Research Agronomist
Department Of Agriculture - Stoneville, MS

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Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

The Crop Production Systems Research Unit, in Stoneville, Mississippi, is seeking a Research Agronomist to lead a research program on the management of corn grain production based on the agronomy, physiology, ecology, and fiscal constraints present in the Midsouthern United States. Research should result in sustainable corn production systems that efficiently utilize capital resources, maximize profits for corn producers, and conserve natural resources and energy.

Research will be directed towards maximizing economic yield, reducing input costs, and minimizing environmental impact. Data acquired from this research will be used to both maintain and strengthen a viable corn production industry that has developed in the Lower Mississippi River Valley over the past 20 years. The incumbent will apply a diverse set of specific methods to address scientific questions related to sustainable corn production and cooperate with other scientists in the research unit and other ARS research units, and with university scientists in Mississippi and adjacent states.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position

Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation

Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service

DUTIES:
Major Duties:
Potential areas of research include but are not limited to:
Developing economical corn production practices for both conventional and new genetically modified organism (GMO) and stacked-gene corn hybrids;

Developing corn production practices that decrease energy inputs, such as minimum and/or no-till;

Optimizing fertilization, including possible variable rate nitrogen applications;

Improving irrigation efficiency including variable rate of irrigation;

Identifying and utilizing cover crops in post-harvest weed management, and improving upon cultural practices to control herbacide-resistant weeds.

Working Conditions and Other Considerations:
Work will be done in laboratory, greenhouse and in field settings. Field work will be done in a variety of weather conditions.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:
Basic Requirements: Applicants must meet the following specializeded experience OR education:

Research Agronomist (0471): Education: Degree in Agronomy; or related discipline of science that included at least 30 semester hours of course work in the basic plant sciences, including at least 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, such as those dealing with plant breeding, crop production, and soil and crop management OR

Combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours in the basic plant sciences, including a minimum of 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Course work in such subjects as botany, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant breeding or genetics, plant ecology, plant pathology, microbiology, agronomy, or those dealing with basic soil-water-plant relationships of an agronomic or ecologic nature may be used to meet the 30-semester-hour requirement in the basic plant sciences. Agronomy courses include agronomy, field crops, field crop production or management, soil and crop management, plant breeding and development, weed control, and similar courses, including those in soils, biochemistry, plant physiology, etc., provided they dealt with principles, methods, or procedures that are applied directly in agronomic work and in the solving of agronomic problems.

Graduate Education: Agronomy, or one of the related disciplines or fields of science, such as plant physiology, soils, or genetics, where the curriculum or pattern of training placed major emphasis on field crops or agronomy. Graduate study in related fields, such as botany, plant pathology, and biochemistry may also be qualifying, provided it placed a sufficient amount of emphasis on agronomy.

Additional Requirements:
GS-12: A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or one year of specialized experience, equivalent to at least the GS-11 in the Federal service.

GS-13: One year of specialized experience, equivalent to at least the GS-12 in the Federal service.

Specialized Experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for this position are:

1. Knowledge of agronomy as it relates to sustainable corn production systems;

2. Skill in utilizing biological, physiological, and ecological techniques to investigate growth, development and management of corn;

3. Ability to plan, conduct, and publish research, document results and make presentations at scientific meetings in the areas of sustainable corn production systems.

Applicants must address the specialized experience requirements in their resume (or application documents). Applications that do not reflect the specialized experience requirements will not be deemed qualified.

To be considered for a research scientist position, you must submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Also, submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. A peer review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee.

R esearch scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.

This position has a positive education requirement. You must submit a copy of your academic transcripts OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grade point average or class ranking to verify education when applying for this position. If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position. If you are selected for this position, you will have to provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website for additional information on this topic.

Time-in-grade restrictions apply for all candidates considered under Alternative Merit Promotion.

All qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the basic and any additional requirements. The Agricultural Research Service uses a category rating process. Based on evaluation of all written materials submitted in application for the position, you will be determined to be Ineligible if you do not meet eligibility and/or minimum qualifications criteria; Eligible if you meet all eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria; OR Quality if you meet quality criteria in addition to eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria.

BENEFITS:
The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees: http://www.usajobs.gov/ResourceCenter/Index/Interactive/Benefits#icc .

OTHER INFORMATION:
Displaced/Surplus Employees: Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if they meet basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and are rated in the Quality Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location. Click here for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans' preference , you must attach Member 4 copy of your DD-214. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference , you must attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference plus the proof required by that form.

Qualified candidates eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) , a special hiring authority, will be considered. VEOA eligibles are preference eligibles or veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of active service. Veterans who are released under honorable conditions shortly before completing a 3-year tour are also eligible.

Status candidates who wish to be considered under both alternative merit promotion and non-status competitive examining must submit two complete applications when the position is open to both status and non-status candidates. When only one application is received, it will be considered under alternative merit promotion procedures.

Financial Disclosure Requirement: Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest. If hired for this position, you may be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter.

False statements: If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation: If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on 202-855-1234 (TDD).

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