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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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 Consider Joining the Crew at NPARL!

Permanent Job Vacancies • Summer & Temporary Vacancies • Internships • Application Info • Federal Employment •  Disability Resources • Community Information 

The Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory presents a range of noteworthy and fascinating vocations as well as temporary employment for students and post-docs.

NPARL is located in a family-friendly rural area and is approximately 50 miles from two community colleges:  Williston State College, Williston, ND and Dawson Community College, Glendive, MT. Sidney is one of the larger towns in eastern Montana, just 11 miles from the North Dakota border and surrounded by several smaller communities.

Eastern Montana offers a pleasant, desirable lifestyle – friendly community, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, outstanding school systems, and rewarding career possibilities. And the work environment is equally inviting as reflected in our history. Our lab was awarded the Outstanding Regional Laboratory by the Federal Lab Consortium in 2003. You can click here to check out other awards and recognitions. We have regular gatherings  that enhance employee morale through holiday celebrations, potluck lunches, and other functions.

To learn more about the surrounding community for our location click here for convenient links to key websites for schools, businesses and more.  Information for further job opportunities in the Northern Plains Area can be found at their career page.


Permanent Job Vacancies at NPARL:

See below for links to websites listing openings at other ARS or federal facilities. 

  • Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU): 
    no vacancies at this time.
  • Pest Management Research Unit (PMRU): 
    no vacancies at this time.


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Summer & Temporary Vacancies at NPARL: 

USDA, Agriculture Research Service, the Northern Plains Agricultural Laboratory located in Sidney, MT, is currently accepting applications for summer employment. Summer employment generally runs from mid-May through mid-August. Duties may include farming activities, data collection, sampling, and lab work. Some positions may include overnight travel and have the option of lasting past August. Pay is based on qualifications, the minimum starting wage is $9.84 per hour.


Information on the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) can be found at


You can submit a generic application and additional work experience (if applicable) by mail, or drop off at the address below. Please call (406)433-2020 if you have any questions. Applications will be accepted until all summer positions are filled.



Attn: Human Resources

1500 North Central Ave.

Sidney, MT  59270

Please Note: Once a summer job offer has been made, all selected applicants must complete a Declaration for Federal Employment form (OF306) (PDF; 92KB) which is linked here for their convenience.


Additional information on our summer positions!!

Help Wanted Graphic 

The Northern Plains Agriculture Research Lab hires a varying number of students each year for summer positions. Those interested must be 18 years of age by the time work begins. Summer employment generally runs from mid-May through mid-August. Flexible schedules are available; wages are based on qualifications with a minimum of $9.84 per hour. Successful applicants will assist with various research projects including plot preparation and maintenance, plant harvesting and sample preparation and maintenance, sample and seed sorting, processing for analysis and storage, cleaning field instruments and equipment, keeping simple records of work accomplished, collecting grasshoppers and rangeland plants, working on Mormon cricket research and assisting with lab experiments.



Student Internships at NPARL:

Student Internship positions are open at NPARL periodically as funding becomes available. Click here to see a listing of Student Internships in the Northern Plains Area (NPA) and read below for information on how to apply. Additionally, other Pathways Internships may be available at any of the NPA locations, and all NPA Pathways Internships are posted to the website (filter results by using Pathways in keyword search or using the left-hand links).

Student Internship announcements for all labs in Northern Plains Area (NPA) are available beginning in mid-February at the NPA website.

For more information you may contact NPARL's Administrative Officer, Kelly Roberts, by phone, 406.433.9480, or e-mail,



What are the key requirements to participate?

  • U.S. Citizen

  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation

  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered with Selective Service

  • Enrolled at least half-time at a qualifying educational institution

  • At least 16 years of age


Who is eligible to particpate?

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a citizen of certain countries in alliance with the United States (must have permanent residency)

  • Must be a current student in an accredited high school, college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree program

Who is qualified to participate?

  • Must be a High School graduate (or equivalent)

  • Must have 3 months of general experience performing clerical/office work

How do I apply for an internship?

If accepted for an internship, students will then need to provide the following:

1. Proof of enrollment in the college

2. Certified transcript

3. Verification for US citizen or permanent residency

For more information on either summer employment or student internships, please contact Kelly Roberts at 406.433.9480.


2014 Summer Research Vacancy - Apply Now!


Where: Sidney, Montana – Pest Management Research

Mentor Scientists: Dr. Stefan Jaronski

Project Description: In 2013 we discovered presence of the insect pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana among post-diapause wheat-stem sawfly larvae being reared for another purpose, and isolated 12 strains of the fungus. This discovery is a first record of such infections in North America and is remarkable because the entire larval and pupal phases are spent entirely within the stem of the wheat plant. In a preliminary survey in fall 2013, 40 Beauveria isolations were made. There are numerous reports of Beauveria endophytism in other plants. Thus, it is possible that the discovered isolates of Beauveria are endophytic in wheat and can therefore infect copresent wheat stem sawfly larvae, which are otherwise isolated from exposure to environmental Beauveria. Based on published literature with other plants it is possible to establish Beauveria endophytic presence in plants by seed treatment or foliar application, thus providing an opportunity to reduce the impact of this insect in wheat if the same methods work in this plant. Endophytic potential of the USDA wheat-stem-sawfly-derived Beauveria isolates will be determined by three methods, based on published studies with other plants. (Because there may be variation among strains of Beauveria and among varieties of wheat, we will test at least three of the wheat-stem-sawfly-derived isolates and several varieties of wheat with each approach). These methods are treating seeds with spore suspensions; foliar application of spore suspensions; and microinjection of blastospores into the wheat stems. The subsequent establishment of Beauveria in wheat stems can be determined from fungus outgrowth from explanted surface sterilized plant tissue on a Beauveria-selective medium.

The successful student intern will assist in the conduct of the above described research, under mentorship of Dr. Jaronski. Tasks will entail basic microbiological methods. Duration of the internship will be between mid-May and mid-August, for a maximum of 10 weeks

Preferred/Required Experience: Enrollment in college biological sciences program with coursework in at least general biology and some indication of an interest in biological research.

Pay Grade/Hourly Salary: GS 3 $12.07/hour; typically requires one year of college and 6 semester hours of math/science courses.

Application Instructions: Email: for specific instructions.



Other ARS and Federal Employment

USDA/ARS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider.

ARS Vacancy Web Site: Look here for employment opportunities within ARS.

ARS Careers Web SiteInformation regarding career opportunities for permanent and temporary employees.  
ARS Careers Information Web Site: Information presented here was designed to help those not currently in the Federal service better understand the Federal hiring process.

USA Jobs Web Site
: The official job site of the United States Government.



USDA/ARS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider. 


Useful tools for preparing your application:

You must include a statement in your application that you are a U.S. citizen and return your application to the office listed in the job description. Note: Applications for permanent positions cannot be accepted at the Sidney office. If you have questions you may contact NPARL Location Administrative Officer Kelly Roberts at 406-433-9480. 

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Career Opportunities

The links below are to current ARS job openings listed at the official job site of the US Federal Government, USAJOBS.

ARS openings in Sidney, MT
ARS openings in Montana
ARS openings nationwide

* Note: the links above are to "Only Jobs Open to ALL U.S. Citizens" so if you are a current or former federal employee, be sure to select "ALL Jobs" to refine your search at the USAJOBS site.

Last Modified: 11/20/2014