Request for Proposals: Seeking Contractor to Identify Biochar Innovators and Develop/Implement Earned Media Strategy around Biochar Profiles

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking a contractor to identify innovators in the production or use of biochar to sequester carbon and build healthy, resilient soils. This contract offers the opportunity to work in support of climate change solutions and building productive, sustainable, and resilient farming systems.

Project Goals:

  • Develop a portfolio of successful innovators and businesses involved in the production and/or utilization of biochar and, where appropriate biofuel byproducts, to tell the story of biochar as a multi-pronged solution to land-use challenges, soil degradation, carbon drawdown, and economic development.
  • Develop an earned media strategy to cultivate, pitch, and land local, regional, and national news pieces on the opportunities biochar innovators are harnessing to address climate change,improve farm profitability and create economic opportunity across rural America.
  • Highlight the opportunities, obstacles, strategies, and policies for scaling up the biochar sectoracross a broad geography of the United States.
  • Build support for the bipartisan Biochar Research Network Act and other policies to support development of a biochar and biofuel industry.

Deliverables:

  • Cultivate a group of leading biochar innovators in targeted states for the purpose of sharingtheir stories across earned media platforms.
  • Prepare succinct, well-written, and compelling profiles of leading biochar innovators as pitches, guest columns, news releases, or other earned media methods as part of a larger earned media strategy. The stories should describe their biochar strategies, experiences, and results.
  • Develop and implement a detailed earned media strategy to share the stories of biocharinnovators in targeted local, regional, and national news outlets. Targeted states may includeWashington, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Montana, Maine, Georgia, North Dakota, Maryland,and Oregon.
  • Set up interviews with identified innovators to gain an understanding of their biochar strategiesand experiences, and vet those innovators for possible earned media pieces.

Location: Remote
Budget: Up to $35,000
Period of Performance: March 2023-2025

Application Procedures – Send a cover letter, resume, and three writing samples to Emilie Ritter, Director of Communications and Development, National Center for Appropriate Technology – emilier@ncat.org

The cover letter should address the following questions:

  • What are the key strengths you would bring to this role?
  • Describe your experience in developing an earned media strategy
  • Describe a successful earned media campaign you’ve managed
  • Describe your experience and understanding of agriculture, forestry, energy, and climate solutions as it relates to biochar.

Please note that the Contractor will need to provide documentation of business insurance that provides adequate coverage for the work performed, maintaining it in full force at all times during the performance of the work under this contract.

Deadline: February 13 or open until filled.

About Biochar

Biochar offers a win-win solution for climate, agriculture and forestry. But its potential will only be realized with a national strategy for coordinated biochar research, supportive public policy and private investment to develop a biochar and biofuel industry.

Biochar is critical because soil is critical. Global soils hold three times the carbon as the atmosphere. So, even modest increases in organic soil carbon can make a significant impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide level. Biochar holds unique promise for building soil carbon because it persists in soil for hundreds to thousands of years. Research also suggests that appropriately designed biochar can reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soil and slow breakdown of native soil carbon, thereby sequestering additional carbon in soil.

Biochar also offers real bottom-line benefits to farmers, ranchers and foresters. It can improve soil health, increase crop yields and enhance re-establishment of forests on marginal and degraded soils. It can improve nutrient cycling and availability. And it can build soils that enable farms and ecosystems to endure extreme weather by better capturing heavy downpours and storing more water to sustain crops and forests through hot and dry spells.

However, research results have been inconsistent, reflecting variations in biochar, soil, climate and application practices. There is a critical need for a coordinated large-scale research program that tests the range of biochar types across locations with diverse conditions. Biochar has great potential. But to achieve that potential, we must better understand which types of biochar achieve the desired results in varying soils and circumstances.

To develop that understanding, bipartisan members of Congress joined together to introduce the Biochar Research Network Act. (HR 8596 in the US House and S 4895 in the Senate). The Act charts a course for federal funded research to fill the critical knowledge gaps on biochar. It will be considered for inclusion in federal farm bill being developed in this session of Congress.

