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Conservation Associate, Saginaw Bay

Job Location

Saginaw, MI


Type of Job



Starting at $52,000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jun 7, 2022

About the job

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Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit



TNC has worked with agricultural partners in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed for over ten years, enhancing on-farm conservation outcomes and improving water quality. We do this by co-developing with partners and landowners on new conservation practices, conservation delivery programs and conservation learning opportunities. The new Saginaw Bay Conservation Associate position will continue to advance TNC’s agricultural conservation practices work— specifically the adoption of reduced tillage strategies— within Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed.


Specifically, this position will:

1. Provide agronomic and conservation technical assistance to farmers and farmer advisors;

2. Collaborate with agricultural supply chain partners to accomplish mutual sustainability goals;

3. Identify barriers to conservation adoption and research ways for farmers to overcome those barriers;

4. Serve as project lead for a new strip till in sugar beets initiative.

This position will bolster TNC’s efforts to support farmers leading change and ultimately accelerate the acceptance and adoption of conservation-minded tillage practices within the Saginaw Bay Watershed. The Conservation Associate’s scope of work been designed to make significant progress toward TNC’s long-term conservation adoption goals. TNC will rely on this individual to provide a robust level technical consulting service to Saginaw Valley farmers, specifically sugar beet growers. Funding for the position is provided in part by USDA-NRCS, Michigan Sugar Company (MSC) and TNC. It is offered as a full-time, 5-year term position. The compensation range begins at $52,000 annually and is commensurate with experience.



This position will provide on-farm technical expertise, advise research, and provide program leadership to an emerging strip tillage in sugar beets initiative within Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed. Therefore, work, study or training experience within the agricultural sector—with special emphasis on equipment and/or sugar beet production experience— will be considered highly relevant.

Essential functions will include:

· co-developing strategies to engage new farms;

· providing customer support to participating sugar beet growers, MSC field staff and farmer-led peer networks;

· providing agronomic technical assistance to farmers, disseminating soil health research and applying science-based recommendations where possible (including recommendations on production agricultural management);

· coordinating partners to co-develop relevant field activities, research trials and events;

· general partner relationship management;

· data collection, data management; and reporting;

· contribute technical expertise toward the development and delivery of TNC-Michigan’s Soil Health & Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including planning and implementing new regenerative ag program work streams.

The Conservation Associate position entails a unique set of responsibilities, including managing partner relationships and delivering regenerative ag programming at multiple levels within Michigan’s agricultural supply chain. The position will require an experienced collaborator willing and able to strategize, influence and thoughtfully deliver soil health consultation services to Michigan’s ag sector. The Conservation Associate will help foster community awareness and stakeholder support through effective outreach and communication, manage their time to coordinate tasks across multiple projects, effectively collaborate as part of a larger team, help adaptively manage ongoing programs toward greater success, set deadlines and manage tasks to completion.



· Perform field work with minimal supervision and make independent decisions based on analysis, experience and context;

· Work collaboratively with external agricultural supply chain partners, along with internal technical, administrative and other professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training and development;

· Ensure program compliance with internal policies and external requirements;

· Employee may be asked to work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, and with a diversity of stakeholders with varying and sometimes demanding schedules. The employee will generally be responsible for maintaining professional customer service under a suite of demanding circumstances.



· Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of experience in agricultural or natural resource management-related field or equivalent combination of education and experience;

· Experience working with non-industrial private landowners;

· Relationship building experience to work closely with a variety of partners, e.g., farmers, agribusiness, academia, governmental, internal scientists;

· Experience completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s);

· Experience with communication via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages;

· Experience using common Microsoft software applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, etc.;

· Experienced in field work and data collection;

· Must possess valid Michigan driver's license.



· Possession of, or the ability to obtain, professional Crop Advisor or agronomy certification.

· 5-10 years of experience in agricultural or natural resource-related field or equivalent combination of education and experience

· Experience with agricultural equipment sales, maintenance or operation is desirable

· Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.

· Ability and willingness to apply science to decision-making and guide activities.

· Familiarity with sugar beet production and best practices.

· Knowledgeable of agricultural best management practices, specifically reduced tillage and residue management strategies.

· Knowledgeable of current trends and practices in conservation, farmland management and commodity markets.


See full job description and apply with cover letter and resume at Search for Job ID 51554.


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