Conditions of Employment
You must be a US Citizen or US National.
Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt.
Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
Successful completion of one-year probationary period, unless previously served.
Subject to one-year supervisory/managerial probationary period unless prior service is creditable. New USDA supervisors must successfully complete all components of the required training program before the end of their probationary period.
Direct Deposit ? Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/.
Must possess and maintain a valid state motor vehicle operator’s license for the type of vehicle(s) operated to perform the duties of this position.
Performs duties in a supportive manner of a safe and healthy work environment. The employee exercises caution and maintains all safety requirements when exposed to dangerous objects, chemicals, and extreme temperatures.
This is an interdisciplinary position description and may be filled in any of the following occupations/series; Soil Conservationist (0457), Soil Scientist (470), Agronomist (0471).
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.
BASIC REQUIREMENT FOR 0457 Soil Conservation:
Degree: Soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. The study must have included 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science. OR
Combination of education and experience: At least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.
BASIC REQUIREMENT FOR 0470 Soil Science:
Degree: soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility. OR
Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences. At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
BASIC REQUIREMENT FOR 0471:
Degree: Agronomy or related discipline of science that included at least 30 semester hours of course work in the basic plant sciences, including at least 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, such as those dealing with plant breeding, crop production, and soil and crop management. OR
Combination of education and experience: At least 30 semester hours in the basic plant sciences, including a minimum of 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
Graduate Education: Agronomy, or one of the related disciplines or fields of science, such as plant physiology, soils, or genetics, where the curriculum or pattern of training placed major emphasis on field crops or agronomy. Graduate study in related fields, such as botany, plant pathology, and biochemistry may also be qualifying, provided it placed a sufficient amount of emphasis on agronomy.
In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualifications Requirement in order to be considered:
Specialized Experience GS-14: To qualify for the GS-14 level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 level or higher in Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through Federal service. For this position, specialized experience is having experience with written and oral communications and providing training in order to effectively communicate with a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences, and meeting at least one (1) of the following:
Providing input on and/or having direct experience with evaluating and summarizing research published in peer-reviewed technical journals for its applicability and maturity for adoption by producers, and developing related science and policy for technological developments in closely related fields. Closely related fields would include at least one of the following: soil management, agronomy, grazing, ecological production management, pest management, nutrient management, regenerative agriculture, AND use of disciplines such as agronomy, soil ecology, soil biology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil genesis, agricultural engineering, biochemistry, geochemistry, rural sociology, agricultural economics, microbiology, or conservation.
Experience with agricultural production management practices. Examples of experience must include at least one of the following: cover crops, no till, reduced till, crop rotations, soil health management systems, grazing, AND use of disciplines such as agronomy, soil ecology, soil biology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil genesis, agricultural engineering, biochemistry, geochemistry, rural sociology, agricultural economics, microbiology, or conservation for improved implementation.
Specialized Experience GS-15: To qualify for the GS-15 level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 level or higher in Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through Federal service. For this position, specialized experience is having experience with 1). Written and oral communications and providing training in order to effectively communicate with a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences, and convey highly technical material to non-technical audiences, AND 2). Experience with providing input to/advising leadership on soil health related policies to be implemented in short and long range agency objectives, and additionally meeting BOTH of the following:
Providing input on and/or having direct experience with conducting, evaluating and summarizing research published in peer-reviewed technical journals for its applicability and maturity for adoption by producers, and developing related science and policy for technological developments in closely related fields. Closely related fields would include more than one of the following: soil management, agronomy, grazing, ecological production management, pest management, nutrient management, regenerative agriculture AND interdisciplinary use of agronomy, soil ecology, soil biology, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil genesis, agricultural engineering, biochemistry, geochemistry, rural sociology, economics, microbiology, or conservation.
Experience with agricultural production management practices. Examples of agricultural production management experience must include more than one of the following: cover crops, no till, reduced till, crop rotations, soil health management systems, grazing.
Note: There is no education substitution for the GS-14/15 level.
For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: Soil Conservation Soil Science Agronomy
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work s build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
You must submit a copy of your college transcripts or a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify all education requirements (i.e. substitution of education and/or basic education requirement). If a relevant course is not clearly qualifying (e.g. special topic, seminar, research, thesis, obscure or misleading course title, etc.), please submit an official course syllabi and/or detailed course description from the university/college for that particular course to ensure you are properly evaluated. Please note that qualifications determinations are based solely on the information submitted for each particular vacancy announcement. You must document all requirements on every vacancy; we cannot use previous determinations as a basis for rating. All required information must be received by the closing date of this announcement, and non-submission of all required documents/documentation will result in non-consideration. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. This information must be received by the closing date of this announcement. Non-submission of these documents will result in non-consideration.
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Applicants must, therefore, only report attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation via this link. All education claimed by applicants will be verified accordingly. Important: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. Click on this link for more information.
Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
This position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion Announcement Number NRCS-20-10889359-MP-DC-RLS. Current or former Federal employees or other eligible applicants may apply to both announcements to expand all possibilities of consideration since different referral criteria apply to each type of announcement. See the above announcement for more information.
Promotion Potential: If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.
Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized; Management may authorize superior qualifications & enhanced annual leave for applicants who are deemed to be highly qualified.
The work requires some physical exertion such as walking over wet, rough, uneven, or rocky surfaces; bending, crouching, stooping, stretching, reaching, or similar activities. The work requires moderate physical ability and average agility and dexterity.
Work is performed in an office, the field and occasionally a laboratory. The office is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated. Temperature and weather extremes may be encountered in the performance of the outdoor work. Field and laboratory duties may require the use of special protective gear. The incumbent is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow workers, or property with which entrusted.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran’s preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants’ quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:
Agronomic Policy and Standards DevelopmentConservation PlanningOral CommunicationPartneringProblem SolvingRepresenting the AgencySoil and Water ConservationSoil ScienceTechnical CompetenceWritten Communication
Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.
Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the “Apply” button to the right.
To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10889361
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Position sensitivity and risk
Moderate Risk (MR)
Trust determination process
*Closing Date: For closing date, please refer to the employer’s website
Tagged as: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE jobs
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