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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Soil Conservationist
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Natural Resources Conservation Service
Job Announcement Number:  IA-14-985828-TM

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$38,790.00 to $50,431.00 / Per Year
Thursday, October 31, 2013 to Thursday, November 14, 2013
Full Time - Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Osage, IA View Map


The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment. 

WHO MAY APPLY?  Applications will be accepted from all qualified U.S. Citizens.  You need not be a current or former Federal employee to apply; however, you must be a U.S. Citizen. 

Applicants with prior Federal civilan experience may apply under Vacancy Announcement IA-14-985643-TM

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SURPLUS OR DISPLACED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES - Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) and Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) is available to individuals who have special priority selection rights under this plan. Individuals must be well-qualified for this position to receive consideration for special priority selection.   CTAP or ICTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified when receiving an adjudicated score of 85 or higher.   Federal employees seeking CTAP or ICTAP eligibility must submit proof of meeting the requirements of CFR 330.605(a) for CTAP and 5 CFR 330.704 for ICTAP.   This includes a copy of the agency notice, a copy of your most recent performance rating, and a copy of your most recent SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action notating current position, grade level, and duty location.   You are to annotate in your application that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.

To read more about CTAP or ICTAP eligibility visit:

Read the entire job announcement and follow all instructions provided.

Relocation expenses are NOT authorized under this announcement.

For more information about our agency click here .


  • You must be a United States Citizen.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • You must complete a FBI Background and Security Investigation.
  • You must have a valid state driver's license.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.


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To assist the District Conservationist in developing and carrying out a comprehensive soil and water conservation program within a managerial unit that may consist of one or more counties. 

Will perform professional duties to achieve an integrated system of sound land use and conservation treatment in harmony with the capability and needs of the land and landowners.

Contacts landowners and operators and develops comprehensive conservation plans that provide for effective land use and water management in relation to the conservation needs of the land and the on-going agricultural enterprise.

Assists in obtaining crop history and physical data; e.g., field size and layout; and preparing planning maps.

Develops conservation plans for landowners according to established policies and procedures and in accordance with farm management decisions. 

Interprets soil survey maps, explains proper land use and recommends appropriate conservation measures to landowners in preparing plans.

Directs a continuous planning program to check practice maintenance, performance and need for updating of the conservation plans. 

Revises plans to meet changed conditions in accordance with mutual agreements with the landowner.

Assists the supervisor in carrying out all phases of the conservation program associated with the current USDA Farm Bill.

Works with groups on environmental education, conducts information meetings and field trips.

Develops news articles and schedules and presents informal programs to increase knowledge and understanding of district and service programs amoung the general public.

Works with local units of government such as county commissions,public service districts, boards of education and conservation districts in developing and carrying our resource plans.

The work requires regular and recurring walking over field terrain, bending, lifting, and stretching.  Average dexterity in the use of drafting tools is necessary.  You will be required to travel approximately 10% of the time.


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Candidates must meet the qualification standards requirements for the GS-457 Soil Conservation Series. See


Applicants must have:

(1) A qualifying degree and course work from an accredited college/university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study or specific course requirements in the following disciplines: 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.


(2) 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as show in 1 above of which a minimum of 12 semester hours must be in upper level (Junior or Senior) courses, plus additional education or professional experience that will equal 4 years of education or 4 years combined education and experience (30 semester hours equals 1 year of education).  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.


One year of Specialized Experience equivalent to the GS-5 in the Federal service.  Specialized experience is defined as: under close supervision of a seasoned conservationist provides assistance to land managers in planning and applying conventional conservation practices on their land to maintain or improve production while conserving soil and water resources. Also performing such tasks as providing technical assistance to land owners or operators in developing and revising conservation plans, providing information, advice and guidance to cooperators; and analyzing data and making recommendations related to simple conservation problems.


To qualify as a GS-07 Soil Conservationist you must either meet:  One year of specialized experience as described above


You must meet the Superior Academic Achievement (SAA) provision maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate courses completed (or during the last two years of your undergraduate curriculum); or a GPA of 3.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale) for all courses completed in my major (or those completed in my major during the last two years of your undergraduate curriculum).   Your transcript must reflect your GPA in order to be considered for SAA.


