Senior Policy Director, Agriculture

29 Oct, 2020


Senior Policy Director, Agriculture

Environmental Defense Fund

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

The location for this position can be flexible in the United States including the option to work remotely from home. 

Agriculture at EDF  

EDF’s work on agriculture falls within our Ecosystems Program, which aims to build resilient coastal communities, rebalance water systems and lay the foundation for a future in which farms, ranches and forests support thriving communities, help stabilize the climate and increase the resilience of people and nature. Our strategic focus is on pulling key levers for systemic change (e.g. policy, finance and environmental markets) to support more resilient agricultural production, where environmental improvements (such as reduced water pollution, increased flood protection, reduced GHG emissions, and land conservation) are rewarded. To this end, we work directly with farm and forest landowners, corporate partners and policymakers across parties to align economic incentives with environmental benefits, such as through supply chain sustainability and the development of finance products that support resilient agricultural practices.


The Senior Policy Director, Agriculture, will play a leadership role within the Ecosystems Program and interact regularly with senior management and key EDF stakeholders and partners in the agricultural and policy community. The Senior Policy Director will provide expert leadership, communications, strategic vision and management skills, and have the ability to develop meaningful relationships with EDF’s staff, board, funders, and external partners. The Senior Director will report to the VP, Ecosystems. The Senior Director will be a seasoned expert in both agricultural policy and practices across the U.S. and be recognized as a national expert in agricultural sustainability, supply chains and federal policy.

One of the biggest opportunities for this position is to lead EDF’s strategy for resilient agriculture, and identify, coordinate and advance the necessary partnerships to help implement this strategy.


Strategy and Leadership

  • Serve as the key external representative and expert in agriculture policy and practice for EDF.
  • Develop and/or sustain partnerships with key agricultural producer groups and trade associations.
  • Develop and/or sustain non-partisan partnerships with government officials, senators and house members, to ensure effective development and implementation of federal agriculture policy.
  • Develop and/or sustain strategic coalitions (incl. with commodity groups, aligned NGOs).
  • Play a key role with the VP and other program leads to evaluate, refine and strengthen strategy, accelerate progress towards goals and outcomes, and advance thought leadership in agricultural strategies.
  • Work closely with EDF’s internal Political Affairs team and advisors.
  • Contribute on budget decisions and staffing management.
  • Align team members to ensure effective implementation of strategy and deployment of capacity (EDF staff and key consultants).

Communication and Partnerships:

  • Raise EDF’s profile within the U.S. agricultural community, including through public communication and thought leadership (e.g. expert panels and other speaking engagements, blogs, op-eds and other articles, particularly in trade journals and other mainstream ag media).
  • Work with Ecosystems communications leads to refine and implement a communications strategy that advances program goals and outcomes.
  • Initiate and negotiate agreements with diverse partners and interests, including corporate partners in the agricultural supply chain, agricultural organizations, NGOs and government representatives.
  • Participate on carefully selected external advisory board/councils and steering committees to build EDF’s influence and stature in the areas of agricultural resilience.


  • Expertise on Federal agricultural policy and practice, with established relationships with elected officials and executive branch employees.
  • 12+ years of experience working in agricultural roles (government, corporate, academia, policy or NGO).
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred; relevant education degree a plus
  • Experience working on agricultural conservation issues.
  • Strong knowledge of the role business can play in solving environmental problems.
  • Demonstrated negotiation and influencing skills with the ability to garner consensus between disparate groups with conflicting priorities.
  • Demonstrated approach to entrepreneurial advocacy on Capitol Hill and the executive branch.
  • Ability to recognize and build on strategic opportunities for progress.
  • Ability to manage and motivate team to accomplish challenging deliverables with tight timeframes and significant uncertainty.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to work with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds and experience.
  • Excellent analytical skills and experience in performing rigorous analysis in support of highly visible work.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and respect for economic and cultural diversity and ability or experience working with diverse groups of people.
  • Affinity for a fast-paced work environment.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-10-29