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In this position you will assist higher graded employees in day-to-day operations and will perform a variety of technical duties in support of the Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication program objectives in cooperation with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. The PCN program is tasked with developing effective strategies to minimize the spread of PCN and eradicate the pest in Idaho and the rest of the U.S.

  • This is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. Appointment may be extended up to 10 years without reannouncing. For more details click: Term Appointments

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.

  • Conducts routine surveillance and inspections for nematodes and other pests of concern.
  • Extracts soil samples and microscopically examines sample extracts to detect nematodes.
  • Summarizes data and evaluations, and submits written reports on significant findings and important problems to immediate supervisor upon discovery.
  • Compiles and maintains information on field surveys, soil samples, and regulatory data such as equipment movement, sanitation, and eradication progress.
  • Assists in placing infected and associated fields under quarantine to restrict the movement of regulated articles and require sanitation procedures for equipment used in fields.
  • Assists with educational outreach on Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) best management practices, and chemical and non-chemical eradication methods.
  • Assembles all necessary equipment to perform field duties and Sanitizes, maintains, and keeps laboratory and field equipment, laboratory work areas, and vehicles in good operating order.

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.


Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

FOR THE GS-04 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-03 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Analyzes soil samples for the presence of nematodes.
  • Performs inspections and sanitation of farm equipment, vehicles, and other regulated articles.
  • Assists in performing routine surveillance, inspections, and surveys for nematodes and other pests of concern in agricultural areas.

OR Successful completion of 2 years of study that included at least 8 semester hours in courses such 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.

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

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-04 GRADE LEVEL: 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.

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 and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy 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 (KSA) or competencies:


  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Pest Control
  • Spatial Orientation

Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.

To preview the application questionnaire, please visit: