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Thursday, March 10

Upcoming Employment Opportunities at APHIS PPQ

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

USDA will be announcing four job openings at USAJOBS.gov in the next few weeks where international

experience and a strong foundation in agricultural and biological sciences are desirable. Because

applying for federal jobs can be complex and the advertisement period is short (one week), we are doing

some “pre-recruitment” to provide additional time for interested individuals to set up accounts with

USAJOBS.gov and prepare their resume and transcripts. Well-qualified candidates often don’t realize

there’s a job opening until the deadline is near, and are unable to prepare their application to best

represent their qualifications for the job. Please distribute this information as appropriate.

These vacancies are with the USDA, APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and are located in

Riverdale, Maryland. These positions are assigned to the Phytosanitary Issues Management (PIM) staff

and information about the group can be found here. PIM has the primary responsibility for resolving

scientific and technical plant health issues that impede international trade, imports and exports, of

agricultural products using science-based decision making.

The first two positions are for Trade Directors (GS 0401 and GS 0301) and would be appropriate for less-
recent graduates, Bachelor’s degree minimum, with professional experience in plant health sciences

that affect safe import and export of plants and plant products. Familiarity with the plant health aspects

of World Trade Organization, Sanitary/Phytosanitary Agreements, International Plant Protection

Convention, or other trade initiatives is desirable. Starting salary is around $92,000 plus benefits. The

second two positions are for Assistant Trade Directors and would be appropriate for new PhDs in

Biology or Agricultural Sciences, or a Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree with relevant education and work

experience. Starting salary is around $64,650 plus benefits. These are developmental positions with

advancement potential and will be advertised as GS 0401. Excellent communication skills, political savvy

and team building are essential to success for all of these positions.

These positions play important roles in planning, coordinating, and directing the resolution of plant

health issues involving agricultural import and export trade in plants and plant products. The employee

may serve as the principal negotiator for plant health and quarantine issues. They may lead, participate

in, or support intensive pre-negotiation preparation and strategy development. During technical

negotiations with foreign countries, the employee plays a major role in establishing and maintaining the

tenor of discussions on scientific and technical matters. The employee may also provide technical advice

to others in USDA, ensuring that phytosanitary policies conform to the international standards of the

International Plant Protection Convention and North American Plant Protection Organization. The

employee serves as a resource person to the agency in identifying emerging scientific issues and modem

technical capabilities to be applied to phytosanitary trade issue management. They participate in

identifying what disciplines and multi-disciplinary mixes are needed to perform risk assessment of plant

pest mitigation measures in order to have a proactive approach to meeting U.S. commitments in

These are fast-paced jobs and suited for someone who likes plant pathology, entomology and

international trade. If you think of anyone who might be interested, please direct them to the

USAJOBS.gov website to look for these 0301 and 0401 positions during the coming weeks. Additional

information about PPQ can be found at our website, and in this brochure.