AFT’s long range strategic easement acquisition and farmland protection plan
  • Representing AFT at conferences, meetings, workshops and in the community at-large  
  • Developing educational and outreach materials to support the Land Protection Initiative 
  • Contributing to special projects on an as-needed basis


  • A bachelor’s degree and minimum of two years of related work experience in agriculture, farmland protection, food systems, land conservation, land use planning, law and/or real estate
  • Working knowledge of conservation easements and familiarity with federal, state and local sources of funding for farmland protection
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.  Experience communicating about working lands conservation with farmers and ranchers as well as other conservation professionals is helpful
  • Experience with conservation due diligence including: surveys, appraisals and environmental assessments, baseline documentation reporting and developing conservation and other land management plans
  • Ability to conduct field assessments, including outdoors in inclement weather
  • Research facility with GPS, ArcGIS, Google Earth, soil surveys, public land records and maps
  • Proficiency with the Microsoft Office
  • Willingness to travel frequently and spend time in agricultural areas.  Must have a valid driver’s license 

Additional Requirements 

  • Capable of working on multiple easement projects simultaneously with attention to detail
  • Able to use appropriate discretion with confidential financial and legal information
  • Effectively communicates with agricultural landowners, their advisors and a broad range of other professional collaborators as AFT’s primary contact person on prospective easement projects 
  • Will think broadly with an eye toward guiding AFT’s conservation policies and future approaches to conservation issues

If you are eager to join our team, please visit this page to apply.

Please submit a cover letter with your resume.

Application Deadline: December 2, 2018

American Farmland Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.