Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Conservationist in Ankeny, Iowa

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Duties
Summary

Do you want to work for a premier conservation agency whose mission is to “help people help the land?” For more than 83 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has worked in close partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest managers, non-governmental organizations, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to create and maintain healthy and productive working landscapes.

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Responsibilities

The Soil Conservationist assists in developing and carrying out a coordinated natural resources conservation program tailored to customers' needs and meeting USDA and NRCS requirements. Incumbent provides technical assistance to local government bodies, tribal entities, state and Federal agencies, private landowners (i.e., individual farmers and ranchers), and the general public in the development, application, and maintenance of a coordinated natural resources conservation program.

  • Assist in gathering and assembling preliminary data for all resource concerns for use in developing complete basic farm conservation plans, including conducting engineering surveys and preparing drawings for conservation practices common to the area.
  • Utilize Toolkit/Protracts programs in the documentation and management of conservation plans and technical assistance by the service center.
  • Carry out a follow-up schedule for applying soil conservation practices in accordance with plan and contract schedules.
  • Work with District Conservationists to conduct environmental education on natural resource issues, water quality, and general conservation.
Travel Required

Occasional travel - Travel up to 20% of the time.

Supervisory status

No

Promotion Potential

09

  • #### Job family (Series)

0457 Soil Conservation

  • Requirements

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Requirements
Conditions of Employment
  • U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • A 1-year probationary or trial period may be required.

  • Must possess and maintain a valid driver's license.

  • Work is performed in both office and field environments. Field work requires regular and recurring physical exertion; walking on rough terrain; jumpiing ditches and furrows, and climbing steep banks. Exposure to operating agricultural equipment, herbicide and chemical sprays, and snow and ice conditions are common. Protective gear and clothing may be necessary.

  • Entrance on duty is contingent upon completion of a pre-employment security investigation. The position may be subject to a Public Trust background investigation at the time of appointment, and may be subject to reinvestigation every five years thereafter. A favorable adjudication of the clearance or background investigation at the time of appointment and on reinvestigations is a condition of employment.

PLEASE NOTE: In the interest of filling these positions as efficiently as possible, we are requiring the following:

  • If called for an interview, applicants must be available to interview within 3 business days of being contacted.
  • If a tentative job offer is extended, selectee will have 2 business days in which to accept or decline.
Qualifications

All applicants must meet all qualification (i.e. Basic Education Requirement, Specialized Experience Requirement) and eligibility (e.g.time-in-grade, general restriction on movement after competitive appointment/time-after-competitive appointment)* by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.*

*Basic Education Requirement:*

Degree; soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. The study must have included 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science;

OR

Combination of Education and Experience: At least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education comparable to a 4 year degree. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

Minimum Qualification Requirements: In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet one of the following Minimum Qualification Requirements in order to be considered for this position.

Specialized Experience Requirement:** To qualify for the GS-09 grade level, you must possess at least specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level or higher in the Federal service (or private sector equivalent) demonstrating experience and knowledge of the application of the principles, concepts and methodology associated with natural resources. For this position specialized experience is defined as experience independently providing technical advice to address soil and water resource concerns and implement conservation planning.

Examples of specialized experience include:

  • Demonstratied experience applying conventional and established conservation methods and techniques to maintain or improve production while conserving soil and water resources.
  • Developing natural resource conservation plans for land owners, conservation groups or units of local government involving a variety of soil patterns and conservation practices such as contours, terraces, tilling, diversions, etc.
  • Identification and inventory of natural resources by obtaining physical data on multiple land uses such as crop history, soil erosion data, drainage characteristics, field arrangement, problem areas, land use data, and conservation practices present.
  • Assisting in the evaluation of onsite urban, rural, or wetland conservation needs and applying land treatment measures including the installation of erosion and water control practices.

OR

Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience for the GS-9 level: Possess two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a masters degree or masters or equivalent graduate degree in soil conservation or a related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering; OR

Possess a combination of graduate-level education and experience, as described above, may be used to qualify for this position. This combination must have equipped you with the necessary knowledge and/or experience to successfully perform the duties of this position. Combinations of experience and education must total at least 100% as outlined in OPM Qualifications policy.

Experience Note: Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through NationalService programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Evaluation of Education: Education that provided specialized knowledge and skills in soil and water conservation is more valuable than education that imparted broad but general knowledge and skills. Courses in soil fertility, soil chemistry, soil genesis, plant physiology, plant science, and field crops are examples of specialized courses that contribute towards meeting the required 12 semester hours as described above. Courses in the physical sciences or engineering such as geology, civil engineering, and hydrology also meet the soils, crops, or plant science course requirements where such courses included a complete introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils.

Evaluation of Experience: Experience that included the application of techniques, principles, and methods from a variety of agricultural and natural resource fields is appropriate, given the interdisciplinary character of the soil conservation occupation. For example, experience gained in a specialized field such as soil science, forestry, or agronomy is as fully acceptable as experience directly obtained in soil conservation work.

