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Conservation Technician Position

Position Title:  Conservation BMP Technician                                                                 

Salary Range: $40,000-45,000 

Contact: Audrey Kuipers, audrey.kuipers@okeechobeeswcd.org

 WHO ARE WE and WHAT WE DO:

The Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District (OSWCD) works with federal, state, and local governments to assist agricultural producers with implementing Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that address natural resources concerns. Agricultural BMPs are practical, cost-effective actions that agricultural producers can take to conserve water and reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources. Additionally, we conduct youth outreach activities addressing these similar topics.

POSITION LOCATION:

The primary coverage area for this position includes the agricultural production areas of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Area, with special attention to the St. Lucie River, Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee River Basin Management Action Plan areas. An agency vehicle will be provided for you to utilize for job related travel. You will be headquartered at the USDA Okeechobee Service Center, Okeechobee, Florida.

WHAT YOU WILL DO:

The Conservation Technician position is funded through a contract with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) for the implementation of the department's BMP program. The specific job performance standards are defined by the contract between OSWCD and the OAWP.

As a Conservation Technician, you will be responsible for a variety of exciting and meaningful assignments.  This is an entry-level, team-oriented, professional position interacting with agricultural producers via telephone, electronic communication, and in person.

You will be trained to understand the fundamentals of the BMP program and expected to:

·         Conduct BMP NOI enrollments with agricultural producers using commodity specific BMP manuals, checklists, and other tools. You will be the liaison who effectively communicates the producer's statutory obligations to enroll in the BMP program as defined by the Florida Watershed Restoration Act.

·         Conduct implementation verification (IV) site visits every 2 years for producers already enrolled in the BMP program. You will meet on-site with agricultural producers to confirm compliance with site specific BMPs and update their enrollment to account for changes in their operation. This process requires an evaluation of nutrient records to determine if the producer is utilizing applicable fertilizer rates, as well as the evaluation and collection of nutrient data for nutrient applications containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus. Upon completion of the IV, you will determine compliance that may require the producer to implement corrective measures.

·         Assist producers with submitting cost-share applications for qualifying projects that address nutrient management, irrigation management, or water resource protection. You will manage producer cost share agreements in accordance with the Cost-Share Standard Operating Procedures and walk producers through the entire process, from application to reimbursement.

·         Provide technical support to all professional positions in the OSWCD and OAWP Okeechobee Field Offices. This includes, but is not limited to outreach assistance, map creation, data collection, BMP verification, progress tracking, and response to requests for additional information.

·         Performing other work-related tasks, as required.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES:

·         Ability to access digital information and prepare documents using a personal computer (provided) with basic understanding of the Internet, GIS, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Office Products.

·         Ability to work independently to plan, organize, coordinate, and complete assignments in a timely manner.

·         Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.

·         Ability to interact with the public in a tactful and courteous manner.

·         Ability to conduct inspections in agricultural productions areas with uneven ground.

·         Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others.

·         Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

·         Ability to be flexible, multitask, and meet tight deadlines.

·         Ability to complete tasks with attention to detail under minimal supervision.

·         Ability to determine work priorities and ensure proper completion.

·         Ability to travel.

·         Ability to maintain a valid Florida Driver License.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

Applicants must pass a Level II background screening administered by FDACS.

Occasional overnight travel.

BENFITS OF WORKING WITH US

·         Paid leave benefits

·         Paid holidays

·         Group insurance coverage options, including health, life, dental, vision, and other supplemental insurance options.

·         Retirement plan options, including employer contributions. Visit www.myfrs.com

·         Gaining experience that will help advance your future career.

·         Directly and indirectly our nation’s food security and the lives of Florida citizens by contributing to environmental stewardship, enhancing water quality, and aiding with water conservation.

***ATTENTION CANDIDATES***

 Applicants: Please submit resume through our Indeed posting https://rb.gy/9dccu or email

audrey.kuipers@okeechobeeswcd.org . An application will be sent to potential candidates.

SPECIAL NOTE:

Okeechobee SWCD is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer and does not tolerate discrimination or violence in the workplace.

Candidates requiring a reasonable accommodation, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, must notify the agency hiring authority. Notification to the hiring authority must be made in advance to allow enough time to provide the accommodation.

Okeechobee SWCD supports a Drug-Free workplace. All employees are subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing in accordance with Section 112.0455, F.S., Drug-Free Workplace Act.

VETERANS’ PREFERENCE. Pursuant to Chapter 295, Florida Statutes, candidates eligible for Veterans’ Preference are encouraged to apply. Candidates claiming Veterans’ Preference must attach supporting documentation with each submission that includes character of service (for example, DD Form 214 Member Copy #4) along with any other documentation as required by Rule 55A-7, Florida Administrative Code. Veterans’ Preference documentation requirements are available by clicking here. All documentation is due by the close of the vacancy announcement.

E-Verify

Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District hires only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized alien workers. All selected applicants are required to complete Section 1 of federal Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) and to provide identification and either proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of authorization to work in the U.S.

In addition, OSWCD uses E-Verify as part of the I-9 process to verify the work eligibility of all new hires. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9 to data from U.S Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.

SUCCESS FACTORS: The individual filling this position should be detail-oriented, assertive, and self-directed. This person should also enjoy interaction with the public and have a sincere interest in agriculture and natural resources.