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Program Specialist (Cover Crop Program)

Recruitment #23-000521-0005


The Maryland Department of Agriculture is a department under Maryland's Executive Branch.  Formed in 1972 by the Maryland General Assembly to address the agriculture needs for the State of Maryland, the Department oversees and serves as a regulatory body for animal health, consumer services to include marketing and lab services, plant and pest management and resource conservation.  As the number one industry in Maryland, the diversity of agriculture programs in the State continue to expand and grow. ​

Th​e Office of Resource Conservation works with Maryland farmers to plan and​​ implement conservation practices and programs that balance crop and livestock production with the need to protect natural resources. The Office provides a range of educational, financial, technical assistance,​ and regulatory programs to support Maryland agriculture and protect natural resources​ and water quality for future generations. 

This recruitment posting is for one (1) open contractual position. The position is a Program Specialist for the Cover Crop Program in Salisbury, MD




Salisbury Regional Office: Salisbury, MD

Main Purpose of Job

The main purpose of this position is to assist in the overall implementation and management of the Maryland Cover Crop Program. This includes participating in the development of policies and procedures; receiving, evaluating and processing applications for cost sharing assistance; evaluating proper source of funds for the project; communicating status with private landowners/operators, Conservation District personnel and representatives from other state and federal agencies; and receiving, evaluating & processing claims for payment. Generates on-farm status review lists, transmits and communicates with SCD's; participates in the Quality Assurance Reviews and Spot Checks; tracks results; provides and coordinates training in the Field Offices as necessary to correct system problems. 


Duties include but are not limited to the following:

  • Reviews and determines eligibility of farmers applications for Cover Crop. Examines agreement and claim for payment files for completeness and sufficient legal documentation. Utilizes available handbooks as the guide for the examination of necessary documentation. Communicates directly with the local Soil Conservation District office to explain any deficiencies and the steps necessary to resolve such. Assembles grant agreement and Claim for Payment packages and arranges weekly mailings to SCD's and landowners. Deals tactfully and responsively, primarily by phone, with farmers and local, state, and federal employees. 
  • Provides guidance, in the form of written correspondence to the Soil Conservation Districts. Monitors grantee compliance with Cost share Program requirements including but not limited to NM cross compliance and MACS status. Utilizes in-office procedures and handbooks to guide actions. Maintain a log of files that are incomplete do to missing or inaccurate information and contact SCD's on a weekly basis with follow up questions regarding these files. 
  • Communicates daily via phone, fax, email, and written correspondence with Soil Conservation District (SCD) staff for the purpose of obtaining necessary documentation for individual projects. Prepares written replies to correspondence from SCDs, grantees, or others inquiring about Program policies or about questions on specific projects. Performs detailed reviews of routine paperwork on a continuing basis. Works in the Salisbury office and/or transfer files and information between Salisbury and Annapolis as required. 
  • Provides information about various cost share programs to SCDs, farmers' groups, environmental groups, staff of state and federal agencies and other interested parties. Explains Program requirements and procedures as a representative of the Department and describes Program accomplishments by phone and in writing. Maintains and updates custom applicator database. Contacts custom applicators to acquire current contact information and availability. 
  • Participates in the Quality Assurance Review process and reviews files in the local SCD's during such reviews. Also attends field visits during review to see MACS projects in the field, completes a standard review form for each project visited. 
  • Makes recommendations to the program administrator regarding modification of Program policies, procedures, standards, and regulations. 
  • Conducts detailed studies and complex analyses of ongoing cost share program activity from inception to the present and prepares statistical tables, charts, and final reports. 
  • Prepare mailings to applicants and local SCD's during sign-up period. Manage returned mail to correct addresses in database. Manage and track denial or cancellation of agreement for additional follow-up.


Education:   A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in natural resources, agriculture or a related field.  

Experience: Two years of experience in planning, engineering or program administration work related to soil conservation or water quality.


