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USDA Climate Change Fellows Program

USDA is seeking qualified applicants for inclusion in the USDA Climate Change Fellows Program (CCFP).  Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources, and rural economies. Producers and land managers across the country are experiencing climate impacts on their operations through shifting weather patterns and increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfire.  The American agriculture and forest sectors have incredible potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, generate renewable energy and deliver lasting solutions to the climate crisis. Through research, conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to find solutions to agricultural challenges, enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA to staff a diverse set of employees with the expertise to implement USDA’s climate change strategy.

USDA’s Climate Change Fellows Program (CCFP) allows USDA to hire Climate Change Fellows through a time-limited appointment in the Excepted Service under “Schedule A” hiring authority, as specified in 5 CFR 213.3102(r). Initial appointments for candidates may be for up to a 2-year period.  Additional 1-year extensions may be made; however, the appointment cannot exceed a total of 4-years.  The initial periods for specific CCFP appointments will be determined based on expected duration of projects, exposure to diverse program areas, the nature of a developmental assignment, and/or the duration of assignments that meet workforce planning objectives.

Please note that an appointment in the CCFP confers no rights to further Federal employment in either the competitive or excepted service upon expiration of the appointment.  Fellows interested in remaining with USDA at the end of their fellowships must compete and be selected for competitive service vacancies.

Projects will involve working with USDA employees on climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts across the Department. This may include assistance with implementation of the USDA-and climate change-relevant portions of the Inflation Reduction Act, analysis related to agriculture and forestry technologies and practices that can provide climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits, assistance with economic and policy analysis in the areas of agriculture, forest management and climate change, and/or development of science-based tools and information products that will help improve management of working lands in light of climate change, among other tasks.

Individual USDA agencies will develop specific position descriptions under the CCFP to meet their needs. Current/open positions are linked below, and candidates may also submit the required information for general interest in the Program.

Current/open positions are linked below. In order to apply, candidates must:

  1. Have completed undergraduate or graduate education as of the time of appointment.
  2. Submit the following via email:
    • Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae, including reference information
    • Cover Letter
    • Undergraduate and/or Graduate Transcripts (unofficial accepted)
  3. In the subject line of your email, please indicate the position description in which you are interested.

Economic Research Service – Resource and Rural Economics Division, Conservation and Environment Branch

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is seeking four Climate Change Fellows to support agri-environmental modeling and to build a new interagency Conservation Practices Data Team. These efforts are part of broader ERS and USDA efforts to improve and advance models and tools for assessing GHG emissions and carbon sequestration outcomes at various temporal and spatial resolutions, and to improve temporal and spatial coverage of national conservation activity data in support of Implementation of Sec. 21002(a)(2) of the Inflation Reduction Act.  

The Economic Research Service (ERS) mission is to inform and enhance public and private decision making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural development.  The fellows will serve in Conservation and Environment Branch of the Resource and Rural Economics Division (RRED), which addresses a wide spectrum of issues as they relate to conservation and environmental policies that affect the agricultural sector.   

ERS is currently accepting applications for the following position(s):

  • GS-1560/0110/1530 Data Scientist/Economist/Statistician (Data Science) – we are hiring two fellows to work with a newly-created Interagency Conservation Practices Data Team. The Team members will be responsible for developing methodologies to gather data and provide annual estimates for major crop and livestock GHG-related practices (such as such as tillage and cover crops; and nutrient, manure, and livestock feed management) using existing and new data sources, such as federal census and survey data, USDA program and administrative data, and remotely sensed data.
  • GS-0150 Geographer – we are hiring one Geographer to work with the Conservation Practices Data Team and focus on (among other duties) identifying current remotely-sensed data sources and methodologies for estimating conservation practice adoption for practices such as tillage and cover crops, determining the strengths and weaknesses of those data sources and methodologies, and making recommendations for how to incorporate remotely-sensed data into the development of timely, accurate, and consistent statistics about conservation and GHG-related practices.
  • GS-0110, Research Agricultural Economist – we are hiring a fellow who will carry out complex, empirical economic analysis and data management to support agri-environmental modeling of US cropping systems and their GHG implications. Familiarity with biophysical models of crop growth and/or livestock - and their integration into economic sector models of agriculture - would be highly regarded in the candidate.

Duty location: Location negotiable after selection

Salary: The salary rates will depend upon the selectee's duty location and GS level.  Please see OPM’s 2023 General Schedule (GS) Locality Pay Tables.

Restrictions: Applications will be accepted from US citizens only.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply by October 31, 2023 11:59PM EST. If you have previously applied for a Climate Change Fellows position, you may be contacted regarding this position.


Thank you for your interest in the USDA Climate Change Fellows Program.  Please check back periodically for new openings from USDA agencies seeking Climate Change Fellows.

For questions on an existing application, please email