This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:National Program Leader (Cropping Systems)

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Job Announcement Number:NIFA-S12N-0015

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$89,033.00 to $136,771.00 / Per Year


Monday, July 30, 2012 to Friday, September 14, 2012




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC, DC United StatesView Map


This announcement is open to all U.S. Citizens. This job opportunity may be used to fill additional vacancies.


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the Federal component of a nationwide extramural research, educational, and outreach system which supports the global, science-based agricultural enterprise and accomplishes its missions in partnership with land-grant universities and other academic and scientific organizations. To learn more about NIFA, please visit

The Institute of Food Production and Sustainability is a major component of NIFA. This Institute is responsible for research, education, and extension for enhancing global food security through productive and sustainable agricultural systems.The purpose of this position is to promote the research, education and extension portfolio to advance the strategic goals and management objectives of NIFA and the administration. As a National Program Leader for Cropping Systems, you will actively engage in multi-Institute, trans-disciplinary teams to address mission critical priorities, specifically in the areas of crop science, agronomy, or horticulture with an emphasis on organic or sustainable agricultural production systems.


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation


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The National Program Leader (Cropping Systems) performs critical tasks in the following areas:

  • Initiating program development and collaboration;
  • Networking and collaborating with partners and stakeholders to identify mission-relevant problems, opportunities and issues requiring Federal attention and support;
  • Conceiving, formulating, and executing programs and activities to respond to existing or emerging problems, opportunities, priorities and issues for development;
  • Developing and applying science-based knowledge by working with university and other partners; and
  • Evaluating and assessing the quality, outcomes and impacts of these programs.


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Specialized Experience:

GS-13: To qualify for the GS-13, you must have one year specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 grade level in federal service which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. Specialized experience includes the following: (1) experience developing and evaluating Cropping Systems programs, specifically organic or sustainable production systems; (2) knowledge and expertise in scientific research related to organic or sustainable production systems; and (3) experience obtaining grants and/or evaluating organic or sustainable production systems research, education and extension.

GS-14: To qualify for the GS-14, you must have one year specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 grade level in federal service which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. Specialized experience includes those examples listed above as well as cropping systems research experience in institutions serving the needs of the sustainable or organic agricultural community.


To qualify for this position, you must meet the minimum education requirement for this position. You must have A) a four year degree (or higher) in the biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position - such as applied production disciplines with emphasis on organic agriculture or organic cropping, (a Ph.D. is highly desirable); OR B) a combination of education and experience that included at least 24 semester hours of coursework in one or more of the fields listed in A above, that provided the applicant with knowledge of the discipline(s) equivalent to a major, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement. Applicants must be available to report for duty within one month of when a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.


Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire. We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications. Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:

  • Ability to apply basic and applied research techniques and methods used in Cropping Systems.
  • Knowledge of and skill in using program planning principles and techniques to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Ability to communicate orally and in writing.


Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.


Displaced/Surplus Employees:Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will be Evaluated section. Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.


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A benefits package is authorized for this position. CLICK HERE for more information concerning federal benefits.


Selective Service System:
Males over age 18 who were born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for Federal employment. CLICK HERE for further information.

Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment:
If you are selected for this position, you will be required to complete this form before an offer may be made. CLICK HERE to access the Optional Form 306.

Financial Disclosure Requirement:
The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

False Statements:
If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed. 

Reasonable Accommodation:
Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.


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Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, September 14, 2012.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.


Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:


Option A:  Online Application

Click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  From USAJOBS, you will be routed to Application Manager.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.


If you need technical assistance with the online application process, please send an e-mail to


To return to a previously saved or incomplete application, use the following link:  Track your progress to a Complete Application Package using the My Application Packages checklist and status displays in Application Manager.

To fax supporting documents that you are unable to upload:
1. Click here to print a fax cover page
2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 707056.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


Option B:  Fax

If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.

1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire 
2. Print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire, and  
3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.  


The following documents are required:
 Assessment questionnaire (completed online or submitted by fax using the 1203FX)

In addition, you may also need to submit supplemental documentation (as outlined below).  Failure to submit supplemental information by the closing date of this announcement will result in the loss of the particular consideration you are requesting.

Veterans' Preference:  To determine your eligibility for Veterans' Preference, CLICK HERETo claim 5-point veterans' preference, submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  To claim 10-point veterans' preference, submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the documentation required by that form.   

Transcripts:  If you indicate that you possess any form of post-secondary education, you must submit transcripts detailing your coursework and/or degree(s). At the time your education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum must have been appropriately accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. You may lose consideration for this position if you fail to provide this information. CLICK HERE for more information on this topic.

Foreign Education:  To receive credit for education outside the U.S., you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and that such education has been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs. There is normally a fee associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that are accredited to evaluate education, visit National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.


Aminatu Thomas
Phone: (301)504-2416
Agency Information:
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
800 9th Street SW
Washington, DC


Once your complete application package (including all required documents) is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking.  The best qualified candidates will be referred for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.


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