Technical Service Providers
Welcome to our TSP page!
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to address environmental resource concerns on privately owned agricultural lands. Due to a high demand in our field offices, provisions were made to facilitate the installation of needed conservation practices using the services of private consultants to work as Technical Service Providers (TSP). A TSP is a source of technical assistance that, based on specific criteria, has been certified as such by NRCS.
The information on this page refers to TSP work through individual Farm Bill conservation contract items. For more information on the TSP program, contact your local Service Center or the Pennsylvania State NRCS Office at 717-237-2100.
WHAT IS A TSP?
TSPs provide direct technical assistance and deliver conservation services to landowners and others. The TSP program expands the availability of technical services to carry out NRCS Conservation Programs. TSPs are available in Pennsylvania for a variety of technical services relating to implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill. To find a TSP in your state or county, use the TSP Locator by clicking here.
Who can become a Technical Service Provider? Any individual, business, non-profit organization, or public agency that performs the categories of service specified on the TechReg is an Internet application for individuals interested in providing technical assistance to farmers and ranchers on behalf of USDA to register and become certified, and USDA Customers to find these certified providers." (NRCS employees are not eligible, and employees of public agencies must only practice under the auspices of their employing agency). For more information click here.
Who can hire a Technical Service Provider and be reimbursed by USDA? Anyone who is eligible and subsequently receives funding through an NRCS conservation program (and a TSP is available in the geographic area for the types of services needed).
HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED TSP
The TSP program utilizes an online application process. Potential TSPs must obtain a Level 2 e-Government account (login and password) from the USDA e-Authentication web site at http://www.eauth.egov.usda.gov/. A government-issued photo ID must be presented at the nearest USDA service center to complete the account process. To find a nearby Service Center, click here.
Once an e-Government login and password have been set up, applicants can become certified by registering and completing the certification process through TechReg.
NRCS will review your application and verify that it meets NRCS requirements for certification within 60 days. If there is a problem, we will advise you and allow time for you to make corrections. If NRCS approves your application, you will electronically sign a Certification Agreement with NRCS. This grants you certification and places you on the list of approved TSPs.
TechReg is the website for registering and locating Technical Service Providers (TSPs).
WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED TSP!
Certification is required to be reimbursed for technical services provided to landowners and farmers under the 2002 Farm Bill conservation programs. NRCS staff, partner agencies, non-profit organizations, as well as private contractors and businesses may be certified to provide technical assistance through NRCS. Different tasks require different certifications. TSPs can only provide services for which they have been specifically certified by NRCS in TechReg.
All technical services provided must meet NRCS Technical Standards and Specifications that are located in the electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG).
In addition, TSPs are required to follow NRCS and Departmental policies and guidelines as well as meet program requirements for the USDA program serviced. Policy, guidelines, program manuals, and handbooks can be found in the Online Resources on TechReg.
State and local information not available online can be obtained by contacting your local Service Center or Pennsylvania’s State NRCS Office at 717-237-2100.
SERVICES THAT CAN BE PROVIDED BY TSP'S
The services a TSP can provide are limited by the technical service categories that the consultant is certified to perform in the state of Pennsylvania. Certification in different states and counties is optional for the consultant. The demand for services will depend, among other things, on the availability of assistance provided by NRCS and partners, the willingness of the producer to hire a TSP and program funds allocated for this purpose.
Most of the work performed by TSPs in Pennsylvania has been in the following areas:
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) – It is a goal of the USDA to help producers meet existing environmental regulations and maintain a healthy environment. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for the planning and implementation of the required CNMP elements. Under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), participants installing a waste storage handling or treatment practice must develop and be following a CNMP before implementing those practices. Consultants can be certified to plan and assist with the implementation of one or all of the CNMP elements. These elements are the Manure and Wastewater Handling and Storage, Land Treatment, Nutrient Management and Record Keeping that is the responsibility of the farmer. Two other elements– Feed Management and Other Utilization– are optional.
Nutrient Management Planning – When the utilization or disposition of nutrients creates a resource concern and/or a program has a nutrient management requirement (as is the case of EQIP), a nutrient management plan that follows NRCS conservation practice Nutrient Management (Code 590) is planned for the operation.
Animal Production Waste Management – Livestock and poultry production is big business in our state. For example the state ranks fourth in the nation for milk production and third in egg production. Conservation plans addressing resource concerns related to water quality require implementation of practices such as Waste Storage Facility (Code 313), Manure Transfer (634) and Animal Mortality Facility (316).
Heavy Use and Barnyard Areas– Pennsylvania livestock farms tend to be small and, because of issues with water accessibility in the old days, a great number of them are located close to streams. Runoff across the heavy use area transports nutrients to the water creating a water quality issue. The conservation treatment for these areas includes practices such as Heavy Use Area Protection (Code 561), Roof Runoff Structure (558) and Diversion (362).
Pest Management – NRCS in Pennsylvania has been providing incentives to motivate farmers to start implementing no-till systems. To develop a more holistic approach one of the key components of the system is the pest management plan.
HOW A TSP GETS WORK
When TSP funds are approved for a contract participant, NRCS directs the person to the TechReg webpage to find possible TSP. NRCS does not promote any particular TSP. The participant is free to choose any TSP that will meet his/her expectations. Due to this, it is in the best interest of the TSP to promote and market its services.
Certification for some categories of service requires the completion of national NRCS training courses (i.e., Conservation Planning Training Modules 1-5). National training opportunities can be accessed through TechReg (see Online Resources).
Pennsylvania will post on this site, as available, local and state training opportunities. Professional organizations provide training for certain certifications.
– CNMP Training
– Conservation Planning Training
Currently no opportunities are listed. Please Check Back Soon or check for TSP opportunities in Pennsylvania advertised on FedBixOpps!
TSP Hiring Process
When TSP services are needed, the participant requests the assistance from the NRCS District Conservationist.
If the request is approved, the program contract will be modified to add the funds that will be used to pay the TSP. The funds are calculated based on what it will cost NRCS to do the work and are determined to be a not-to-exceed rate (NTE). Any cost above the rate approved will be the responsibility of the participant.
Knowing the amount approved, the participant “shops” for a TSP.
When a TSP is selected, the contract terms are established between the participant and the TSP. All work must be done during the same federal fiscal year the TSP funds were approved. Participants have until August 31 to certify practice completion.
At completion, the TSP will certify and sign form CCC-1245 (boxes 15 and 16) that was previously provided by the participant. The TSP will also provide to the participant an invoice for services rendered.
The participant will complete form CCC-1245 by answering questions 18 & 19 and signing and dating at the bottom of the form. The participant is responsible for returning the CCC-1245 form and the invoice to NRCS.
With these documents NRCS will process payment to the participant. If the participant authorizes NRCS to pay directly to the TSP, he/she will need to fill out form CCC-36 (“Assignment of Payment” form).
Pennsylvania State TSP Contact:
359 East Park Drive, Suite 2
Harrisburg, PA 17111