You must have had membership in a national scholastic honor society (other than a freshman society) that meets the requirements of the Association of College Honor Societies.  You must provide documentation in order to be considered.


Have one year (18 semester hours) of graduate-level coursework from an accredited college or university in soil, agriculture or natural resources or related discipline.


Applicants currently working in a competitive appointment with the federal government must have one year in grade at the next lower grade level.

Applicants must meet the specialized experience by the closing date of this announcement.

Credit will be given for appropriate qualifying unpaid experience or volunteer work such as community, cultural, social service, and professional association activities on the same basis as paid experience. 
To receive proper credit for paid, unpaid experience or volunteer work, fully describe your responsibilities and show the actual time (years, months, and hours per week) spent in such activities.

Submit proof of your education (required) with a transcript or a list of courses with credit hours, major(s), and grade point average.  We will be unable to return these to you.  You can receive credit for education received outside the United States if you provide evidence that is comparable to an accredited educational institution in the United States when you apply.

In order to receive credit for college course work for Interns or Co-op work experience, seminar courses, thesis course work, or Problems courses, applicants must provide documentation of course description from the university attended. 

FOREIGN EDUCATION:  If you wish to have education acquired outside the United States credited for the educational requirements of this position, you must prove that it has been evaluated as equivalent to the education gained in accredited United States colleges and universities.  Submit documentation of your education to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education credentials for a determination.  The Council on Postsecondary Accreditation may be of assistance in providing information on these organizations (  The processing of this vacancy announcement will not be delayed pending receipt of your evaluation materials. 


This vacancy may be used to fill additional positions.

When including your transcripts, please include course descriptions for courses not easily identifiable as Plant, Soil and Crop Science courses so we can make a better assessment of your educational requirements.

  • - Public Law 104-134 requires that all federal employees receive salary payments via direct deposit.
  • - You must have the ability to use a computer.
  • - You must be able to lift and carry up to 45 lbs
  • - You must meet the positive education / specialized experience by the closing date of this announcement.
  • - You may be required to work outdoors under adverse weather conditions. 
  • - You must submit a complete application package to be considered for this position. 
  • - You will be required to do some travel.


Your application will be evaluated and rated under the Category Rating and Selection Procedures.  Your resume must support your responses to the occupational questionnaire.   We will review your resume and supporting documentation and compare this information to your responses on the occupational questionnaire to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for this position.    If you are basically qualified for this position, we will evaluate your application package, using a panel of subject-matter experts or HR Specialist to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position.  We will then place you in one of the following categories and only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Best Qualified:  Applicants possess all of the job related competencies identifies as important for successful job performance.

Well -Qualified:  Applicants possesses a majority (i.e., more than half) of the job related competencies needed for successful job performance.

Qualified:  Applicants meets the basic eligibility and minimum qualification requirements, but does not meet the definition of Well-Qualified or Best Qualified describe above.

Veterans’ preference is applied after applicants are assessed.  Veterans’ preference eligibles who meet the qualification requirements are placed in the appropriate category and are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles.  Veteran preference eligibles that have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are listed in the highest quality category, except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-9 level or higher.


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The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System.   USDA/NRCS also offers Flexi Work, Tele-work, Transportation Subsidies and a family friendly work environment.   The following Web Address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employee.   To find out more click here:


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

A background investigation will be required for all new appointments.  Your continued employment will be subject to your successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.

A 12-month Probationary Period is required for all new appointments if not previously served.  

Federal law requires that all employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees (including U.S. Citizens) within three days of hire.   Selected applicants will be required to provide employers with documentation establishing both identity and eligibility to work in the United States.   For additional information on E-Verify, go to:     

Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, will have to certify prior to or at the time of appointment that they have registered with the Selective Service System.

Information on Special Hiring Authorities: 

You are eligible if you meet one of the following criteria:  

·        a 30% compensably disabled Veteran,

·        a VRA eligible

·        Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW)      

·        a person with a severe physical handicap    

·        a former Peace Corps or VISTA Volunteer - Applicants within 1-year of after release from the Peace Corps/Vista Service may be eligible to apply for this announcement.  Applicants must submit documentation such as the Peace Corps Statement of Service that contains a statement on the eligibility to apply for Federal jobs for 1 year as a "Status" applicant.

