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Soil Conservationist: Entry (GS 5-7)

Job Description

This person is a line officer who plans the application of total resource management systems; provides conservation planning assistance from initial evaluation to completion. This person possesses a practical knowledge of the methods and techniques of soil, water, and environmental conservation as they relate to agricultural operations and land use measures. They also help landowners with issues such as dealing with soil, water, air, plants, and animal resource concerns.

Job Duties

  • Works with landowners to develop, implement, maintain and revise conservation plans that are simple and clear-cut with the assistance of a higher graded conservationist
  • Explains conservation programs with direct guidance using straightforward narrations of facts and uncomplicated descriptions of conservation practices
  • Assists in the evaluation of the implementation of conservation plans and their alternatives

Recommended Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in 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
  • In some instances, a bachelor’s degree can be substituted for the specific semester hours listed above, plus appropriate experience or additional education

Sample NRCS Work Experience

  • Writes news releases or conducts radio spots about conservation initiatives
  • Conducts on-farm resource inventory
  • Gains a basic understanding of the farm bill program (i.e., works with the DC and other staff to see how they work with producers; reviews informational resources; attends field days, workshops, and area meetings) and conservation technical experience
  • Shadows the conservation staff to get to know the community and the environment that they will be working in
  • Learns and understands the basics of all practices (e.g., stock water systems, irrigation systems, grazing systems, grass waterway, filter strip, tree planting, terraces, crop rotation, tillage). Specifics will be based on the common practices in your region

Sample NRCS Training

  • Conservation Boot Camp
  • Cultural Resources Training
  • Effective Interpersonal Skills
  • Introduction to Ecological Principles
  • Team Training

Occupational Competencies

  • Defining Objectives
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Decision Support
  • Engineering Design and Implementation
  • Management Practice Application
  • Vegetative Practice Application
  • Follow-up and Maintenance
  • Financial Assistance Programs Management

Foundational Competencies

  • Attention to Detail
  • Accountability
  • Organizing and Prioritizing Work
  • Representing the Agency
  • Technology Management
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Continuous Learning
  • Initiative
  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Stress Tolerance and Resilience
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Influence and Negotiating
  • Conflict Management
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Decisive Judgment and Decision Making
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