Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

TSP and Producer Working Together

Technical Service Providers

Technical service providers (TSPs) work on behalf of the customer to offer planning, design, and implementation services that meets NRCS criteria.  This assistance helps improve the producer's operation and addresses resource concerns on their land. 

Conservation Planning Part 2
Training sessions available for TSPs!

Limited space - Register now!

Multiple dates and locations available.
Click here for registration and full session details.


TSP and Producers working together

TSPs include individuals, private businesses, American Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies.

TSPs expand the number and availability of conservation technical experts capable of offering customized, one-on-one conservation advice to agricultural producers. 


FOR LANDOWNERS

Who Can Use a TSP?

When funds are available, agricultural producers participating in certain activities in NRCS conservation programs can hire a TSP within the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  As a producer, you will need to work with your local NRCS office staff to make application for Financial Assistance and have an obligated contract prior to hiring a TSP.  NOTE: Producers may also choose to pay for services from qualified individuals at their own expense.

NRCS reimburses the producer at a contracted rate established by the program the participation is participating in. The maximum rates for technical services are available in the most recent State Payment Schedule.

What Technical Service Activities are Offered?

TSP conservation work falls into two broad categories:

  • planning, design and implementation of conservation practices
  • conservation planning activities

Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can use conservation planning to address specific natural resource objectives such as nutrient and pest management, forestry, energy conservation, or transitioning to organic agriculture.

Participants in NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) may be eligible to receive financial assistance to work with TSPs to develop conservation planning activity plans or to plan, design and implement individual or group of conservation practices. Only certified TSPs can assist with the development of conservation planning activities.

If approved for an EQIP contract that includes TSP services, the participant chooses a TSP from an NRCS-approved list and negotiates payment for the selected TSP’s services. Once technical services are completed, the TSP provides documentation and an invoice to the participant who then provides the documentation (invoices) and/or notification of completion to NRCS for certification and reimbursement.

How Do You Locate a TSP?

Eligible NRCS conservation program participants can locate a certified TSP through the NRCS Registry national directory for finding a TSP Program participants also can contact their local USDA service center.


FOR THE TSP

Should You Become a Technical Service Provider?

Individuals, private businesses, American Indian tribes, non-profit organizations, and public agencies are eligible to become Technical Service Providers (TSPs).

Here are tips to help you determine whether you qualify to become a TSP and to help you better understand the TSP process:

  • Read more about the TSP process and the expertise NRCS is seeking on behalf of its program participants below under benefits.
  • Determine the TSP-oriented tasks you would like to do based on two broad categories—
    • planning, designing, and implementing conservation practices through participation in Farm Bill programs (including 900 series funds); or
    • development of conservation planning activities (CPAs) to address specific natural resource challenges.
  • Inventory your qualifications including education and professional licenses you currently hold. Make sure you include any additional requirements needed by state, local or tribal laws or regulations.
  • Contact your Regional TSP Coordinator for additional information to help you determine whether to become a TSP.

TSPs can learn more about conservation practices at Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs), and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs).

Effective with any new Fiscal Year 2023 participant contract, TSPs providing Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs) to TSPs will be required to meet the following:

The participant and conservation planner have determined which practices a TSP will provide DIA assistance for. The TSP must have certification in NRCS Registry for each practice they will provide assistance for through this DIA. If not certified for a practice(s), a TSP can use a subcontractor who is a certified TSP for the practice(s). If there are no available certified TSPs, then that practice shall be removed from the scope of the participant’s DIA.

TSPs certified for DIAs are considered to be providing final designs and therefore should meet the qualifications under the individual conservation practices for which they are adding to the DIA and providing design work for.  

NOTE: in the case a TSP must subcontract work, this would be a private cooperative agreement between the TSPs’ with regard to payment for services. 

For TSPs already certified for a DIA, but not for individual practices typical of the DIA, TSPs should consider submitting a modification of their certification agreement to pick up practices they are currently not certified for in NRCS Registry. For example, if a customer should contract you to complete a DIA that encompasses three practices, but you are only certified for one of the three there are a few options. 

  1. You may choose to apply for the two additional practices to be added to your certification in NRCS Registry or 
  2. sub-contract those practices out to another certified TSP or TSP Business who is certified for those practices. 
  3. As a last option you may choose to inform the customer that you are unable to provide the service and at that time, they must contact NRCS in order to potentially remove the item from their contract.  

TSP and Producers working together

What is NRCS's Online TSP Registry?

NRCS Registry allows individuals seeking TSP certification to begin the application process and once certified to maintain and renew their certification.  NRCS Registry also allows agricultural producers and private forest landowners to locate a certified TSP in their local area.  


Benefits of the TSP Program

How can NRCS benefit from using TSPs?

Offering technical services through an approved third party like a TSP ensures:

  • NRCS conservation program participants have additional options to access technical services;
  • quality conservation work by vetted and trained professionals; and
  • personalized, one-on-one assistance to meet the needs of your conservation efforts.

How can farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners benefit from using TSPs?

Farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners often use TSPs to address specific natural resource goals such as:

  • developing nutrient management plans;
  • developing sustainable forestry plans;
  • developing grazing management plans;
  • increasing irrigation efficiency; and
  • transitioning from traditional agriculture to organic.

How do individuals benefit from becoming a TSP?

TSPs can help producers address natural resource concerns in diverse areas, including nutrient management, energy use, forestry, grazing, irrigation, organic agriculture and wildlife habitat. They also provide conservation planning services, design and implementation activities, and conservation evaluation and monitoring.

TSPs are certified to provide technical service activities according to NRCS standards and specifications for conservation activities. TSPs work on behalf of NRCS, so they maintain the confidentiality of the agricultural producers they help.  In addition, TSPs can help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners comply with Federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations.

Business Registrations for Technical Service Providers

Businesses are defined as private businesses, American Indian tribes, non-profit organizations, and public agencies. A business profile and application must be created and maintained by an Official Business Representative (OBR) or the individual authorized by the business to make decisions on its behalf.   The OBR must apply for and maintain a USDA Verified eAuth account, but the OBR does not need to be a certified TSP.  In order for the business to apply and become certified, the business must have at least one certified TSP always associated with the business. The OBR must be able to legally sign the Certification Agreement on behalf of the business.  Certified businesses must maintain a current certification agreement and are posted on the NRCS Registry Find a TSP look up.

Note: A business entity cannot register for a USDA eAuth account. Only individuals known as the Official Business Representative can register for a Verified eAuth account.

For Official Business Representatives Who Do Not Plan to Work as a TSP:

  • Log into NRCS Registry 
  • Click the New Business Profile Tab to create a business profile
  • Follow the business application instructions in the Business/Agency Profile. You can submit the application from the Business/Agency Profile screen by clicking the Sign Agreement button only once.

For Official Business Representatives Who Plan to Work as TSPs:

  • Log into NRCS Registry
  • Follow the process above to become a TSP first
  • Complete the business registration.
  • Navigate to the TSP Associations sub tab and click Add TSP following the rest of the directions.

Note: For detailed directions, visit the User Guide for Business Certification found under "Additional Resources"

 


Business analytics dashboard with charts and metrics.

How to Become a TSP

Step-by-step instructions available on how to become an NRCS TSP.

Additional Information

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.