Plant Protection Technician – Domestic
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Avon Park, FL

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About the Agency

The incumbent serves as a technician for Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and is assigned a geographic area for which they have responsibility for helping PPQ Officers with the planning, coordinating, and directing the survey, control, and regulatory functions for PPQ programs, including biocontrol and biotechnology activities.

This is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without re-announcing.) 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 TRAVEL REQUIRED
Occasional Travel
Considerable travel may be required. RELOCATION AUTHORIZED
No KEY REQUIREMENTS
You must be a US Citizen or US National.
Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.
Valid state driver's license is required at the time of application. DUTIES: Back to top
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:
  • Participates fully with the supervisor in planning, scheduling, and coordinating survey and control measures conducted within an assigned area by furnishing specific information about the work area that will allow successful program accomplishment; similar participation is also done for biocontrol and biotechnology activities.
  • Inspects and surveys properties (farms, rangeland, nurseries, shipping points, etc.) for the presence of harmful plants, insects, and plant diseases; inspections and surveys are made individually or by using lower graded employees under their direction.
  • Directs/Conducts approved control and eradication measures, including the adoption of cultural practices , sanitation measures, biological controls, and the application of herbicides , insecticides, nematicides, and fungicides in proper proportions or dosages.
  • Enforces federal and/or state plant quarantines and regulatory orders which restrict movement of plants, plant products, and equipment into or out of regulated areas; issues certificates permitting the movement of regulated articles; and reviews compliance agreements, taking steps to ensure conformance.
  • Maintains daily records of inspection work, control measures, and regulatory procedures applied; prepares reports on activities and accomplishments within the assigned area, some of which are prepared through the use of Global Positioning System units and computer data input; prepares maps used in connection with survey activities; and services and maintains vehicles records. QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Back to top
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including the following experience and/or education as identified by grade level.

FOR THE GS-5 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-4 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Collecting data from daily records and preparing reports on activities accomplished.
  • Operating mechanical and/or other equipment to carry out assigned tasks.
  • Basic working knowledge in botany and familiarity with agricultural plant groups.
  • General knowledge of insects and plant pathogens.
OR A four-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree that included at least 16 semester hours in courses such as biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

FOR THE GS-6 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-5 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Knowledge of the various citrus varieties and harvest seasons.
  • Performing basic identification of citrus insects and citrus diseases.
  • Using geographic information systems (GIS) devices to locate and document field locations when performing surveys.
  • Ability to use maps to locate groves and residential properties for survey.
OR A half year or 9 semester hours of graduate education in biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

FOR THE GS-7 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-6 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Applying principles of biological science to analyze and take action to prevent the establishment and/or artificial spread of plant diseases.
  • Enforcing plant quarantines and regulatory orders which restrict movement of plant, plant products, and equipment into or out of regulated areas.
  • Identifying citrus program pests in all of their life stages and having experience in properly sampling and submitting pests for laboratory confirmation.
  • Contacting stakeholders (e.g. landowners, tenants, managers) to obtain permission to conduct surveys.
  • Ability to identify citrus varieties using both plant morphological characteristics and/or the various fruits at all developmental stages both on and off the tree.
OR One year or 18 semester hours of graduate education in biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

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.
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-5/6/7 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 Technical and Medical Support Positions .

Special Conditions:
  • Satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • 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.
  • Work is primarily outdoors with moderate exposure to uncomfortable and dangerous situations, such as working in adverse weather conditions and around large agricultural related machinery.
  • Requires physical exertion to walk, bend, stoop, lift items of moderate weight, and climb or hike on slippery and uneven surfaces.
  • Assignments may require extended work in remote/rural areas. HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures 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 (or competencies) :

  • Ability to recognize agricultural products/commodities, their origin, and their condition
  • Knowledge of plant pests/disease detection, identification, and control
  • Ability to interpret and apply standards, procedures, and/or regulations, including State and Federal plant quarantine regulations
  • Oral and written communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to plan and organize work and lead others
  • Ability to use maps, mapping software, and/or mapping systems
The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job, and will be used to identify the best qualified applicants to be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interviews. Your ratings in this Assessment Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification based on the documents and references you submit.

Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your ratings. Attempts to falsify information; inflate your qualifications or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may be grounds to adjust your rating or to not select you. Errors, omissions or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may affect your eligibility. If selected providing inaccurate information on federal documents could also be grounds for dismissing you from the position/agency. Please follow all instructions carefully.
To preview questions please click here .
BENEFITS: Back to top

You can review our benefits at:
https://jobs.mgsapps.monster.com/usda/vacancy/preview!benefits.hms?orgId=15&jnum=131241

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: OPM's 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: USDA's 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 1-9 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.

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