Policy Specialist

PASA Sustainable Agriculture

Program overview

Over the years, Pasa has become a trusted source for state and federal agencies, as well as legislators and their staffers, to learn about the key issues facing their farmer constituents. Our policy team listens to farmers about their struggles and successes and lifts their voices to those who can make an impact on the local, state, and national stages. We identify and advocate for changes that lead to system-wide impact.

Position overview

The Policy and Farmer Support Specialist works directly with the Executive Director and lead staff to develop and carry out Pasa’s policy and special projects strategy. Our current policy lead is transitioning to part-time and will mentor and onboard the specialist to eventually serve as lead for policy.

Pasa’s robust network of actively farming members gives it great credibility when weighing in on issues that matter most to farmers and advocates of sustainably grown food. Unfortunately, that voice is often missing or underrepresented at the tables where agricultural policy decisions are made. The Policy and Farmer Support Specialist will represent Pasa’s interests in policy spaces, including efforts led by the PA Department of Agriculture, USDA agencies, the Governor’s office, and at the federal level, to provide better long-term outcomes for family farms and the environment.

This position entails remote-based work with regular travel, including participation in field-based events, involvement in speaking engagements, and attendance at 2-3 annual in-person staff retreats. All team members are required to attend our yearly Sustainable Agriculture Conference held each February in Lancaster, PA. Residence within Pennsylvania or within a 150-mile radius of Harrisburg is required unless special permission is granted for Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to serve as the primary work location, in which case employees must reside within a one-hour drive from either city. Convenient access to the Harrisburg office for day trips is highly preferred. Any inquiries regarding these requirements are welcome, and adherence to Pasa’s remote employee policies is required for all staff members.

Responsibilities

  • Serve as Pasa’s lead staff on policy, representing Pasa and raising issues of interest at meetings dealing with policy
  • Deepen relationships with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and its members; local, state, and federal government entities; partner organizations; National Healthy Soils Policy Network; and, when appropriate, Pasa members
  • Increase and sharpen Pasa’s influence over agricultural, conservation, and related issues and outcomes by strategizing and carrying out a more prominent and influential voice in the policy realm
  • Advise the Executive Director, generally providing a sounding board for policy ideas and positions as they arise
  • Help develop a more formalized system for crafting Pasa’s policy priorities
    Establish pathways for other Pasa team members to represent Pasa in policy spaces and bring their experiences with the policy team
  • Develop white papers and position papers on topics of interest and draft editorials and comment letters on proposed legislation
  • Plan opportunities to connect farmers with policy issues and policymakers, including quarterly events, farm tours, and webinars
  • Educate policymakers on issues that matter to Pasa’s network
  • Coordinate with peer organizations to adapt policy ideas from leading agricultural states that have implemented model soil health legislation
  • Develop models for outcome-based soil health policy and regulations, using the Soil Health Benchmark Study as a pilot verification project

Qualifications

  • A belief in the power of policy to make positive change
  • An interest in working closely with farmers to understand their needs and develop their advocacy skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including ability to translate complex information, data, and technical details to a variety of audiences and partners
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively, listen well, build trust, give and receive feedback, and model healthy conflict resolution
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize, stay organized, and complete work within due dates
  • Ability to self-start and work independently on projects
  • Willingness to travel domestically as needed
  • Passion for Pasa’s mission
  • Commitment to maintaining a supportive, functional, service-oriented workplace
    Familiarity with the value of sustainable agriculture systems and the unique needs of sustainable farmers
  • Comfortable speaking in public settings and meetings with elected officials
    Strong research skills
  • Commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice

Preferred Qualifications

  • Farming experience (current or previous) with deep knowledge of the needs relevant to sustainable agriculture farmers
  • Experience working in Salesforce or with another CRM
  • Experience with the Google platform

Compensation: This is a full-time position with an annual salary of $75,000.


PASA Mission: Cultivating environmentally sound, economically viable, community-focused farms and food systems.

Please read our employee values statement, summary of employee benefits, and employment policy overview before submitting your application.

How to Apply

How to apply: We are committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice through our hiring practices. This entails reviewing application materials anonymously (without the applicant’s name exposed) to help prevent potential unconscious bias. Our application system will automatically anonymize your materials and personally identifying information. There is no specific action required on your part to anonymize your materials when applying. Click the “Apply” button and submit the information requested (e.g. resume, cover letter, and/or portfolio).

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Initial interviews will be conducted remotely via Zoom beginning June 12th. The anticipated start date for this position is July 1st.