There must also be concerted action to develop an industry to produce biochar and its biofuel coproduct. The pyrolysis process pioneered at Iowa State University produces biochar along with cellulosic sugars and biocrude oil that can be processed into low to negative carbon fuels. The fuels can lower emissions for difficult to decarbonize sectors and help pay for production of biochar. The biochar builds soil health and productivity to support the production of biomass for fuel along with food and fiber, without converting rangeland and forests to farmland.
But an industry must be built to realize these benefits, at a pace sufficient to meet the challenge of climate change. The profiles of biochar innovators will help draw the attention of the news media, the public and policy makers to the benefits of biochar. They will build support for development of a biochar and low carbon biofuel industry that contributes to solving climate change and building healthy, productive and resilient soils and farms.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a trusted, practical, connector for individuals and businesses who are working to leave our world better than we found it. NCAT works to foster and promote sustainable technologies and systems, especially for the benefit of economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. NCAT is a national private non-profit organization whose work includes nationally recognized projects in food, agriculture, and energy.

NCAT is seeking a full-time Receptionist/ National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) Specialist (Call Center Representative) to work with our administrative team in NCAT’s Butte, Montana, office. This position will be approximately half-time reception and half-time NEAR Call Center Specialist responsibilities. Our receptionists provide assistance at our national headquarters office. Our NEAR Program Referral Specialists provide information and referrals on availability of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), via phone and email, by looking up information on a national database. This position will provide support for people all around the United Sates on NEAR Services.

QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal applicant will have education and/or experience in an office setting and/or customer service. Call center experience is helpful. Bilingual speaking skills are preferred.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:

  • Commitment and passion for the NCAT mission;
  • Interest and knowledge of mission-driven, non-profit organizations;
  • Strong organizational, verbal and written communication skills with attention to detail;
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite;
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments and to complete tasks in a timely manner;
  • Knowledge of multi-line phone systems;
  • Strong customer service skills;
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment;
  • Maintain information of a confidential information.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Promote and support NCAT’s mission;
  • Provide reception services such as answering multi-line phone system, greet NCAT visitors, photocopying and mail services;
  • Edit and format documents and correspondence, data entry, create files and spreadsheets;
  • Respond to email inquiries regarding national energy assistance;
  • Look up information on a national database to provide contact information on Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP) in the callers’ area via phone and email;
  • Data entry to record information regarding phone and email requests and identify information requested, state, and response provided;
  • Assist administrative team with other projects as needed.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
This position is 40 hours/week with a starting wage of $15.68/hour depending on skills, qualifications, and experience. Benefits, paid leave, holidays, 401(k), life insurance, Long Term Disability, dental, and vision plan options.

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate can be identified. Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.ncat.org and www.attra.ncat.org to learn more about NCAT. All persons interested in being considered for the position must submit an NCAT application and upload a resume and cover letter through BambooHR. To start the application process please visit NCAT Supplemental Information and and complete the online supplemental application. Incomplete applications or references on the application to “see resume” will not be considered. The next part of the process is uploading a current resume and a cover letter highlighting experience and skills relevant to the listed qualifications.

Resume and cover letters can be uploaded at https://ncat.bamboohr.com/jobs/. Simply choose the position you are applying for and then click “apply for this job” to upload the required resume and cover letter. NCAT employees interested in being considered should upload their resume and letter of interest but are not required to complete the supplemental application information. Questions about the application process can be directed to:
Kriss Sullivan, Director of Human Resources
e-mail: jobs@ncat.org

For convenience this announcement is also available in PDF format.

NCAT’s mission is to help people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources. Our work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources. We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious or political belief and marital or veteran status. Diversity creates healthy communities. Special consideration will be given to applicants who are reflective of the communities that we serve. NCAT is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a trusted, practical, connector for individuals and businesses who are working to leave our world better than we found it. NCAT works to foster and promote sustainable technologies and systems, especially for the benefit of economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. NCAT’s work includes nationally recognized projects in energy, agriculture, food, and rural development.

