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Technical Service Providers

Technical Service Providers (TSPs) are individuals, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that help NRCS program participants apply conservation practices to their land according to NRCS standards.

NRCS program participants may hire TSPs to install conservation practices and create conservation activity plans that are part of their contracts with NRCS.

If you are an NRCS program participant who would like to find a certified TSP, please go to the TechReg website and click on "Find a TSP".

Qualified conservation professionals from many fields are invited to become certified TSPs in Massachusetts. To become a TSP, please visit the national TechReg website and click on "Become a TSP" to start the process. More information is further down on this page.

For more information, please contact:
Thomas Akin
413-253-4365
thomas.akin@ma.usda.gov


New in the 2008 Farm Bill

For licensed foresters:

NRCS is encouraging licensed foresters in Massachusetts to become certified TSPs to develop forest management plans for our Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) participants.

This year, NRCS is piloting a program to compensate our program participants for developing various activity plans, including forest management plans. For a full list of the new activity plans, see below.

NRCS program participants will only be compensated for developing forest management plans when they hire a certified TSP to create their activity plan.

NRCS program participants are able to locate and hire TSPs by searching our national TSP registry. If you become a certified TSP, our program participants will be able to contact and hire you for work that you are certified for.

Compensation for conservation activity plans will be available:

This year, NRCS is piloting various activity plans available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

If you are interested in becoming a TSP to develop these activity plans, we recommend that you begin the process now so that you will be registered as a certified TSP when NRCS begins offering compensation for developing activity plans. Please visit TechReg to become a TSP.

  • Forest management plans
  • Comprehensive nutrient management plans
  • Fish and wildlife habitat plans
  • Transition to organic production
  • Comprehensive air quality management plans
  • Irrigation water management plans
  • Energy activity management plans
  • Drainage water management plans
  • Grazing management plans
  • Transition from irrigated land to dryland farming plans
  • Integrated pest management plans
 

Frequently asked questions about TSPs

What are Technical Service Providers?

Technical Service Providers (TSPs) are individuals, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, or public agencies outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that help agricultural producers apply conservation practices on the land. These Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) certified professionals provide for convenient access to technical services, quality work, and professional
one-on-one technical assistance to landowners or producers who participate in USDA conservation programs. TSPs can�

  • Develop conservation plans and perform selected compliance studies
  • Plan, design, and lay out conservation practices
  • Check out completed conservation practices

How do I hire a Technical Service Provider?

Please visit the national TechReg website and click on "Find a TSP" or call Thomas Akin at 413-253-4365.

How can I become a certified Technical Service Provider? 

Please visit the national TechReg website and click on "Become a TSP" for instructions and more information. Below is an outline of the steps you will need to take to become a Technical Service Provider.

Here is a brief outline of the TSP certification process:

Step 1- Obtain an eAuth account and password. Log on to http://www.eauth.egov.usda.gov/  and establish a Level 2 eAuth account. Visit a USDA Service Center near you to activate your account. You can locate USDA Service Centers at http://offices.usda.gov. You will obtain a user ID and password to register on TechReg, an online registry for TSPs.

Step 2- Register on TechReg. Log onto TechReg (http://techreg.usda.gov) and fill out the sections that pertain to you as an individual, business or public agency. Potential TSPs must be able to demonstrate knowledge in their respective areas of expertise through documentation of training or experience.

Step 3 - Become certified. To become certified, applicants must meet all of the certification requirements contained in TechReg for the specific category or categories of technical services they wish to provide. They must obtain licenses or certifications required by local, State, or tribal law. Applicants must document their qualifications in TechReg and indicate how they meet specific certification criteria. They must also sign a certification agreement electronically. Once certified by NRCS, TSPs will be placed on an approved list in TechReg to provide specific technical services in specific States.

Step 4 - Provide technical services to NRCS program participants. Participants can search TechReg to find certified TSPs. Once selected and hired by the producer, the TSPs can provide the technical services they are certified to perform.

What does a Technical Service Provider do?

A TSP has many responsibilities, including the following:

  • provides high-quality technical service
  • complies with all Federal, State, tribal, and local laws and requirements
  • certifies that all technical services provided meet NRCS standards and specifications
  • develops, maintains and provides the producer with complete documentation for the technical services provided
  • maintains the producer's confidentiality

Why does NRCS use Technical Service Providers?

The 2002 Farm Bill expanded the capacity of USDA conservation programs to protect the nation's natural resources on private and tribal lands. In order to better serve agricultural producers, the 2002 Farm Bill encouraged USDA-NRCS to use TSPs to increase the technical assistance available to help landowners meet their conservation goals.

How does a Technical Service Provider receive payment?

TSPs must negotiate directly with the producer for the technical services to be provided and their costs. When the technical services are completed, documented, and reported, the TSP provides the documentation and an invoice to the producer and NRCS. The producer pays the TSP. NRCS reimburses the producer for the technical services obtained at a not-to-exceed rate contained in the producer's conservation program contract with USDA. NRCS has established maximum payment rates for technical services in each State. Technical service providers can use conservation practices such as riparian buffers to help landowners protect water quality.


Contact

For information on TSPs in Massachusetts, contact:
Thomas Akin
413-253-4365
thomas.akin@ma.usda.gov

National TSP website: TechReg - National Technical Service Provider Registry