Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer (Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist)
Department Of Agriculture - San Diego, CA

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Relocation expenses will not be paid. The incumbent is the primary liaison for the Agency on operational activities in a specific geographical area and works with state officials, other agencies, industry, colleges and universities, and others interested in activities affected by Agency plant quarantine programs. The incumbent performs a variety of specialized duties that provide a comprehensive approach to biosecurity minimizing the risk of biological and economic damage caused by exotic, non-native plant and animal organisms to agriculture, natural resources, and U.S. trade initiatives involving overall plant health activities.
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 is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing.) For more details click: Term Appointments
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 KEY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. Citizenship DUTIES:The duties may include, but are not limited to:
Manages multiple program areas and/or a multi-faceted program (or areas for which a program will be developed), such as post-entry quarantine, gypsy moth, biological control, grasshopper/Mormon cricket, biotechnology, noxious weeds, boll weevil, or other pests.

Provides recommendations to the supervisor and staff on design and development of guidelines, operational standards, and procedures.

Drafts proposals or work plans and financial plans to be used for survey, sampling, control, trace back, regulatory, methods development and improvement, and/or eradication phases of programs or other projects.

Serves as accredited certifying official regarding export certification, which includes interpreting foreign quarantine regulations to facilitate international trade, issuing Federal Phytosanitary Certificates, and ensuring proper maintenance of the fee collection process.

Provides specialized inspection, regulation, and clearance of high risk propagative plant material and plant products and pest diagnostic identification services at plant inspection stations and/or other facilities.

Plans, conducts, and/or supervises various treatments and remedial measures, such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, and irradiation of regulated articles for plant and animal pests and diseases.

Has a broad range of responsibilities under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), including reviewing permits, seizing shipments without proper documents, safeguarding seized or forfeited property, and maintaining accurate files on CITES transactions.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:
To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
BASIC REQUIREMENT
Degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.
Selective Factor: The qualifying degree must have included at least 24 semester hours in course work, such as agronomy, cell biology, botany, entomology, forestry, horticulture, mycology, nematology, plant pathology, soil science, or other closely related courses. Applicants who do not possess or fail to submit documentation of completion of this requirement will be found not qualified.
OR
Combination of Education and Experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in “Selective Factor” above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
IN ADDITION TO MEETING THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS LISTED ABOVE: Applicants can qualify by meeting the EDUCATION requirements specified below and/or the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements.

EDUCATION:
GS-09: Two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree in agronomy, cell biology, botany, entomology, forestry, horticulture, mycology, nematology, plant pathology, soil science, or other closely related disciplines.
OR
GS-11: Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree in agronomy, cell biology, botany, entomology, forestry, horticulture, mycology, nematology, plant pathology, soil science, or other closely related disciplines.

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:
This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.

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 qualifying 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-9 and GS-11 GRADE LEVELS:
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.
Examples of qualifying experience at GS-9 and GS-11 Grade Levels include, but are not limited to:

Planning, coordinating, and conducting all aspects of operational activities, including regulatory programs outreach, compliance, treatments, or operational functions with cooperators, other government entities, industries, and stakeholders.

Planning, implementing, coordinating, conducting and documenting plant pest surveys and recommendations for solutions to problems in program areas.

Professional level experience executing facility inspections

Professional level experience issuing limited permits and certificates.

Planning, conducting and supervising various inspections and remedial measures such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, etc., for plant and animal pests and disease

Preparing and making formal and informal presentations to internal and external audiences

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-9 and GS-11 GRADE LEVELs:
Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed 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 Professional and Scientific Positions .

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 trial period.

Must maintain a security clearance level sufficient to perform the essential functions of this position.

Transcripts must be submitted for this position.

Valid state driver's license required at time of hiring; work may involve driving long distances, occasionally in poor driving conditions.

Must be able to operate such equipment as ATV’s and other equipment may be needed.

Must be able to travel on a routine basis and be willing to work at odd times, including overtime, weekends, holidays, and shifts.

Required to travel to remote locations at various facilities and may be required to spend extended periods of time at these locations, usually not more than 30 days.

Field visits may require physical exertion, such as walking over rough or rocky terrain or climbing ladders on rail cars or grain elevators; loading, unloading, and carrying moderately heavy materials is sometimes necessary.

May experience discomfort due to adverse weather conditions, high noise levels, pesticides, and working around agricultural or industrial equipment.

May be required to maintain certification for the wearing of personal protective equipment, including respirators such as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), and maintain a valid pesticide certification.

Must be certified under the USDA- APHIS- PPQ pesticide applicator certification program within 12 months after assuming the duties of the position. Failure to achieve certification within the specified time will result in appropriate corrective action.

MUST ATTEND BASIC AGRICULTURE SAFEGUARDING TRAINING (BAST). The purpose of BAST is to provide relevant training to help PPQ Officers acquire new skills and knowledge to enable them to accomplish PPQ's mission. Officers certified through BAST will be able to conduct plant health safeguarding activities authorized by the Plant Protection Act of 2000 and related regulations.

The core instruction will take place at the Professional Development Center in Frederick, MD. Additionally, portions of the training will be completed at the employee’s work unit. The time frame for completing BAST is within the first year of employment, but may be extended by the PPQ Program beyond this period, if necessary.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
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.

Ability to manage program and organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Ability to perform regulatory and complex treatment duties.

Ability to carry out permitting and compliance activities.

Ability to apply communication skills (interpersonal, oral and written) to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, internal and external stakeholders and the general public.

Ability to use technology appropriate to the occupation.

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 eligible 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 OTHER INFORMATION:

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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