NCAT is seeking a three-quarter time to full-time experienced Accountant who will perform advanced and specialized accounting assignments involving moderately complex data requiring the application of generally accepted accounting principles. Obtain and analyze financial information to prepare budgets, reports, billing statements, make workflow recommendations and support the accounting team with special projects. Prior experience with grants and contracts accounting is preferred. This position reports to the Chief Financial Officer. This position will provide an outstanding opportunity to work with a dedicated and professional team.

This position can be 30 – 40 hours/week exempt position at the NCAT headquarters in Butte, Montana. After a training period, this position may be able to work part time in a remote capacity. This position will provide an outstanding opportunity to work with a dedicated and professional staff on a national level.

QUALIFICATIONS:
The position requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting, or a closely related field with three years of relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Experience with QuickBooks accounting software and familiarity with non-profit accounting systems is preferred.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:

  • Commitment and passion for the NCAT mission;
  • Effective listening skills, verbal, and written communication skills;
  • Understanding of cost accounting and general accounting principles;
  • Strong organizational , analytical, planning, and problem solving skills with attention to detail;
  • Accounting computer literacy, ability to manipulate cost and general accounting computer software programs, spreadsheets, and databases;
  • Familiarity with business administration practices and payroll procedures;
  • Ability to maintain information of a confidential nature;
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment;
  • Ability to prioritize work assignments and to complete tasks in a timely manner;
  • Great customer service and interpersonal skills;
  • Interest and knowledge of mission-driven, non-profit organizations.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Promote and support NCAT’s mission;
  • Plans, studies, and collects pertinent data to determine costs of business activities to include purchases, inventory and labor;
  • Analyzes data, establishes and maintains reports, spreadsheets, and databases;
  • Compiles and analyzes budget and cost information to be used in operating and contract budget preparation;
  • Prepares monthly management reports for projects;
  • Maintains contract and grant files;
  • Prepares budgets and budget revisions for contracts and grants, as well as estimates for new and proposed services and other related costs;
  • Provides the CFO and management with reports identifying and comparing factors affecting costs and services;
  • Ensures proper compliance and reporting requirements are maintained;
  • Works closely with contracts staff as well as contracting partners;
  • Periodically reviews Uniform Guidance and other related publications for changes in compliance and cost regulations;
  • Assists in the preparation of travel reconciliations, works with employees on necessary travel documentation, acts as backup for travel reconciliations;
  • Maintains monthly General Ledger (GL) account reconciliation including bank reconciliations;
  • Oversee periodic postings from Databank on-line payment system, investigate and resolve any discrepancies;
  • Prepares and submits all Accounts Receivable (A/R) invoices to appropriate agencies/contracts;
  • Remains on the forefront of emerging industry practices;
  • Collaborate with accounting team on any special projects as needed.

SALARY AND BENEFITS:
$40,000-$55,000 annually depending on work status, qualifications, and experience. Excellent benefits include flexible schedule, paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays, health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, a cafeteria and 401(k) plan and a pleasant, professional environment.

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate can be identified. Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.ncat.org and www.attra.ncat.org to learn more about NCAT. All persons interested in being considered for the position must submit an NCAT application and upload a resume and cover letter through BambooHR. To start the application process please visit NCAT Supplemental Information and and complete the online supplemental application. Incomplete applications or references on the application to “see resume” will not be considered. The next part of the process is uploading a current resume and a cover letter highlighting experience and skills relevant to the listed qualifications.

Resume and cover letters can be uploaded at https://ncat.bamboohr.com/jobs/. Simply choose the position you are applying for and then click “apply for this job” to upload the required resume and cover letter. NCAT employees interested in being considered should upload their resume and letter of interest but are not required to complete the supplemental application information. Questions about the application process can be directed to:
Kriss Sullivan, Director of Human Resources
e-mail: jobs@ncat.org

For convenience this announcement is also available in PDF format.

