The 2002 Farm Bill authorized USDA to use Technical Service Providers (TSPs). The premise behind TSPs is that the public interest to do conservation work and the government’s financial commitment are both at historic levels. The Farm Bill increased conservation investment up $1.8 billion to $3.9 billion. NRCS and our locally-led partners are committed to getting this money out quickly and efficiently. Helping build a new industry of certified professionals from the private sector, non-profit organizations, and public agencies to provide direct technical assistance and deliver conservation activities will help with this commitment.
Technical assistance includes conservation planning and design, layout, installation, and checkout of approved conservation practices. NRCS and conservation districts have traditionally provided these technical services, and will continue to do so. What’s new is that USDA will now reimburse producers for technical assistance provided by certified Technical Service Providers.
NRCS is committed to ensuring quality technical assistance no matter whether this service comes from NRCS employees or a TSP. The quality benchmarks are those in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide. NRCS is also committed to a Technical Service Provider process that is farmer or producer friendly. Technical Service Provider technical assistance will be offered in ways that will be convenient to farmers and ranchers and designed to meet their needs. That means producers will have a choice of providers. You may use NRCS for technical assistance, or may call on a Technical Service Provider certified by NRCS to provide such assistance.