Agricultural Commodity Grader (Tobacco)
Department Of Agriculture 499 reviews - Richmond, VA

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Permanent, full-time seasonal working a minimum of 6 months per year. During peak operational periods, the incumbent will be required to work scheduled overtime as directed by the immediate supervisor. Such overtime may occur for consecutive weeks but is normally seasonal in nature .

Cotton and Tobacco Programs is responsible for administering policies and programs for a variety of marketing services and other related programs, including grading of cotton; inspection and grading of tobacco; testing services for cotton and tobacco; standards development, preparation and distribution for cotton and tobacco; market news and price quotations for cotton and market information and statistics activities including collecting, compiling and disseminating information on tobacco prices. Research and promotion for cotton; information technology for cotton and tobacco; investigations of alleged violations of the Tobacco Inspection Act; quality assurance for cotton; expansion of market outlets for tobacco; exportation controls for tobacco and regulatory marketing agreements and orders for tobacco.

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!
  • U.S. Citizenship

DUTIES: 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:
  • In accordance with agency protocols, randomly selects individual boxes for examination. Assesses the overall quality and consistency of the product within the container and determines the official grade of the product in accordance with agency grading standards. Recognizes significant product variations within individual containers and determines the most appropriate resolution; in some instances estimating percentages of product that warrant each of multiple grades.
  • Under general supervision, you will assess tobacco crop damage and determine the grade of damaged tobacco at the time of harvest. The graders further assess the probable quality of the tobacco had weather calamites not occurred.
  • In response to requests from tobacco companies and independent markets, the incumbents provide a broad range of grading services that protect all business interests and that ensure product quality and uniformity.
  • You are required to select product samples for laboratory testing for pesticides. Responsibilities involve the selection of random samples in a scientifically valid manner and in accordance with prescribed protocols.
  • You may be required to provide technical guidance to and/oversee the work seasonal or intermittent personnel working in the shared work area or region.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Applicants can qualify by meeting the EDUCATION requirements specified below and/or the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements.


GS-7: One full year of graduate level education in agriculture, mathematics/engineering, business, economics, science or other related field;


Superior Academic Achievement To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND must meet certain GPA requirements. For more details click Superior Academic Achievement

GS-9 : Master's or equivalent graduate degree or two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in agriculture, mathematics/engineering, business, economics, science or other related field;

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:
  • You are qualifying for the position based on education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
  • You are qualify for this position based on Superior Academic Achievement. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. Specialized experience includes that which has been gained in production, processing, quality control, inspection, research, or receiving, when it involved making quality determinations of agricultural commodities using an applicable grading standard (can be other than U.S. standards). Experience may have been gained in chain stores, the military, or manufacturing.

Examples of qualifying experience at the GS-7 grade level include, but are not limited to:
  • One year or more of past experience with commodity grading or experience working with related processing equipment utilized in commodity grading.
  • Agriculture production experience and/or marketing experience (minimum of 1 year)
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-9 GRADE LEVEL Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade in the Federal service performing the range of duties as outlined above. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors. To qualify by experience for this grade level, incumbent must have hands-on grading experience in the applicable commodity with final responsibility for certifying the condition and grade according to universally accepted standards for the commodity, as well as knowledge and application of official U.S. Grade Standards, regulations, and specifications used in the inspection of applicable commodity.

Examples of qualifying experience at the GS-9 grade level include, but are not limited to:
  • Any supervision of employees engaged in the area of agriculture production, harvesting, marketing, inspecting, storing, processing or grading of agriculture commodities
  • One year of specialized training or experience in Tobacco grading, or inspecting, or sampling for chemical analysis
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7/9 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed graduate education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Administrative and Management Positions

Special Conditions:
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • DD214 (Member 4 copy) or other veterans' documents required to receive veterans' preference.
  • As a condition of employment, a background investigation may be required for this position.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.

  • Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the position. Your resume must support that you meet the specialized experience requirements described above and are proficient in the following skills or competencies below. Please note you are not required to provide specific narrative responses to the skills and competencies described in this section.
    • Performs random sampling of domestic and imported tobacco. Properly records, labels, completes required documentation, and prepares samples for shipment to the National Science Lab.
    • Maintains communication with manageament and external customers in regard to scheduling sampling and grading of tobacco. Prepares proper documentation in recording all tobacco lots and samples for chemical testing.
    • Makes independent decisions on tobacco sample selections.Indepentently coordinates scheduling of grading and sampling services with tobacco industry.
    • Performs grading for both burley and flue cured tobacco with little to no supervision on industry sites. Performs grading for all types of leaf, strip form, and blended tobacco.
  • Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligibles will receive selection priority over non-veterans.
  • Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure your resume provides enough detail to support your responses.
  • If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.

To preview questions please click here .

BENEFITS: Eligibility for employee benefits depends on your type of appointment and your tour of duty (work schedule). Generally, you must be hired on a permanent basis and have a regular full or part-time work schedule. For more information on potential benefits, go to: Federal Employee Benefits

  • For information regarding CTAP eligibility for displaced Federal employees click: Career Transition Assistance Programs
  • 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: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • For information on filing a complaint of discrimination, click: Filing a Complaint

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