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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  National Program Leader (Invasive Crop Pests)
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Agricultural Research Service
Job Announcement Number:  ARS-X13N-0052

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$105,211.00 to $155,500.00 / Per Year
Monday, July 15, 2013 to Monday, August 12, 2013
Full Time - Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Beltsville, MD United StatesView Map
US Citizens, current and former status applicants, VEOA eligibles and persons eligible under special hiring authorities


Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

The incumbent serves as a National Program Leader responsible for leading and coordinating the Agency’s agricultural research programs relating to the integrated pest managment for invasive weeds and insects and their effect on agricultural crops.  


The working title of this position is National Program Leader.


The official title of this position will be one of the following: Biologist, Entomologist, Plant Physiologist, or Agronomist.

This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation.  Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check.  Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation.  The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service


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·        Participates as leader or member of a number of interdisciplinary planning teams charged with updating national programs to reflect changes in national priorities and policies.

·         Identifies links between program areas and incorporates same in all phases of the planning  process;

·        Establishes and maintains communication with ARS Research Leaders  and non-ARS research organizations in the assigned area to ensure that ARS research programs are kept scientifically up-to-date;

·        Serves as the Agency’s technical expert on invasive pests of crops,  and advises ARS administrators on related technical and policy issues,  represents and speaks for the Agency concerning relevant program areas, and serves as Agency technical liaison  between scientists, industry, and action and regulatory agencies;

·        Identifies a need for, and arranges and/or leads field program reviews that assess, validate, and schedule program shifts targeted in implementation and operational plans in integrated pest management research;

·        Evaluates operational plans and ongoing research programs, and assesses progress toward achieving ARS program plan objectives;

·        Serves as a member of an Interdisciplinary National Program team charged with examining the impact that various funding levels would have on programs and recommending options for resource allocations and program changes;

·        Serves as a leader and/or member of interdisciplinary research teams assigned to examine interdisciplinary problems involved within area of expertise; and

·        Maintains scientific knowledge, expertise and reputation in agricultural crops and attends scientific professional meetings.


Other Considerations:

Frequent travel is required.



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Basic Requirements:

Plant Biologist, GS-0401:

A.    Degree in the biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to this position; OR

B.     Combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


Plant Physiologist, GS-435:

A degree in botany or plant physiology; or a related scientific discipline that included at least 10 semester hours in plant physiology.


Entomologist, GS-0414:

     A.  Degree in entomology; or a related scientific discipline of the biological sciences that included at least 16   
           semester hours in entomology; OR

     B.  Combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major that included courses work as
           shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


Agronomist, GS-0471: 

    A.  Degree in agronomy; or related discipline of science that included at least 30 semester hours of course work
           in 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

    B.   Combination of education experience – at least 30 semester hours in the basic plant sciences, including a
           minimum of 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, as show in A above, plus appropriate experience or
           additional education.

In addition to the above Basic Requirements:


For the GS-14 level, candidates must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 level in the Federal service.


For the GS-15 level, candidates must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 level in the Federal service.


Specialized Experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  The specialized experience requirements for this position are:
1.  Knowledge of theories, principles, concepts and methods of agricultural research programs such as weed science, plant physiology, entomology, or agronomy as they relate to integrated pest management and crop production.

2.  Skill in planning, coordinating and evaluating multidisciplinary research programs, and interpreting and documenting research findings.

3.  Ability to apply administrative and management principles to establish goals and priorities, and assess and assign resources required to accomplish programmatic goals. 

4.  Ability to develop and maintain cooperative research programs with other scientists, government agencies, colleges, universities, and professional societies and associations. 


Applicants must address the specialized experience requirements in their resume (or application documents).  Applications that do not reflect the specialized experience requirements will not be deemed qualified.

Supervisory/Managerial Competencies - the following KSAs will also be used to evaluate candidates in the interview and selection process:

1. Ability to lead and accomplish work through others (i.e. team building, conflict management, cultural awareness, strategic thinking, technology management, and political savvy.)
2. Ability to communicate with individuals or groups from diverse backgrounds in a variety of situations.

This position has a positive education requirement.  You must submit a copy of your academic transcripts OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grade point average or class ranking to verify education when applying for this position.  If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position.  If you are selected for this position, you will have to provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.  It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.  Please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website for additional information on this topic.

Time-in-grade restrictions apply for all candidates considered under Alternative Merit Promotion.

All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made.  Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.



You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the basic and any additional requirements.  The Agricultural Research Service uses a category rating process.  Based on evaluation of all written materials submitted in application for the position, you will be determined to be Ineligible if you do not meet eligibility and/or minimum qualifications criteria; Eligible if you meet all eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria; OR Quality if you meet quality criteria in addition to eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria.


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The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees.  The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees:



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 they meet basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and are rated in the Quality 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.  Click here for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans' preference, you must attach Member 4 copy of your DD-214. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, you must attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference plus the proof required by that form.

Qualified candidates eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA), a special hiring authority, will be considered.  VEOA eligibles are preference eligibles or veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of active service.  Veterans who are released under honorable conditions shortly before completing a 3-year tour are also eligible.

Status candidates who wish to be considered under both alternative merit promotion and non-status competitive examining must submit two complete applications when the position is open to both status and non-status candidates.  When only one application is received, it will be considered under alternative merit promotion procedures.

Financial Disclosure Requirement:  Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest.  If hired for this position, you will be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter.

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:  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).


Relocation Expenses:  Payment of relocation expenses will be determined in accordance with P&P 412.5, Recruitment and Retention Incentives and Other Special Pay, Sections 6 and 7, as amended by Bulletins 03-402 and 05-412.5.  Click here for additional information.


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Applications may be mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to the appropriate address and/or facsimile number listed below, but they must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on TAG:Closing Date.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions.

Department of Agriculture
5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Stop 5151
Beltsville, MD  20705-5151


(301) 504.5998

If sending your application as an attachment to an email, do not send zipped files.  They will be removed in accordance with standard electronic security procedures.  If hand delivered, be sure your application is received in the Human Resources Division on or before closing date.


To ensure your application fully outlines your qualifications and eligibility for this position, please review the application package checklist at:

NOTE:  Applications received in postage paid government envelopes will not be considered.


Keli Martin
Phone: (301)504-1584
TDD: 202-855-1234
Agency Information:
Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Beltsville, MD


You will be notified by mail once your application is received.  After a review of your complete application is made, you will be notified or your rating and/or referral to the hiring official.  If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.   

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