Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Agriculturist in 8 vacancies Riverdale, Maryland

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • 8 vacancies - Riverdale, MD
Work Schedule is Full-Time - Permanent

Opened Thursday 12/1/2016 (1 day(s) ago)

** Closes Wednesday 12/7/2016 (5 day(s) away)

Job Overview

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 position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion procedures on 6PQ-APHIS-MA-2017-0171. **

This vacancy is limited to the first 50 applications received.** All applications received prior to midnight (11:59 ET) of the day the application limit is reached will be accepted and considered. If the application limit is not reached by the closing date of the announcement, all applications received during the open period will be considered. Any required documents must be submitted at the time that you apply as documents will not be accepted past the day the application limit is reached, if applicable. If you choose to edit your application after it has been submitted, it will be removed from consideration until you re-submit your application. The date your application is last submitted will be used to determine whether you meet the cut-off criteria.

This position is located in the one of six divisions in the Plant Health Programs Unit (Quarantine Policy and Analysis; Preclearance and Offshore Programs; National Identification Services; Imports, Regulations and Manuals; Pest Detection and Emergency Response; and the Office of Executive Director), and reports to the Director or Assistant Director in those units. The primary purpose of the position is to provide program management expertise, national coordination, and scientific leadership on issues of major importance to PPQ programs nationally. This includes providing assistance to the PHP Directors; leading and coordinating projects, programs, and other related activities; and extensive collaboration with the highest levels of PPQ management to effectively integrate national endeavors into the long-range management of PPQ’s policies and operations.

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

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

This position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion procedures on . Disabled Veterans, candidates with 3 or more years of active duty military service, and candidates eligible for special hiring authorities can apply to the Merit Promotion announcement if they meet criteria for the above and include supporting documents.


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:**

  • Provides advice and assistance in reviewing, developing, directing, analyzing, and monitoring operations and programs to for the import, export or interstate movement of certain plants, plant products, and animal products.
  • Represents PPQ in meetings with industry and government entities at all levels, and performs coordination and negotiation to encourage active participation in PPQ programs and compliance in the enforcement of quarantine and control activities of the agency.
  • Provides leadership in assigned programs. Leadership responsibilities include, but may not be limited to, the coordination and development of protocols, policies, operational plans, strategic plans, action plans, regulations, and guidelines for each of the assigned programs.
  • Communicates with key stakeholder groups, other Federal and international agencies, and cooperator organizations on major initiatives, policy launch changes to a program, and any other critical aspects that may potentially impact these groups.
  • Manages financial accounts for appropriate conduct of the assigned program(s) which may or may not involve special appropriations, user fees, or trust funds.
  • Prepares written correspondence, which includes operational plans, performance reports, briefing papers, decision memoranda, position papers, and other administrative documents.
  • Oversees a continuing review and evaluation program to coordinate activities and determine the overall effectiveness of program activities.

The positions filled under this announcement may include those responsible for the development, management, and overall coordination of national plant health program policies for (1) the regulation and inspection of imported propagative plant material, (2) foreign inspection and certification activities to meet U.S. phytosanitary requirements, (3) national pest and plant host identification services, (4) smuggling and compliance management activities, (5) military phytosanitary pre-clearance policy and operations; (6) the agricultural quarantine inspection user fee program; and (7) other key policy management positions related to agricultural quarantine inspection services or domestic plant health regulatory programs.

Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • Travel for training and work assignments may be required.
Relocation Authorized
  • Yes
  • Relocation expenses may be paid.
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

BASIC REQUIREMENT: Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.

OR Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

TRANSCRIPTS are required. This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.

FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL:Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Apply concepts, principles, practices, and methodology of insects, pathogens, nematodes, and weeds
  • Recognized reference standards, legal requirements and regulatory agency requirements related to plant pests, agriculture, forests, and the plant environment.
  • Independently perform recurring, well-precedented projects using standard methods and techniques related to plant health risks
  • Establish quality controls enforcing Federal and State quarantines regulating the movement of crops, products, equipment, and other materials that may cause the spread of animal and plant pests.
  • Identify and resolve problems related to protocols, policies, operational plans, strategic plans, action plans, regulations, and guidelines for assigned programs
  • Prepare routine reports and make presentations (Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.) FOR THE GS-13 LEVEL:**Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Apply agency regulations, policies, and procedures related to insects, pathogens, nematodes, and weeds

  • Resolve complex problems involving matters, such as developing and implementing multiple-use resource management plans or covering diverse resource management issues related plant pests, agriculture, forests, and the plant environment.
  • Devise strategies to overcome significant resource constraints related to plant health risks
  • Recommend and justify appropriate resource management strategies for Federal and State quarantines regulating the movement of crops, products, equipment, and other materials that may cause the spread of animal and plant pests.
  • Develop and implement protocols, policies, operational plans, strategic plans, action plans, regulations, and guidelines for assigned programs.
  • Evaluate the quality and effectiveness of program operations.
  • Prepare and present scientific and technical reports. (Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.) Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Special Conditions:

  • As a condition of employment, satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check may be required for this position.
  • Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service).
  • This position is designated a public trust position and is subject to satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of initial background investigation and reinvestigation as a condition of employment.
  • Position may be eligible for telework.
  • In accordance with Office of Government Ethics regulations concerning conflict of interest, the incumbent of this position will be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of their effective date of appointment and annually thereafter.
  • While responsibilities are performed primarily at a desk, managerial demands are inherently stressful and physically exhausting.
  • Travel may be required over single and multi-day periods of time.
  • Field visits may require some walking, bending, climbing, and other light to moderate physical exertion.
  • The work is primarily performed in an office and meeting setting.
  • Occasionally, some discomfort is encountered on field trips that take the employee to highly varied work.
  • Immediately following the interview, candidates maybe be asked to conduct a presentation on a leadership, technical, or non-technical topic (up to 15 minutes). Also, a writing sample or a writing exercise may be required.
Security Clearance

Public Trust - Background Investigation

Additional Information
What To Expect Next

If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.


The Federal Service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at:

Other Information
  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, provide proof of eligibility to include your most recent performance appraisal, SF-50 showing the full performance level or career ladder of your current or previous position, and proof of eligibility such as a RIF separation notice or letter from OPM/your agency. CTAP/ICTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified if achieving a rating of 85 or above. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is at: OPMs Career Transition Resources website.
  • 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: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
  • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
  • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:

Salary Range: $77,490.00 to $119,794.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: GS-0401-12/13

Promotion Potential: 14

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.

Control Number: 457790800

Job Announcement Number: 24PQ-APHIS-MA-2017-0172