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Angelo State University students increase employment opportunities with the NRCS

By Donnie Lunsford, USDA-NRCS Public Affairs Specialist

The Angelo State University (ASU) Department of Agriculture continues to provide an opportunity for students to see career options by inviting different speakers who are in the agriculture field during senior seminar classes. For more than a decade, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has partnered with the university to discuss career opportunities with the agency. This presentation is given each fall and spring to an average of 30 students every semester.

“The ASU agriculture seminar class educates students on career paths available with USDA-NRCS,” said Elisha Kuehn, NRCS assistant state conservationist. “The class gives the students the opportunity to ask questions and discuss benefits, salaries, and anything they might need to consider before applying.”

In the early 2000s, the ASU Agriculture Department worked with the NRCS to develop the curriculum needed by students to fulfill coursework requirements to qualify for NRCS technical positions including Rangeland Management Specialist and Soil Conservationist. As a result, there have been many ASU graduates that have made successful careers with the NRCS and other government agencies.

“I enjoy discussing careers with the students because I was once sitting in their seat an ASU student in the same class,” said Cliff Kinnibrugh, NRCS agronomist. “I have had almost 15 years with the agency after graduating from ASU including working for the NRCS as an intern, so I think they are able to see what could be when I tell them about my career.”

Who is the NRCS? Guided by the mission of Helping People Help the Land, the USDA- NRCS collaborates with farmers, ranchers, communities and other individuals and groups to protect natural resources on private lands. Working side by side with our partners and customers, NRCS staff identify natural resource concerns, such as water quality and quantity issues, soil erosion, air quality, wetlands and wildlife habitat, and develop unique solutions for restoring and protecting these resources.

The Pathways internship program is offered by the NRCS and is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and students are paid for the work performed. In many cases, upon graduation, interns who successfully complete the program may be converted to career, term, or career-conditional appointments without competition.

Additionally, the Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote careers in the civil service to individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion. There is an exception for veterans, due to their military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree completion to apply. Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic, developmental program with the potential to lead to a civil service career.

Currently applications for full-time employment and Pathways internships positions are required to be submitted through and are posted periodically. For more information on careers with the NRCS visit our website at as well as job announcements at

Angelo State University students increase employment opportunities with the NRCS , Donnie Lunsford, USDA-NRCS public affairs specialist (2019, April)