APR Stewardship Supervisor


Website: https://massanf.taleo.net/careersection/ex/jobdetail.ftl?job=2400009Y

Contact: david.viale@mass.gov

Posted: 2/13/2024

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The Department of Agricultural Resources is seeking an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual who is passionate about land conservation and farm viability to lead our APR Stewardship team. The successful candidate will be a strong leader and communicator with knowledge of conservation restriction stewardship and someone who can balance supervising staff, policy development, regulatory enforcement, and strengthening relationships within the agricultural community.

The position oversees the Stewardship branch of the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program and combines telework, field work, and office work. Currently at least 1 office day or field day per week is required. The position location is out of any of MDAR’s field offices in Southborough, West Springfield, Lakeville, or Boston.

The APR program is a groundbreaking conservation program - the first of its kind in the nation that has since protected over 950 farms totaling over 75,000 acres. The program focuses on preserving and stewarding farmland and maintaining affordable land access to both established and beginning farmers. This is accomplished through the purchase and stewardship of agricultural preservation restrictions and options to purchase at agricultural value. The program recently spearheaded the statewide Farmland Action Plan that builds off and unifies 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 Supervisor will report to the Agricultural Lands Program Supervisor and specific duties include:

Supervision of Staff: Directly supervise, assign work, provide policy and procedural guidance, review performance, and support and participate in the career development and training of a growing team of seven (7) full time APR stewardship planning staff.

Ensuring successful program implementation: Oversee the ongoing development and implementation of APR stewardship, including but not limited to:

1) Incorporating and implementing actions recommended by the Farmland Action Plan;

2) Participating in the development of a Strategic Plan for the APR program and leading the implementation of the Stewardship aspects of the plan, including review and evolution of current policies;

3) Supervise APR stewardship outreach, monitoring, and enforcement, support and develop strategy, processes, policies, procedures, and implementation guidance;

4) Supervise and implement the programs “soft stewardship” approach such as building relationships with landowners, educating landowners, encouraging and assisting them in engaging in farm viability planning, climate friendly management practices, succession planning, farmer mental health and wellness, etc;

5) Development and management of an annual stewardship budget;

6) Supervise APR approvals strategy and process for Certificate of Approvals (COA’s) and Special Permits (SP’s). COA’s are advance approvals required for activities such as construction on or subdivision of the APR property into smaller farm units. SP’s are advance approvals required for non-agricultural activities on the APR property;

7) Meeting regularly with supervisees and APR acquisition team as necessary, working closely with legal staff and APR team to determine, implement, and resolve compliance matters, assist with regulatory development, ensure filing and database records are kept up to date and ensure MA laws, regulations, policies and contracts are upheld;

8) Represent APR Program Stewardship in public settings and events, conferences, workshops, and participation in EEA initiatives such as ILC meetings, etc.

9) Work with Division Supervisor to ensure a successful review of grant-funded projects by coordinating APR staff with grant staff so that grant applicants are in compliance with APR contract requirements and long-range planning strategies;

10) Incorporating recommendations from periodic APR listening sessions, the MA

Farmland Action Plan, Resilient Lands Initiative, Healthy Soils Action Plan, and other plans;

11) Presenting to Agricultural Land Program Supervisor, Division Supervisor, and various

committees such as the Agricultural Lands Preservation Committee on APR Stewardship status and progress.

Outreach and Communication: Serve as point of contact for the APR Stewardship program and cultivate and maintain positive working relationships with APR landowners and the land use community. This includes implementing the Strategic Outreach Plan, 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: Support Stewardship staff on complex site visits, review monitoring protocols and practices by contractors and staff on both Federally-funded and State funded APRs, conduct field work to assess compliance with the APRs as needed.

APR Compliance: Works with leadership and the Stewardship team to assess and coordinate resolutions of potential violations and enforcement issues. Oversee evaluation, processing and completion of Department approvals such as Certificates of Approval, Special Permits, and Options and Waivers of Rights of First Refusal.

Recordkeeping: Supervise the data management functions and needs of the stewardship program in terms of the technical adequacy in order to improve the efficiency of data systems for the programs. Supervises maintenance of 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.

Legislation, Regulation, Policy, and Procedures: 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. Gathers and analyzes data on APR farm program compliance, technical assistance, funding and monitoring programs on APR farms.

Land Acquisition: Coordinate with the Land Acquisition staff to evaluate proposed land acquisition projects as needed and transitioning landowner relationships from acquisition to stewardship. Develop and recommend changes from a stewardship lens in the planning components of APR acquisitions.

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

Related Duties: Performs related duties such as attending conferences, seminars and meetings, serving on committees and working groups, and other duties as assigned.

Continuing Education: Continually increases knowledge of agricultural conservation restriction best practices, and land stewardship. Learns and adopts new methods to perform tasks accurately and efficiently.

Required Qualifications

· At least five years of full-time experience in Land Stewardship and Conservation Restrictions in a land trust, state agency, or comparable setting and of which at least one year must have been in a director and/or supervisory capacity.

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

· Ability to supervise a team of experienced and entry level stewardship staff.

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

· Must be able to drive and available to travel within the region of their assigned office 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, real estate law, or public policy;

· Experience Directing/Supervising a conservation easement/restriction program;

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

· Knowledge of and experience in APR or conservation restrictions allowing agriculture;

· 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, MassMapper, 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.

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

The position location will be out of any of MDAR’s field offices in Southborough, West Springfield, Lakeville, or Boston.


First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days.

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must have at least (A) five years of full-time, or equivalent part-time technical or professional experience in urban or regional planning, environmental planning, transportation planning or land use planning, and (B) of which at least three years must have been in a professional capacity, and (C) of which at least one year must have been in a supervisory capacity, or (D) any equivalent combination of the required experience and the substitutions below.


I. A Bachelor's degree with a major in urban or regional planning, environmental planning, urban studies, architecture, landscape architecture, civil, environmental, or transportation engineering or environmental sciences may be substituted for two years d the required (A) experience.*

II. A Graduate degree with a major in urban or regional planning, environmental planning, urban studies, architecture, landscape architecture, civil, environmental, or transportation engineering or environmental sciences may be substituted for three years of the required (A) experience and one year of the required (B) experience.

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

NOTE: Educational substitutions will only be permitted for a maximum of three years of the required experience. Substitutions will only be permitted for a maximum of one year of the required (B) experience. No substitution will be permitted for the required (C) experience.

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

Comprehensive Benefits

When you embark on a career with the Commonwealth, you are offered an outstanding suite of employee benefits that add to the overall value of your compensation package. We take pride in providing a work experience that supports you, your loved ones, and your future.

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

The Commonwealth is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. Research suggests that qualified women, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage individuals who believe they have the skills necessary to thrive to apply for this role.

Official Title: Regional Planner IV
Primary Location: United States-Massachusetts-225 Turnpike Road-Southborough
Job: Planning
Agency: Department of Agricultural Resources
Schedule: Full-time
Shift: Day
Job Posting: Jan 23, 2024, 5:42:08 PM
Number of Openings: 1
Salary: 77,556.44 - 114,166.00 Yearly
If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer / ADA Coordinator: Gabriella Knight - 8572680629
Bargaining Unit: 09-MOSES - Engineers/Scientists
Confidential: No
Potentially Eligible for a Hybrid Work Schedule: Yes