Plant Protection Technician
Department Of Agriculture - Idaho Falls, ID

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Relocation expenses will not be paid

The Potato Cyst Nematode Project (PCN) is tasked with developing effective strategies to minimize the spread of PCN in Idaho and the rest of the U.S. The incumbent will work in Idaho Falls, ID and serve as a Plant Protection Technician by providing a variety of technical duties in support of PCN objectives.

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

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 the following:

Conducts routine surveillance and inspections for nematodes and other pests of concern. Extracts soil samples and microscopically examines sample extracts to detect nematodes. Uses microscopes to examine samples from field experiments. Summarizes data and evaluations.

Samples taken are submitted to agency and university laboratories to determine whether additional potato cyst nematodes are present. Submits written reports on significant findings and important problems to immediate supervisor upon discovery. As assigned, may conduct tests on nematicide use to control both free-living and cyst nematodes, nematode population testing, resistant varieties, crop rotations and/or phonological control.

Uses computer and associated software such as databases, spreadsheets and statistical analysis programs to maintain information on soil samples and field data, such as equipment movement, quarantines, treatment efficacy, etc.

May participate in the placing of invested fields under quarantine to restrict the movement of plants and soil and require sanitation procedures for equipment used on the regulated field. Assists with quarantine measures to stop the movement of seed, soil and machinery from both infested and clean areas.

May assist with educational outreach or experiments on the use of soil fumigants and non-fumigant nematicides used in the control of PCN, or provide technical assistance on projects to isolate natural enemies of the nematode and assess their potential as biological control agents.

Assembles all necessary equipment for the study and will follow all tests to completion, recording necessary data as outlined by the supervisor. Sanitizes, maintains and keeps in good operating order all field equipment, the laboratory, work area and vehicles.

Follows and obeys all state and federal guidelines and reports unsafe situations to the supervisor in a timely manner.

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 GENERAL/SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements.

EDUCATION

GS-4: 2-years of education beyond the high school level that included at least 8 semester hours in courses such as biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics.

GS-5: 4-year course of study above high school leading to a bachelor's degree years that included at least 16 semester hours in courses such as biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics. GS-6: Half year or 9 semester hours of graduate education in biology, plant pathology, entomology, zoology, botany, forestry, chemistry, agriculture, or physics.

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.

This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts

GENERAL/SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-4 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants must have both 6 months general work experience and 6 months of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal service. Applicants who have one year of appropriate specialized experience are not required to have general experience. Specialized experience must provide a familiarity with the methods, procedures, and techniques involved in inspecting, detecting, identifying, eradicating, suppressing, or controlling plant pests, and in the enforcement of Federal and State quarantines.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-5/6 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 the GS-4/5 grade levels include, but are not limited to:

Assists in performing routine surveillance, inspections, and surveys for nematodes and other pests of concern in agricultural areas

Performs inspections and sanitation of farm equipment, vehicles, and other regulated articles

Analyzes soil samples for the presence of nematodes

Applies general understanding of plant biology and plant pest principles to insect and plant identification

Examples of qualifying experience at the GS-6 grade level include, but are not limited to:

Assists in contacting stakeholders, (i.e., landowners, tenants, managers, equipment operators, etc) to perform outreach activities, obtain permission to conduct surveys, and enforce regulations

Directs lower graded employees in performing soil surveys and analyses for the presence of harmful insects, plants, or plant diseases in soil samples

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-4/5/6 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and general/specialized experience (as specified per grade level) 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:
U.S. Citizenship.

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.

Valid state driver's license required at time of hiring.

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.

Considerable travel may be required; assignments may require extended work in remote/rural areas.

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.

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 plan use maps, mapping software and/or mapping systems

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

Salary:
Range for GS-4: $27,990 to $36,384 (incl. 14.16% locality pay)

Range for GS-5: $31,315 to $40,706 (incl. 14.16% locality pay)

Range for GS-6: $34,907 to $45,376 (incl. 14.16% locality pay)

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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