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Technical Service Providers

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What is a Technical Service Provider or TSP?

Technical service providers (TSPs) provide services to agricultural producers such as farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners on behalf of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). TSPs help these producers plan, design and implement conservation practices or develop conservation activity plans that can help improve their agricultural operations.

TSPs include individuals, private businesses, American-Indian tribes, non-profit organizations and public agencies.

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

Who Can Use a TSP?

Agricultural producers participating in certain activities in NRCS conservation programs can hire a TSP:

  • in the 50 states
  • District of Columbia
  • Caribbean Area (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands).

What Are the Benefits?

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 to technical services;
  • quality conservation work; and
  • professional, one-on-one assistance.

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 such as the development of conservation activity plans. They can also plan, design and help producers implement conservation practices that meet NRCS’s standards and specifications for conservation activities. Because TSPs work on behalf of NRCS, they maintain the confidentiality of the agricultural producers they help. TSPs also can help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners comply with federal, state, tribal and local laws.

What Conservation Activities Can TSPs offer?

TSP conservation work falls into two broad categories:

  • conservation practice planning, design and implementation
  • conservation activity plan development

Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can use conservation activity plans 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 activity plans or plan, design and implement certain conservation practices. Only TSPs can develop conservation activity plans.

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 or notification of completion invoice to NRCS for certification and reimbursement.

NRCS reimburses the producer at a contracted rate established by the program. The maximum rates for technical services are listed on the TSP website, TechReg or are available in the 2019 State Payment Schedule.

What is TechReg – NRCS’s Online TSP Registry?

Individuals, private businesses, American Indian tribes, non-profit organizations and public agencies can become a TSP or agricultural producers and private forest landowners can find a TSP in TechReg.

How Do You Locate a TSP?

Eligible NRCS conservation program participants can locate a registered or certified TSP through TechReg’s national directory for finding a TSP. Program participants also can contact their local USDA service center.

How Do You Become an NRCS TSP?

Apply for TSP registration or certification on the TechReg website, NRCS’s online TSP registry. The TSP certification process includes required training and verification of education, knowledge, skills and abilities.

Additional Resources

Resources such as contacts, certification agreements, payment rates are on this page.

Contact Information

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