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Soil Conservationist

Employer
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Location
Jamestown, Tennessee, US
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
Aug 12, 2022

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Sector
Academic / Research
Field
Conservation science
Discipline
Forestry
Salary Type
Salary
Employment Type
Full time
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Summary

The incumbent will serve as a District Conservationist assisting the Conservation District(s), consisting of at least one county or district, in the development of a comprehensive natural resources conservation program. The incumbent performs professional duties to achieve an integrated system of sound land use and conservation treatment in harmony with the capability and needs of the land and landowner.
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Overview
  • Accepting applications
  • Open & closing dates

    07/15/2022 to 07/27/2022

    This job will close when we have received 50 applications which may be sooner than the closing date. Learn more
  • Salary

    $66,214 - $103,176 per year
  • Pay scale & grade

    GS 11 - 12
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    Locations

    3 vacancies in the following locations:
    • Jamestown, TN 1 vacancy
    • Union City, TN 1 vacancy
    • Woodbury, TN 1 vacancy
  • Remote job

    No
  • Telework eligible

    Yes-as determined by the agency policy.
  • Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.
  • Relocation expenses reimbursed

    Yes-You may qualify for reimbursement of relocation expenses in accordance with agency policy.
  • Appointment type

    Permanent
  • Work schedule

    Full-time
  • Service

    Competitive
  • Promotion potential

    12
  • Job family (Series)

    0457 Soil Conservation
  • Supervisory status

    Yes
  • Security clearance

    Not Required
  • Drug test

    No
  • Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk
  • Trust determination process

    Suitability/Fitness
  • Announcement number

    NRCS-22-11574568-IMP-TN-BWA
  • Control number

    665502800

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This job is open to
  • Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL)

    Federal employees who meet the definition of a "surplus" or "displaced" employee.

  • Internal to an agency

    Current federal employees of this agency.


Clarification from the agency

Applications will be accepted only from current permanent Natural Resources Conservation Service employees with competitive status; CTAP/RPL eligible candidates.

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Duties
  • Provides advice and assistance to farm managers, farmers, and other interested individuals and groups on the planning and development of land use regulations.
  • Informs and educates the landowner of conservation technical assistance and financial assistance to consider for conservation system and practice implementation. This includes oversight, management and administration for all Farm Bill programs.
  • Provides conservation technical assistance through and in cooperation with the conservation districts as specified in a memorandum of agreement established at the local, state and national level.
  • Develops training plans to ensure personnel are adequately qualified to perform assigned tasks and to ensure personnel are provided the opportunity to develop their skills to optimum level.
  • Interviews and determines selection from available candidates. Resolves complaints and grievances and takes appropriate action as necessary. Reviews job descriptions for accuracy. Initiates or participates in review and improvement of work methods.
  • Responsible for supervision of federal employees located in a field office and liaison between the state and district employees. Ensures quality and quantity of work, reviews work of subordinates and accepts, revises, or rejects work.
  • Sets performance standards and evaluates performance for subordinates. Interviews and determines selection from available candidates. Resolves complaints and grievances and takes appropriate action as necessary.

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Requirements

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.

Qualifications

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.

Time in grade: (e.g. one year at the GS-09 grade level for consideration for the GS-11 grade level).

Basic Education Requirement: 4 year 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 in 1 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.

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 Requirement for GS-11:
To qualify for the GS-11, you must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 level in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service. The experience requires the knowledge of the principles and theories of soil and water conservation and related sciences such as biology, agronomy, and forestry, in identifying conservation related problems.Examples include:
  • Providing technical guidance and assistance to groups and individuals on topics such as soil interpretations, erosion control measures, pest and invasive species control, water quality improvements, livestock management, wildlife habitat, and forest management.
  • Preparing conservation or resource management plans and providing financial or implementation assistance.
  • Communicating and sharing general information and explaining issues related to natural resource conservation, problems, and solutions to landowners, residents, and land managers.
OR

Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in a soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering.

OR

Combination of Education and Experience: A combination of graduate-level education and experience, as described above, may be used to qualify for this position. This combination must have equipped you with the necessary knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform the duties of this position. Combinations of experience and education must total at least 100% as outlined in OPM Qualifications policy.