NCAT’s mission is to help people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources. Our work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources. We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious or political belief and marital or veteran status. Diversity creates healthy communities. Special consideration will be given to applicants who are reflective of the communities that we serve. NCAT is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. NCAT is a trusted, practical, connector for individuals and businesses who are working to leave our world better than we found it.  NCAT works to foster and promote sustainable technologies and systems, especially for the benefit of economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. NCAT’s work includes nationally recognized projects in energy, agriculture, food, and rural development.

NCAT is seeking a full-time Carbon Farm Planner in Texas dedicated to the successful planning, design, and implementation of conservation projects on Texas farms and ranches. The Carbon Farm Planner will play a vital role in advancing efforts to meet greenhouse gas emissions reductions and carbon sequestration targets by accelerating agricultural producer adoption of conservation practices. This will be achieved through developing Carbon Farm Plans (CFPs) that identify all opportunities for carbon capture and storage on farm, providing technical assistance for implementation of practices identified in the plan, assisting with project monitoring, coordinating planning teams of local partner organizations and agencies. The Carbon Farm Planner will also be responsible for building carbon farm planning capacity in Texas by promoting this conservation planning opportunity for Texas farmers and ranchers and training a network of technical assistance providers/technical service providers in Texas to become certified and successful Carbon Farm Planners.

The successful candidate for this position will be located in Texas with the ability to travel around the state to farms, workshops, and trainings throughout the state as needed. The successful applicant will be required to have a remote office set up.

QUALIFICATIONS:

This position requires a BA/BS degree in agriculture, environmental science, natural resource management, Environmental Planning, Natural or Applied Sciences preferably wildlife biology, range, soil science, hydrology, animal science, agronomy, or forest ecology OR equivalent education and experience agroforestry, or a related field along with a minimum of five years of farming and/or relevant experience; or an MA/MS degree and a minimum of two years of farming and/or relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Spanish language proficiency is preferred. NRCS conservation planner certification preferred.  Applicants who are not yet Certified Carbon Farm Planners will need to successfully complete the Carbon Cycle Institute’s Carbon Farm Planning Training and Curriculum and become a Certified Carbon Farm Planner within 6 months of hire.  (NCAT will provide the Carbon Cycle Institute’s Carbon Farm Planning Training for Certification, the training lasts 3 weeks, 2-4 hours/week)

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:

