APR Stewardship Planner

Department of Agricultural Resources
Baltimore, MA
United States
Job Description

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*Education toward such a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed. 



SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS\: Based on assignment, possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator's License.


An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.  Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

APR Stewardship Planner – Regional Planner III

The Department of Agricultural Resources is seeking an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual who is passionate about farmland protection and viability.  The successful candidate will be a strong communicator with knowledge of agricultural practices and norms and/or conservation restriction stewardship and someone who can balance regulatory enforcement with strengthening relationships within the agricultural community.


The position is within the Stewardship branch of the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program and combines telework, field work, and office work. Currently 1 office day per week is expected but more is available if preferred.  The position location is based in MDAR’s field office in Southborough and covers the north central/northeast territory shown in the linked map

The APR program is a groundbreaking conservation program - the first of its kind in the nation that has since protected over 930 farms totaling over 73,000 acres.  The program focuses on preserving and stewarding farmland and maintaining affordable land access to both established and beginning farmers.  We do this through the purchase and stewardship of agricultural preservation restrictions and options to purchase at agricultural value.  Currently, the program is spearheading a statewide Agricultural Farmland Action Plan that will build off and unify pertinent statewide plans such as the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap, the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan, the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, and the Resilient Lands Initiative Vision and Strategy.  The program also continues to implement program enhancements based on emerging needs and challenges. 


The APR Stewardship Planner will report to the Agricultural Land Programs Supervisor and specific duties include\:


-Outreach and Communication\: Serves as point of contact for the specified region (TBD) and cultivates and maintains positive working relationships with APR landowners and the land use community. This includes fielding and responding to inquiries from APR landowners, agency staff and others to provide information concerning APR terms and assistance programs, preparing internal memoranda and documents related to APR compliance and connecting landowners with Department funding and technical assistance services.

-APR Monitoring\: Conducts farm visits to assess compliance with the APR, prepares monitoring reports, reviews monitoring activities by contractors on both Federally-funded and State funded APRs.

-APR Compliance\: Works with Agricultural Land Programs Supervisor and Stewardship team to assess and coordinate resolutions of potential violations and enforcement issues, evaluates and responds to landowner requests for activity approvals including review of applications for Certificates of Approval, Special Permits, and Options and Waivers of Rights of First Refusal. Processes and completes Department approvals, drafts official documents for approvals and denials, and tracks changes in landownership.

-Recordkeeping, Procedures and Policies\: Maintains detailed informational files and database for APR Monitoring information and documents, including Baseline Documentation Reports, Monitoring Reports, Department Approvals, project status reports and all other information relevant to APR stewardship. Works with the APR staff and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Restriction Stewardship Group to create and revise regulations, policies, procedures and specifications for APR stewardship as needed. Gather and analyze data on APR farm program compliance, technical assistance, funding and monitoring programs on APR farms. Assist in the formulation of guidelines, policies and regulations for the APR program to inform policy and regulatory development. 

-Land Acquisition\: Assists the Land Acquisition staff with evaluation of proposed land acquisition projects as needed and transitioning landowner relationships from acquisition to stewardship.

-Performs related duties such as attending conferences, seminars and meetings as assigned.

-Serves on committees and working groups as assigned.


-Participates in an inter-agency lands committee with other agencies within the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs including the Department of Fish and Game and Department of Conservation & Recreation.   


-Continually increases knowledge of agricultural conservation restriction best practices, and land stewardship. 


-Learns and adopts new methods to perform tasks accurately and efficiently. 


-Other duties as assigned. 


·         Must be able to drive and available to travel within the region and periodically across the state. 

·         Must be able and comfortable with hiking through farm properties, sometimes in remote areas, across uneven terrain, in all seasons and weather. 

·         Ability to establish and maintain courteous, professional working relationships with landowners and other professionals.

·         Ability to speak and write clearly and to communicate effectively with staff and the general public.

·         Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 

·         Self-directed, highly motivated, personable, flexible. 

·         Passion and commitment to the Department’s mission. 

·         Friendly, enthusiastic, and positive attitude.  Possess a high level of emotional intelligence, confidence, and competency when working with people to collaborate. 

·         Strong organizational skills to manage time and competing priorities, strong written and oral communication skills. Detail-oriented. 

·         Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel.


Preferred Qualifications  

·            Bachelor’s degree or higher in natural resources, agriculture or related field or 4 years of work experience.        


·            Knowledge and understanding of general farm practices and agricultural activities.


·            Professional experience in the area of Land Stewardship and Conservation Restrictions in a land trust or comparable setting are desirable. 


·            Knowledge of and experience in APR or conservation restrictions is preferable.     


·            Knowledge of the principles and practices of assessing environmental conditions including the ability to recognize potentially harmful environmental conditions.


·            Knowledge and understanding of best practices promulgated by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission or similar conservation restriction stewardship best practices. 


·            Experience and understanding of ACEP-ALE restrictions. 

·          Proficiency in GIS mapping and analysis through software or applications such as ESRI ArcGIS, ArcView, MassGIS, OLIVER, or GIS tools.

·          Ability to use desktop and mobile geographic information systems (i.e. ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online) to assess property conditions and create maps.

·         Ability to read and understand topographic maps, assessor’s maps, and survey plans.

·         Ability to use map and compass to locate boundary lines based on a survey.

·         Experience reviewing, writing and producing reports that include maps, photographs and narrative, describing conditions on a property.

·         Ability to read, understand, interpret, and apply legal documents, technical literature, and regulations to conditions on a property.

·         Ability to understand and implement Massachusetts General Laws, Regulations, and Department policies and guidelines related to the APR Program. 











*Education toward such a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed.  




SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS\: Based on assignment, possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator's License. 




A cover letter and resume must be submitted as part of the application process and attached “as relevant” to the requisition. 

 The position location is out of MDAR’s field office in Southborough and covers the territory in the linked map.