Information on Veterans' Preference  Submit proof of your eligibility with your application or you will not be considered under a Special Hiring Authority.


NRCS provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.   If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us.   The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers. If you believe you experienced discrimination when obtaining services from USDA, participating in a USDA program, or participating in a program that receives financial assistance from USDA, you may file a complaint with USDA. Information about how to file a discrimination complaint is available from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.  USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex (including gender identity and expression), marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, genetic information, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

To file a complaint of discrimination, visit: 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).


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To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. All documentation must be submitted through your USAJOBS account or faxed to the number below.  Documents mailed to our office will not be accepted.


The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Thursday, November 14, 2013 to receive consideration.

    ·   To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log in to your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.

    ·   Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.

    ·   It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date.

    ·   To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account, , select the Application Status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

    ·   To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.

    Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:  

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.


NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.


If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

    1.To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 985828.

    2.Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

    If you cannot complete the Application Package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Thursday, November 14, 2013 to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.

To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

1.Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.

2.Print the 1203FX form, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items .

3. Fax all six pages of the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission. 

  1. The online Assessment Questions are based on the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 
    • - Knowledge of USDA and NRCS Programs, Policies and Procedures
    • - Ability to Develop and Maintain Working Relationships
    • - Skill in the Use of Measurement Tools to Analyze and Evaluate Facts
    • - Knowledge of Conservation Planning and Application

    Note:  We do not require a separate statement responding to the competencies, also referred to as Knowledges, Skills and Abilities (KSAs).  However, your resume should clearly show possession of these competencies.

  2. All the information you provide may be verified by a review of your resume and questionnaire responses.  Background checks, reference checks and other means, such as the interview process may be used to validate eligibility and scoring.  Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for not hiring you or for removal after employment begins.


For this job announcement YOU MUST SUBMIT ALL of the following documents:  

·        Your responses to the On-line Occupational Questionnaire,

·        Resume, AND

·        College Transcript(s) from all colleges attended (unofficial legible copy acceptable, original necessary if selected)

In addition the following documents may be provided as necessary: 

·        SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action - All current Federal employees, and former Federal employees eligible for reinstatement, must submit a copy of a SF-50 that shows their current grade (i.e. latest pay adjustment, promotion, within grade increase or separation). If your current grade is not your highest permanent grade, submit an additional SF-50 showing the highest grade held on a permanent basis.

·        If claiming Veteran's Preference or eligibility for VRA or VEOA, provide basic eligibility information and submit a copy of DD-214 form (copy 4 which provides Character of Service).  If claiming service-connected disabilities, submit a current SF-15 (revised December 2004) and the documents specified on the form for the type of preference being claimed.  Veterans Opportunty to Work (VOW): For appointments in the Competitive Service, Active Duty Service Members may make applications for Federal employment by submitting a certification (written documentation from the Armed Forces) that certifies expected discharge or release from active duty under Honorable conditions not later than 120 days from the date the certification is signed.  For more information on veterans' preference eligibility go to   and  

·        If claiming eligibility for Career Transition Assistance (CTAP/ICTAP), you must provide proof of eligibility by providing a copy of the agency separation notice, a copy of your most recent performance rating, and a copy of your most recent SF-50 annotating current position, grade level, and duty location. Your on-line application must also  indicate  your selection for CTAP/ICTAP consideration.  

·        Peace Corps or VISTA Volunteers: If you are a returning Peace Corps or VISTA volunteer that completed the qualifying service no more than 1 year ago, you may be eligible for a non-competitive appointment.  You must provide a letter documenting your Peace Corps or VISTA service.



Tricia Mootz
Phone: (515)284-4587
Agency Information:
693 Federal Building
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA


Once your Occupational Questionnaire has been received, you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful.  All information provided may be verified by a careful review of your resume, questionnaire responses, reference check, background check, and/or verification of education.  After a qualification review of your complete application package, you will be notified of the status of your application.  If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.  Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempt to conceal information may disqualify you for consideration.  A job offer is typically made within 45 days after the deadline for applications.   

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