US Agricultural Research Service Reviews

Updated August 30, 2015
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US Agricultural Research Service Secretary Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack
49 Ratings

Pros
  • Stable employment, good work/life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • Good benefits, lots of job opportunities if in Dc (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • full-time because of the system of hiring (in 4 reviews)

  • As it is government, there was a bit of 'red tape (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

158 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Intern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    Amazing place to intern. The people want you to succeed and will give you the ability to really gain the experience you want.

    Cons

    None that I can think of


  2. Summer Biological Aid Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Beltsville, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Beltsville, MD

    Pros

    the compensation and learning opportunities

    Cons

    the work environment was sometimes hostile


  3. USDA-ARS

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I have been working at US Agricultural Research Service full-time

    Pros

    applied science and bigger picture

    Cons

    have little stimulation by peers

    Advice to Management

    ...


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Govt--the good and the bad

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Lexington-Fayette, KY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Lexington-Fayette, KY
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Agricultural Research Service full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good salary/benefits. Good co-workers. Decent money for new toys in the lab. Flexible schedules, if you have a boss that approves. One of the few science agencies in govt that approaches the freedom of academia--you generally can define your own research area within the broad area of agriculture. Not true of a lot of other agencies. Also one of the few agencies where it is possible to stay at the lab bench and still go up the GS pay scale. Most others you would have to leave the lab and go into management if you want to continue moving up.

    Cons

    You are dependent on politicians for your salary. Little money for hands to work with all the nice equipment. Technician positions have been cut. Travel money has been cut (thanks GSA!) which makes things difficult for an agency whose entire mission is based on field research. You have to suffer through endless additions of red tape that are brought on when other agencies screw up (e.g. GSA, OPM) Purchasing restrictions are ridiculous.

    Advice to Management

    Increase consistency and equality in rules and funding among different laboratories. Since regular bench scientists are subject to the budgeting decisions from above, there are some real inequities.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Great Government Job!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at US Agricultural Research Service full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good work life balance, good job security, easy to transfer between departments, good opportunity for advancement. Good flex program and telework options.

    Cons

    Cubicle and bullpen life can get dull. Many career government employees have no interest in innovating, changing with technology, or embracing new ways of doing business. Almost impossible to fire somebody. AFGE is a terrible union to work with.

    Advice to Management

    Reward those who preform best.


  7. Good place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Salinas, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Salinas, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Agricultural Research Service (Less than a year)

    Pros

    This is one of the most active vegetable group that I have ever seen before. All of the porjects are directly oriented to the need of the farmers

    Cons

    Need to have a better building facility. Curent building is very old and need lots of remodelling


  8. Administrative - Run!! | Research - Prepare for Slave Labor

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative in Davis, CA
    Current Employee - Administrative in Davis, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Agricultural Research Service full-time

    Pros

    None. Requires five words minimum.

    Cons

    ARS - Davis, CA is the absolute worst. This entire structure should be investigated for improper work ethics and internal procedures.

    Advice to Management

    Get a clue...you're organization is only as good as your weakest link. Putting a bandage on failed business operations can only serve you so long, eventually you will lose your best talent to retain your "yes" men. This type of behavior translates to poor communication, missing deadlines, inadequate training, and terrible group morale. New leadership could probably turn this misguided situation around with a complete overhaul. It's a shame, such good research is overshadowed by the clique mentality, petty squabbling, and internal abuse of power.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Research Microbiologist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Agricultural Research Service full-time

    Pros

    Decent funding, facilities, equipment. Reasonable autonomy in setting up research programs.

    Cons

    Very hostile work environment, anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Semite. Office politics are more important than the science.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people fairly, provide a work environment that is conducive to productivity and the agency will be amazing.


  10. Interesting

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Intern in Beltsville, MD
    Former Employee - Research Intern in Beltsville, MD

    Pros

    Cool research, learned laboratory safety and culturing techniques.

    Cons

    repetitive experiments were boring. I did the same thing every day


  11. Great people, frustrating system at times

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lab Assistant in Sidney, MT
    Former Employee - Lab Assistant in Sidney, MT
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Awesome people to work with. There are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. Everyone is helpful and has your back.

    Cons

    Working for the government is frustrating sometimes. There can be a lot of unnecessary hoops to jump through that slows down the work.

    Advice to Management

    Don't gossip about co workers



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