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Farm Operations Manager

Organization Description

Our mission is to provide vital transitional services, advocacy, and food production that empowers members of the refugee community to uphold cultural identity and economic well-being to thrive in their new life here in Maine.

The main programmatic undertaking of the SBCA is the community farming program, Liberation Farms. It aims to provide new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves and their communities to bolster food and economic security. The program assists over 200 Somali Bantu farmers by providing access to land, seeds, trainings, technical assistance, and marketing.

Position

The Farm Operations Manager is responsible for overall farm management and stewardship of SBCA’s Liberation Farms, as well as training and collaborating with staff to ensure successful implementation of the farming program. During the growing season, the position will be based at our farm property in Wales, ME. In the off-season, the Farm Operations Manager & Educator may work remotely or from the SBCA office in Lewiston when appropriate. Experience working with diverse populations, participatory adult education, and experience managing diversified vegetable operations are necessary prerequisites for this position.

Start date:

April 4, 2022

Supervision Received:

Executive Director and Farm Committee

Partners with:

Markets Manager, Property Manager, Farm & Market Coordinator, and the Office & Finance Coordinator.

Supervises:

Property Manager, co-supervises Farm & Markets Coordinator with Markets Manager

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Farmer Training and Education (20%)

  • Conduct listening sessions to determine what farmers are interested in learning and what ways they learn best.
  • Connect with Iskaashito farmers individually and as a group to determine what farmers are interested in learning and what ways they learn best, often troubleshooting in the field.
  • Address needs of Family farmers as they arise, coordinating with the field team to create systems that promote farmer independence and accessibility.
  • Provide support to farmer participants growing on the site as requested, and to staff utilizing the space for other programming.

Farm Management (30%)

  • Work closely with Market Manager, Executive Director, Farm Committee, and commercial Iskaashito farmers to develop seedling production and planting plans.
  • Work closely with Farm Manager, Farm & Markets Coordinator, and Farm Committee to execute seedling and transplanting plans.
  • Research, purchase, and deliver key production materials to farmers in coordination with Farm Manager and Farm & Markets Coordinator.
  • Develop short-term and long-term soil fertility plans and work collaboratively with participating farmers and stakeholders to design, finalize, and implement plans.
  • Organize and manage building and infrastructure projects that advance the goals of the farmers and ensure long term success. Oversee infrastructure maintenance and repair as needed.
  • Determine and execute all necessary activities for seedling and greenhouse management including seed and soil purchase, materials procurement, seeding, watering, seedling distribution, and maintenance.
  • Provide health and management related assistance and expertise to the goat herd, including purchasing feed, scheduling feed amounts, teaching and applying medicines, sourcing appropriate tools, supplies, connecting farmers and staff with outside workshops, and meeting with veterinarians when necessary.

Other Duties and Responsibilities (30%)

  • Fully engage in vision development for the farm as it relates to the larger organization and community well-being.
  • Develop, oversee, and monitor farm budget with the Office & Finance Coordinator (annual and capital expenses), and contribute to grant writing efforts with activities, budget, and infrastructure needs.
  • Maintain communication and positive working relationships with SBCA’s partners, leasees, and service providers such as Land for Good, UMaine Cooperative Extension, NRCS, etc.
  • Prepare materials and hold landholder/leasee meetings and mediation sessions as needed.
  • Attend relevant workshops, trainings, and conferences. Review professional materials and
  • Provide research and budget preparation for all farm-related grant applications, working closely with SBCA staff and partners.
  • Perform other project-related duties as required, including weekly staff meetings and other related meetings via zoom and in person.

Supervision 20%

    • Provide overall support to a diverse team of people working to keep daily farm operations running smoothly. Help determine work plans, project goals and deadlines.
    • Work one-on-one to provide support and training to the Property Manager and Farm & Markets Coordinator, who can reinforce that knowledge with farmers in the program. This includes, but is not limited to, technical assistance in areas of farm production and operations.
    • Support whole farm system management by coordinating with Property Manager and Farm & Markets Coordinator in overseeing pre-season preparation, tilling, soil nutrient management, crop planning, opening new fields, planting, irrigation design and setup, postseason cleanup, high tunnel management, livestock management, and other seasonal and ongoing farming activities.
    • Participate in job creation, hiring, review, and training of new staff and employees.

    Qualifications & Experience

    • 5+ years of experience with production-scale diversified vegetable and livestock farming preferred, with experience in all aspects of farm planning and employee management.
    • Experience working or training in cross-cultural environments, and/or experience with participatory adult education.
    • Experience providing services and support to minority and disenfranchised communities.
    • Experience working with ESOL and preliterate/limited literacy people.
    • Direct experience developing and managing complex on-the-ground farming operations.
    • Detail oriented and able to track farming practices and field records as well as project expenses.
    • Past experience tracking and managing farm budgets.
    • Excellent written, oral, and intercultural communication skills.
    • Reliable transportation, cell phone, and valid driver’s license. Employees are expected to use their own vehicle and personal cell phone for work.
    • Ability and willingness to drive to the farm site and delivery locations.

    Compensation

    $20 per hour starting rate with the opportunity for cost of living and merit based increase. This is a non-exempt, full-time, year round position. Full-time regular employees (working 40 hours per week) are eligible for up to 160 hours (20 days) of PTO per calendar year which include personal and sick days. Eligible holidays per year will be 7 fixed + 5 floating days that are self-selected, totaling 12 paid holidays per calendar year. Full-time employees also receive a quarterly health and technology stipend.

    How to Apply

    Email a resume and cover letter detailing your interest in the program and experience farming and working cross-culturally to info@somalibantumaine.org. The deadline for application is February 11, 2022 with an anticipated start date of April 4, 2022. Interviews will happen on a rolling basis and, if we find an excellent candidate, the job may be offered before the February 11, 2022 deadline.