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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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 Consider Joining the Crew at NPARL!  

Permanent Job VacanciesSummer & Temporary Vacancies ? Internships New!? 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 belowfor 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 college2. Certified transcript3. 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. 

2015 Summer Internship Vacancy - Apply Now!


Where:Sidney, Montana - Pest Management Research

Mentor Scientists: Dr. Erin Espeland

Project Description: The intern will be working on an 8 week internship project in ecology that determines the factors contributing to biological invasions in the mixed grass prairie of western North Dakota. How do species diversity and soil productivity predict the presence of exotic and invasive species within the Bakken oilfield? This is part of a larger research effort determining the effect of oilfield activity (well construction and pipeline building) and subsequent reclamation activities on soil quality, native plant species abundance, and on bird and insect populations.

The intern will assist with field work to collect ecological data and will summarize these data. The intern will be trained for field work that includes four-wheel driving, hiking, performing point counts for bird species, measuring plant frequency, making soil collections and quantifying soil conditions, performing insect sweeps, and recording data in field computers. The intern will use Microsoft Excel to summarize the data, JMP for preliminary statistical analyses, and a word processing program to write a summary of the project, including introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections. The intern will work with our technology transfer specialist to develop a poster that communicates the results of the project.

Identification experience for plants, insects, OR birds is highly preferred. Require knowledge of Microsoft Excel or other data entry program. A general ecology course is also required. Start date is flexible. Pay is at the GS-3 level ($12.19/hour). Please send a cover letter and resume to

Pay Grade/Hourly Salary: GS 3 $12.19/hour; typically requires one year of college and 6 semester hours of math/science courses.

Application Instructions: Email: erin.espeland@ars.usda.govfor specific instructions.



        Other ARS and Federal Employment

USDA/ARS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider. If you are seeking seasonal employment you may submit a general application at our laboratory.



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



ARS Careers Web Site:  Information 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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Last Modified: 8/31/2016
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