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Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer (Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist) FL & WA

If selected you will serve in a vital role to safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources in coordination with state officials, other agencies, industry, and colleges, as a federal liaison for plant quarantine programs. The primary work includes import exclusion, complex treatments, export activities, permitting and compliance, as well as pest detection.

Recruitment or relocation incentives may be available but are not guaranteed.

The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide specialized inspection, regulation and clearance of propagative plant material, plant products and pest diagnostic identification services at plant inspection stations and other facilities.
  • Interpret and enforce Federal and State domestic quarantines and regulatory orders restricting the inter/intra-state movement of plants, plant products, animal byproduct and other materials.
  • Plan, conduct, and/or supervise various treatments such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, irradiation for plant and animal pests and diseases.
  • Manage multiple program areas such as: post entry quarantine, biological control, gypsy moth, grasshopper/cricket, noxious weeds, boll weevil, or other pests.
  • Review permits, conduct inspections, prepare and execute compliance agreements, enforce policies regarding quarantine, and identify inspection sites.
  • Serve as accredited certifying officials regarding export certification for trade facilitation.
  • Track the progress and submit reports regarding program operations in specific geographical area assigned.

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.


Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.


Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in point 1 above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

FOR THE GS-07 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-5 grade level) that demonstrates experience in:

  • Carrying out survey measures for the presence and extent of plant diseases and/or insects which includes visual surveys (e.g. baggage, trees, cargo), deploying and monitoring survey traps, and/or inspecting routine agricultural products for import/export.
  • Conducting approved control and eradication measures including sanitation measures, biological controls, and the application of herbicides, insecticides, nematicide, and fungicides, as well as report on effect of treatments.
  • Enforcing Federal and/or State regulatory orders to restrict movement, and/or issuing certificates permitting movement of plants, plant products, and equipment into or out of regulated areas, and/or ensuring that prohibited material is seized and disposed of in accordance with established procedures.
  • Maintaining daily records of inspection work, control measures and regulatory procedures applied; preparing reports and maps on the activities and accomplishments within the assigned area; and/or enter data to support inspection, fumigation, phytosanitary certificate issuance, identification, and survey.


At least one full year of graduate level education (18 semester hours, 27-quarter hours, or equivalent) in a field of study directly related to the work of this position as described in the vacancy announcement


Superior Academic Achievement: To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND 1) have a class standing in the upper third of the graduating class, 2) membership in a national scholastic honor society (excluding Freshman honor societies), or 3) must meet certain GPA requirements. GPA requirements: 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 as recorded on official transcripts or as computed based on 4 years of education, or courses completed during the final 2 year of the curriculum; OR 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 based on the average of the required course completed in the major field or courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum (GPA will be rounded to one decimal place, e.g., 2.95 rounds to 3.0 and 2.94 rounds to 2.9).