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Agriculture Program Manager

Title:  Agriculture Program Manager

Reports to:  Executive Director

Location:   Chaffee County, Colorado

Classification:  Fulltime, Salary, Exempt


About us

Central Colorado Conservancy (Conservancy) is an accredited land trust and community-based conservation organization based in Salida, CO. Our mission is to protect the land, waters and quality of life of Central Colorado as our communities face pressure and rapid growth. Since 2001, the Conservancy has protected over 6,000 acres of private lands through conservation easements and acquisitions. The Conservancy also leads landscape-scale collaborative partnerships to improve watershed health and implement stream restoration projects; delivers programming for and works with agricultural producers to keep working lands working; and serves in a leadership capacity in partnership with the Upper Arkansas Conservation District (UACD) and the Lake County Conservation District (LCCD). We envision a future for Central Colorado that is supported by thriving communities that have safeguarded their rural character, lands, waters and wildlife for future generations.

About the Position

The Agriculture Program Manager will be responsible for implementing conservation, soil health, and other resource programs and providing technical assistance to private landowners, primarily in Chaffee County, CO. This is an excellent opportunity for a self-motivated individual to take the lead role in enhancing the Conservancy’s Agriculture Program and agricultural producer partnerships in the region, with a focus on developing projects and management capacity for the Upper Arkansas Conservation District (UACD). This position also collaborates with Conservancy program staff to build and sustain trust-based relationships with partner organizations, local governments, agency staff, and landowners to advance open space and conserved lands initiatives, stream and wetland restoration projects, and agricultural resilience undertakings.


Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serve as the Upper Arkansas Conservation District Manager, working closely with the UACD Board to design and manage programs that address UACD’s priorities identified in its three-year plan, which include: 1) Soil Health/Erosion, 2) Water Quality/Water Quantity, 3) Economic Viability of Agriculture, 4) Small Acreage Stewardship, and 5) Local Foods and Diversified Agriculture.

  • Work with UACD Board to build the district’s long-term efficacy as conservation entity through strategic planning and securing necessary financial resources for the UACD to hire and sustain a District Manager and other staff.

  • Collaborate with Conservancy staff and community partners on the design and implementation of conservation programs on public and private lands including landowner outreach, educational workshops, technical assistance and easement monitoring (where appropriate).

  • Lead the Conservancy’s Community Conservation Connection Program.

  • Represent agricultural perspectives, project identification and implementation, and community engagement in the Upper Arkansas Watershed Partnership.

  • Collaborate with the US Forest Service and local ranchers on the implementation of Virtual Fencing.   

  • Oversee the Conservancy’s partnership with the National Grazing Lands Coalition and participation in the Western Grazing Network.

  • Collaborate with the Conservancy’s Natural Resources Conservation Manager in Lake County to build relationships between the UACD and the LCCD and to implement regional, district-led conservation programs, including soil health initiatives.

Other Duties

  • Assist in Conservancy fundraising and public relations to support our overall mission.

  • Cultivate positive working relationships with landowners, agency partners, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

  • Support the UACD Board in their review of Chaffee County land development and resource plans and submission of comment letters to the County and other appropriate planning commissions.

  • Represent the Conservancy and UACD professionally at public events, including presentations at conferences and community workshops.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Background in natural resource management, rangeland ecosystem processes or related field with experience in developing conservation programs, managing projects, implementing community engagement programs and fundraising.

  • A combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and three (3) years of experience in a related field, preferred.

  • Working knowledge of soil health initiatives, sustainable agricultural practices, and grazing management principles and practices, desired.

  • Experience or strong interest in working with the NRCS and conservation districts.

  • Track record of securing and managing grants, with the ability to think long-term and innovatively about new and emerging funding sources.

  • Experience or strong interest in working with people in rural and agricultural communities. Exposure to private lands conservation issues in the West.

  • Respectful, articulate and effective listener and communicator, with both written and oral communication skills. Works well in a team environment as well as independently.

  • Organized with the ability to simultaneously advance multiple complex projects and deadlines.

  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings, weekends, and overnights.

  • Willingness to travel within the upper Arkansas Headwaters region, Central Colorado and beyond in personal vehicle. Valid state driver’s license required.

  • Computer proficiency using Windows-based software. Familiarity with GIS tools desirable.

  • Resident of Chaffee County or willingness to relocate to Chaffee County, preferred.

Physical Demands / Work Environment

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Ability to work in a standard office setting, with considerable sitting, standing and viewing of computer and reaching continually throughout the workday (mouse, keyboard, telephone).

  • Will need a valid Colorado driver’s license and be able to drive a vehicle on and off paved roads.

  • Able to hike and navigate over sometimes rough terrain, as needed.

  • May include lifting up to thirty (30) pounds of project gear on an infrequent basis.

  • Must be able to go up and down stairs carrying materials or project gear to and from meetings, events, site visits, etc.

  • Some evening and weekend work expected.


If you meet most of the above qualifications and are eager and willing to learn the additional skills required to execute the essential job duties and responsibilities of this position, please consider applying. Professional development and learning opportunities are an integral part of this role and working at the Conservancy.


Salary range is $55,000 - $65,000 per year for this full-time, exempt position (40 hours/week). Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation and holidays, cell phone stipend, and flexible work arrangements.


To Apply

Submit cover letter and resume to Please include “Agriculture Program Manager” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through April 17, 2024. Early applications are encouraged as we will begin reviewing applications prior to the deadline. Desired start date is May 13, 2024.

Central Colorado Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage people of every color, orientation, age, gender, origin, and ability to apply. Our work culture embraces—and is strengthened by—the unique perspectives, contributions and experiences of all our staff.

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