Note: The OPM Qualification Standards for this position can be found at: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=List-by-Occupational-Series

Time-in-Grade: Applicants must have completed at least 52 weeks at the next lower grade GS-7 for GS-9 or have held the same grade or higher grade level as the one advertised in order to be considered for this position.

Experience Note: Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Education

You must submit a copy of your college transcripts or a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify all education requirements (i.e. substitution of education and/or basic education requirement). If a relevant course is not clearly qualifying (e.g. special topic, seminar, research, thesis, obscure or misleading course title, etc.), please submit an official course syllabi and/or detailed course description from the university/college for that particular course to ensure you are properly evaluated. Please note that qualifications determinations are based solely on the information submitted for each particular vacancy announcement. You must document all requirements on every vacancy; we cannot use previous determinations as a basis for rating. All required information must be received by the closing date of this announcement, and non-submission of all required documents/documentation will result in non-consideration. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. This information must be received by the closing date of this announcement. Non-submission of these documents will result in non-consideration.

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Applicants must, therefore, only report attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation via this link. All education claimed by applicants will be verified accordingly. Important: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. Click on this link for more information.

Additional information
  • Locality Pay: The salary for each location may vary depending on locality. Locality tables my be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/
  • If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the commuting area of the duty location of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • This announcement may be used to fill multiple vacancies.
  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP): Applicants eligible under CTAP may received priority consideration. CTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified if achieving a rating of 85 or above. Information about CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. Relocation expenses may be authorized as allowable by Federal Travel Regulations and USDA policy, for the following locations only: Albuquerque, NM / Louisville, IL and Sandpoint, ID. Relocation expenses will not be paid for locations Indianola, IA, Boone, IA, Ankeny, IA, Milford, NH, or Manning, SC

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the education, experience, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Occupational Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the competencies listed below:

Problem Identification; Engineering Practices; Continuously Learning; ArcGIS; Conservation Planning – Data Collection and Analysis Initiative; Conservation Planning – Follow-up and Maintenance; Attention to Detail; Accountability; Written Communication; and Oral Communication.

We will review your application to ensure you meet the job requirements and assess your ability to perform this job. Before any certificate can be issued to the selecting official, the resume and supporting documents are reviewed by an HR Specialist to ensure that minimum qualification requirements are met.

Applicants who meet the basic minimum qualification requirements and are determined to be among the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration. Non-Competitive candidates need to meet minimum qualification requirements to be referred. 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 view the application form, visit: https://nrcs.usda.ntis.gov/cp/?event=jobs.previewApplication&jobid;=5682C40C-2077-4403-8462-A95200D77E10

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Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance

Not Applicable

Drug test required

No

  • Required Documents

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Required Documents

The following documents are required for your application to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in mail service, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted and digitally signed documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

  • Resume should include: 1) personal information; 2) education; 3) work experience including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 4) supervisors phone number, e-mail address for each work period listed, and whether we may contact for reference checks; and 5) other qualifications.
  • College Transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or used as a substitute for specialized experience. An unofficial copy is sufficient; however, if selected, an official transcript will be required prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. Foreign education must be evaluated by an approved organization. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education website at http://www.ed.gov. All transcripts must be in English or include English translation.

You must submit the documents below if you claim any of the following:

  • *Current and Former Federal Employees: *
  • SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action(s), documenting that you meet the following: the advertised area of consideration; competitive status (if applicable); the highest grade (or promotion potential) held on a permanent basis; and position title, series and grade, etc. Please submit multiple SF-50s if needed to verify eligibility and do not submit an Award SF-50 unless it provides the necessary information; AND
  • Most recently completed performance appraisal/summary rating (dated within 18 months) showing the official rating of record, signed by a supervisor, or statement why the performance appraisal is unavailable. Do not submit a performance plan or progress/midyear review.
  • CTAP- Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 documenting separation or the position separating from. Workers Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50. Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from the military or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits

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Benefits

A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at: http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/enrollment/new-federal-employee-enrollment/

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • How to Apply

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How to Apply

Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.

  • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
  • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
  • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact us if you are requesting this.

Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

Step 2: Create a resume with USAJOBS or upload a resume into your USAJOBS account. Customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. Your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue. NOTE: Verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system. Once in the Agency's staffing system you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX)

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Agency contact information
Edwin Lopez-Petrilli
Phone

919-873-2083

Fax

000-000-0000

Email

Edwin.LopezPetrilli@wdc.udsa.gov

Address

Natural Resources Conservation Service 1400 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC, 20250 US

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Next steps

If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Normally, a final job offer to the selected candidate is made within 30-60 days after the issuance of the certificate.

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  • Fair & Transparent
Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.

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Legal and regulatory guidance
  • Financial suitability
  • Social security number request
  • Privacy Act
  • Signature and false statements
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/510930900. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 09/14/2018 to 09/21/2018

Service: Competitive

Pay scale & grade: GS 09

Salary: $50,598 to $72,763 per year

Appointment type: Permanent

Work schedule: Full-Time