Job Overview


Relocation expenses will not be paid

The Potato Cyst Nematode Project (PCN) is tasked with developing effective strategies to minimize the spread of PCN in Idaho and the rest of the U.S. The incumbent will work in Idaho Falls, ID and serve as a Plant Protection Technician by providing a variety of technical duties in support of PCN objectives.

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!

This is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing. For more details click: Term Appointments

APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response


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 the following:

  • Conducts routine surveillance and inspections for nematodes and other pests of concern. Extracts soil samples and microscopically examines sample extracts to detect nematodes. Uses microscopes to examine samples from field experiments. Summarizes data and evaluations.
  • Samples taken are submitted to agency and university laboratories to determine whether additional potato cyst nematodes are present. Submits written reports on significant findings and important problems to immediate supervisor upon discovery. As assigned, may conduct tests on nematicide use to control both free-living and cyst nematodes, nematode population testing, resistant varieties, crop rotations and/or phonological control.
  • Uses computer and associated software such as databases, spreadsheets and statistical analysis programs to maintain information on soil samples and field data, such as equipment movement, quarantines, treatment efficacy, etc.
  • May participate in the placing of invested fields under quarantine to restrict the movement of plants and soil and require sanitation procedures for equipment used on the regulated field. Assists with quarantine measures to stop the movement of seed, soil and machinery from both infested and clean areas.
  • May assist with educational outreach or experiments on the use of soil fumigants and non-fumigant nematicides used in the control of PCN, or provide technical assistance on projects to isolate natural enemies of the nematode and assess their potential as biological control agents.
  • Assembles all necessary equipment for the study and will follow all tests to completion, recording necessary data as outlined by the supervisor. Sanitizes, maintains and keeps in good operating order all field equipment, the laboratory, work area and vehicles.
  • Follows and obeys all state and federal guidelines and reports unsafe situations to the supervisor in a timely manner.