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Changes Are Coming to the Technical Service Provider Program

How does the technical service provider (TSP) program work?

Technical service providers (TSPs) are third-party providers who offer services to agricultural producers such as farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners. TSPs offer customized, one-on-one advice to help producers with conservation planning and conservation practices.

The Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) lists certified TSPs on the TSP website, where a producer can find a TSP based upon on the producer’s location and the needed technical services. When a producer hires a TSP, NRCS reimburses the producer at a predefined rate. Producers hire and work directly with the TSP and are responsible for payment.

TSPs can help producers address natural resource concerns including nutrient management, energy use, forestry, grazing, irrigation, confined animal management, organic agriculture, and wildlife habitat. TSPs also provide conservation planning services such as developing activity plans that meet NRCS standards and specifications.  TSPs work on behalf of NRCS, maintaining confidentiality with agricultural producers.  In addition, TSPs can help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners comply with Federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations.

What changes are planned for the TSP program?

TSPs must be technically certified by NRCS for the conservation activity for which they are providing technical assistance. Certified TSPs are currently registered through a program called TechReg. On August 13, TechReg will be modernized and moved to a more comprehensive NRCS Registry, a new system with expanded features including a built-in application process, training materials, and basic task management tools.  The TSP website will be updated to include the new registration system access point and provide additional resources for TSPs and producers.

TechReg to NRCS Registry Timeline

June 28 – July 16  NRCS Registry UAT Testing
July 16

TSP Program Website Updated

TechReg shut down for TSPs-4:00 PM MTN

Public side of TechReg is offline

Employee access to TechReg still available using URL July 19-23

July 19-23

TSP Team and State TSP Coordinators will resolve Submitted applications in TechReg

July 24-25 Final data clean up
July 26 Final data migration from TechReg to NRCS Registry
July 30 NRCS Registry GO LIVE: Access by State TSP Coordinator and Expired/Renewal TSPs only

NRCS Registry Public Site goes online

TSP Program Website is Updated
August 2, 4 and 9 State TSP Coordinator Training Dates:

August 2nd-Training from 1:30-4:30 PM Eastern

August 4th-Training from 2:00-4:00 PM Eastern

August 9th-Training from 2:00-4:00 PM Eastern

August 13
NRCS Registry opens for ALL TSPs

August-TBD
Webinars for NRCS Registry for TSPs-Q/A

Differences Between TechReg and NRCS Registry

Modules of TechReg

  • TSP Profile/Applications
  • Certification of TSP and Businesses
  • Public Site

Modules of NRCS Registry

  • TSP Profile/Applications
  • Business Profile/Application
  • Certification of TSP and Businesses
  • Public Site

New Features

  • Built in verification process
  • Ability to upload documents
  • Communications modules
  • Training module
  • Completed Work module
  • Work Performance modules
  • Task Management
  • Decertification Module
  • Reports
     

 

Changes to the TSP certification process and updates to the TSP Policy Manual and standard operating procedures are anticipated in late 2021 and early 2022. In October 2021, the Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs) structure will change to align with the 9-steps of Conservation Planning.  There will be more information on all these changes.   

What these changes mean for you?

If you are a producer, the upcoming changes will not affect the process of hiring or working with a TSP.

If you are currently a TSP, or are in the certification process, you may need to prepare for your profile to migrate into the new system. Instructions are available on the website and will be sent to you via-email.