Conservation Associate (Saginaw Bay)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Lansing, MI, USA 🇺🇸


Lansing, Michigan, USA

Remote location within Michigan may be considered. Lansing, MI preferred 


Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. 

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. Whether it’s career development, work/life balance, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all of our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued.


The Conservation Associate, Saginaw Bay will support The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to influence local supply chains and farmers to make strides toward long term agricultural conservation adoption in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed.  The Conservation Associate’s programming areas have been strategically designed as pathways for gaining progress toward The Nature Conservancy’s long-term conservation adoption goals. The Conservancy will rely on this person to demonstrate the effective and sustainable nature of supply chain-driven farmer incentive models, help facilitate stronger farmer peer networks throughout the watershed, and generally add technical capacity to our team.

The Conservancy has worked with agricultural partners in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed for nearly ten years to enhance on-farm conservation outcomes and improve water quality. We do this by co-developing with partners and landowners on new conservation practices, conservation delivery mechanisms and conservation learning opportunities. The Conservation Associate, Saginaw Bay will advance TNC’s agricultural supply chain work and our farmer engagement program. This position will:

1.    Successfully establish and maintain peer-to-peer farmer learning groups.
2.    Execute new supply chain farmer incentive programs through Michigan’s dairy and grain industries.


This position will contribute technical support and assistance to Michigan’s Soil Health & Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including planning and implementing new sustainable agriculture (ag) program work streams. The Conservation Associate entails a unique set of responsibilities, including managing partner relationships and delivering sustainable ag programing at multiple levels within Michigan’s agricultural supply chain.  

The position requires an experienced collaborator willing and able to strategize, influence and thoughtfully deliver soil health initiatives to Michigan’s private agricultural sector. They will help foster community and stakeholder support through effective outreach and communication, manage their time to coordinate tasks across multiple projects, effectively collaborate as part of a larger team, help adaptively manage ongoing programs toward greater success, set deadlines and manage tasks to completion. This is a two year position, the compensation range begins at $50,000 annually and is commensurate with experience. 


  • Performs field work with minimal supervision and makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context.
  • Works collaboratively with external agricultural supply chain partners, along with internal technical, administrative, and professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training, and development. 
  • Ensures ag program compliance with internal policies and external requirements.
  • Employee may be asked to work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, and with a diversity of stakeholders with varying and sometimes demanding schedules.  The employee will generally be responsible for maintaining professional customer service under a suite of demanding circumstances.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in agricultural or natural resource management- related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience working with non-industrial private landowners.  
  • Relationship building experience to work closely with a variety of partners, (e.g., farmers, agribusiness, academia, governmental, internal scientists.)
  • Experience completing tasks independently with respect to a timeline.
  • Experience with communication via written, spoken and graphical means in English and/or other relevant languages.
  • Experience using common software applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, etc.
  • Experienced in field work and data collection.                   
  • Must have valid driver’s license.  


  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 3-5 years’ experience in agricultural or natural resource management-related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Possession of, or the ability to obtain, professional Crop Advisor or agronomy certification.  
  • Ability and willingness to apply science to decision-making and guide activities.
  • Familiarity with principles of dairy herd management, livestock grazing or general feed nutrition.
  • Knowledge of agricultural best management practices.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation, land management and natural resource preservation.
  • Work, study, or training experience within the agricultural sector, specifically the livestock industry preferred.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.