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.
In 2005, California FarmLink developed the Farm Opportunities Loan Program in partnership with experienced CDFI’s (Community Development Financial Institutions). The number of loans and total dollars funded through FarmLink’s Farm Opportunity Loan Program, makes it one of the larger programs of its kind in the nation serving small farmers. FarmLink is in the process of buildingcapacity to operate this innovative program independently and is seeking a program manager to assist in this growth by bringing underwriting, servicing and other key aspects of the program ‘in-house’. Since its inception, FarmLink has loaned over $635,000 (average loan amount $40,000) to 25 beginning farmers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing credit.
Responsibilities are specifically defined within, but not limited to, the following functions:
A. Manage day-to-day operations of the Farm Opportunity Loan Program.
1. In coordination with regional program staff, manage the application preparation, structuring of loan terms & conditions, and analysis of loan applications for eligibility, credit worthiness, and repayment ability.
2. Provide ‘one-on-one’ consultation to prospective borrowers in the areas of loan acquisition, business plans, and credit.
3. Manage all aspects of loan underwriting, servicing and collections.
4. Assist borrowers in acquiring USDA Farm Service Agency financing as well as other sources.
5. Monitor all borrowers and provide post loan technical assistance.
6. Work with regional staff to provide annual monitoring of all borrowers post funding to ensure proper use of loan proceeds and continued viability of farm/ranch operations.
B. Manage day-to-day operations of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and refer clients for microloans.
1. In coordination with regional program staff, identify qualified candidates, manage application preparation, and analysis of applications for program eligibility for review by Equity Building Programs Manager.
2. Provide ?one-on-one? consultation to IDA participants in the areas of business planning, finance, and credit through the duration of the IDA program period.
3. Establish and monitor IDA participant accounts
4. Coordinate deposit of IDA match funds in participant accounts, and disbursement of IDA funds for approved purchases.
5. Work with regional staff to provide monitoring of IDA participants post purchase to ensure proper use of IDA program proceeds.
C. Financial Responsibilities – Coordinating with Program Manager, bookkeeper and accountant to maintain records as defined by generally accepted accounting practices and work with the Program Manager & Executive Director to prepare the annual budget.
D. Equity Building Committee ? Prepare materials, organize agendas, prepare minutes, and facilitate monthly meetings of the Equity Building Committee (EBC). The EBC serves as FarmLink’s ‘loan committee’ and is responsible for all lending decisions, including review & approval of loans and IDA participants.
E. Program Development ? Work with staff and consultants to revise or develop new program guidelines, policies, and materials as necessary. Assist with preparation of applications and funding proposals related to the development and expansion of FarmLink Equity Building Programs. Analyze & summarize data related to FarmLink clients served, loan & IDA program demand, regional need, and opportunities for improvement.
F. Compliance Monitoring – Manage regulatory compliance with state and federal agencies, lenders, and investors related to equity building programs. Assist Program Manager with preparation of monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual equity building program reports, as required by funders.
G. Build/maintain relationships with other business development agencies and government entities to enhance existing services, as well as forging new relationships.
H. Training & Networking – Assist in ongoing training and technical assistance for current and past participants.
I. Travel to farm visits, meetings and conferences as necessary to represent the organization, serve clients, and meet job responsibilities. This may include travel outside the Sonoma County region requiring approximately 15-20 overnight stays per year.
J. Other duties as assigned.
Qualities of a Strong Candidate:
* Minimum education level – Bachelors Degree (degree in finance, business, economics is desirable, but not required)
* 3 years of experience in small business financial analysis, or other qualifications.
* Familiarity with lending practices and protocols
* Experience in agricultural lending is not required, but a definite plus
* Experience in analyzing and underwriting loan requests
* Able to manage loan programs
* Able to consult ‘one-on-one’ with prospective clients to identify an appropriate loan program
* Attention to detail
* A solid team attitude, ability to get along with co-workers
* Strong computer skills and aptitude
* Self motivated, problem solver
* Must have own vehicle, valid California Driver’s License and proof of insurance
* Good public speaking ability, Spanish language skills a plus
In addition to the above, experience in the following fields will be extremely valuable for individuals seeking this position and will be considered positively in the application process: agriculture, micro-enterprise, 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.
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/Compensation: The Equity Building Programs Manager shall receive a salary in the range of $40,000 – $50,000. The position classification will be ‘Exempt’. Benefits include three 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. The Equity Building Programs Manager will report to the Executive Director.
How to Apply:
Interested applicants should mail or e-mail a copy of their resume to the California FarmLink office at the address below. For questions about the application process, please e-mail questions to:
P.O. Box 2224
Sebastopol, CA 95473
Interviews are expected to be scheduled for early August 2010. Applications received after August 10th will only be considered if no excellent candidates have been found by that date.