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Rural Development Manager

Job Location

Remote, within Heart of the Rockies region


Type of Job




Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Mar 10, 2022

About the job

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Rural Development Manager

Hours: 1.0 FTE (40 hours/week)

Salary: $53,500 – $58,000

Location: Remote, within the Heart of the Rockies region

Link to job listing:


About Us

Heart of the Rockies Initiative (“Heart of the Rockies”) is a transboundary organization that works to ensure connected habitat and working lands for people and wildlife by increasing the pace of durable conservation in the Central Rockies of North America. A partnership of 27 land trusts working across five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, we envision a region where actively engaged people and communities work together across geographic and organizational boundaries to protect, restore, and steward the lands and waters that sustain natural systems and support community livelihoods. We know that we’ll only achieve our mission and vision by hiring and creating an inclusive space for a diverse staff that reflects the communities across the landscape in which we work.


Position Overview

The Rural Development Manager (“Manager”) manages the Rural Development program to increase access to United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD, a key partner for this program) and other rural development funding programs. Reporting to the Policy Director, they will work directly with communities and participating land trust partners to develop project proposals and secure loans, grants, or agreements for projects. Over the next two years, the Manager will scale this program from being primarily focused on western Montana to addressing rural development needs in communities throughout the Heart of the Rockies region.


The Manager’s primary responsibilities are to conduct outreach to communities and land trust partners about available programs and funding, help communities and land trusts identify which funding programs best support their community’s individual needs, provide technical support for USDA RD and other rural development programs, and manage a “seed fund” used by local communities for grants and local fundraising matching funds.


This position supports rural development in the Heart of the Rockies region and its communities that are facing changes in land use, wildlife populations, climate, and economic stability. The creation of this position was a deliberate effort to acknowledge that economic and social issues are often at the heart of rural community concerns, and conservation of natural resources relies on the retention of working land and people. Conservation must support the thriving rural communities that are directly dependent on natural resources. By marketing and implementing USDA RD and other rural development programs in high conservation interest areas, this staff member will work to bridge the gap between conservation, economic, and social values.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Conduct outreach to communities and land trusts regarding USDA RD and other rural development programs, and provide project development support.
  • Provide technical assistance to communities and land trusts in writing and assembling USDA RD and other program applications and reports (e.g., support writing government grants, managing contracts and grant agreements, troubleshooting with USDA RD program staff, guidance navigating federal and state processes, etc.).
  • Support participating land trust partners to become technical assistants in their respective communities.
  • Foster relationship with USDA RD in Montana and build relationships with other key players in rural development in the region.
  • Establish relationships with existing community partners and land trust participants.
  • Work with USDA RD to identify new communities that need support, and build relationships with key players in those communities through association with the High Divide Collaborative, land trusts, watershed groups, conservation districts, economic development organizations, and other local points of contact.
  • Partner with local or regional economic development organizations to coordinate and avoid duplicating efforts.
  • Explore potential USDA RD programs for applicability in the region’s rural communities.
  • Investigate additional funding opportunities to assist in applications.
  • Build and manage a “seed fund” used by local communities for grants and local fundraising matching funds.
  • Monitor and report successes, best practices, and lessons learned to USDA RD and HOTR leadership.
  • Support Policy Director in advancing policies that support rural development and conservation in the Heart of the Rockies region.


Strong candidates for this position will bring the following attributes to this role:

  • 5+ years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience, in rural development, conservation, and/or work directly with rural communities.
  • Skilled in clear written and verbal communication and community outreach.
  • Strong interpersonal skills rooted in teamwork, diplomacy, and respect, with a commitment to collaboration and working with a wide range of people from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Adept at managing multiple concurrent projects from start to finish.
  • Solves problems creatively and collaboratively, adapts well to changing circumstances, and persistently navigates road blocks.
  • Willingness to pilot new approaches, learn from failure, and continually improve efforts.
  • Actively seeks feedback, direction, and guidance from all team members and keeps staff informed of decisions that impact them.
  • Demonstrates integrity and ability to exercise confidentiality and sound judgment.
  • Motivated by values of equity and inclusion, with awareness of current and historical injustices embedded in conservation work.
  • Familiar with conservation principles and practices.
  • Interest in Montana’s rural towns and understanding their community visions.
  • Ability to conduct the majority of your work at a computer.
  • Ability to travel 3+ weeks each year within the Heart of the Rockies region (and have or be willing to obtain a driver’s license).


The starting salary for this position is $53,500-58,000 annual salary, and is based upon a wage analysis across the organization. Heart of the Rockies values work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere, and supports personal resilience. Our annual paid time-off includes 3 weeks of vacation leave, 2 weeks of sick/wellbeing leave, 9 paid holidays, and additional leave options. In addition, our benefits package includes paid medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, 6 weeks of paid and 6 weeks of unpaid family leave, retirement plan with employer matching, and flexible work options including working from home, non-traditional work hours, and compressed work weeks.



To apply, submit one .pdf of your cover letter and resume via email to, with the subject line “Rural Development Manager Application”. Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2022. We will begin scheduling interviews with qualified applicants during the first week in April. Desired start date is May 9, although this timeline is flexible.


The requirements listed in our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules, and if you have 75% of the qualifications listed we encourage you to apply. Additionally, if you feel you are a good fit for this role but would need a job accommodation in order to perform the duties associated with the position, we also encourage you to apply.


If you have a disability and require accommodation or assistance with our application process, please tell us how we can help by calling us at 406-552-3388.


If selected for this position, a background check will be conducted.


Heart of the Rockies strives to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

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