Note: There is no education substitution for the GS-12 level.

Specialized Experience Requirement for GS-12: To qualify for the GS-12, you must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service. The experience requires the knowledge of the principles and theories of soil and water conservation and related sciences such as biology, agronomy, and forestry, in identifying conservation related problems.

Examples include:
  • Analyzing workloads, developing and implementing annual work or business plans, and establishing goals within the constraints of funding and staff availability.
  • Directing technical guidance and assistance to groups and individuals on topics such as soil interpretations, erosion control measures, pest and invasive species control, water quality improvements, livestock management, wildlife habitat, and forest management.
  • Preparing complex conservation or resource management plans and providing financial or implementation assistance.
  • Communicating and sharing technical information and explaining issues related to natural resource conservation, problems, and solutions to landowners, residents, and land managers.
  • Implementing and/or managing natural resources programs and practices which involve exercising initiative and resourcefulness.
For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=List-by-Occupational-Series

Time-in-Grade: Applicants must have completed at least 52 weeks at the next lower grade, or have held the same grade or higher grade level as the one advertised in order to be considered for this position.
Evaluation of Education: Education that provided specialized knowledge and skills in soil and water conservation is more valuable than education that imparted broad but general knowledge and skills. Courses in soil fertility, soil chemistry, soil genesis, plant physiology, plant science, and field crops are examples of specialized courses that contribute towards meeting the required 12 semester hours as described above. Courses in the physical sciences or engineering such as geology, civil engineering, and hydrology also meet the soils, crops, or plant science course requirements where such courses included a complete introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils.

Evaluation of Experience: Experience that included the application of techniques, principles, and methods from a variety of agricultural and natural resource fields is appropriate, given the interdisciplinary character of the soil conservation occupation. For example, experience gained in a specialized field such as soil science, forestry, or agronomy is as fully acceptable as experience directly obtained in soil conservation work.
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 helps 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.

Education

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.

Additional information

  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or Reemployment Priority List (RPL): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP or RPL eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP 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 applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
  • 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.
  • Physical Demands: The incumbent must walk extensively through rough terrain, over ditches, and climb steep banks. Some physical exertion is required.
  • Work Environment: The incumbent works under conditions that involve moderate discomforts due to adverse weather. Works near farm and earth moving machinery and may be exposed to toxic chemicals, poisonous insects and irritating plants.
  • PLEASE NOTE: In the interest of filling these positions as efficiently as possible, we are requiring the following:
    • If called for an interview, applicants must be available to interview within 3 business days of being contacted.
    • If a tentative job offer is extended, selectee will have 2 business days in which to accept or decline.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Current USDA policy includes telework for an 8 hour work day, 4 days per week; other flexibilities are possible dependent upon availability and/or the position and its associated duties. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized.

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  • Help
    A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.


How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the experience, education, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Assessment Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies listed below:
  • Conservation Planning
  • Human Resources Management

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. Applicants who meet the minimum qualification requirements and are determined to be among the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration. Noncompetitive candidates and applicants under some special hiring authorities need only meet minimum qualifications to be referred.
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/11574568

  • Help
    A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • As a new or existing federal employee, you and your family may have access to a range of benefits. Your benefits depend on the type of position you have - whether you're a permanent, part-time, temporary or an intermittent employee. You may be eligible for the following benefits, however, check with your agency to make sure you're eligible under their policies.

    The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
    • Resume that includes: 1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications.
    • If education is required or being used to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name & the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, official transcripts will be required prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit the NACES website. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
    • Current NRCS employees:
      • Most recent non-award Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing you are/were in the competitive service, highest grade held (or promotion potential) on a permanent basis, position title, series & grade AND
      • Most recent performance appraisal (dated within 18 months) showing the official rating of record, signed by a supervisor, or statement why the performance appraisal is unavailable. A performance plan is not an acceptable substitute.
    • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP or RPL priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
    • Federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of their duty location. If selected you will be required to submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment if after that date. DO NOT SUBMIT COVID-19 VACCINATION DOCUMENTS WITH YOUR APPLICATION. If selected the agency will provide additional information on how to submit your documentation.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    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. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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