Job Overview

Summary

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!

USDA is a great place to start or continue your career. USDA is ranked as one of the top 10 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" by the Partnership for Public Service (http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/overall/large). Rankings are based on employee feedback regarding satisfaction with their work experience.

The work in this position directly supports Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant and Protection Quarantine (PPQ), Policy Management, Plant and Health Programs (PHP), National Identification Services' (NIS) ability to detect, delimit, and eradicate or control introduced exotic, quarantine significant organisms.  Resulting decisions may allow or disallow shipments of imported goods to enter the United States when organisms are found associated with those shipments during port of entry inspections.  Regulatory action may result from identification of certain pests from domestic surveys.  Assignments consist of performing a variety of different and unrelated procedural tasks but are not limited to organizing and executing a range of organism identification activities to support Entomologists, Plant Pathologists, Mycologists, Botanists or Malacologists; working from general instructions provided by national taxonomic specialists or cooperators; providing services to facilitate the identification of insects, plant pathogens, snails, weed propagules, quarantine-significant seeds and host material; and managing assigned collections such as Entomology, Malacology, Botany and Mycology collections, and other pest identification support activities.

Salary Information:  First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

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

Duties

The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Applies basic principles of a biological science to assess readings and measurements taken, tests executed, observations made, work completed, samples collected, etc., to understand and relate the significance of the results to the higher objectives to which the activity is related. 
  • Is responsible for the daily operational activities of the assigned laboratory.
  • Sorts urgent and routine pest samples from port interceptions nationwide, and forwards to appropriate professional staff for final identification.
  • Tests and analyzes studies, and evaluates data on plant pests identified domestically or intercepted at ports of entry.
  • Assists in developing new techniques, or in refining and modifying standard methods of specimen preparation.
  • Operates necessary equipment and associated software such as critical point dryer, scanning electron microscope, word processor, and stereoscopic/compound photographic system as occasion warrants.
  • Assists in the development of taxonomic keys.
  • Assists in the organization and archival of the digital image collections made for each type of organism by order, family, and genus.
  • Maintains related databases of pest interceptions, collections, and loans and performs general data entry into different databases.
  • Performs literature searches and catalogues information from this literature.
  • Maintains literature, nomenclature, and reprint files to ensure that stored data are easily available. 
  • Maintains a file on all duties and assignments and the protocols to achieve them.

Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • Travel for training and work assignments may be required.

Relocation Authorized

  • Yes
  • Relocation expenses may be paid.