Natural Resource Scientist 1 (Non-Permanent)

$3,185.00 – $4,167.00 Monthly
Benton County – Prosser, WA
Job Type
Full Time – Non-Permanent
Dept. of Agriculture
Job Number
8/10/2018 11:59 PM Pacific
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The Washington State Department of Agriculture serves the people of Washington by supporting the agricultural community and promoting consumer and environmental protection.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has been serving the state’s agriculture community and the public for more than 100 years. Through service, regulation, and advocacy, WSDA supports the viability and vitality of agriculture while protecting consumers, public health and the environment. We employ anywhere from 750-1,200 employees in fields like brand inspection, food safety, international marketing, environmental science, and information technology. While we do have offices statewide, this position is located in Prosser, WA.

Within the Plant Protection Division, the Plant Services Program is committed to facilitating agricultural trade and ensuring consumer protection by providing accurate and reliable inspection, testing and certification of agricultural plant products and serving on the front line of defense against the introduction and spread of pests.

We are always searching for the brightest and best to join our team and are committed to fostering employee growth and development. We want to give you the chance to grow at Agriculture! In addition to the amazing career potential, we also offer a generous benefit package which includes 11 paid holidays, sick and vacation leave, retirement and insurance, health, dental, and vision coverage, tuition reimbursement, training classes, and much more.

For more information about the Washington State Department of Agriculture, visit us at

As a plant pathologist specializing in virus and virus-like diseases of fruit trees, this position supports the project coordinator in implementing activities related to the certification of fruit tree planting stock.  Working under the general direction of the project coordinator, this position carries out lab testing and greenhouse or field biological indexing to detect pathogens in registered and certified fruit trees and researches emerging pest issues that could be detrimental to the program.  These duties have broad potential impact on the health and prosperity of Washington’s tree fruit industry.

This exciting non-permanent position will conduct statewide survey of certified fruit tree rootstocks, under a one year federal grant, though the position may be extended for the right candidate. Using molecular, serological and biological testing procedures, this position will sample and test over 200 miles of stool beds, often working in hot weather, isolated locations and walking uneven ground.  Using priorities set by the project coordinator, this position makes decisions on daily work scheduling, the use of scientific techniques and incorporates new information that affects project outcomes.

  • Conduct serological, molecular and biological testing protocols in laboratory, greenhouse and field settings.
  • Conduct seasonal sampling of registered fruit tree stool beds in certified nurseries.
  • Assist with greenhouse indexing of this material to determine presence of viruses or virus-like pathogens.
  • Conduct molecular and serological testing to confirm results of biological indexing.
    • Interpret and analyze test results.
  • Conduct surveys of the areas surrounding fruit tree nurseries for the presence of viruses and insect vectors.
  • Draw conclusions from field data and make recommendations as to certification status of registered stool beds.
    • Keep written records, write reports and enter computer data.
  • Conduct outreach and education to fruit tree nurseries about project progress and outcomes.
Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree with major study in natural science


Two years professional research work experience in fruit tree virology or other perennial crop virology.

A Master’s degree in the specific specialty field will substitute for the experience.

Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing; ability to write reports and keep written records.

Special Requirements:
Must be able to acquire and maintain a valid driver’s license to travel on agency business.

Preferred/desired qualifications:
Experience in identifying viruses and managing plant disease issues pertinent to Northwest fruit tree growers.

How do I apply?

In addition to completing the online application, applicants must attach the following documents to their profile in order to be considered for this position:

  • Letter of interest describing how you meet the specific qualifications for this position;
  • Current resume detailing experience and education.

The initial screening will be solely based on the contents and completeness of your application and the materials submitted. All information may be verified and documentation may be required.

To take advantage of Veteran’s preference please attach your DD-214, member 4 long form, or your NGB-22.Please black out your social security number prior to attaching.

Applications with comments such as “see attachments” or “N/A” in the supplemental question responses will be considered incomplete.

