The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is ramping up hiring for key positions that will help strengthen agricultural conservation efforts. The available positions include engineers, civil engineering technicians and natural resource specialists, building on other large-scale hiring announcements earlier this year. The application period for engineer positions is currently open, and engineering technicians and natural resource specialist opportunities will open over the next two weeks.
“We are building a robust workforce with the skills necessary to support communities as they address conservation challenges and respond to increasing extreme weather events fueled by climate change,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “If you are interested in leveraging your skill in engineering or the agricultural sciences to make a positive impact in your local community, you are exactly the kind of candidate we’re looking for. You would work with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, as well as other community members, to address a variety of natural resource conservation challenges and support our country’s investment in a climate-smart future for agriculture.”
The announcement is funded by $19.5 billion from Inflation Reduction Act. The new NRCS engineers and engineering technicians will play a critical role in solving a host of natural resource problems for agricultural producers and local communities. Their projects may involve stream restoration, erosion control, developing water systems for livestock, improving and conserving irrigation water and restoring wetlands. They may also help communities recover from natural disasters.
Natural resource specialists perform a variety of duties to help landowners meet their conservation objectives. This may include assisting in the implementation of conservation plans, conducting scientific studies and performing on-site evaluations with customers. Their work enhances conservation program delivery and helps build resilient farms and communities across America.
“These positions offer outstanding benefits that set them apart from jobs outside of federal service,” Cosby said. “NRCS provides competitive starting pay with regular increases and locality pay adjustments, career ladders and advancement opportunities, flexible work schedules and telework, excellent medical benefits, paid maternal and paternal leave, and a pension where eligibility begins after five years of service, as well as a 401k-type retirement program with matching contributions by USDA.”
How to Apply
NRCS posted an announcement for engineering technicians on June 26 and natural resource specialists on July 3. Interested candidates can find more information and apply by searching for these job titles on USAjobs.gov.
To qualify for these positions, candidates must meet the education requirements, or a combination of education and experience requirements, as outlined in the job announcement. General qualifications for the engineering and natural resource management job series are also available on OPM.gov. Additional information on career opportunities at NRCS is available on the agency’s careers webpage.
Over the next several years, NRCS expects to add over 4,400 new employees to its federal workforce, in addition to over 3,000 team members through partner organizations, to help with Inflation Reduction Act implementation.
The Inflation Reduction Act Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up, by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient. NRCS received $19.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act for our popular conservation programs to provide financial assistance to customers. Many of these programs support Justice40 Initiative, which is advancing environmental justice by ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments reach disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment. To help with implementation, NRCS is also streamlining programs to make them more efficient and better for producers and partners as well as building new and existing partnerships to add capacity. NRCS is committed to supporting farmers, ranchers, private landowners and Tribal Nations, to build resilient agricultural operations, combat climate change, ensure equity and support voluntary conservation on working lands.
NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round, and in some states, producers can still apply for 2023 funding. Interested producers should view their state ranking dates.
NRCS is a federal agency that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners conserve soil, water and other natural resources. Employees provide technical expertise and conservation planning. Financial assistance is available for a wide variety of conservation programs. NRCS has offices in USDA Service Centers nationwide.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.