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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Careers - Plant Pathologist (Foreign Service)




Helps analyze plant health conditions, government policies, and regulatory processes affecting the agricultural market and import/export interests of U.S. stakeholders.

Helps compile, review, and analyze technical reports on phytosanitary issues and their effects, as well as economic, market, technical and data relating, but not limited to, production, trade, consumption, prices, and other factors affecting the safeguarding of U.S. agriculture. 

Addresses specific phytosanitary concerns with host countries.  When trade issues focus on plant health and quarantine matters, the incumbent's role may include negotiations in conjunction with experts from APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine program.

Manages international phytosanitary trade issues with experts from APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine program. Plans, coordinates, or conducts analyses relevant to trade issues in the host country. Designs and develops solutions for the successful management of these issues. Participates in courses of action to deal with the critical issues.

Helps identify disciplines and multi-disciplinary mixes for plant health risk assessment/hazard evaluation to instill a proactive approach to U.S. goals in international trade.

Prepares briefing memoranda, correspondence, briefing books, market profiles and other background information for APHIS, USDA, and other entities on a variety of subjects. 

Prepares oral/written briefings as required, with thorough analysis of political, policy options and strategies.

Provides analytical information/advice on plant health issues consistent with APHIS’ goals and strategies.

Helps identify, monitor, and remove technical, and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade.  Helps coordinate USDA objectives in the World Trade Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, International Plant Protection Convention, U.S. CODEX, and other major international organizations and conferences whose work has a bearing on agricultural safeguarding and trade. 

Investigates, researches, prepares, and produces advisories identifying plant health alerts, new regulations and other updates affecting all entities of export/import trade. 

Develops effective working relationships with international and domestic agricultural industry representatives, trade associations, cooperators, and other APHIS stakeholders. 

Implements agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security objectives.

Coordinates and facilitates duties related to import/export of plants and their byproducts.  Such coordination includes working with APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine program to determine the absence of plant diseases.

Follows and supports Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights policies, performing assigned duties in full compliance with the laws and regulations.

Learn more about Foreign Service

  • Foreign Service Officer Webinar Recording

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