1. Candidates may substitute the possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in urban or regional planning, engineering, physical geography, or the physical, chemical, and biological sciences, including 3 credit hours in soils, and one year of experience in soil and water conservation work for the required education.

2. Candidates may substitute the possession of a Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in natural resources, agriculture or a related field for the required education and one year of the required experience.

3. Candidates may substitute the possession of an Associate of Arts degree from an accredited college or university in natural resources, agriculture or a related field, and one year of experience in soil and water conservation for the required education.

4. Candidates may substitute graduation from an accredited high school or possession of a high school equivalency certificate and two additional years of experience in soil and water conservation for the required education.

5.  Candidates may substitute planning, engineering or program administration experience in a soil conservation, water quality protection or related agricultural or natural resource program on a year-for-year basis for the required education.

6. Candidates may substitute U.S. Armed Forces military service experience as a commissioned officer in natural resources management and biological science classification or natural resources management and biological science specialty codes in the soil conservation field of work on a year-for-year basis for the required experience and education.    


1. Employees in this classification may be assigned duties which require the operation of a motor vehicle. Employees assigned such duties will be required to possess a motor vehicle operator’s license valid in the State of Maryland.

2. Employees in certain positions in this classification may be required to become Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Certified Conservation Planners (USDA/NRCS-General Manual, Title 180, Part 409).


All of these positions conduct field work that requires employees to be exposed to and work in varying weather conditions. Work may also occasionally involve minor physical demands such as the lifting of equipment, display boards & manuals. 


Please make sure you provide sufficient information on your application to show that you meet the qualifications for this recruitment. All information concerning your qualifications must be submitted by the closing date. We will not consider information submitted after this date. Successful candidates will be placed on the eligible (employment) list for at least one year.

For education obtained outside the U.S., a copy of the equivalent American education as determined by a foreign credential evaluation service must be provided prior to hire.


Contractual employees who work for an agency covered under the State Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefits Program, have a current employment contract and work 30 or more hours a week (or on average 130 hours per month) may be eligible for subsidized health benefits coverage for themselves and their dependents. As a contractual employee, you will be responsible for paying 25% of the premiums for your medical and prescription coverage, including any eligible dependents you have enrolled. The State of Maryland will subsidize the remaining 75% of the cost for these benefits. You can also elect to enroll in dental coverage, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and life insurance, but will be responsible to pay the full premium for these benefits.

Leave may be granted to a contractual employee who has worked 120 days in a 12 month period. This leave accrues at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours per calendar year.


The online application is strongly preferred. If you are unable to apply online, you may submit a paper application and supplemental questionnaire to: Maryland Department of Agriculture  Human Resource Office, Room 304, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway,  Annapolis, MD  21401. The Human Resources unit is not responsible for applications sent to any other address.

Faxed or e-mailed applications will not be accepted. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of completing the application. If you are submitting additional information, such as diplomas or transcripts, the preferred method is to upload them online with your application. If you are unable to upload, you may mail, hand-deliver or fax (HR Fax # 443-602-9831). All paper applications must be received by the closing date, no exceptions. (Postmarks not accepted.)

If you are having difficulty with your user account, need to make adjustments to a submitted application or have general questions about the online application system, please contact the MD Department of Budget and Management at ; ATTN: Recruitment and Examination Division

Inquiries regarding this recruitment can be directed to Courtney Blackistone at

TTY Users: call via Maryland Relay

Candidates with disabilities and bilingual candidates are encouraged to apply. We thank our Veterans for their service to our country, and encourage them to apply. As an equal opportunity employer, Maryland is committed to recruiting, retaining and promoting employees who are reflective of the State’s diversity. 

Click on a link below to apply for this position:

Fill out the Supplemental Questionnaire and Application NOW using the Internet. Apply Online
View and print the Supplemental Questionnaire. This recruitment requires completion of a supplemental questionnaire. You may view and print the supplemental questionnaire here.
Apply via Paper Application. You may also download and complete the Paper Application here.

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