NAFSN regularly searches for food systems–related job opportunities from a dozen green job sites as well as COMFOODJOBS email list. Please note that this list is for professional or managerial positions only that pay at least a LIVING WAGE in your locale. Farm apprenticeships and internships are not included. Other farm management positions are welcome.

If you would like us to post a job opportunity, send details with links and contacts to: Duncan Hilchey

Job Detail: Agriculture Issue Leader

Position Summary:

The Agriculture Issue Leader is responsible for providing in-depth program leadership for the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the agriculture and horticulture program area of the association. In addition, this person shall develop and deliver programs in a specific subject of broad importance to the Agricultural program area (Agriculture Economic Development, Food Systems, Ag & the Environment (e.g. climate smart agriculture, carbon farming, water issues, etc.) and Farmland Protection); and shall provide a broad range of high level administrative direction and management functions for programs and the staff within them.

This person is responsible for securing program funds and effective management of resources available to the program unit. S/he is responsible for assuring that accountability and affirmative action requirements are met within the program unit and across the association. 

This person will engage with, develop and facilitate local community groups, networks, partnerships, and collaborations. S/he will engage public and private organizations to address high priority issues and maximize effective use of community resources to bolster community and economic development across the region.  

This person connects with other associations, Cornell faculty, and regional teams to develop collaborative projects and to conduct research related to Extension mission, priority programs and community issues.  

This person represents the association with the public, community leaders, government officials, and Cornell University in achieving the vision and mission of the association.      

This person is supervised by the Executive Director, operates as an educational and managerial professional, and is subject to association policies.  Guidance and direction are provided by the Program advisory committee, Board of Directors, and with support from the Association Leadership Team.

This person supervises a team of program educators and volunteers working within the program area.


Program Responsibilities:

Program Assessment (5%):

  • Provide program leadership in the application of Agriculture knowledge to identify gaps and trends.
  • Develop program needs assessment with input from various committees and staff.
  • Analyze program needs based on assessments and input from community groups, staff and other interested parties.
  • Make recommendations for program offerings, enhancements and improvements.
  • Maintain direct contact with Cornell faculty, and other program units for program assessment guidance.
  • Ensure that the program assessment is within the scope of the statewide Plan of Work.
  • Participate in teams that involve multiple Associations to assess regional program effectiveness and develop assessment plans.

Program Development (25%):


  • Provide overall program leadership in the application of subject matter knowledge to develop educational strategies for the agriculture and horticulture staff team.
  • Develop programmatic responses to identified needs in collaboration with program advisory committee, Executive Director, the Association leadership team, and other Associations using the strategic plan, plan of work, program evaluation, impact reports, and other issue identification and priority setting instruments.
  • Ensure educational program development has effective involvement at multiple levels with individuals/families, community organizations and businesses, and systems/policy decision-makers.
  • Partner with Cornell faculty and administrators to ensure program development is consistent with policies and objectives of the Association and the mission of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • Engage stakeholders that reflect the diversity and demographics of the community.
  • Ensure involvement/participation of key stakeholders/constituents and reach out to under-served communities to build and enhance relationships that result in improved outcomes for individuals/families and the community as part of program development. 
  • Based on program evaluation data, formulate and implement specific strategies to improve overall program quality, deliverables and impact.
  • Secure input from constituents and utilize the information for future program development.

Program Delivery (15%):

  • Serve as a subject-matter expert for priority Agriculture topics, taking leadership for delivery of key program area issues that require a comprehensive, collaborative response, impact constituents broadly, and that are of concern to a large number of people.
  • Consult and utilize target audiences/stakeholders, collaborators, organizations, agencies, government, and other key partners in program delivery efforts.
  • Ensure that program delivery includes impacts at multiple levels – individual/family, community, and policy.

Program Evaluation (5%):

  • Apply subject matter knowledge to evaluate program changes and impacts resulting from program initiatives.
  • Design or create program evaluation framework.
  • Analyze collected program evaluation data.
  • Use evaluation results to make recommendations for improvements in future programs. 
  • Provide leadership for others who also are analyzing and evaluating programs.
  • Communicate outcomes and recommendations from evaluation process to the Executive Director, leadership team, Board, program advisory committee, Cornell faculty, county and community leaders. 

Applied Research (10%):

  • Collaborate in applied research projects with University Faculty, Extension specialists and educators to implement research projects.
  • Ensure community-based needs are appropriately identified and addressed in research projects.
  • Maintain direct linkage with Cornell University Faculty and program units for guidance in applying applied research projects.
  • Communicate with Cornell researchers regarding social and economic changes that occur in the community and may affect applied research projects.
  • Ensure applied research is within the statewide and Association Program area Plan of Work.

