USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has opened the first round of staff positions to implement $19.5 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding.

The first set of entry-level soil conservationist positions was posted Friday. Additional positions are expected to be offered in the near future as the department ramps up staffing to deliver the additional technical assistance certain to be needed as USDA makes more funding available for many conservation programs.

The soil conservationist openings are “part of a broader effort” to assist producers in developing conservation plans and implementing stewardship practices, the agency says.  

IRA funding will support four programs: Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program as well as conservation technical assistance. 

The funding includes money designated for measuring, evaluating and quantifying carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions from conservation investments. 

“To help agricultural producers invest in conservation on their farms, ranches and working forests, we need to grow our team that delivers our conservation programs,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA’s undersecretary for farm production and conservation. “This next generation of conservation talent will help us build upon our long history of working one-on-one with producers to get conservation on the ground.” 

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USDA's job posting for soil conservationists seeks candidates who can “offer conservation planning and technical help to agricultural producers, helping them implement practices that sequester carbon, mitigate against climate change and conserve other natural resources.” 

Positions would be in the general service 5, 7 and 9 payroll levels within the federal government. Jobs are posted in the Central, Southeast, Northeast and West regions with placements in nearly every U.S. state and territory. Applications are due May 15.

NRCS says it is also working with external partners to hire nearly 3,000 people in the coming years to “play a critical role in the conservation planning and implementation process, complementing the work done by NRCS employees.”

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