Agronomist (Natural Resource Scientist 3) in Yakima, WA

State of Washington Dept. of Agriculture
  • Full Time
  • Yakima, WA
  • $65,748 - $88,416 a year USD / Year
  • This position has been filled


This position will remain open until filled.

The first review of applications is scheduled for the week of
October 16
, 2023. In order to be considered, please submit your application on or before
October 15, 2023. The agency reserves the right to make a hire any time after the initial screening date.

AGRICULTURE – A Cornerstone of Washington’s Economy

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has been serving the state for more than 100 years. Through service, regulation, and advocacy, we keep agriculture viable and vital in Washington State, while protecting consumers, public health, and the environment. We work extensively with farmers and ranchers, but our responsibilities – from ensuring food safety to environmental protection – touch the lives of millions of people locally, nationally, and abroad.

The agency includes 780 employees approximately and grows close to 1,000 employees at the peak of seasonal work. To learn more and view additional openings, please visit our Employment Page.

The Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NRAS) works at the interface between agricultural production and environmental quality. Research topics include agricultural land use practices, pesticide usage, agricultural chemicals in surface water and groundwater, soil health, and climate change. Collectively, NRAS programs serve to help protect public health and the environment while supporting agricultural viability throughout Washington’s diverse cropping systems.

This position serves as the WSDA
Agronomist, working closely with the agency’s Dairy Nutrient Management Program (DNMP) in the lower Yakima Valley groundwater management area (GWMA), to reduce nitrate pollution from irrigated agriculture. The agronomist will lead GWMA partners on research of best management practices (BMPs) for reducing nitrate contamination in the groundwater, with the goal of increasing implementation of BMPs via outreach, extension, and the development of decision support tools. Relevant topics include “4Rs” for crop-specific fertilizer and irrigation management strategies and monitoring and verification of the efficacy of implemented BMPs. The agronomist will work closely with the GWMA implementation committee, DNMP, South Yakima conservation district staff, growers, and commodity groups, by providing scientific council and technical assistance.

Position and Salary Information
WSDA is recruiting for a Full Time permanent Agronomist (Natural Resource Scientist 3) position within the Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Office. This position has been approved for a telework schedule and will need to report to the WSDA regional office located in Yakima, Washington. The incumbent will need to reside within Washington State. This is a non-represented position.
The base pay offered will take into account internal equity and may vary depending on the preferred candidate’s job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. The typical starting salary range for this position is: $ 65,748.00 – $ 86,208.00 annually.
Employee Benefits

A healthy work/life balance, which may include flexible work schedules, and teleworking.
WSDA provides an excellent benefits package beyond traditional benefits. State employment offers Dependent Care Assistance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Deferred Compensation, Employee Recognition Leave; click here for more information.
12 paid Holidays & Vacation and Leave Accruals.
All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required will be provided by the agency.
Commute Trip Reduction Program.
Incumbents assigned to our Seattle office location receive an additional 5% King County Location Pay stipend.
If a position is designated as requiring dual language skills, incumbents will also receive a 5% Dual Language Requirement Pay stipend.

Employees who voluntarily provide proof of up-to-date COVID-19 booster vaccination, which must include any recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the time proof is provided to the employer, between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $1,000.


Include, but not limited to:

Designs research and interprets data for the development of BMPs for nutrient and irrigation applications that lead to minimal nitrogen leakage through soil, water, and atmospheric loss pathways.
Determines updated optimal rates and timing for commercial fertilizer and manure applications on regional crops using local application techniques and irrigation practices.
Determines optimal irrigation rates and timing for regional crops based on water delivery schedules, climate projections, soil textures, etc.
Collects and analyzes data from current literature, existing GWMA projects, the WSDA nitrogen availability study, deep soil sampling and well monitoring datasets, WSDA tonnage reports, and primary experimentation as necessary.
Gathers updated data as needed on organic and synthetic fertilizer use.
Coordinates with university partners on past, current, and future research.
Depending on program growth and direction, grant writing and contract management may be required.
Works with DNMP and other partners to successfully implement best management strategies targeted at reducing nitrate leaching to groundwater.
Oversees all aspects of the development of research results into extension products such as factsheets, videos, grower field days, site assessments, reports, presentations, and decision support tools.
Designs and executes experiments to better understand the efficacy of BMPs to reduce nutrient leaching to groundwater.
Conducts surveys, analyzes experimental results, and maintains awareness of current literature, to determine program effectiveness.
Develops and distributes new fertilizer and irrigation recommendations based on best management practices.
Provides technical assistance in the development of irrigation water and nutrient management plans.
Provides appropriate fertilizer and irrigation recommendations at field days, site visits, and through the development of outreach materials and decision support tools.


Who should apply? Professionals with:

A Bachelor’s degree in agronomy, agricultural or natural sciences AND Four (4) years of experience working with fertilizers, nutrients, irrigation, agriculture production management and agriculture impacts to natural resources, and demonstrated knowledge of agronomy, soils, soil health, plant science, production management, hydrogeology, and water quality.


A Master’s of Science in a similar field will account for two (2) years of experience.


A PhD degree in a similar field will substitute for all years of experience.


Must be able to obtain a valid driver’s license as travel will be required for this position.

In addition to the above qualifications, the following desired knowledge, skills, and abilities would make your application more competitive:

Demonstrated understanding of the principles, practices, benefits, and barriers to adoption of BMPs and conservation practices.
Experience working with local government, state, and/or federal agencies on agronomic topics.
Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with diverse stakeholders.
Programming and statistical analysis skills in Python, R, and ArcGIS preferred.
Record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, extension publications, or agency reports.
Strong written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate technical and scientific information to diverse audiences, and to convene and moderate meetings with diverse attendees.

Supplemental Information

How to apply:

You must complete your profile and answer the supplemental questions. In addition to completing the online application, and supplemental questions applicants must attach the following documents to their profile to be considered for this position:

Current resume detailing experience and education
A cover letter describing how you meet the specific qualifications for this position
Three professional references

By submitting these materials, you are indicating that all information is true and correct. The state may verify information. Any untruthful or misleading information is cause for removal from the applicant pool or dismissal if employed.

Applications with comments “see attachments” will be considered incomplete.

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

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. Applications received via e-mail will not be accepted in lieu of applying through the state’s on-line recruitment system.

WSDA uses a I-9 form (Download PDF reader) to determine Employment Eligibility and Verification, once hired. This document is the authorization of an individual’s ability to be hired for employment within the United States. Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Agriculture celebrates our differences. We strive to hire great people from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are committed to a workplace that supports equal opportunity employment and inclusion regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, status as a protected veteran, genetics, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We will also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

We believe in the importance of recognizing the value each of us contribute to the success of the agency mission. Having a diverse workforce is this agency’s greatest resource of strength and knowledge. It is through the combination of talents and abilities that we can pursue finding effective measures to provide the best customer service. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone and we strongly mean everyone.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions regarding this position or the online application, contact the Human Resource Office at

Prior to a new appointment into the Department of Agriculture, a background check including criminal record 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 Resources Division may use referrals from this recruitment to help fill future similar vacancies for up to six months.

Veteran’s Preference: Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications and wish to claim Veteran’s Preference MUST attach a copy of their DD214, or other verification of military service. Please blackout any personally identifiable data such as social security numbers. For additional information on Veteran’s Preference and guidance on how to determine if you are eligible, click here.

Persons with a disability, who need assistance with their application or need this announcement in an alternative format, may call 664-1960 or toll free (877) 664-1960. TTY users should first call 711 to access the Washington Relay Service.

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