Senior Farm Advisor – Westcountry Rivers Trust
This is a Grade 4 role with a salary between £26,000 and £30,000 (dependent on experience) plus benefits including 8% pension.
Due to the nature of the funding this is initially a fixed term 12 month contract of 37.5 hours per week. There is a possibility of making permanent or extending the contract depending on funding.
We work with grants, water company funded initiatives, government funding and through commercial activities to deliver change both in our rivers and on the land that they drain. We are looking for an experienced, self-starting Senior Farm Advisor to join our team delivering the CPES (Channel Payments for Ecosystem Service) Project. This is a fantastic opportunity for the right candidate to work for Westcountry Rivers Trust, a dynamic and aspirational organisation at the forefront of environmental thinking and practical conservation in the UK today.
CPES is an EU Interreg funded cross border partnership project, with WRT working in collaboration with 13 other organisations in the UK and France. The overall objective is to evaluate and develop alternative mechanisms for investment which support improvements in water quality, implemented in our case study areas – for WRT this constitutes 2 sub-catchments in Devon, the Lyd and the Gara. A recent extension to the project timeframe allows us to continue our engagement for another year. We are seeking an Advisor to be the lead point of contact across these focus catchments and to join our Land Team at the Trust.
The Senior Farm Advisor will report to the CPES Project Manager.
Your role will be to apply your practical and professional knowledge and experience in the Agricultural and Environmental sectors which will combine farmer and landowner engagement, the ability to identify and develop opportunities in catchment management and meet the project remit and delivery targets. The role is full time and will be focussed on the River Lyd and Gara catchments. The CPES project seeks to improve water quality and maximise wider environmental conditions as co-benefits of any approach, from targeted interventions. The project offers advice and grant funding where possible to land owners to implement positive change supporting ecosystem service provision optimising benefits such as boosting biodiversity, building greater resilience from the effects of climate change, mitigating flood risk or increasing Carbon sequestration. The approach is win-win; for the farm environment and economics. WRT are applying a series of metrics to their work including Natural Capital assessment, with soil and water management playing a fundamental role in this.
Working as an advisor requires a complex suite of skills and experience which includes professional Agri Industry qualifications as well as practical on the ground experience, an ability to engage a diverse audience at all levels, scientific or technical expertise and an approachable and trustworthy personality to allow WRT to build on our existing presence and reputation locally.
- Proactively develop leads and contacts, plus build on WRT existing coverage across the catchments to engage directly with farmers, landowners and growers to raise awareness of the project and build opportunities for project delivery.
- Develop and deliver tailored farm advice, plans, reports or events as part of a programme of water & land management improvements, achieving Project objectives and timescales.
- Proactively build contacts across sectors to further identify opportunities which align with Project remit or achieve mutual objectives eg. Countryside Stewardship, ELM ambitions, Woodland planting, Environmental Offsetting interests or Community initiatives etc.
- To take ownership as lead point of contact in catchment of project deliverables, targets and deadlines – seeking to exceed & excel, consider innovations and trial solutions.
- To proactively identify and develop Commercial Opportunities.
- Undertake surveys, monitoring (eg. water quality, soil or nutrient) or analysis as required – supporting evidence of actions for case studies, reports and project promotion.
- Work and liaise with other members of the Land Team, WRT teams and relevant Project Partners to ensure clear communication and demonstrate progress or outcomes. Potentially mentor other Junior colleagues & knowledge share amongst Land Team.
- Co-ordinate, attend and contribute to relevant meetings, workshops or stakeholder groups to achieve Project aims and to share best practice, raise awareness and promote WRTs role.
- Work closely with the Project & Line Manager to ensure project outputs, deadlines and reporting are met as well as with other key members of WRT eg. for delivery, admin etc.
- General advocacy of the Trust to promote & deliver services to funders, clients, and partners
- You may be asked to take on other relevant duties as appropriate inc. developing ideas, identifying options for new work, drafting bids or tenders.
- This role requires regular local travel within the catchment, local area, WRT office and meetings
Knowledge and Experience
- Appropriate Degree level qualification or equivalent work experience in an Agricultural or conservation/farming related discipline.
- Sound knowledge of agriculture and local farming practices, as well as current & emerging Agri-Environment schemes and relevant Policies or Legislation; in particular soil and water conservation.
- FACTS/BASIS trained. Confident and competent in delivery of tailored farm advice, interpretation and feedback of data eg. nutrient plans, soil data.
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to communicate, engage and present at multiple levels and across different sectors.
- Self-motivated, organised and enthusiastic individual able to work to deadlines or under pressure.
- Experience of catchment-scale approaches and processes, familiar with concepts of Ecosystem Services, Natural Capital, Offsetting, NFM, NbS etc.
- Ability to travel regularly and to remote sites.
- Knowledge & competence in Microsoft Office applications, accuracy & attention to detail with record keeping.
- Ability to develop & maintain good working relations with internal staff & external stakeholders, ability to recognise and handle sensitive situations.
- Confident networker, able to identify & develop potential opportunities or leads.
- Local area knowledge an advantage.
- Proven experience in handling Countryside Stewardship or Woodland Grant applications (D).
Skills and Competencies
- A proactive approach and evidence of using own initiative with effective problem-solving skills.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills with an ability to use information objectively and apply sound judgement in order to make decisions.
- Adaptable and organised in prioritising workload, managing conflicting demands and working effectively to deadlines with minimum supervision.
- The ability to foster and maintain successful working relationships with colleagues and contacts.
- Ability to influence stakeholders and negotiate outcomes.
- A professional and businesses orientated approach.
- The ability to present confidently project outcomes to stakeholders and partners.
- A sound working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Reliable, positive attitude and work ethic.
- Team player, willingness to work with others and share best practice.
- Pro-active attitude towards meeting and exceeding goals.
- Approachable, professional, trustworthy.
- Innovative, adaptable, practical.
- Shares and promote success, acknowledges failures & seeks solutions to improve.
- Supports and promotes the WRT ethos.
The above are Essential criteria unless indicated as Desirable (D)
To apply visit: Job Opportunities | Westcountry Rivers Trust (wrt.org.uk)