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TSPs What Landowners Need to Know Fact Sheet - Date 2006

TSPs: What Landowners Need to Know Fact Sheet

TSPs are Here to Help...

The newest options landowners have for getting conservation on the ground is using NRCS’ helping hands, the Technical Service Providers. Called “TSPs,” these contractors are available across the state of Illinois. They know conservation and have acquired the technical skills and educational requirements to do much of the same work NRCS employees typically do.

The fact is a TSP may be able to plan and install your conservation practice sooner than NRCS can. You can hire an approved TSP to do the work you need. Once the work is done and NRCS staff ensures it was done adequately, then you may be reimbursed�up to the contract amount�for what the TSP bills you for the job.

Things to Consider...

  • Pick the right TSP. Use the same care in selecting a TSP as in choosing any other contractor. A list of certified TSPs can be found on the TechReg website. Check references and review qualifications. Ask for referrals from other producers in the area who have used TSPs.
  • Remember the permits. You are responsible for obtaining all needed permits for the job. If you expect the TSP to obtain them, put it in the contract. Be ready to pay for it.
  • Quality work is critical. Both you and the TSP are responsible for ensuring that the contract work conforms to the NRCS Illinois Field Office Technical Guide Standards. If it does, NRCS provides a one-time reimbursement based on the amount stipulated in the program contract.
  • Plan ahead. Once the completed job is approved, you’ll receive financial assistance from NRCS. It is ultimately your responsibility to pay the TSP, so consider working out payment arrangements prior to the start of a project.

Follow These Steps...Photo of NRCSer and Landowner working on TSP

When you use a TSP, it greatly reduces NRCS involvement, so remember to...

...Tell NRCS you’ll need TSP funding in your EQIP contract and make sure TSP funds are available before you schedule the work. NRCS needs to know your intent to use a TSP and considers this when scheduling contract jobs for the year. TSP funds are limited so make sure yours can be covered.

...Find a certified TSP. Go online and select from the list of official and certified TSP contractors in your area.

...Establish a contract with the TSP of your choice. Be sure they know your needs and agree on your price.

...Obtain clearance on cultural resource issues on the jobsite. This ensures that earthwork will not disturb any cultural artifacts that might be on the site.

...Monitor the progress of your TSP on the job. Remember, they work for you.

...Ensure the TSP has properly installed the practice as agreed upon in the contract. The design and installation must meet NRCS requirements and standards.

...Submit completion documentation to NRCS. This informs NRCS that the job is done.

Common Questions...Photo of a silouette of a 3 generation farm family in sunset

  1. Can NRCS recommend a TSP for me? No. NRCS is not permitted to recommend one TSP over another. TSP qualifications are listed on TechReg website (see below). Check and see if the TSP is certified in the specific area you need.

  2. What if the TSP cost is more than my NRCS reimbursement? It could cost you. Remember, the full cost of the TSP’s work is your responsibility. Establish upfront what your maximum cost can be. NRCS reimbursement is limited to the contract amount. If the TSP charges you more, you pay the difference.

  3. What if the completed practice doesn’t meet NRCS standards? If this happens, NRCS cannot pay you cost-share funds or cover TSP costs for an inadequate job. Remember, NRCS is not liable for the TSP’s work. It is critical that TSP work meet NRCS standards, otherwise the cost of the job comes out of your pocket.

  4. What if the TSP I pick is on the certified list, but is not certified for the particular practice I need? Do not select a TSP for a job they aren’t certified to do. NRCS cannot reimburse you for work done by an unqualified TSP or for work that does not meet NRCS standards.

  5. If I don’t have an EQIP (or other program) contract, can I still hire a TSP and have NRCS pay for the work they do? No. You must have an existing contract and a conservation plan with NRCS to be eligible. However, you are free to hire a TSP to do perform any other project you want on your farm since they are free agents, but NRCS is not involved.

  6. If I have reserved TSP funds in my NRCS contract for this year, can I wait until next year to have them do the work? No. You risk contract default. Talk to your District Conservationist for further information.

  7. Will NRCS help me settle conflicts I have with my TSP? No. You have a contract with the TSP. There is no contract between your TSP and NRCS. It is your responsibility to ensure you get what you need from the TSP. To Learn More...

To Learn More...

This fact sheet offers an overview of the TSP initiative. More information is available though the internet.

Visit NRCS at

View Standards and Specifications of Conservation Practices in e-FOTG:

Log into the TSP Site:
TSP Icon

Updated December 2012

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Download Printable Fact Sheet

A printable version of this fact sheet is available in Adobe Acrobat Format 10.0.

TSP-What Landowners Need to Know Fact Sheet
TSP-WhatLandownersNeedtoKnowFS.pdf (PDF, 3 MB)

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