Savanna Institute Position Opening: Executive Director

The Savanna Institute (SI) invites applications for an Executive Director. We seek applicants who share our passion for restorative and resilient agricultural practices. The Savanna Institute is a recently established Urbana, Illinois-based organization currently seeking 501(c)(3) status. The Executive Director will fully manage the case study program, maintain outreach and communications, fulfill administrative tasks, and foster SI’s ongoing and potential relationships with farmers, nurseries, etc. This position reports to the president of the Savanna Institute and will work closely with the Board of Directors.

Organization Description

The Savanna Institute (SI) was formed in 2013 with the intent to carry out formal case studies of savanna-based Restoration Agriculture systems across the Midwest. We are currently working with farmers across the region to explore the potential of savanna-based systems to become ecologically sound, agriculturally productive, and economically viable alternatives to the corn-soybean rotation that currently dominates agriculture in the Midwestern United States.

Our Vision

An optimal and resilient agriculture industry, inspired by the savanna biome, widespread throughout the Midwest.

Our Mission

Empower industry stakeholders to support, adopt, and enhance resilient agriculture practices.

Job Description

Hours: Part-time, flexible hours, approximately 20 hours per week
Location: Primarily home-based, but Midwest residence & occasional meetings in Urbana are expected Rate of Pay: $15-$25 per hour, commensurate with experience
Tenure: Preference is for applicants willing to transition to full-time as the organization grows
Degree Requirement: BS in related field, with research experience
Start Date: July 1, 2014

Key Skills Required

  • Professionalism & a positive attitude
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Accountable & detail oriented
  • Effective time management
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Organized & punctual
  • Adaptable to change
  • Willingness & capacity to learn
  • Basic research experience

• Excellent verbal & written communication • Good common sense and judgment
• Understanding of social media & basic marketing techniques.

• Excellent computer skills, especially Microsoft Excel & Google Drive

• Familiarity with academia & scientific process • Familiarity with agriculture systems
• Basic accounting & bookkeeping skills

Primary Responsibilities


New Case Study Farm Recruitment

  • Recruit new farmers to join our case study program using web-, social-media-, and network- based marketing strategies
  • Organize on-farm field days and workshops
  • Manage case study program application/approval process
  • Visit potential case study farmsCurrent Case Study Farm Support
  • Organize annual case study farmer Meet & Greet Dinner
  • Manage online farmer forum and facilitate conversations
  • Develop online resource page for farmers and industry stakeholders
  • Attend and present at industry conferences
  • Develop relationships with plant nurseries
  • Facilitate the development of a farmer co-op
  • Investigate potential market opportunities for early crops
  • Coordinate a farmer-intern matching programCurrent Case Study Farm Documentation
  • Develop online data collection protocol and platform for case study farmers
  • Discuss research collaborations with academic institutions
  • Communicate regularly with researchers studying at case study farms
  • Coordinate photo/video documentation of case study farms
  • Seasonal meetings with case study farmersInternal Organizational Tasks
  • Complete and submit organization’s 501(c)(3) application
  • Send monthly newsletters and manage subscriptions
  • Post frequently to social media pages
  • Keep day-to-day books of organization finances
  • Collaborate on grant applications (training will be provided if needed)
  • Coordinate marketing/media activities
  • Manage one or more interns
  • Attend monthly board meetings

How To Apply

  • Please submit the following to by 4pm CT on June 20th, 2014:
  1. 1)  Cover letter addressing your fit with this role
  2. 2)  Resume/CV
  3. 3)  Names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least three referencesPlease direct any questions to