Technical Service Providers (TSPs) are individuals, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies certified to work with NRCS to help agricultural producers plan and apply conservation practices on the land. TSPs:
Develop conservation plans including Conservation Activity Plans
Plan, design, lay out, and install conservation practices
Inspect completed practices for certification, as applicable
TSPs can assist producers with nutrient management, energy use, forestry, grazing, irrigation, organic agriculture, and/or wildlife habitat and other practices. They provide a variety of conservation planning services and the appropriate supporting documentation. TSPs maintain confidentiality and also help farmers, ranchers and forest land owners comply with federal, state, tribal and local laws and requirements, and to meet commitments made under NRCS conservation program contracts.
While TSPs work primarily with individuals, the NRCS State Conservationist has the option to authorize the use of a TSP to deliver conservation planning with groups – for example, those in a given watershed or drainage district.
Producers can chose to have a TSP provide technical assistance for the planning, design or installation of conservation practices. TSPs negotiate payment for services directly with the producer. Once technical services are completed, the TSP provides documentation and an invoice to the producer. The producer provides documentation and an invoice to NRCS. NRCS reimburses the producer at a contracted rate established by the program. The maximum rates for technical services are listed on the TSP website under “Payment Rates.”
The premise behind the TSP process is that the demand for technical assistance to do conservation work is increasing and will exceed the current staffing capacity of the NRCS. Technical assistance includes conservation planning and design, layout, installation and checkout of approved conservation practices. NRCS has traditionally provided these technical services and will continue to do so. What is new is that USDA will now reimburse producers for technical services provided by a USDA certified TSP.