Director, Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program


The Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program is an integral program of the food self-reliance efforts of The Kohala Center. Its primary function is to help revitalize island food production through assisting new and beginning farmers or ranchers to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to manage small production operations in ways that are environmentally responsible and economically sustainable. The Director of the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program is the lead staff member for these activities and has primary responsibility for the development and implementation of all aspects of the training program. The Director of the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program is responsible for the programmatic effectiveness and financial sustainability of the program.

Essential Job Functions

Under the general supervision of The Kohala Center’s Vice President for Programs, the Director of the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides the leadership, development and implementation of all BFRDP-related programs and efforts and performs the following functions:

  • Manages the BFRD program, with all its elements, to maximize outcomes from sometimes limited resources by: developing partnerships and funding opportunities, writing activity and progress reports based on criteria required by the various cooperating and funding agencies, developing and administering budgets under the direction of the Vice President and CFO, coordinating and directing all staff work related to the BFRDP including the supervision of any staff assistants, BRFD program coordinators, mentoring farmers, and project volunteers.
  • Plans and implements the Kamehameha Schools High School Ag Internship Program with the assistance of TKC staff.
  • Builds and maintains The Kohala Center’s Demonstration Farm as a teaching and production farm that is integrated with all aspects of the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program.
  • Actively recruits program participants and coordinates program outreach efforts to meet the requirements of all program funders.
  • Actively recruits and manages the classroom instructors, field instructors, and on-farm mentors to meet the needs of program participants and the requirements of the funders.
  • Actively seeks continuing and diverse avenues of financial and community support, including income producing programs and partnering opportunities for this vibrant and critical program, including designing and writing grant proposals to continue program funding.
  • Works with TKC’s President and CEO, and communications and media relations staff to implement a public relations strategy through normal Kohala Center channels, to create and maintain a high level of community awareness and a strong positive image for the BFRDP.
  • Supervises the TKC Farm Coordinator, the Agriculture Production Specialist, and other farm assistants, and works with them to keep all project records up to date in order to facilitate creation of the numerous internal and external reports required by the program’s various funding streams.
  • Carefully manages the risk of having students in settings with farm machinery in a program that requires travel between project sites.
  • Serves as the resident expert on sustainable farming and long range food security issues, and remains current on issues and advancements in this field in order to advise program participants, senior staff, and island residents.
  • Assures the programmatic effectiveness and financial sustainability of the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program.
  • Represents The Kohala Center as an expert in sustainable food production and farmer training in highly divergent forums from the agriculture and food production industries.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communications skills required.
  • Diplomacy and good judgment are essential.
  • Strong knowledge of sustainable agricultural production in a commercial farm setting.
  • Proven ability to interact positively with a wide variety of people in divergent forums, from scientists to parents, farmers to government officials, in a wide variety of settings from formal presentations through committee and board work and including one-on-one personal communication.
  • Strong community outreach skills with proven leadership ability in organizing and managing community-directed events.
  • Strong organizational, project management, and time management skills.
  • Ability to work positively in a fast-paced, demanding, and collaborative organization.
  • Strong writing skills including the desire to design projects, write grants to support the program, and complete written reports to funders.
  • Knowledge of the food and agriculture landscape of Hawaii preferred


  • A minimum of five years of relevant experience as a production farmer and/or agricultural production instructor.
  • Five years of experience in business and/or program management and/or community development.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, MA preferred; a combination of 10 years of successful farming and farm management may substitute for a portion of the educational requirement.

Working Conditions

  • This position requires mobility as well as evening and weekend hours.
  • Work is performed in a wide variety of settings in the community, in an office setting, and at various outdoor sites on island.
  • Out of area travel is required, including to satellite teaching areas on Hawaii Island, to neighboring islands, and periodic out-of-state travel.

How to Apply
Please download and fill out the employment application form and submit with your cover letter and resume to Cortney Okumura at No phone calls, please.

Posted: September 6, 2016