Agricultural Marketing Service Agricultural Commodity Grader in Prunedale, California

  • Duties



The Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division is responsible for developing U.S. grade standards and providing inspection, grading, certification, and audit-based services nation-wide on a user-fee basis for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables and related products. SCI Division coordinates Federal and Federal-State terminal market and shipping point inspections for fresh fruits and vegetables and maintains cooperative agreements with individual States and Puerto Rico to meet the needs of these programs. SCI Division develops and conducts training in support of these inspection and audit-based programs. SCI Division also provides services including information coordination and label review services in support of USDA feeding programs. SCI Division is also responsible for Government-wide development and coordination of Commercial Item Descriptions for foods.

SCI Division Area Offices deliver Division services to applicants within the individual office’s designated geographic area of coverage. Services are provided by area office inspection personnel under the supervision of the Officer-in-Charge (OIC), the Assistant Officer-in-Charge (AOIC), and possibly a Sub-area Supervisor (SAS).

The incumbent serves as a grader at an inspection point, processing facility or area office lab. Assignments may also involve details and/or reassignment to a different geographical area as determined by management. The incumbent is subject to geographic mobility should a directed reassignment become necessary.

**This position is a Mixed Tour: Employee will work a mixed tour work schedule, which includes a combination of full time, part time, and intermittent (as needed) work schedules. No minimum amount of hours is guaranteed. Position will have a fluctuating work schedule. Employee selected will be asked to sign a mixed tour agreement and must be available year round.

Salary Information: **First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

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The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity. The duties may include, but are not limited to:**

  • Inspects products to determine the quality, condition, and/or compliance with U.S. Grade Standards or stated contract specifications. Typically, this requires considering such factors as: product size, shape, color, and similar quality factors; product maturity, firmness, breakdown or decay, bruising, and similar condition factors; and quantity, packaging, or similar conditions which are common in contract specifications.
  • Prepares inspection reports based on examination of product. This is done through application of official grade standards or contract specifications to determine product’s grade, quality and/or condition.
  • As assigned, performs inspections and grading of products with which the employee is unfamiliar under the guidance of a senior grader, inspector-in-charge or supervisor. Also, may monitor processing plant operations, product grade evaluation, and quality control procedures; provides technical assistance as necessary.
  • For processed fruits and vegetables, related products and/or nuts:draws and examines representative samples of products and determines grade, condition and wholesomeness in accordance with official grade standards, buyer-seller contracts or other written specifications.
  • Makes observations to determine if plant facilities, operating methods, processing equipment and personnel are in compliance with SCI sanitation requirements and FDA regulations.
  • Observes the raw product material to establish the suitability for processing and advises plant management of the results.
  • Performs a limited number of analytical determinations by prescribed methods and techniques, often under the direction of an inspector of higher grade.
  • Instructs technicians and aids in proper grading and inspection techniques. Also, may serve as a lead grader at a processing plant, peanut buying point and/or shelling facility and may coordinate activities, schedules and work assignments for other inspection personnel assigned to the facility.
Travel Required

76% or greater - Travel in excess of 75% may be required.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


Who May Apply
This job is open to…

US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.

Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

  • #### Job family (Series)

1980 Agricultural Commodity Grading

Similar jobs
  • Graders, Agricultural Products

  • Requirements


Conditions of Employment
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Valid state driver's license is required at the time of application.

Special Conditions:

  • Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation
  • Successful completion of a 1 year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service)
  • Employee will work a mixed tour work schedule, which includes a combination of full time, part time, and intermittent (as needed) work schedules. No minimum amount of hours is guaranteed. Position will have a fluctuating work schedule. Employee selected will be asked to sign a mixed tour agreement and must be available year round.
  • Selectee will be subject to a pre-employment medical examination.
  • Commodity grading work requires periods of physical exertion to lift and move boxes, cartons and heavy packages of product (often weighing over 50 pounds); prolonged periods of standing, walking, stooping, bending, and climbing; physical coordination and finger dexterity in at least one hand to perform digital examinations of commodities; normal or corrected vision in at least one eye for distance, depth perception, and color to detect abnormalities in product; the ability to assure safety in a highly-mechanized and/or noisy environment through adequate or correctable hearing; use of both legs, arms and hands to perform carrying, pulling, pushing, reaching above the shoulder, kneeling, grasping, and working with hands in water; and the ability to determine product quality organoleptically (e.g., through sight, smell and/or taste).
  • The work environment includes exposure to freezing and/or hot temperatures, fumes, dust and odors from coolants, slippery surfaces, moving materials, handling equipment, high noise level and similar risks typical of fruit and vegetable and related processing plants, storage areas, terminal markets, peanut buying points and shelling facilities. The work environment further requires working in close proximity to others and/or alone; working on weekends and overtime; traveling for extended periods of time; working multiple shifts and changing/rotating shifts (i.e., first, second and third).
  • Prior to an official offer, selectee will be required to sign and return a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to this office acknowledging and accepting that geographic mobility is a condition of employment. Failure to sign the MOU will be grounds for withdrawal of the job offer.

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

FOR THE GS-5 LEVEL:Applicants must have 3 years of general, progressively responsible experience, one year of which was equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the GS-4 level in the Federal service. Experience must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Analyze problems to identify significant factors, gather pertinent data, and recognize solutions, plan and organize work;
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing. Such experience may have been gained in quality assurance (machinist, on-line production work), as a commodity buyer, receiving clerk, farm experience (in a managerial, decision- making capacity), clerical (office manager, administrative assistant with decision-making responsibility), or food processing laboratory food work (managerial, technical).
  • Experience must provide evidence of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform the duties of this position and show decision making responsibilities.
  • General clerical experience (typing, filing, routine processing, or other non-specialized repetitive tasks) is not creditable.

OR Applicants must have successfully completed a 4-year course of study, from an accredited college or university, leading to a bachelor’s degree.

FOR THE GS-07 LEVEL:Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-05 level) that demonstrates:

  • Performs grading, sampling and/or inspection assignments of a simple and routine nature.
  • Displays greater knowledge of grading principles, standards, and regulations, increased skill in identifying and describing product defect, and/or skill and knowledge in inspecting facilities.
  • Draws samples of product, performs mechanical tests, attends formal training courses in grading agricultural commodities, and grades samples.
  • Grades and inspects distinct products for comparison with clear standards and common contract specifications.
  • Identifies and describes common product defects or diseases. OR One full year of graduate level education in Agriculture, Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Business, Economics or related field;

OR 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 must meet certain GPA requirements. For more details click: Superior Academic Achievement

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:

  • You are qualifying for the position based on education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on Superior Academic Achievement.

This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.

COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-5/7 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Administrative and Management Positions

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Additional information
  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100
  • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
  • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
  • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Managements (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined on applicants quality of experience and the extend they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

  • General Commodity Inspection and Grading Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Decision Making, Leadership, Supervisory and Project/Program Management
  • Fruit & Vegetable Grading

Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to and including removal from the Federal Service.

To view the application form, visit:;=8002DCB3-0B21-499D-8DE9-A89B01219D27

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Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance


  • Required Documents


Required Documents

The following documents are required for your application to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in mail service, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted and digitally signed documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

  • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.
  • College Transcripts If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the education was evaluated by a credential evaluation service as being equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit . All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
  • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) If claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions that is signed no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
  • If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans’ preference see

  • *CTAP/ICTAP Documentation: *Reduction-In-Force: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position you will be separated from.
  • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
  • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits



A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

The Federal Service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at:

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • How to Apply


How to Apply

Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.

  • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
  • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
  • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact us if you are requesting this.

Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not have one) at It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

Step 2: Create a resume with USAJOBS or upload a resume into your USAJOBS account. Customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. Your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue. NOTE: Verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system. Once in the Agency's staffing system you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded documents must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).

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Agency contact information
Human Resources






USDA APHIS MRPBS 250 Marquette Avenue, Suite 410 Minneapolis, MN, United States

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Next steps

If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.

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  • Fair & Transparent
Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.

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Legal and regulatory guidance
  • Financial suitability
  • Social security number request
  • Privacy Act
  • Signature and false statements
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 03/13/2018 to 03/19/2018

Salary: $19.32 to $31.11 per hour

Pay scale & grade: GS 05 - 07

Work schedule: Multiple Schedules

Appointment type: Permanent