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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 568M
Category: Agricultural Operations

Class Series Concept



This is the expert level of the series, designated as an audit specialist, certified seed specialist, or international export specialist. Positions serve as a subject matter expert for assigned area and advise program management and industry customers on related activities.

Distinguishing Characteristics

In the audit specialist role, provides services to produce suppliers throughout the production and supply chain. Performs specialized audits as requested by producers for voluntary compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP). Requires approval from federal partners to participate in required auditor training. 

In the certified seed specialist role, serves as designated liaison with federal partners and industry stakeholders. Works with industry to ensure proper pollination, isolation and varietal contamination measures are in place in an effort to protect the integrity of Washington State’s seed industry. Must be certified as an Authorized Official Sampler. 

In the international export specialist role, serves as a designated liaison with federal partners and industry stakeholders. Works with foreign inspection programs, federal counterparts, and industry to ensure proper fumigation, packing procedures and documentation to prevent rejection of commodities internationally. Must possess specific licensure, such as fumigation license, and demonstrate successful completion of training through federal partners. 

Positions hold all licenses and certifications required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and international certifications agencies for commodities within assigned geographic area and designated specialty functions.

Typical Work

Provides specialized technical services to federal counterparts and industry stakeholders through quality assurance of inspection, fumigation, and commodity packing certification as required by international trade agreements; 

Ensures proper onsite fumigation for export certification; process includes but is not limited to: maintaining official records, verifying actual fumigation chamber load volume does not exceed the maximum load allowed, confirming bin and lug quantity, confirming that only approved containers, liners and pads are in the chamber, taking random pulp temperatures and reports the results, recording ambient chamber air temperature, determining if fumigation dosages are accurate, confirming total pounds of methyl bromide administered, recording gas introduction time and scale weight, and recording actual fumigation finish time; 

Acts to settle disputes arising between industry personnel and inspectors; meets with representatives of fruit and vegetable industry to discuss time sensitive inspection matters; 

Certifies domestic fumigation in order to maintain compliance with Washington State Quarantine for Western Cherry Fruit Fly under Chapter WAC 16-463; 

Performs packing inspection that includes confirming proper fumigation, verifying product meet country work plan required documentation on packaging, inspecting required sampling ratio, ensuring packed product is free from insects when brought into the quarantine area and recording number of cartons inspected;   

Coordinates country specific packing requirements of commodities with inspection staff and stakeholders; monitors phytosanitary repacking operations ensuring shipments do not exceed pack out requirements. Continually monitors packing line for untreated product and stamping, stacking and taping of product throughout packing;  

Issues export phytosanitary certificates for product that meets the country work plan requirements. Rejects product that does not meet country work plan requirements;  

Performs specialized audits as requested by producers for voluntary compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) - voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards; 

Serves as a resource to all stakeholders regarding regulatory compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA); 

Works with applicant, audit supervisor and USDA to address issues that arise while conducting audits that the applicants is able to correct during the audit;  

Addresses immediate food safety risks identified in audit verification standards. Determines whether applicants pass or fail food safety audits; 

Conducts audit preparation, including scheduling audit and reviewing past audit information specific to applicant; 

Conducts onsite food safety audits that include reviewing facility documentation for water tests to ensure the water that is used on crops has been tested for harmful chemicals, land use surrounding the applicants fields meet audit regulations, checks sanitation records, documents all areas of non-compliance observed during the audit; 

Conducts field interviews with employees, observing them at work to ensure employees are following food safety guidelines;  

Auditors must ensure that all records required per audit regulations are acquired and verified, and confirmation of non-compliance in any area effectively documented to avoid negative impacts such as serious illness for consumers and applicants’ employees or any nearby livestock; 

Completed audit administrative processes including, completing USDA auditing documentation and submits billing invoice to applicant;  

Maintains status as an auditor by completing continual professional development as required;  

Conduct inspection of fresh fruits and vegetables within an assigned geographic area for compliance with state, federal and/or international quality and condition regulations; 

Issues and supervises issuance of federal-state certificates, shipping permits, and other clearance documents for domestic and foreign destinations such as detailed inspection note sheets of samples inspected, federal phytosanitary certificates, and state phytosanitary certificates declaring presence or absence of pests and disease; 

Issues and supervises issuance of notices on non-complying product(s) and takes regulatory action as necessary under the authority of new federal food safety guidelines; 

Coordinates issuance of certificates indicating quality levels or percentages of marketable stock for payment to the producer by the buyer or processor; inspects, grades, and certifies native and non-native fruits and/or vegetables at receiving points; 

Oversees and coordinates audits of controlled atmosphere storage licensees' records for compliance with Chapter 15.30 RCW Controlled Atmosphere Storage of Fruits and Vegetables; 

Aids in the development of policies, regulations and procedures; 

Oversees the compliance of identified protocol of certified seed applications submitted to the department from seed companies and growers; 

Inspects various seed crop fields for any infectivity, pollination and isolation issues to determine final certification standards have been met;  

Identifies seed lot contaminations and provides solutions or alternatives for seed industry when seed lots fail to meet minimum standards; 

Resolves conflict seed growers encounter with federal and state policies and procedures to ensure certification requirements are met; 

Investigates and responds to complaints on behalf of the Seed Program; 

Maintains certification records; proposes changes in procedure and priorities for seed certification program; 

Performs certification, phytosanitary, and seed control inspections and takes official samples; 

Performs retail regulatory seed inspections and issues ‘stop sale’ citations for violations; 

Positions provide training to lower level inspection staff to acquire specialized licenses; 

May function as a lead worker.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: in-depth knowledge of industry standards and best practices, and all applicable state and federal acts, directives, rules and regulations. 

Ability to: effectively communicate complex information verbally and in writing, mediate and resolve complex issues between stakeholders; climb and work safely and with agility at high levels, around moving equipment under extra hazardous conditions, and often in very high temperatures; work in environments that include exposure to chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

Legal Requirement(s)

All positions require United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Authorized Certification Official (ACO) licensure. 

Fruit and vegetable positions require USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) licensure. 

Seed positions require USDA Authorized Official Sampler licensure and International Seed Testing Association (ITSA) sampling certification. 

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Persons legally authorized to work in the U.S. under federal law, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for employment unless prohibited by other state or federal law.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree with major study in agronomy or closely allied field, 


Four years of experience performing inspections within a state fruit and vegetable inspection office or in the fruit and vegetable industry related to processing, marketing and testing;



  • Requisite experience must include at least three years’ experience performing regulatory agriculture services,
  • Must receive approval from federal partners to participate in required 40 hours of auditor training and successful completion of three audits with a trainer;  


Export Specialist:

  • Must possess specific licensure, such as fumigation license;
  • Demonstrate successful completion of training through federal partners.


Certified Seed Specialist:

  • Must possess specific licensure, such as International Seed Testing Association sampling certification, USDA authorized Sampling and USDA Authorized Certification Officer credentials;
  • Five years of experience in seed production, processing, testing, certification and/or export interpreting and applying state and federal seed certification regulations, seed law enforcement standards and identifying diseases and weeds found in crops.

Must acquire and maintain all specialized licenses and certifications required by the United States Department of Agriculture for all commodities of the area to which assigned prior to appointment. 

Equivalent education and experience may be substituted on a year-for-year basis.

Class Specification History

New class; adopted June 13, 2019, effective July 1, 2019.
Revised distinguishing characteristics adopted 8/8/2019, effective 8/9/2019.


Revised Legal Requirements; effective June 6, 2024, due to adopted legislative action.