Rural Investment to Protect our Environment (RIPE) is seeking a senior agricultural leader with policy and relationship development experience to promote and refine a federal policy proposal that invests in farmers and the environment. This role would be perfect for a self-motivated expert with experience working with agricultural producers, a deep understanding of agriculture economics and working land conservation program design, and a desire to improve the economic and environmental wellbeing of rural communities. This position will inform federal-level policy recommendations and advocate among farmers and ranchers to support such policy. If you are excited to use your expertise to achieve ambitious U.S. climate and sustainable agriculture policy with bipartisan support, this is the opportunity for you.
RIPE’s mission is to inspire a bipartisan climate policy that allows farmers to earn a reasonable return on voluntary stewardship. Our vision, as a farmer-led organization, is to create a climate policy that farmers champion because it values our contributions to a wide set of environmental benefits, enables a profit opportunity from voluntary stewardship, helps farmers become more resilient, helps farmers keep their farms in their family, transforms environmental policy into a rural investment that benefits farmers and rural communities, and supports farmers in being good stewards of the land. Our RIPE100 proposal advances a $100/acre payment for voluntary conservation practices that deliver at least that much in public benefits from a combination of improvements to water, climate, soil, and other elements of the environment.
The responsibilities of the position include but are not limited to the tasks below. If you are skilled in some but not all of these tasks, we invite you to consider applying.
- Translate policy principles into tangible policy design for a conservation program proposal that rewards farmers with estimated values of stacked ecosystem services.
- While carbon sequestration and GHG emission reductions are key components, policy designs for RIPE also require the inclusion and understanding of other ecosystem services including, but not limited to, water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health, and biodiversity.
- Propose policy design options for designing payments to farmers that offer a stewardship incentive that goes beyond the cost of the stewardship practices, any opportunity loss, ong-term practice maintenance, and climate policy related cost increases, while also reflecting the public value from those practices.
- Draw upon insights from USDA conservation programs including EQIP, CSP, and state-level conservation programs about a wide array of program design elements including farm management plans, red-tape cutting opportunities to improve efficient programs, quantification of environmental value, practicality, iand cost of best management practices.
- Seek opportunities to design policy to be equitable and inclusive for all farmers and farm types.
- Conduct cost estimates on various policy design options.
- Develop partnerships with technical experts – including economic consultants and university extension program partners – who can help inform policy design questions; work with such technical experts to refine policy design considerations.
- Propose multiple policy design options with pros and cons that address stakeholder needs, economic considerations, practicality, and policy precedent.
- Research and analyze current similar or competing proposed federal law, regulation, and policy regarding climate intervention, sustainable agricultural practices, conservation policy, and/or federal tax credit and bond design.
- Track and analyze relevant government and policy documents, including regulation and other agency guidance, as well as academic and policy research to inform policymaking.
- Analyze complex data and identify best methods for distilling and presenting the results.
- Write and edit a variety of documents ranging from detailed reports and policy briefs to memoranda and blog posts.
- Compile environmental economic research on a wide array of working land conservation practices, including water, GHG, soil health, biodiversity, to understand their combined public value. This work includes coordinating with agricultural trade groups on the practices they find practical and overseeing volunteer research assistants’s work.
- Identify trends in and policy implications of specific topics as assigned or self-identified.
Agricultural Stakeholder Engagement
- Brief and provide technical assistance to stakeholders, including RIPE leadership committees, congressional and agency staff, eNGO partners, and other audiences. This key component requires an understanding of each target audience, especially row crop and livestock producers and commodity groups.
- Work with the Agriculture Outreach team and the Government Affairs Director to promote RIPE among relevant stakeholders, including seeking meetings, developing relationships, understanding stakeholder needs and creating policy proposals in response, and recruiting participants to the RIPE Steering Committee.
- Participate in and/or lead analysis and learning sessions with the broader RIPE community.
- Identify strategic opportunities for advocacy with relevant stakeholders.
Skills, Abilities, & Qualifications
- Five or more years of experience in agricultural conservation program and policy design.
- Strong network within the agricultural sector.
- Creative thinker who can draw upon precedent and design new policy.
- Practical, diplomatic, willingness to put farmers-first in all policy design considerations.
- Knowledge of NRCS cost benefit analysis of conservation practices.
- Motivated to work in a small, evolving organization and be part of a multi-disciplinary team.
- Self-sufficient, independent, and eager to learn.
- Excellent organizational skills with ability to manage diverse projects simultaneously, solve problems creatively. and produce deliverables quickly and efficiently.
- Thorough, solution-seeking, and scientific.
- Experience in managing an independent workstream in service of larger organizational efforts.
- Comfort working collaboratively with an openness to others’ insights, opinions, and feedback.
- Strong research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to work with and communicate clearly with row crop and livestock producers across the country.
Please apply by May 24, 2021 by submitting a resume and cover letter to Careers@RipeRoadmap.org. Applications will be processed immediately, as each will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. We expect to begin interviews in mid-May. We respectfully request no follow-up calls or emails. In your cover letter please describe your experience working as a policy analyst, experience working with row crop and livestock producers, specific policies you have worked on, and how you have creatively pursued bipartisan interest. Please include “Policy/Advocacy Role” in the subject line, and include your salary expectations in the body of the message.
RIPE’s budget and reach is growing. As the organization evolves, the successful candidate may have an opportunity to grow within the organization based on their interest, aptitude, productivity, and support of other RIPE departments, including Agricultural Outreach, Government Affairs, and Communication.
We provide a comprehensive compensation package, including competitive salary ($70,000-$125,000 based on experience), excellent medical and dental benefits, retirement savings, and generous vacation and sick leave policy. Headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Work can be done from there, or remotely. Work is conducted in Eastern Standard time zone and applicants are expected to be available during those times. Applicants based in Arkansas are particularly encouraged to apply.
RIPE has filed for its independent 501c3 tax status with the IRA and expect to be a stand alone non-profit by calendar year end. Currently, RIPE is an independent operating project of the nonprofit umbrella organization, Multiplier, a nationally recognized nonprofit with a growing portfolio of innovative initiatives that conserve and protect a sustainable and resilient world (www.multiplier.org).
Multiplier and RIPE Roadmap celebrate diversity and are committed to building teams and partnerships that represent a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. Multiplier and RIPE Roadmap are also committed to providing an environment of mutual respect that is free from discrimination and harassment. Multiplier and RIPE Roadmap prohibit discrimination in its governance, programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, marital status, amnesty, status as a covered veteran, because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from public assistance, or for any other non-merit based factors.