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Director, Governmental Affairs, Agriculture, and International Development

Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
20005, Washington D.C. (US)
commensurate with experience
Date posted
Mar 12, 2024

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The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities, is seeking a highly skilled Director, Governmental Affairs, Agriculture, and International Development to play a key role in enhancing the organization’s effectiveness as the leading voice in Washington for the role of public and land-grant universities in agricultural innovation.  
As a member of both the Governmental Affairs (GA) and the Food, Agriculture, and National Resources (FANR) teams, the Director is responsible for advancing the association’s advocacy priorities in agricultural development, domestically and globally. The incumbent accomplishes this by working through the annual budget and appropriations process, appropriate authorization legislation (such as the Farm Bill and Global Food Security Act), and key agencies (such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the US Agency for International Development). A central component of the position is outreach to and coordination with key leaders of APLU member universities to ensure a coordinated strategy in advocacy. In particular, the position works closely with government relations representatives through the Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA), Deans of Colleges of Agriculture and other Administrative Heads within the Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA), and influential citizen advocates through the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET). The international-focused part of the portfolio extends beyond agriculture to include the role of higher education in international development more broadly.  

The BAA maintains a lobbying contract with a firm on domestic agriculture appropriations and authorization priorities. The position works closely with the firm, utilizing the combined strength of its capabilities and the strength of APLU’s membership in advocacy. In contrast to the firm's responsibilities, this position is primarily responsible for working with CGA and CARET and ensuring internal coordination between the Offices of GA and FANR. The firm has primary responsibility for representing the BAA on Capitol Hill and to the administration. 

Successful candidates will be energetic team players as well as self-starters, have exceptional written and verbal communication skills, possess strong organizational and interpersonal skills, be detail-oriented, and be able to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously. The position requires keen political acumen and coalition-building skills. Further, a deep interest in the nuances of public policy and a commitment to the values and mission of public universities, particularly in the areas of agriculture and international development, are a must. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. The incumbent must reside in DC, MD, or VA and pass standard background checks. They are eligible for a hybrid work schedule. For more information, consult

APLU is a membership organization that fosters a community of university leaders collectively working to advance the mission of public research universities. The association’s membership consists of nearly 250 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations spanning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, six U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.3 million undergraduates and 1.4 million graduate students, award 1.4 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $61 billion in university-based research.

APLU’s Office of Governmental Affairs leads the association’s engagement with Congress and the administration to advance policy that furthers the ability of public universities to impact society through their education, research, and community engagement missions. APLU’s Office of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources focuses on broad cross-cutting issues related to agriculture, food and fiber, forestry, human sciences, natural resources (ecology, fish and wildlife, forestry, mineral resources and water resources), oceans and atmosphere, and veterinary medicine. 

The Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) is a unit of APLU’s Commission on Food, Environment, and Renewable Resources (CFERR).  The purpose of the BAA is the promotion of agriculture in all its phases (food, environment, agriculture, natural resources, and international) in the state universities and land-grant colleges of the states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of the Pacific, and the U. S. Virgin Islands.


  • Working within a leadership team, develop and implement a proactive federal relations strategy to advance APLU’s policy positions in agriculture, working directly with the Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) Budget and Advocacy Committee (annual appropriations) and Committee on Legislation and Policy (Farm Bill), and CGA. Advocate for increased federal funding on appropriations priorities, engage in Farm Bill and other authorization legislation advocacy, and work on implementation of Farm Bill initiatives as well as other relevant opportunities with federal agencies. 
  • Develop and implement a proactive federal relations strategy to advance APLU’s policy positions in international development, such as partnerships between the U.S. and developing nation universities (in all sectors, not just agriculture), Feed the Future Innovation Laboratories, and other opportunities to harness the strengths of APLU institutions to contribute globally. Work on relevant authorization legislation, such as the Global Food Security Act. 
  • Serve as the Executive Director for the Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) and?provide leadership and support to the CARET Executive Committee to facilitate the continued success of land-grant programs for agriculture, food and nutrition, natural resources, individual and family well-being, and community development.  Support the continued refinement and implementation of the CARET Strategic Plan and engage the CARET delegates in advocacy messaging and strengthening its national relationship with agricultural organizations, commodity groups, and professional associations.  Supervise and work closely with FANR team members who share CARET responsibilities in the annual plan of work (meeting logistics, conference planning, Washinton, DC visits, and CARET organizational functions). 
  • Working with BAA’s lobbying firm, represent APLU on Capitol Hill and relevant agencies on policy and funding issues that affect public and land-grant universities. 
  • Engage with partner organizations and coalitions by regularly participating in external meetings and identifying opportunities for collaboration and shared advocacy on issues within assigned portfolio. 
  • Develop policy papers and contribute regular updates and analysis on policy issues for member institutions. 
  • Promote a diverse, inclusive, effective, and positive team environment within the office.
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least six years of progressively responsible senior-level experience on Capitol Hill, relevant federal agencies, or in positions focused primarily on government affairs, preferably in areas related to agriculture and international development.
  • Possess expert knowledge and demonstrated content expertise in areas related to agriculture and international development, as well as successful experience developing advocacy strategies to accomplish policy goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of an advocacy team. 
  • Experience, ability, and desire to interface with high-level university and policy leaders. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; exceptional presentation skills. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to provide strategic direction and leadership to multiple constituencies.
  • Strong leadership and management skills, with successful experience in building and maintaining positive, supportive, diverse, and inclusive work environments.
  • Exceptional organizational skills; detail-oriented; able to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously.  
  • Strong commitment to advancing higher education initiatives, particularly within the areas of agriculture and international development. 
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed. 

To Apply
Please send a letter of interest and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Director, Governmental Affairs (A&ID). Applications will be reviewed as received and continue until the position is filled, with preference given to those applications received by April 1, 2024.  Salary will be commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package.  

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