  • Commitment and passion for the NCAT mission;
  • Strong knowledge of agriculture in the Southwest and related organizations and government agencies;
  • Familiarity with concepts of sustainability and regenerative agricultural practices;
  • Ability to do GIS mapping and data management;
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Suite;
  • Knowledge of Texas ecology, native woody and grassland plants and wildlife, Carbon Farm planning;
  • Excellent attention to detail and communication skills, with experience in public speaking, research, writing, editing, social media, and multimedia production;
  • Ability to build relationships with farmers, ranchers, community organizations, government agencies, partners, and non-profit organizations;
  • The ability to recognize and pursue project development opportunities and assess funding sources;
  • Grant and proposal writing skills and familiarity with contract language and creation;
  • Experience working with land managers and agricultural producers in conservation planning/carbon farming planning and implementation;
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills;
  • Self-directed and organized with ability to work independently to meet multiple deadlines;
  • Ability to articulate complex and technical information in an accessible manner to a wide diversity of audiences, especially agricultural constituents
  • Exceptional ability to work productively both independently and in a collaborative team setting.
  • Ability to coordinate groups and teams and manage time effectively on multiple projects;
  • Ability to communicate and work with a diverse range of people including private landowners and land managers, private contractors, government agencies, Tribal staff and citizens, general public, news media, and partner resource professionals;
  • Ability to sit, walk, and listen for up to 8 hours per day;
  • Ability to conduct on-farm field work in challenging weather and climate conditions;
  • Ability to travel around the state, region, and on occasion out of the state. Travel may involve flexible work hours, including evenings, weekends, and some overnight travel may be required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Promote and support NCAT’s mission;
  • Provide regionally appropriate technical assistance for conservation practice adoption to farmers and ranchers via in person site-visits as well as by phone, email, social media, workshops, and field demonstrations;
  • Work collaboratively with agricultural producers, Carbon Cycle Institute, and technical assistance providers such as Texas Soil and Water Conservation Program Specialists and NRCS District Conservationists to develop technical CFPs that reflect farmer goals and include a suite of recommended NRCS-conservation practice standards with quantifiable GHG benefit;
  • Collect data and prepare quarterly project reports towards outcomes and goals, such as implementation acres, practices implemented, quantifiable GHG benefits, farm productivity and the marketing and sales of agricultural products grown using climate-friendly practices;
  • Create educational materials such as publications, and workshop content, assist with written and visual content for annual report;
  • Arrange educational activities, such as Carbon Farm Demonstration Days;
  • Cultivate peer-to-peer producer learning communities;
  • Develop and maintain positive and productive relationships with producers, local, state and federal agencies, partner organizations, research institutions, and Tribes in program development and implementation;
  • Coordinate with similar projects in Texas in order to identify synergies, amplify impact and reduce redundancy, such as USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities awardees, RCPP awardees, CIG awardees;
  • Carry out diversity and inclusion efforts, including outreach to small and historically underserved producers to embed equity within Texas’ emergent Carbon Farming Program;
  • Present at conferences, producer association meetings, stakeholder meeting and other appropriate forums;
  • Contribute content for promotional communications and outreach activities, such as blogs, podcasts, press releases, earned media pushes, and video production;
  • Conduct Carbon Farm Planning Introductory webinars;
  • Support CCI in the delivery of a virtual, 3-week Carbon Farm Planning Training and Curriculum in Summer 2023 to begin building a network of Certified Carbon Farm Planners in Texas;
  • Provide ongoing virtual and in-person training and TA for a newly Certified Carbon Farm Planners to write their first plans and support practice implementation on farms;
  • Arrange and coordinate monthly Planner network meetings to coordinate statewide adoption and successful implementation of CFPs;
  • Work with Climate and Agriculture Program Manager to promote this pilot project to producers across the state of Texas, as well as statewide stakeholders in the agricultural community;
  • Identify prospective funding opportunities and assist with grant writing to build program capacity;
  • Stay abreast of current and emerging research in the field of agricultural conservation planning, soil health practices and agricultural practices that have proven GHG benefit.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: $52,000-$58,000 annually depending on work status, qualifications, and experience. Excellent benefits include flexible schedule, paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays, health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, a cafeteria and 401(k) plan and a pleasant, professional environment.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate can be identified. Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.ncat.org  and www.attra.ncat.org to learn more about NCAT. NCAT employees interested in the position should email Human Resources a letter of interest as soon as possible.  All persons interested in being considered for the position must submit an NCAT application and upload a resume and cover letter through BambooHR.  To start the application process please visit NCAT Employment Application and complete the online supplemental application. Incomplete applications or references on the application to “see resume” will not be considered. The next part of the process is uploading a current resume and a cover letter highlighting experience and skills relevant to the listed qualifications.  Resume and cover letters can be uploaded at  https://ncat.bamboohr.com/jobs/.  Simply choose the position you are applying for and then click “apply for this job” to upload the required resume and cover letter.  Questions about the application process can be directed to:

Kriss Sullivan, Director of Human Resources

e-mail:  jobs@ncat.org

NCAT’s mission is to help people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources.    Our work brings together diverse partnerships and communities to help reduce poverty and protect our natural resources.  We strive to be a multicultural organization that embraces the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious or political belief and marital or veteran status.  Diversity creates healthy communities.  Special consideration will be given to applicants who are reflective of the communities that we serve.  NCAT is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

For additional information about NCAT please visit our website at www.ncat.org.