Jobs at Iowa Organic Association

Iowa Organic Association Seeks
Winter 2017-2018

Iowa Organic Association is looking for a part-time, collaborative, values-driven, and visionary leader who is passionate about organic agriculture in Iowa and motivated to further develop a growing organization.  The successful candidate will work to promote the success of organic farmers, create opportunities for conventional farmers to transition to organic practices, advocate for state and federal policies that support organic production and expand our outreach to organic gardeners and consumers.  The candidate will work with the Board and small staff to guide the organization into a future of growth.   The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors.   (Click here for a printable version)

About Iowa Organic Association

In 2006, a group of certified organic growers formed Iowa Organic Association (IOA) to support the growing Iowa organic market and community.  These founders were committed to organic as one of the best solutions for maintaining a family-farm system of agriculture in Iowa and making sure that Iowa farmers help grow the US domestic supply of organic products rather than rely on imports. Activities at the state level in policy, legislation and regulation served as the impetus for the formation of an association that would represent all of Iowa organic agriculture. 

Throughout the first ten years of the organization, IOA was involved as an important grassroots partner in several agricultural research projects, it gained a growing and consistent presence for Iowa organic agriculture at the Iowa State Fair, and represented the interests of Iowa organic farmers at the state policy level.  In 2015, with a change in board and staff leadership, the organization polled all organic stakeholders throughout Iowa to develop a strategic plan to lead it into the organization’s second decade.   The strategic plan was completed in November 2015 and is posted online:

IOA focuses on three core concentration areas: Policy, Education, and Community Building.  Policy work on pesticide drift, GMOs and water quality are of utmost importance to organic farmers and other organic stakeholders, and IOA joined the new Organic Farmers Association in 2017 to network into more focused federal policy work.  Education for organic growers as well as transitioning and new farmers was identified as necessary to fulfill the US domestic supply of organic grains as well as state-level demand for organic food.  Finally, growing a strong organic community is a focus for the organization, as many organic growers are isolated in our very rural state and want IOA to help facilitate networking opportunities and celebration of organic food and farming to support our growing industry and farmer community in Iowa.  Over the past three years, the organization has expanded its programming in all three concentration areas and is positioned to continue this growth to better serve its growing membership.


Board Relations

  • Serve as the main liaison to the Board of Directors.
  • Communicate regularly with the chair to ensure board goals are achieved, develops agendas, and helps facilitate meetings
  • Staff the IOA Policy, Executive, and Capacity Building committees

Strategic Planning

  • Lead strategic planning process with members, friends of IOA, and board members every 3-5 years. 
  • Ensure strategic planning is consistent with values, vision, and mission of IOA. 
  • Work with the board and staff to develop IOA programs that achieve the annual strategic goals.
  • Update board and staff on progress to meet strategic goals on a quarterly and annual basis.

External Relations and Networking

  • Build and develop effective strategic relationship with new and existing partners to ensure achievement of IOA’s mission, vision, and values.  Current partners include:  Iowa State University, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Farmers Union, Organic Farmers Association, Women Food & Agriculture Network, Pesticide Action Network, in addition to others. 
  • Serve as the official spokesperson of IOA in the community, provide a leadership presence among membership, and coordinate opportunities for board and member-leaders to represent IOA and organic agriculture.
  • Along with IOA staff, regularly attend IOA field days and workshops, represent IOA to the public at policy hearings and legislative events, and listen to IOA members to ensure the organization is meeting their needs.

Financial Management

  • Ensure sound fiscal and administrative management of IOA, maintaining the long-term financial stability of the organization.
  • Work with IOA bookkeeper, education & outreach coordinator, and board to:
    • Develop annual budget & monitor progress
    • Provide regular financial reporting to the board at each board meeting
    • Update membership on IOA’s financial status
    • Ensure that all grant finances are properly recorded and reported.


  • Lead a strong fundraising effort, develop a strategy for a diverse funding stream and effectively communicate to ensure implementation of the fundraising strategy
  • Build financial resources from public and private funders, individual donors, sponsors, and members. 
  • Develop, execute and achieve annual budget and fundraising goals.
  • Coordinate and execute annual fundraising appeals, annual membership appeals, and write multiple grant applications each year (4-6 minimum).

Staff Supervision

  • Oversee two part-time contractors, making sure their contract work plans are achieved on time and to IOA’s quality expectations. 
  • Promote and maintain the culture of an organic farmer-focused organization within the IOA team.


  • The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and experiences:
  • Demonstrated experience navigating complex issues to build and sustain effective coalitions and collaborative partnerships.
  • Demonstrated commitment to organic agriculture and Iowa.
  • Ability to attract, develop, motivate, and retain staff. 
  • Minimum of two years in non-profit project management or executive management. 
  • A management style that is positive, empowering, and consensus and team building.
  • Effective communication skills including public speaking, press interviews, writing, meeting facilitation, and consensus building. 
  • Proven track record in successful grant writing and grant management of complex federal grants.
  • Working knowledge of the issues, leaders, and trends in organic farming in Iowa and nationwide.
  • Financial management experience in budgeting, compliance and reporting.
  • Agreement with and support of IOA’s mission and vision and a desire to work and live in Iowa.

In Addition, Candidates Must be Willing To:

  • Work Part-Time (10-20 hrs./week) from a home office.
  • Work occasional nights and weekends.
  • Travel across the state for meetings, hearings, and field days. 
  • Effectively manage, direct, and improve our communications: Website, Social Media, Texting, Online Database, Listserv.
  • Ideally located in central Iowa to facilitate a more regular appearance at the Iowa Capitol.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Travel domestically as needed.
  • Show proof of legal status to work in the United States.
  • Pass a background check.


Salary is commensurate with experience but will likely be in the $25-30/hr. range.  IOA does not currently offer additional employment benefits.  We do offer flexibility and work from home opportunity. 

START DATE:  February 1, 2018


Confidential Application Process:  Complete applications will include: 1) Cover letter summarizing interest, qualification, and compensation requirements, 2) Resume, and 3) Three References.  Email (MS Word or PDF document) application to the attention of Scott Ausborn, IOA Chair, at with the SUBJECT:  APPLICATION:  LAST NAME.  


Click here for a printable version of the announcement.



If you are interested in an internship or serving on the Board of Directors, please email us with a short description of your interest.


Jobs at other sustainable agriculture organizations

For frequently updated listings of jobs in sustainable agriculture, check out Good Food Jobs and the COMFOOD-Jobs listserv.

For sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships, check out the National Sustainable Agriculture Service’s interactive directory.