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Become A TSP

Become a TSP banner 2018

 

Before You Start

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

Before you apply to become a TSP, you must determine the services you want to offer NRCS program participants and whether you have the necessary skills, abilities, licenses, certifications, and other qualifications to provide services based on Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) standards and specifications.

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

  • Visit NRCS’s overall TSP web page  to learn more about the TSP process and the expertise NRCS is seeking on behalf of its program participants.
  • Determine the TSP-oriented tasks you would like to do based on two broad categories—planning, designing and implementing conservation practices and/or the development of conservation activity plans to address specific natural resource challenges.
  • Determine the TSP-oriented tasks you would like to do based on two broad categories—planning, designing and implementing conservation practices and/or the development of conservation activity plans to address specific natural resource challenges.
  • Inventory your qualifications including educational and professional. Make sure you include any additional requirements needed by state, local or tribal laws or regulations.
  • Contact your state TSP coordinator for additional information to help you determine whether to become a TSP.

Getting Started

Once you have assessed your own qualifications to become a TSP, you must use TechReg, NRCS’s online registry, to obtain official approval and certification to perform specific technical services for eligible farmers, ranchers and private landowners. Visit TechReg to learn more about the application and certification process. Note: First time users of TechReg must create a USDA-Level 2 eAuthentication (eAuth) account to access the online registry to complete their TSP application and gain certification to provide technical services. Learn more about the USDA eAuthentication account process.

Step #1 – Create Your USDA Level 2 eAuthentication Account

To begin the TSP application process, individuals will need to sign up for a Level 2 USDA eAuthentication Account (eAuth). Register for your Level 2 eAuth account.

Note: Business entities applying to become TSPs use a different process that will be explained later.

Fill out the online registration form. It is important to maintain your eAuth User ID and password and the answers you provided to your security questions. After submitting the form, you should receive an activation e-mail within a few minutes. When you receive the activation e-mail from USDA eAuthentication, use the link to “Activate My Account.” This step is a security measure designed to confirm you created the account and must be completed before you can proceed.

Note: If you do not receive the e-mail, check your SPAM folder. After 24 hours, contact the eAuthentication help desk at 1-800-457-3642 (Option #1) or via email at eAuthHelpDesk@ftc.usda.gov.

Step #2 – Verify Your Identity

There are two options to validate your identity:

Option #1 – Verify Online (Self-Service) (Recommended) using the USDA Online Identity Verification Application.

After you have used the “Activate My Account” link in the first USDA eAuthentication email, click the link on the web page, or the link in the subsequent email for Option 1, the Online Self Service Verification Application. This will take you to a webpage where you will be prompted to agree to terms of service, verify your profile data, enter your Social Security Number, and answer five quiz questions to validate your identity.

Note: If you encounter issues with the online identity verification process, visit a Local Registration Authority in person to verify your identity. See Option #2 below.

Option #2: Verify in Person – Visit a Local Registration Authority

Schedule an appointment to visit a Local Registration Authority (LRA) at a USDA Service Center office to validate your identity and upgrade your account. Call ahead to make an appointment to make sure a LRA will be in the office when you plan to visit.

Take your current government-issued picture ID (e.g. state-issued driver’s license) and present it in person to validate your identity and upgrade your account. Most LRAs are located at a USDA Service Center. Click on Find a Local Registration Authority to locate one closest to you.

Step #3 – Logging into the NRCS Online TSP Registry

Once your identity has been verified and your Level 2 eAuth account has been successfully upgraded, go to the TechReg website. 

Follow these steps:

  • Click “Login” and enter your eAuth User ID and password.
  • Complete the TechReg Profile Part 1 (Background)
  • Complete Profile Part 2 (Technical Services)

For additional information on how to complete your TechReg Profile, visit the Access TechReg webpage. 

Contact the TechReg Technical Support if you have problems accessing TechReg.

Step #4 – Obtaining TSP Certification

Note: To become certified as a TSP to provide specific categories of technical services, an applicant must meet all certification criteria for the option chosen under those categories. The applicant also must abide by all state, local and tribal laws and must possess the required licenses or certifications. You will need your USDA eAuthentication account (User ID and password) to access the certification webpages on the TechReg website. 

  • Submit the application for review and NRCS determination by signing a certification agreement electronically in TechReg. This step completes the application process and submits the application for review.
  • To review the TSP Certification Agreement terms and condition, click on the TSP Certification Agreement

Business Registrations for Technical Service Providers

A business entity can apply to become a TSP through a TSP business certification. Businesses are defined as private businesses, American-Indian tribes, non-profit organizations and public agencies.

A business listing on TechReg can increase landowner recognition of the availability of technical services much easier than the listing of an individual TSP who provide the same service. Note: A business entity cannot register for a USDA Level 2 eAuth account. Only individuals can register for a Level 2 eAuth account.

Certification for Businesses

The Official Business Representative, or the individual authorized by the business to make decision on its behalf, must establish and maintain a USDA Level 2 eAuth account.

  • At least one employee must be certified as a TSP in area (s) of services the business plans to provide to NRCS Farm Bill program participants.
  • The business must hold a current certification agreement.

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

  • Log into TechReg
  • Complete only sections A and B of TechReg, Profile Part 1 (Background)
  • 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 TechReg.
  • Follow the process above to become a TSP first.
  • Complete the business registration

TSP Training Requirements

Training is a critical component of the TSP certification process. NRCS offers an expansive list of training opportunities for new TSP applicants and TSPs. NRCS offers courses through the Agriculture Learning Service (AgLearn) and the USDA Science and Technology Library. New AgLearn users must take the USDA Information Security Awareness course. To complete the training, the applicant must access the TechReg’s section D-Education and Training to register for AgLearn.

All TSP applicants seeking TSP certification to provide technical services to eligible NRCS program participants must also complete the TSP Orientation and Conservation Planning Course.

Application Response

NRCS staff will decide within 60 days after receiving a complete application. If your application is approved and you are certified as a TSP, your profile and your approved service (s) will be displayed on the TechReg website to producers. If your application is deferred, you will receive a notice detailing the issues that caused the deferment and the steps needed to address the issues. You will have the option to resubmit the application for review after you address the issues.

Contact Information

To learn more about NRCS’s TSP program in a respective state, contact your State TSP Coordinators or e-mail the national TSP team at tsp@wdc.usda.gov.