Policy Officer Food and Agriculture

JOB OPENING: Thornburg Foundation

Position:       Policy Officer, Food & Agriculture, Thornburg Foundation

Reports to:   Executive Director

Based:           Thornburg Foundation Office, 2300 Ridgetop Road, Santa Fe

Hours:           Full-Time


The Thornburg Foundation is seeking applications from qualified candidates to lead its Food & Agriculture (F&A) Initiative, which supports the advancement of more resilient, sustainable, and localized food and agricultural systems in New Mexico. The F&A Policy Officer position will be responsible for overall direction of the F&A strategy as well as managing a multi-year grantmaking portfolio consistent with the F&A strategic plan.

The F&A strategy is centered on three main goals:

  1. To improve the health of New Mexico’s working agricultural rangelands and farmland to support the environment as well as future farming and ranching generations;

  2. To increase alignment among food and agricultural system stakeholders to develop and implement key policies, laws and programs that champion a stronger and more sustainable local food system; and

    To increase the financial viability of New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers, with a focus on smaller-scale and young/beginning producers.


Deadline extended through May 7th

Candidates must demonstrate:

  • Commitment to, experience in, and enthusiasm for advancing policy to strengthen food and agricultural systems in New Mexico; required
  • Experience working in a bi-partisan way, building coalitions, and engaging diverse stakeholders, including land-based Tribal, Hispanic, and rural communities; required
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, as well as organizational and interpersonal skills; required
  • Must operate with an entrepreneurial mindset, be self-directed, and highly collegial; required.
  • 5+ years of executive, legislative, campaign, or related political or advocacy experience from within government, the non-profit sector, philanthropy, or other related industry;
  • Undergraduate degree in agriculture, business, conservation, environmental science, public policy, social sciences, or related field; Master’s or Juris Doctor degree; preferred.
  • Strong project management skills to assure grants are developed, submitted, monitored and reviewed on a timely basis; required.
  • Understanding of the New Mexico political landscape; strongly preferred.
  • Experience building issue-advocacy strategies to advance long-term policy objectives; preferred.

Essential Duties:

  • Lead and refine as needed a comprehensive strategy designed to advance ecologically sustainable and economically viable food and agricultural systems in New Mexico.
  • Work closely with perspective and current grantees to develop new grant applications, support grant implementation, and ensure grant reporting.
  • Manage an annual grantmaking portfolio of approximately $1 million and 20-25 grants per year.
  • Prepare and deliver quarterly presentations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors on the progress of the F&A Initiative and grant recommendations.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with partners and stakeholders to advance a strong research and policy agenda.
  • Work in a bi-partisan way to build coalitions and engage diverse stakeholders in any strategy, such as national and local business organizations, community and elected officials, Tribal entities, legal experts, non-profit organizations, foundations and community-based organizations.
  • Ongoing engagement and consultations with national, regional and state funders and funding collaboratives around the F&A work.
  • Provide necessary reporting and updates to the Executive Director for his communications with the Thornburg Foundation executive committee.
  • Works with the highest integrity and in full compliance with applicable rules, regulations and standards.
  • Occasional travel in-state as well as national travel required.
  • Applicant must pass a background check.

Compensation & Benefits:

Competitive salary, depending on experience; health care benefits; Paid Time Off; and 401(k) plan.


All Thornburg Foundation staff are currently working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once staff are able to work in the office again, this position will be based out of the Thornburg Foundation office in Santa Fe, NM.

To Apply:

No phone calls. Please submit a cover letter that specifically addresses how your expertise and background match the job description requirements, your resume, and contact information for three references (two must be former or current employers) prior to April 23, 2021. Email applications to leslie@thornburgfoundation.org and include “Food & Agriculture Policy Officer” in the subject line. We plan for first round interviews for this position to be conducted remotely between May 3, 2021 and May 21, 2021. The target start for the position is June 1, 2021.

The Thornburg Foundation believes that diversity and inclusivity are vital to positive long-term success for our strategies and the foundation’s outcomes. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applications receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status. The Foundation now reports to the board of directors on diversity and inclusivity and continually works to bring awareness to the importance of this issue.