Letter from co-founder, Lindsey Lusher Shute
In 2019, I will resign as founding executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition to become the founding CEO of the new Farm Generations Cooperative. This new agricultural cooperative, built by and for members of the National Young Farmers Coalition, will help independent farmers become more competitive through software and appropriate technology.
This transition is a significant change for all of us, and for me personally. Helping to build this vibrant and growing organization has been a joy and a privilege. Together, we have shared in victories and defeats. We have learned from mistakes, and brought bold ideas to the national spotlight. We have held strong under pressure, and found our footing through stubborn perseverance and shared values. From our first days as a team, with Sophie and Wes working together in my farm’s living room, to heading our current team of 25 staff in 6 states, and our expanding network of 41 chapters around the country, my life has been shaped by ten years of work with incredible people. Thank you for your trust and support through it all.
So many of you have stepped up to lead with me along the way – my co-founders, our board of directors, our staff, our chapter leaders throughout the country, and individual farmers who have raised their voices to build a better future for agriculture. These voices—your voice—is our true strength, and we have never been louder.
As we read the recent climate reports, and see the rise of rural poverty, the increase in diet-related disease, and the crash of biodiversity, we know that the state of agriculture grows more important by the day. This work means so much more than the modest income it provides. Our labor is for the land, our country, and our planet.
This week we recognize new political leaders, next week we uplift new chapter leaders at our National Leadership Convergence, and early next year we will welcome new Coalition leadership. It is a time of change and possibility. I encourage you to embrace it, and to step-up to our shared potential to change the course of agriculture.
We need each other in this fight, and we need this Coalition. Help us keep it strong and growing. As members, this responsibility is yours. If you haven’t joined yet, please do.
Our majority-farmer board of directors is starting a formal search for a new executive director. Please find the Executive Director job description below, and stay tuned for updates on how to get involved with Farm Generations as we work to launch later in 2019.
Lindsey Lusher Shute
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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (HUDSON, NY)
The National Young Farmers Coalition seeks an Executive Director, to be based at its national headquarters in Hudson, New York.
About the National Young Farmers Coalition The National Young Farmers Coalition (“the Coalition”) represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers and ranchers to ensure their success. We envision a country where young people who are willing to work, get trained, and take a little risk can support themselves and their families by farming.
Since its inception in 2010, the Coalition has built a network of more than 140,000 young farmers and their supporters working together for change. We tackle the most critical structural and economic barriers that prevent motivated young people from starting and continuing to farm, with the goal of helping 25,000 young people enter into viable farming careers by 2022. To achieve this goal, we work across three strategic areas: effecting structural change, building coalitions, and developing and offering business services.
Young Farmers has 25 staff members, based in 5 states and Washington, DC. In addition, we have 42 chapters in 28 states. Seven of these chapters are currently fiscally sponsored by the Coalition. Our 2019 budget is just over $3,000,000 and we expect to continue our track record of between 30-60% growth per year.
Our current strategic goals are
- To win policy on the state and federal levels to support young farmers;
- To gather and analyze data in order to provide thought leadership on emerging and critically important areas of concern for young farmers such as land access, credit, training, tax incentives, immigration, labor, health care, racial justice, and climate resilience;
- To create opportunities for young farmer advocacy and leadership and expand our grassroots base, chapter network, and membership; and
- To continue to offer best-in-class business services to beginning farmers.
We are a coalition of farmers, ranchers, and supportive consumers of all racial, ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds. NYFC strongly encourages all interested persons to apply. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.
The Executive Director of the Coalition will be the voice and leader for the national movement of young people in agriculture. As such, this individual must possess a strong personal connection to agriculture and to the young farmer community. They must have a deep understanding of agriculture policy and a drive to solve the most pressing challenges in food and farming today, an ability to motivate and unify a diverse set of farmer voices around a common cause, a strong commitment to equity and justice, and the skills to successfully grow the work of the Coalition.
Mission, Values, and Community
- Advance the mission and strategic objectives of the Coalition;
- Uphold the guiding principles of the Coalition and ensure that its programs are in alignment with these values;
- Earn trust from the young farmer community and maintain these farmers’ faith in the Coalition.
Innovation and Impact
- Ensure that the Coalition’s programs are innovative, inspiring, and uniquely impactful for the farmer community.
Fundraising and Management
- Support and grow the organization’s talented and inspiring team with strong management, transparency, respect, and a healthy and dynamic work culture;
- Expand the Coalition’s financial resources and program support by retaining existing funders and bringing new supporters into the fold;
- Expand the reach and public profile of the Coalition with excellent public communications and meaningful campaigns;
- Provide critical oversight of the Coalition’s financial resources and build innovative, strong, and modern systems to ensure the smooth functioning and reputation of the organization.
The successful candidate will offer:
- Knowledge of agricultural issues, particularly those affecting new and beginning farmers (drawn from actual farming experience or other professional or personal connections to agriculture);
- The capacity to mobilize a team and stakeholders in common cause, demonstrated by at least 5 years’ experience in a senior management role at a non-profit organization, social enterprise, or for-profit company, ideally with an advocacy component;
- A demonstrated commitment to equity in the workplace and in programmatic or advocacy work and demonstrated ability to recognize and address issues of racial privilege and discrimination;
- The ability to increase the organization’s fundraising standing by securing grants and investments from individuals and institutions;
- Experience with non-profit or for-profit financial management, including budgeting, financial controls, cash flow planning, and audits;
- Compelling skills as a speaker and writer;
- Facility operating in a modern, distributed, data-driven, and technologically enabled workplace;
- Experience leading and executing successful campaigns, particularly those involving legislative or policy advocacy (not required, but a significant plus).
The successful candidate will offer:
- Experience in the field of agriculture, ideally some direct farming experience or a personal connection with new and beginning farmers;
- A high level of personal and professional integrity;
- The willingness to take risks, be creative, and drive the Coalition towards innovation and leadership within the field;
- The ability to lead an ambitious team committed to inclusivity, mutual respect, authenticity, transparency, and an overall healthy workspace;
- Open-mindedness and willingness to learn.
The Executive Director salary range begins at $100,000; total compensation will be based on experience. Excellent benefits include generous vacation and other time-off policy, health, dental, contributions into a retirement plan and a fun, collaborative work environment.
Interested candidates should email a single .pdf file containing their resume and cover letter to: email@example.com with “NYFC ED application” as the subject line.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible and before February 22.