USDA NRCS Technical Service Provider (TSP) Program
USDA – NRCS has worked with the certification programs to develop a new process for CCAs and CPAgs who want to become a TSP. They would like to pilot test this new approach in your state. It will cover the areas of nutrient management, pest management and irrigation management. It will not change what you do as a CCA and CPAg or the requirements for the certification programs. It applies only to those who want to be a TSP for NRCS.
NRCS has developed new performance criteria for the categories of nutrient management, pest management and irrigation management. A CCA/CPAg will be asked to review the criteria for the area of interest and sign their name if they feel they can perform to the standards outlined. You can access these documents at: http://www.certifiedcropadviser.org/ or www.agronomy.org/certification . The signed document needs to be returned to your state NRCS TSP Coordinator. Please check the USDA NRCS web site for your state TSP Coordinator. You will then be asked to provide one plan for a client and have that reviewed by NRCS personnel. If the plan meets the standard, you are certified as a USDA – NRCS TSP for the category mentioned.
In the event you do not feel comfortable signing the criteria document but still want to become a TSP you will need to complete training modules 1 – 7 that can be found at: http://www.aglearn.usda.gov/. You can also access the training via CD by requesting a copy from the certification office in Madison, WI. You will still need to access the exam on line even though you have a CD to complete the training.
It is important that if you decide to sign the criteria document that you truly can perform to the NRCS standard. If the plan reviewed does not meet the standard, you will be asked to make the appropriate edits and to complete a second plan. If the second plan does not meet the standard, you will be instructed to complete the training and the certification office will be notified. In other words, complete the training first if in doubt about your ability to perform to the standard.
Please contact your state NRCS TSP coordinator or Luther Smith, CAE Director, Certification Programs, American Society of Agronomy at 608-268-4977 or [email protected] with any questions.