NCEL Sustainable Agriculture and Water Specialist

Location: Remote, preference for candidates within the Mississippi River watershed

Salary: $70,000

Position Overview

The Sustainable Agriculture and Water Specialist will lead NCEL’s state policy work on topics relating to agriculture and food systems, water quality,  and soil health. This role will provide strategic direction and coordination for NCEL’s Mississippi River Legislative Caucus (MRLC). The primary policy focus of this caucus is on sustainable agricultural systems and practices that reduce nutrient loading, floodplain management, and other policies to protect and restore the Mississippi River. 

The ideal candidate will be an outgoing network-builder who enjoys outreach and collaboration. They will be a growth-oriented individual who is committed to or interested in environmental justice and equity work. The candidate will have a passion for policy advancement and be highly skilled at verbal and written communication. They will enjoy planning webinars, organizing strategy sessions, hosting in-person issue briefings, and collaborating with advocacy partners on shared environmental goals. This position will require up to 25% travel for meetings and events.

About NCEL

NCEL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that empowers a nonpartisan network of state environmental leaders to protect, conserve, and improve the natural and human environment. We believe that the key to advancing sound policy in the states is well-informed legislatures with strong champions who can advocate on behalf of the environment, develop shared strategies, and collaborate with their peers across the country on shared learning and action.

Project Coordination and Strategy

  • Coordinate initiatives and events for legislators in the Mississippi River Legislative Caucus (MRLC) and identify and track environmental policies relevant to the region. 
  • Lead NCEL’s soil health, water quality, and sustainability efforts through planning and development, and working to expand these efforts beyond the Mississippi River region.
  • Collaborate with key local, state, national, and international NGO partners. 
  • Provide grant writing in support of fundraising efforts.

Policy Analysis Research, Analysis, and Communication 

  • Track and analyze legislative trends and share updates with NCEL members, the MRLC network, and key allies. 
  • Develop materials including fact sheets and briefing books on specific issues. 
  • Development of website content including legislative spotlights and blog posts related to policy developments.
  • Phone, email, and in-person outreach to state legislators to support policy work.
  • Recruitment of state lawmakers to join the network.
  • Curation and dissemination of issue-specific information sheets and email alerts.
  • Facilitate information-sharing and coaching among MRLC members, and other NCEL members.

Meetings and Events

  • Organize large events to convene legislators around soil health, water quality, and sustainability issues, such as an annual regional conference and a river tour.
  • Work with partner organizations to plan local events such as in-state meetings or site tours related to program work. 
  • Conduct visits to state capitals during the legislative session to meet with legislators and host briefings. 
  • Follow up with legislators after meetings and events and provide continued support.
  • Represent NCEL at advocacy coalition meetings. 


  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university.
  • Three to five years of experience in policy or political organizing. Working knowledge of policies related to agriculture and water quality.
  • Experience working with elected officials and/or on campaigns is preferred.
  • Experience working in agricultural settings, such as an urban farm or industrial farm, is beneficial
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills and ability to convey complex information in simple terms.
  • Must have experience in Google applications and basic database management.
  • Ability to work independently with strong time management skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability and willingness to travel to events across the country.


The salary for this position is $70,000 NCEL offers a generous benefits package including a 401(k) with employer contributions, employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance, 13 paid holidays, and 15 vacation days in the first year of employment. 

To Apply

Please send a single PDF document with your resume, brief cover letter, and the names and contact information of three references to NCEL at with the subject line “Sustainable Agriculture and Water Specialist Application”. All submissions will be treated confidentially. The deadline to apply is January 19th, 2024, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

NCEL is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce and strongly encourages applications from groups that have been historically underrepresented, including but not limited to women and people of color. NCEL makes hiring decisions without regard to gender, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other protected class. NCEL does not lobby for or against any state or federal legislation. NCEL requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Medical and religious exemptions can be considered with documentation.