Beginning Farmer & Market Specialist

Center For Rural Affairs   Sioux City, IA   Full-time     Food Service
Posted on July 9, 2021

Beginning Farmer & Market Specialist

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a full-time Beginning Farmer and Market Specialist to work in Nebraska rural communities with farmers market organizers and vendors, farm diversification, and military veteran beginning farmers, primarily in central and eastern Nebraska. 

The ideal candidate will be passionate about bringing resources to beginning farmers and rural communities. They will have a proven ability to  work with farmers market organizers and farmers to bring high value products to customers. They will deliver community workshops and events, sharing options and skills for diversifying farm enterprises, such as orchard management and commercial kitchens. They will be committed to creating opportunities for underserved members of rural Nebraska.

Who We Are

The Center for Rural Affairs is a dynamic, energetic non-profit organization working to build a better rural future for all. We’ve done this work for more than 47 years, and we do it from rural places. Our work creates opportunities for beginning farmers, new business owners, and first-time advocates. The Center’s work is fueled by our compassionate, mission-driven staff who work for the betterment of rural communities, stewardship, and the next generation. Additional information can be found at

What You’ll Do

The Beginning Farmer and Market Specialist reports to the Farm and Community Assistant Director and works alongside other members of the Farm & Community team. You are responsible for the following:

  • You will be the project lead to strategically plan, schedule, promote, recruit, and deliver  education, training and demonstration events, videos, and publications. 
  • You will deliver monthly community training workshops and activities that support beginning military veteran farmers with startup strategies and with resources for business development, land access, resource conservation, and financing.
  • You will deliver community education and demonstration workshops and activities for farmers and ranchers to diversify their farm businesses.
  • You will build and maintain relationships with farmer market organizers across the state, collaborating to improve their skills for effective and productive farmers markets.
  • You will actively and passionately create opportunities for farmer groups to gather, share experiences, and learn together.
  • You will be the trusted go-to person for resources and referrals when requested by farmers, organizations, Center staff, and project partners. 

Who You Are & Keys to Success (the must-haves)

To be successful in this job, you will excel in five areas:

  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders and can bring in allies and coalition partners from marginalized communities statewide, such as people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, military veterans, and immigrants. You know how to build alliances and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests.
  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it, because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backwards and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a mindset of “power with” rather than “power over” and regularly include others in decision-making. You seek out those who have experience to guide, advise, and plan how you approach the work.
  • Setting and managing priorities: You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely, and can provide clear direction to staff, partners, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in addressing  disparities, and you consistently amplify community voices to advocate for more equitable policy solutions. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.

If you have knowledge and experience working in agriculture production, this is valued.

If you were here right now, you would be:

  • Delivering workshops that provide military veterans the knowledge and tools to help them succeed as farmers and ranchers.
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with local farmer market organizers to build local collaborations with community partners and farmers for productive, successful farmer markets in rural communities.
  • Introducing new enterprise options to help farmers and ranchers diversify their businesses.
  • Serving as the first person farmers,ranchers, and farmers market organizers come to for resources, advice, and general knowledge to help them make their dreams a reality.

What Else You Should Know
This is a full-time non-exempt position based in central or eastern Nebraska. This position will require frequent travel by car throughout the state to meet with communities and individuals, and include both overnight and out-of-state travel on occasion. This position has a salary range of $38,000-$47,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center.
The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify.

If you would like to work for an organization that has a national reputation as one of the top organizations in the country working to make rural communities more vibrant, apply by emailing your resume, cover letter, and three professional references. In the cover letter, please include how your personal and/or professional experiences have positioned you for success in this role and any related work, skills, or expertise you want us to know about. Let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work for the Center.

The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Provider.