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

Job Title:Agricultural Commodity Grader (Fresh Fruit and Vegetable)

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Agricultural Marketing Service

Job Announcement Number:24FV-2013-0022

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$35,309.00 to $69,545.00 / Per Year


Wednesday, February 20, 2013 to Thursday, March 14, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




2 vacancies - Newark, NJ, USView Map


This announcement is open to all United States citizens. (Current and Former Federal employees may also apply with a separate application to Merit Promotion vacancy announcement #6FV-2013-0051. For information on viewing Merit Promotion announcements, click Locating a Status Position on USAJOBS.)


This vacancy has been updated to reflect three years of progressively responsible experience, one year of which was equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service is qualifying at the GS-5 grade level. Previous applicants need not re-apply.


This position is located in a field office of the Fresh Products Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service. The incumbent is responsible for grading and inspecting an extensive range of fruits and vegetables at various terminal market sites, such as warehouses, railroad sidings, packing plants, ports of entry, and similar facilities. The inspection is completed using a ruggedized laptop computer and the Fresh Electronic Inspection Reporting/Resource System software. Assignments may also involve details and/or reassignment to a different geographical area as determined by management.

You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!


  • U.S. Citizenship


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The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity.  The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Selects representative samples from product lots in accordance with prescribed sampling and plans.
  • Inspects products to determine quality, condition, and/or compliance with U. S. Grade Standards or stated contract specifications. Such factors include product size, shape, color, and similar quality factors; product maturity, firmness, breakdown or decay, bruising, and similar condition factors; and quantity, packaging, or similar conditions which are common in contract specifications.
  • Prepares inspections reports based on examination of product and issues certificates.


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To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Applicants can qualify by meeting the EDUCATION requirements specified below and/or the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements.


GS-5: A four-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree.

GS-7: One full year of graduate level education in agriculture, industrial engineering, business, economics, or other related field;


Superior Academic Achievement To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND must meet certain GPA requirements. For more details click Superior Academic Achievement

GS-9: Master's or equivalent graduate degree or two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in agriculture, industrial engineering, business, economics, or other related field.

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:

  • You are qualifying for the position based on education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
  • You are qualify for this position based on Superior Academic Achievement.This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts

GENERAL EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-5 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must have at least three years of progressively responsible experience, one year of which was equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. Creditable experience may have been gained in work such as: commodity buyer; receiving clerk; office manager; administrative assistant (with decision-making responsibility); food processing laboratory work (managerial or technical), and farm experience that included responsibility for decision-making (excludes general laborers); general clerical experience (typing, filing, routine procedural processing, maintaining records) is not creditable.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. Specialized experience includes that which has been gained in production, processing, quality control, inspection, research, or receiving, when it involved making quality determinations of agricultural commodities using an applicable grading standard (can be other than U.S. standards). Experience may have been gained in chain stores, the military, or manufacturing.

Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Performs grading, sampling and/or inspection assignments of a simple and routine nature.
  • Draws samples of product, performs mechanical tests, attends formal training courses in grading agricultural commodities, and grades samples.
  • Grades and inspects distinct products for comparison with clear standards and common contract specifications.
  • Identifies and describes common product defects or diseases to establish their causes.
  • Identifies and determines the cause of common defects and diseases of these products or product types.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-9 GRADE LEVEL Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade in the Federal service performing the range of duties as outlined above. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. To qualify by experience for this grade level, incumbent must have hands-on grading experience in the applicable commodity with final responsibility for certifying the condition and grade according to universally accepted standards for the commodity, as well as knowledge and application of official U.S. Grade Standards, regulations, and specifications used in the inspection of applicable commodity.

Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Independently grades and/or inspects and extensive range of fruits and vegetables and performs difficult assignments such as: grading and/or inspecting rare or unusual products or product types; regularly making borderline grading decisions on a variety of products or product types; or applying the full range of grading skills and knowledge at an extremely fast pace requiring instant determinations.
  • Performs the full range of grading and/or inspection tasks involved in directly supplying grading services to producers or members of the trade with respect to the primary agricultural products in the commodity specialization.
  • Inspect products for compliance with all types of contract specifications, to recognize all but the extremely rare product defects or diseases, and to establish their causes.
  • Make, explain, or defend nearly all grade or inspection determinations, only rarely requiring technical assistance in borderline cases.
  • Inspect or evaluate more complicated processing equipment and procedures, and conditions of storage or transportation, such as is typical or most processed products production and advising industry employees on product quality control methods.

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-5/7/9 GRADE LEVELS Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed graduate education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Administrative and Management Positions

Special Conditions:

  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • DD214 (Member 4 Copy) or other veterans' documents required to receive veterans' preference.
  • As a condition of employment, a background investigation may be required for this position.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one-year probationary period.
  • The work environment includes exposure to adverse outdoor weather, working in refrigerated areas, and exposure to fumes and odors from coolants.
  • The work requires periods of considerable walking, standing, and physical exertion, such as lifting heavy packages (often over 50 pounds); climbing into railcars and trucks; and moving, crouching, and crawling in cramped areas.
  • Selectee will be required to complete a self-certification medical statement.
  • Selectee will be required to sign a Mobility Agreement at the time of appointment indicating willingness to accept a reassignment to other geographical locations throughout the United States.


  • Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the position. Your resume must support that you meet the specialized experience requirements described above and are proficient in the following skills or competencies below. Please note you are not required to provide specific narrative responses to the skills and competencies described in this section.
    • General commodity inspection and grading skills
    • Communication skills
    • Fresh fruit and vegetable grading
  • Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligibles will receive selection priority over non-veterans.
  • Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure your resume provides enough detail to support your responses.
  • If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.

To preview questions please click here.


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Eligibility for employee benefits depends on your type of appointment and your tour of duty (work schedule). Generally, you must be hired on a permanent basis and have a regular full or part-time work schedule. For more information on potential benefits, go to: Federal Employee Benefits


Range for GS-5: $35,309 to $45,898 (incl. 28.72% locality pay)

Range for GS-7: $43,738 to $56,863 (incl. 28.72% locality pay)

Range for GS-9: $53,500 to $69,545 (incl. 28.72 locality pay)

This salary range does not reflect the general pay increase scheduled for April 2013.


  • For information regarding CTAP eligibility for displaced Federal employees click: Career Transition Assistance Programs
  • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
  • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • For information on filing a complaint of discrimination, click: Filing a Complaint


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    A complete on-line application will require the submission of the following:

    • Resume
    • Responses to the vacancy specific questions (you will be prompted to complete these questions during the online application process)
    • Supporting Documentation which may be required (see links under Required Documents for more information)

    For instructions on using the on-line system click: APPLYING ON-LINE

    For instructions on submitting documents click: SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION


    Click on the following links to see if the supporting documentation is applicable to you:

    Critical Submission Requirements and Reminders

    • Help in applying online is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time at the number listed in the Contact information section.
    • All application materials and supplemental documentation will be accepted until midnight Eastern Time on the closing date.
    • Application and supporting documentation will not be accepted via e-mail.
    • Due to the high volume of applicants, we are unable to confirm receipt of supporting documentation. If faxing, you should retain confirmation of a successful fax transmission including the number of pages successfully transmitted as proof of submission.
    • 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 fax and/or upload both the old document and the new document.
    • Applicants who cannot apply on-line must request a hard copy application packet from the Agency Contact listed in the vacancy announcement. Resumes and/or supporting documentation alone will not be considered without the inclusion of a hard copy application packet.


    Phone: 612-336-3345
    Fax: 612-336-3560
    Agency Information:
    Agricultural Marketing Service
    100 N 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, 510C
    Minneapolis, MN
    Fax: 612-336-3560


    You may check the status of your application on-line 24 hours a day through USAJOBS. Status updates will be available after 2-3 weeks. For instructions on checking your application status click : Checking My Application Status No additional correspondence will be sent.

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