Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Conservationist in Georgetown, Delaware
Summary These positions assist the District Conservationist in developing and carrying out a coordinated natural resources conservation program tailored to customers' needs and meeting USDA and NRCS requirements. Incumbent provides technical assistance to local government bodies, tribal entities, state and Federal agencies, private landowners, and the general public in the development, application, and maintenance of a coordinated natural resources conservation program. Responsibilities Assist in gathering and assembling preliminary data for all resource concerns for use in developing complete basic farm conservation plans. Understands all applicable NRCS and Farm Bill programs available to address resource concerns and explains cost share programs and payment procedures to applicants and contract holders. Carries out a follow-up schedule for applying soil conservation practices in accordance with plan and contract schedules. Utilize Toolkit/Protracts programs in the documentation and management of conservation plans and technical assistance by the service center. Work with District Conservationists to conduct environmental education on natural resource issues, water quality, and general conservation. Requirements Conditions of Employment 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. Applicants who meet the Basic Requirement above qualify for the GS-05 level. In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualifications Requirement in order to be considered for the respective grade levels listed below: Specialized Experience to qualify for the GS-07 level: You must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level or higher in the Federal service (or private sector equivalent) demonstrating experience and knowledge of the application of routine principles, concepts and methodology associated with natural resources, practical experience assisting in providing routine technical advice in soil conservation plans while meeting deadlines and priorities in which any deviations or problems are referred to the supervisor; OR Superior Academic Achievement in a bachelor's degree curriculum directly related to the work of the position. To qualify for superior academic achievement, you must have ONE of the following: (1) standing in the upper third of your college class or major subdivision at the time you apply; (2) grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent for all courses completed, either (a) at the time of application or (b) during the last 2 years of your undergraduate curriculum; (3) B+ (3.5 on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent for all courses completed in a related discipline, either (a) at the time of application or (b) during the last 2 years of your undergraduate curriculum; OR (4) election to membership in one of the national honorary scholastic societies that meets the requirements of the Association of College Honor Society; OR Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience for the GS-07 level: Possess one year of graduate level education in soil conservation or a 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. Specialized Experience to qualify for the GS-09 level: You must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-07 level or higher in Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through Federal service demonstrating experience and knowledge of the application of the principles, concepts and methodology associated with natural resources. For this position specialized experience is defined as experience independently providing technical advice to address soil and water resource concerns and implement conservation planning. Examples of specialized experience include: Demonstrating experience applying conventional and established conservation methods and techniques to maintain or improve production while conserving soil and water resources. Developing natural resource conservation plans for land owners, conservation groups or units of local government involving a variety of soil patterns and conservation practices such as contours, terraces, tilling, diversions, etc. Identification and inventory of natural resources by obtaining physical data on multiple land uses such as crop history, soil erosion data, drainage characteristics, field arrangement, problem areas, land use data, and conservation practices present. Assisting in the evaluation of onsite urban, rural, or wetland conservation needs and applying land treatment measures including the installation of erosion and water control practices; OR Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience for the GS-09 level: Possess 2 year(s) of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree in soil conservation or a 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 transcripts to include course number, title, completion and grade. 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. 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. 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. Failure to provide all of the required documents/information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating. Additional Information 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. Promotion Potential: If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed. Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized. Physical Demands: The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion related to conservation work requiring walking on rough terrain, jumping ditches and furrows, or climbing steep banks and similar activities. Work Environment: The work involves regular and recurring exposure to operating agricultural equipment including tractors, caterpillars and a wide variety of attached implements such as cultivators, discs, plows, etc. There may be exposure to snow and ice conditions, and herbicide and chemical spray operations requiring safety precautions. Protective gear and clothing such as hard hat, boots, and gloves may be necessary. 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. This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Current USDA policy includes telework for an 8 hour work day, 4 days per week; other flexibilities are possible dependent upon availability and/or the position and its associated duties. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor. Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized.