Do you want to work for a premier conservation agency whose mission is to help people help the land? The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been working with farmers, ranchers, forest managers, non-governmental organizations, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to create and maintain healthy, productive landscapes. We need people who want to apply their education and experience to help ensure a healthy environment and productive agriculture.
The Soil Conservationist assists the field offices and staff in developing and implementing a comprehensive natural resource conservation program throughout the geographical area of responsibility by providing technical guidance, assistance, and evaluation on matters related to Farm Bill Programs and Conservation Program contracting and implementation. This position is responsible for other NRCS programs in the designated area of responsibility.
Provides technical assistance and guidance to carry out various types of natural resource conservation programs, ensuring conservation goals are effectively and efficiently achieved. Assists landowners with the application of planned resource management systems in compliance with agency standards and specifications.
Assists the Area Resource Conservationist and/or District Conservationist with field office operations including establishing goals, developing and implementing the team-wide plan of operations, determining workload, and the training of others.
Represents the agency on county committees and/or task forces as directed by the supervisor; establishes and maintains a positive working relationship with other federal, state, and local agencies, units of government, and interested groups; participates with applicable groups in meetings, tours, and demonstration projects to explain resource conservation planning.
Provides program management, training and quality control for NRCS Farm Bill Programs, and other programs as they are legislated to the technical office and field offices. Conducts area reviews, perform program quality checks in accordance with agency policies, and provides training to the field staff for technical practices.
Occasional travel - Up to 20%
Job family (Series)
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. This may require the operation of a motor vehicle in both public and private roads during daylight hours and occasionally after dark.
The incumbent is required to obtain Conservation Planning Certification in accordance with the guidelines in General Manual 180 Part 409.3. State specific supplement requirements, if issued, will apply.
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.
If you are newly hired, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS "E-VERIFY" system. Federal law requires the use of E-VERIFY to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. Under this system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
Have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer.
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.
All applicants must meet all qualification (i.e. Basic Education Requirement, Specialized Experience Requirement) 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.
In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualification Requirement in order to be considered:
Specialized Experience: To qualify for the GS-11 grade level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 level or higher in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service.
This experience must include knowledge of the principles and theories of soil and water conservation and related sciences such as biology, agronomy, and forestry, in identifying conservation related problems. For this position, examples of specialized experience include:
Providing technical guidance and assistance to groups and individuals on topics such as soil interpretations, erosion control measures, pest and invasive species control, water quality improvements, livestock management, wildlife habitat, and forest management;
Preparing conservation or resource management plans and providing financial or implementation assistance; and/or
Communicating and sharing general information and explaining issues related to natural resource conservation, problems, and solutions to landowners, residents, and land managers; OR
Substitution of education in lieu of specialized experience: 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering; OR
Combination of Education and Experience: 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 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.
The OPM Qualification Standards for this position can be found at:
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. 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 for more information.
Locality Pay: The salary for each location may vary depending on locality. Locality tables my be found at
Physical Demands: The work of this position involves walking extensively through rough terrain, over ditches, and climbing steep banks. Some physical exertion is required.
Work Environment: The work also has moderate discomforts due to adverse weather, exposure to farm and earth moving machinery and may involve exposure to toxic chemicals.
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.
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, 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 on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at .
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.
It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Under category rating, applicants who meet basic minimum qualification requirements established for the position and whose job related competencies have been assessed are ranked by being placed in one of the following categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. The definitions of the categories are as follows:
Best Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a superior level of the evaluation criteria.
Well Qualified: Applicants possessing a background that demonstrates a satisfactory level of the evaluation criteria.
Qualified: Applicants possessing the basic qualifications, with general knowledge, skills, and abilities.
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 knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies listed below:
Conservation Planning-Management Practice Application; Conservation Planning-Defining Objectives; Conservation Planning-Decision Support; Teamwork; Representing the Agency; Relationship Management; Conservation Planning-Financial Assistance Programs Management; Developing Others; Oral Communication; Written Communication; and Attention to Detail.
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. 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:
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
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) supervisor's phone number, e-mail address for each work period listed, and whether or not we may contact them 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 web site at All transcripts must be in English or include English translation.
You must submit the documents below if you claim any of the following:
Veterans, if claiming preference: DD-214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty showing dates of service and type of discharge. Disabled veterans must include VA letter & SF-15 if claiming 10 pt. preference. Current active duty members must submit certification that they are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after date the certification is submitted. If claiming 10-point veterans preference based on a service connected disability or purple heart, you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), and the VA letter. The SF-15 should be included but not required with the initial application, but if selected you will
Natural Resources Conservation Service