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    Duties

    Summary

    The purpose of the position is to work on the Montana State Soil Scientist's Staff, serves as the state Soil Health expert, providing technical assistance to landowners, conservation partners, NRCS personnel, and other interested parties in all phases of soil health management systems, leading to the conservation and efficient use of natural resources and maintains environmental quality related to soil, water, animal, plant, air, and energy conservation issues to improving productivity.

    Learn more about this agency

    Responsibilities

    • Provide technical assistance to landowners, conservation partners, and other interested parties in all phases of soil health management systems.
    • Maintain environmental quality related to soil, water, animal, plant, air, and energy conservation issues, and improving productivity of food, feed, fiber, and fuel.
    • Provides one on one training, onsite assistance, preparation of job sheets and other technical materials as needed.
    • Inform state leadership of training activities, related items in the State Training Plan, and outcomes.
    • Provide leadership at the field and state level for conservation activities associated with soil health management systems and soil conservation on production agricultural lands.
    • Work closely with State Office and Area Office programs staff and leaders of state agricultural programs to incorporate and prioritize soil health management systems in all Farm Bill programs.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

    Supervisory status

    No

    Promotion Potential

    12

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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.
    • 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.
    • Incumbent is required to obtain Conservation Planning Level certification.

    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: Applicants must meet one year at the next lower grade to be considered for the next higher grade (e.g. one year at the GS-11 grade level for consideration for the GS-12 grade level).

    Basic Education Requirement:GS-0457 - 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 comparable to a 4 year degree. 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 Education Requirement:GS-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 in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

    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.

    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.

    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: To qualify for the GS-12 grade level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level or higher in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service. This experience must include 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 of specialized experience 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.
    Note: There is no education substitution for the GS-12 level.

    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=GS-PROF

    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

    • Location Consideration: This position is located in Montana. The location in Montana will be determined upon selection.
    • Locality Pay: The salary for each location may vary depending on locality. Locality tables my be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/.
    • 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.
    • Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Employees: Permanent County employees without prior Federal tenure who are selected for a Civil Service position under Public Law 105-277 will be given a career-conditional appointment and must serve a 1-year probationary period.
    • Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized.
    • 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.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    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
    • Quality Assurance
    • Leadership
    • Written Communication
    • Customer Service
    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/11129788

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Other

    Drug test required

    No

    Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Credentialing, Suitability/Fitness

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    Required Documents

    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 USDA 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.
    • Current permanent FSA County employees must submit your most recent non-award Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing your highest grade (or promotion potential) held on a permanent basis, position title, series & grade AND most recent performance appraisal (dated within 18 months) per above.
    • 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.

    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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    Benefits

    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.

    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.

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    How to Apply

    Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

    Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.

    This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact the Agency Contact to request this.

    To begin, click "Apply" and follow the instructions to complete the Assessment Questionnaire and attach your resume and all required documents.

    NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. You must verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBS transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g. SF-50s or veteran docs) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping like documents into files will simplify the application process. Documents must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, RTF, or Word (DOC or DOCX). Uploaded documents may not require a password, digital signature, or other encryption to open.

    Agency contact information

    Amina Hamilton

    Address

    Natural Resources Conservation Service
    1400 Independence Ave SW
    Washington, DC 20250
    US
    Learn more about this agency

    Do you want to work for a premier conservation agency whose mission is to "help people help the land?" The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), works in close partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest managers, non-governmental organizations, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to create and maintain healthy and productive working landscapes.

    As part of USDA's new Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Mission Area, NRCS has 3,000 locations and covers every county in the U.S. We help stewards of agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest lands to plan and implement proven conservation systems through technical and financial assistance designed to enhance productivity, improve soil and water health, and restore wetlands and wildlife habitat.

    We need people who are committed to action through public service-- people who help ensure that all of us enjoy the benefits that come from a healthy environment and productive agriculture. Please consider joining us and helping to make a difference for generations to come.

    Visit our careers page

    Learn more about what it's like to work at Natural Resources Conservation Service, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.

    https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home//

    Next steps

    Your application will be reviewed to verify that you meet the eligibility and qualification requirements for the position prior to issuing referral lists to the selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Log in to your USAJOBS to check your application status. We expect to make a final job offer approximately 40 days after the deadline for applications.

    Multiple positions may be filled from this announcement.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/602908200. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.