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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 USDA agency and position description in which you are interested.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

USDA NRCS is seeking Climate Change Fellows to support the implementation of the agency’s climate strategy under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) statute for better understanding and measuring the climate impacts of conservation and management practices and for improving carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) estimations.  NRCS’s mission is to deliver conservation solutions to agricultural producers for protecting natural resources while maintaining and enhancing agricultural land productivity. 

Resource Inventory and Assessment Division (RIAD):  Within NRCS Soil Science and Resource Assessment, RIAD conducts the National Resources Inventory (NRI) program and assessments of natural resource conditions and trends in the United States. RIAD is currently accepting applications for the following fellow position(s):

Duty location: See position description.

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 by those with U.S. citizenship or work permit.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply by January 31, 2024, 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