General suggestions for creating a good application packet:

  • Read the job posting very carefully. Find out as much as you can about the position.
  • Make sure you are very diligent in following all the application instructions.  Include all requested documentation.
  • Make sure your application and supplemental question responses address how you meet each of the required and desired qualifications.
  • Carefully read each of the supplemental questions and respond completely to each one.  Pay careful attention to each component of the question, providing examples, and thoroughly describing when and where you achieved the proficiency level, and detail the types of work you performed, the work products, etc., to demonstrate ‘how’.
  • Specifically include all of your work experiences doing the same or similar work, especially if you reference work in these jobs in describing when/where you gained proficiency level skills.
  • Make sure your application reflects your best writing.
Supplemental Information

If you are unable to apply on-line, please contact  Lisa Biscay, HR Consultant at Please include your last name and the position title in the subject line of your email.

If you are having technical difficulties creating, accessing or completing your application, please call NEOGOV toll-free at (855)524-5627 or email

Supplemental Information:
Prior to a new hire, a background check including criminal history will be conducted. Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment but will be considered in determining the applicant’s suitability and competence to perform in the position.

The Human Resource Division may use referrals from this recruitment to help fill future similar vacancies for up to six months.

The State of Washington actively supports diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants who need assistance in the application process or who need this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2020 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf at 800-833-6388.

More than Just a Paycheck!

Employee benefits are not just about the kind of services you get, they are also about how much you may have to pay out of pocket. Washington State offers one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation.

We understand that your life revolves around more than just your career and that your priority is making sure that you and your family will maintain health and financial security. That’s why choice is a key component of our benefits package. We have a selection of health and retirement plans, paid leave, staff training and other compensation benefits that you can mix and match to meet your current and future needs.

Read about our benefits:
The following information describes typical benefits available for full-time employees who are expected to work more than six months. Actual benefits may vary by appointment type or be prorated for other than full-time work. Check with the agency human resource office for specific benefit information.
Insurance Benefits
Employees and families are covered by medical (including vision), dental and basic life insurance.  There are multiple medical plans with affordable monthly premiums that offer coverage throughout the state.  Staff are eligible to enroll each year in a medical flexible spending account which enables them to use tax-deferred dollars toward their health care expenses.  Employees are also covered by basic life and long term disability insurance, with the option to purchase additional coverage amounts.  To view premium rates, coverage choice in your area and how to enroll, please visit the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) website.
Retirement and Deferred Compensation
State Employees are members of the Washington Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS).  New employees have the option of two employer contributed retirement programs.  For additional information, check out the Department of Retirement Systems‘ web site.
Employees also have the ability to participate in the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP).  This is a supplemental retirement savings program (similar to an IRA) that allows you control over the amount of pre-tax salary dollars you defer as well as the flexibility to choose between multiple investment options.
Vacation (Annual Leave)

You begin accruing vacation starting your first month of employment. Since we value your loyalty, the amount of vacation you can accrue increases the longer you work with us. Washington State supports members of the armed forces with 21 days paid military leave per year. Vacation accrues for full-time employees per WAC 357-31-165.


Full-time employees are entitled to eleven* paid holidays:

New Year’s Day
January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday
Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day
Third Monday in February
Memorial Day
Last Monday in May
Independence Day
July 4
Labor Day
First Monday in September
Veterans’ Day
November 11
Thanksgiving Day
Fourth Thursday in November & Friday after
Christmas Day
December 25
Personal Holiday
Employee’s selection each calendar year

*Employees who are members of certain Unions are entitled to an additional personal leave day of their choice. Please refer to specific Collective Bargaining Agreements for more information.

Social Security
All state employees are covered by the federal Social Security and Medicare systems. The state and the employee pay an equal amount into the system.
Sick Leave
Full-time employees earn eight hours of sick leave per month. Paid sick leave may be used for reasons included in WAC 357-31-130.
Please visit the State HR Website for more detailed information.

Do you possess at minimum a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Science with at least two years’ professional research work experience?

  • Yes
  • No

Do you have a demonstrated ability to write reports and keep written records?

  • Yes
  • No
Please describe your experience writing reports and keeping written records. If none, please write N/A.
Please describe your professional experience with fruit tree virology, including work done towards a Master’s degree in this field. If none, please write N/A.

Required Question

State of Washington
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