Direction (20%):

  • Provide high level leadership to the interpretation of Association program direction to plan Association-wide cross-program initiatives.
  • Participate and provide input and leadership in multi-Association, regional, and statewide programs to address priority issues within Agriculture programs.
  • Provide high level guidance and strategic on special committees and assignments as approved by supervisor. 
  • Along with other Association leaders promote a culture of collaboration, innovation, inclusiveness and accountability.
  • Develop educational strategies that use proven educational methodologies and that meet the needs of diverse audiences in our community.
  • Provide leadership to the program advisory committee that allows them to provide effective input and program direction ensuring programs address audience needs.
  • Lead the planning of effective, strategic external and internal program communication/ marketing efforts.
  • Project expenses based on funding sources, expenditures, guidelines, and procedures and propose unit budgets based on these.
  • Develop funding streams to support program and Association priorities with active involvement of the Leadership Team, Association Director, program advisory committees, Board, Cornell faculty and Extension Administration.
  • Develop staffing plans that address priority program needs and audiences.

Management (10%):

  • Lead and guide staff, using a high level of administrative and subject matter expertise, in effective program development, delivery, and evaluation methods.
  • Provide orientation, instruction, and leadership development to enable staff and volunteers to better serve the community.
  • Identify and recruit staff and volunteers.
  • Provide direct supervision and support to educators in assigned program area.
  • Provide continuous feedback, coaching, and performance management to staff.
  • Research and seek out grant opportunities that are appropriate and further support program goals.
  • Manage program funds including review of monthly account statements, guiding compliance to established financial requirements, allocating funds to cover staff salary, recommending adjustments in budget to realign to changing needs, and managing year end reconciliation.
  • Coordinate Agriculture program related tasks, in consultation with Environment Issue Leader as supervisor, of Sr. Admin Assistant who is shared between Agriculture and Environment programs.
  • Make continual improvements to the volunteer management program.

Coordination/ Operation (5%):

  • Develop required written reports on activities and accomplishments and communicate results to appropriate stakeholders.
  • Prepare and submit grant proposals as required for the program.  Manage grant projects and ensure proper and timely reporting. 
  • Coordinate the work of program staff as needed, including schedules and program delivery efforts.

Professional Improvement (5%):

  • In cooperation with Executive Director, jointly develop and pursue a professional development plan to increase competencies relative to position accountabilities and to address changes and Association priorities.
  • Collaborate in activities that are in general support of Cornell Cooperative Extension and perform other duties as assigned.


Required Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in Agricultural related field and at least 4 years related experience in program development, delivery, and management.  
  • A relevant PhD may substitute for two years experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively engage a diversity of stakeholders, committees or consultants in the development of program direction.
  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating community engaged processes, building consensus, and achieving results, especially for underserved audiences.
  • Ability to initiate, plan, organize, implement, teach and evaluate informal and innovative educational programs using a wide variety of program delivery methods.
  • Demonstrated skills in effectively communicating complex information through oral, written, and visual channels, and through social media
  • Broad understanding of regional, statewide and/or national agricultural issues and initiatives specifically in areas of: Agriculture Economic Development, Food Systems, Agriculture Environmental issues, and Farmland Protection
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct research projects and understand, evaluate and summarize data for effective reporting. Demonstrated ability to provide supervision and guidance to staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated ability to secure, develop, and manage resources.
  • Significant grant writing and grant management experience. .
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and participate effectively in professional team efforts.
  • Ability to relate effectively to co-workers, advisors, community and professional leaders, and to work effectively with people of varying ages and socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated initiative, reliability, and dependability.
  • Ability to meet travel requirements associated with this position.
  • Ability to meet acceptable background check standards, if required.
  • Ability to work flexible hours which may include evenings and/or weekends, as appropriate.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Coursework in research methodology and education.
  • Management experience.
  • Training in strategic planning processes and outcome based program development and delivery.
  • Diversity and inclusion training or experience



Excellent benefits, based on eligibility, including:

  • Vacation, Sick and Personal time
  • Paid Holidays
  • NYS Health Insurance Program (including Dental Insurance)
  • NYS Retirement
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Tax Deferred Annuity
  • Voluntary Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Voluntary Group Universal Life Insurance
  • Voluntary Personal Accidental Insurance
  • Voluntary Legal Plan Insurance
  • Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance
  • Voluntary Auto and Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Voluntary Pet Insurance
  • Voluntary New York’s College Savings Program
  • Vision Access Program
  • Employee Assistance Program


How To Apply

Applicants (including current employees of other Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations other than Tompkins) must apply online through the APPLY button in this job posting. Current employees of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association indicated in this job posting are considered internal applicants and must apply online through their Workday account which may be accessed here:

IMPORTANT! All applicants must submit a COVER LETTER (please reference the position you are applying for), a RESUME and indicate in your cover letter, resume or other document three individuals who may be contacted as REFERENCES

Please consider indicating in your application all information you feel would be helpful for selection committee members to know.   Once the application is submitted you will NOT be able to change your submission or add attachments. Be sure that you have followed all directions and requirements listed in the job posting.

This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified, however application review will begin on March 28, 2019.

The Association may make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to participate in the hiring process and employees to perform the essential functions of their job. If you require an accommodation so you may participate in the selection process you are encouraged to contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Administrative Systems at (607) 255-6120, or via email at:

About the job

Location Ithaca, New York
Field Administrative
Time Full-time
Date 08 March 2019

About the company

Company name Cornell Cooperative Extension
Logo logo


Form Company
Employees 0-10


Phone (607) 255-2237


Street 365 Roberts Hall
City Itahac
District New York
Zip 14853
Country United States