Jobs: California FARMLINK Regional Coordinator

CALIFORNIA FARMLINK Regional Coordinator - North Coast and Central Valley California FarmLink is looking for two (2) full-time Regional Coordinators; one to be based in the main office in Sebastopol, Sonoma County and the second in the Modesto/Merced area. California FarmLink is a non-profit organization working to promote family farming and preserve farmland by providing a variety of services to farmers designed to help transition farms from one generation to the next. These services include facilitating connections between aspiring farmers and retiring farmers and promoting the use of innovative farm financing strategies. The majority of the organization’s activities are focused on helping beginning farmers secure land and financing to achieve their goals. FarmLink has three regional offices and offers services directly through professional staff and collaborative partnerships with individual consultants and organizations. Key partnerships include organizations that serve the agricultural, conservation and micro-enterprise communities. California FarmLink is funded through a variety of sources including government contracts, foundation and corporate grants, private donations, and program revenue. The Regional Coordinators will assist in promoting family farming and preserving farmland by organizing workshops and providing technical assistance to beginning and retiring farmers on a variety of topics, including: business & financial planning, land acquisition, financing strategies for agricultural loans, agricultural leases, innovative farm transfer techniques, securing conservation easements and mentorship between beginning and experienced farmers.

Job Description Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: •       Promote California FarmLink’s services related to farm leases, farm purchases and inter-generational farm transitions, including but not limited to: educational workshops, technical assistance, equity building programs, and farmer linking services; •       Conduct outreach and make presentations to groups of both aspiring and retiring farmers representing all of the local agricultural community, including underserved and minority farmers; •       Meet with individual farmers and ranchers, and facilitate working agreements between farmers of different generations; •       Advance projects in collaboration with partner groups to facilitate public investment in land access for the next generation of family farmers; •       Assist with development of programs, grants and writing reports; •       Write articles for California FarmLink’s newsletter, website, and/or farm transition case-studies; •       Complete self-generated clerical work, including correspondence and updating databases; and •       Work on an amiable basis with people representing a variety of personalities and backgrounds. The Regional Coordinators will conduct outreach to farmers and plan and facilitate workshops in their respective areas. The Regional Coordinators will be supervised by the Program Manager and advised by the Executive Director. Qualifications •       Bachelor’s Degree (minimum requirement) Ag. Business, Ag. Economics, or other agriculture related majors are preferable; •       Interest in, and commitment to, the future of California agriculture; •       Ability to complete self-directed projects and promote a broad mission with minimal day-to-day supervision; •       Ability to work in a team atmosphere, including reporting activities and results on a regular basis; •       Oral communication skills, including the ability to present complex information to groups. Spanish-or Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Mien language skills a plus; •       Writing skills, including the ability to prepare professional letters, newsletter articles, and reports; •       Computer skills including working knowledge of word processing (Word), e-mail (Outlook), spreadsheet (Excel), and internet search programs, familiarity with database management software a plus; •       Must have own vehicle, valid California Driver’s License and proof of insurance; •       Travel locally on a regular basis, and for extended hours occasionally (i.e. 10-12 hour days) as part of out of area meetings and workshops; •       Ability to work out of the area on an occasional basis (2-3 times per year) as part of multi-day meetings, workshops, and trainings. In addition to the above, experience in the following fields will be valuable for individuals seeking this position .., and will be considered positively in the application process: agriculture/conservation, micro-enterprise development, real estate, and programs serving low-income, culturally diverse, and socially disadvantaged populations. Candidates selected for final interviews will be asked to complete a formal employment application and sign a "Release of Information Statement," which grants California FarmLink the right to access educational, credit, medical, worker's compensation, police, criminal and court records. Compensation and Terms Employees will be eligible to receive 100% health benefits coverage after 6 months. At that time 50% of health benefits for qualified dependents will be paid by California FarmLink. After one year of employment, FarmLink will contribute 6% of base-salary into a Simplified Employee Pension Plan on behalf of the employee. California FarmLink is an equal opportunity employer. FarmLink offers a casual atmosphere and a quick pace. Salary commensurate with experience: The Regional Coordinator shall receive a salary in the range of $34,000 - $40,000. The position classification will be “Exempt.” Benefits include two weeks of paid vacation per year that begin accruing from date of hire. Employees are paid for the following official holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving (two days), and two days for personal and/or religious purposes. Employee will accrue 4 hours of paid personal time (‘sick leave’) per month. For more information or to submit a cover letter & resume, please contact: Bruce Shimizu California FarmLink bruce@californiafarmlink.org Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Interviews of qualified applicants will be scheduled beginning November 1, 2010. Background on California FarmLink Approximately 30% of California Farmers are at least 65 years old. This percentage has increased steadily for more than a decade. California farmers 65 years old and older outnumber those under the age of 35 by an 8 to 1 ratio. As the saying goes, there are two ways to get into farming, “marry in” or “inherit.” The number of well trained individuals committed to starting their own small farms is high, but land prices and down payment requirements are prohibitive. Considering the role of family farms as the backbone of sustainable rural communities, it is essential that we facilitate the entry of new, skilled, and committed individuals into farming. The opportunity to assist California’s farmers of tomorrow is far too important to be left to the random process of marry in or inherit. California FarmLink was established in 1999 as an independent non-profit organization. Until that time there had been no simple way for aspiring farmers to find comprehensive information on strategies to secure land, farm business plans, government loan programs, or to find sellers willing to assist a buyer (i.e. installment sales or carrying a second mortgage). Similarly, farmers of retirement age have not had a single, accessible source to turn to regarding the interrelationships between conservation easements, estate planning, annuities, and lease-option transactions. Knowledge of these techniques can make the difference between a smooth transition and a crisis leading to a “fire-sale.” The primary methods of disseminating information to interested farmers are through workshop training sessions, and “one-on-one” technical assistance. TA sessions are conducted by FarmLink’s professional staff and expert consultants (often at subsidized rates for lower income farmers). California FarmLink also “links” beginning farmers to opportunities to access land including connections to unrelated retiring farmers. This program works as follows: landowners and aspiring farmers complete a questionnaire describing their goals, situations and resource needs. Completed questionnaires are entered into a CRM system (a ‘Client Relations Management’ database system) and farmers are matched with potential lease/purchase prospects. California FarmLink staff then screen for common goals and interests, as well as geographical considerations. Retiring farmers/landowners are provided names of a few potential links. FarmLink then offers to facilitate a face-to-face meeting and helps develop a plan of action. FarmLink works with people involved in all types of crops and livestock, and various cultivation and husbandry techniques. California FarmLink established the nation’s first Individual Development Account (IDA) for agriculture in 2003. The IDA program provides matching funds which are added to the savings of beginning farmers to help fund land purchases or other capital expenditures. FarmLink also operates the Farm Opportunities Loan Program which, since its inception in 2006, has committed approximately $635,000 in financing to 25 beginning farmers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing credit. These loans average $40,000 and are typically equipment or operating loans, but may also be used in conjunction with other financing for farm purchases. For more information please visit our website at:  www.californiafarmlink.org, or be our friend on Facebook.

1 Comment on Jobs: California FARMLINK Regional Coordinator

  1. Hi, I have proptery for rent or lease plus 2 large building on this same proptery. Wood like someone to take this over. Please let me know if you have anyone. 707 479 0991 John T

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