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Soil Conservationist Full-time

at US Department of Agriculture in Michigan (Published at 15-01-2020)

    Duties

    Summary

    The incumbent will serve as a District Conservationist assisting the Conservation District(s) within the managerial unit, consisting of at least one county or district, in the development of a comprehensive natural resources conservation program. The incumbent performs 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 landowner.


    Responsibilities

    • Works in collaboration with landowner to provide detailed conservation system and practice implementation including conservation practice design, layout, construction, inspection and certification.
    • Management, operation and maintenance of the planned conservation system and practices according to the Field Office Technical Guide standards and specifications as well as comply with all federal, state and local regulations.
    • Informs and educates the landowner of conservation technical assistance and financial assistance to consider for conservation system and practice implementation. This includes oversight, management and administration for all Farm Bill programs.
    • Independently provides leadership with conservation planning of natural resources and other activities in cooperation with the Conservation District, tribes, and conservation partners to address resource concerns on private lands.
    • Coordinates interagency delivery of conservation assistance to private landowners and others to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the state's natural resources.
    • Partners with other conservation entities to provide long-term commitment to the local, state and federal government conservation delivery system to help private landowners, communities and others conserve natural resources within the state.
    • Responsible for supervision of federal employees located in a field office and liaison between the state and district employees. Ensures quality and quantity of work, reviews work of subordinates and accepts, revises, or rejects work.
    • Sets performance standards and evaluates performance for subordinates. Interviews and determines selection from available candidates. Resolves complaints and grievances and takes appropriate action as necessary.
    • Reviews job descriptions for accuracy. Initiates or participates in review and improvement of work methods.
    • Develops training plans to ensure personnel are adequately qualified to perform assigned tasks and to ensure personnel are provided the opportunity to develop their skills to optimum level.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

    Supervisory status

    Yes

    Promotion Potential

    11

  • Job family (Series)

    0457 Soil Conservation

  • Requirements

    Requirements

    Conditions of Employment

    • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
    • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt.
    • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
    • Subject to one-year supervisory/managerial probationary period unless prior service is creditable. New USDA supervisors must successfully complete all components of the required training program before the end of their probationary period.
    • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
    • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/.
    • Must possess and maintain a valid state motor vehicle operator's license for the type of vehicle(s) operated to perform the duties of this position.
    • Incumbent is required to obtain and maintain Conservation Planning Level certification.

    Qualifications

    Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.
    Basic Education Requirement:
    Degree: 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; OR
    Combination of Education and Experience: At least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education comparable to a 4 year degree. 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.
    Evaluation of Education: Education that provided specialized knowledge and skills in soil and water conservation is more valuable than education that imparted broad but general knowledge and skills. Courses in soil fertility, soil chemistry, soil genesis, plant physiology, plant science, and field crops are examples of specialized courses that contribute towards meeting the required 12 semester hours as described above. Courses in the physical sciences or engineering such as geology, civil engineering, and hydrology also meet the soils, crops, or plant science course requirements where such courses included a complete introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils.
    Evaluation of Experience: Experience that included the application of techniques, principles, and methods from a variety of agricultural and natural resource fields is appropriate, given the interdisciplinary character of the soil conservation occupation. For example, experience gained in a specialized field such as soil science, forestry, or agronomy is as fully acceptable as experience directly obtained in soil conservation work.
    In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualifications Requirement in order to be considered:
    Specialized Experience: To qualify for the GS-11 grade level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 level or higher in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service. This experience must include knowledge of the principles and theories of soil and water conservation and related sciences such as biology, agronomy, and forestry, in identifying conservation related problems. Examples of specialized experience include:
    • Providing technical guidance and assistance to groups and individuals on topics such as soil interpretations, erosion control measures, pest and invasive species control, water quality improvements, livestock management, wildlife habitat, and forest management.
    • Preparing conservation or resource management plans and providing financial or implementation assistance.
    • Communicating and sharing general information and explaining issues related to natural resource conservation, problems, and solutions to landowners, residents, and land managers; OR

    Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience for the GS-11 level: 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering; OR
    Combination of Education and Experience: A combination of graduate-level education and experience, as described above, may be used to qualify for this position. This combination must have equipped you with the necessary knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform the duties of this position. Combinations of experience and education must total at least 100% as outlined in OPM Qualifications policy.
    For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=GS-PROF
    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 and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Education

    You must submit a copy of your college transcripts or a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify all education requirements (i.e. substitution of education and/or basic education requirement). If a relevant course is not clearly qualifying (e.g. special topic, seminar, research, thesis, obscure or misleading course title, etc.), please submit an official course syllabi and/or detailed course description from the university/college for that particular course to ensure you are properly evaluated. Please note that qualifications determinations are based solely on the information submitted for each particular vacancy announcement. You must document all requirements on every vacancy; we cannot use previous determinations as a basis for rating. All required information must be received by the closing date of this announcement, and non-submission of all required documents/documentation will result in non-consideration. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. This information must be received by the closing date of this announcement. Non-submission of these documents will result in non-consideration.
    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Applicants must, therefore, only report attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation via this link. All education claimed by applicants will be verified accordingly. Important: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. Click on this link for more information.

    Additional information

    • This position is being concurrently announced under Merit Promotion Announcement Number NRCS-20-10694023-MP-MI-MM. Current permanent USDA employees may apply to both announcements to expand all possibilities of consideration since different referral criteria apply to each type of announcement. See the above announcement for more information.
    • Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized.
    • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
    • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
    • Physical Demands: The incumbent must walk extensively through rough terrain, over ditches, and climb steep banks. Some physical exertion is required.
    • Work Environment: The incumbent works under conditions that involve moderate discomforts due to adverse weather. Works near farm and earth moving machinery and may be exposed to toxic chemicals, poisonous insects and irritating plants.
    • PLEASE NOTE: In the interest of filling these positions as efficiently as possible, we are requiring the following:
      • If called for an interview, applicants must be available to interview within 3 business days of being contacted.
      • If a tentative job offer is extended, selectee will have 2 business days in which to accept or decline.
    • 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: http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=6465

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants' quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

    • Conservation planning, environmental engineering design, public service motivation, attention to detail, organizing and prioritizing work, teamwork, interpersonal skills, relationship management, customer service, developing others, team building, accountability, assigning, evaluating and monitoring work.
    Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.
    Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
    Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the "Apply" button to the right.
    To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10693905

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Not Required

    Drug test required

    No

    Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Credentialing, Suitability/Fitness

  • Required Documents

    Required Documents

    The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

    • Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications.
    • If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name and the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit the NACES website. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
    • If claiming veteran's preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions.If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.Veteran's preference must be verified prior to appointment.Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
    • If claiming 10-point veteran's preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans' preference visit FEDSHIREVETS
    • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits

    Benefits

    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.



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