Spring 2006

How to Certify as a Technical Service Provider in Certified Nutrient Management Planning

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By Judy Martinson, Iowa USDA-NRCS

photoOne of the most common misconceptions in the Technical Service Provider (TSP) certification process is that all certification categories are equal. An excellent example of this is found in the certification process for development of a Certified Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP). Producers who have conservation program contracts in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) quite often have a requirement for the producer to have a CNMP for their farming operation. Many TSPs, and more than a few producers, believe that all certification categories for Nutrient Management and Manure and Waste Management are equal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Technical Service Categories and Criteria Options for Certification found on the TechReg home page will provide the potential TSP with each category requirements.  In most cases, the text is very specific as to what criteria needs to be fulfilled for certification in a specific category. This is not true in the CNMP categories. The qualifications are somewhat hidden within the text.  For example, when the criteria calls for the applicant to be “familiar with the National Planning Procedures Handbook Part 600.5”, the applicant is expected to read the document. 

The same is true for the requirement that “the applicant (or applicant’s training course) meet the standards found in the NRCS General Manual Title180, Part 409.10”  These sections provide the required training and give the applicant formatting information for writing a CNMP. These documents can be found in the National Planning Procedures Handbook Part 600.5 and the NRCS General Manual Title180, Part 409.10.  

The following information will answer some of the questions surrounding certification in CNMP categories.  If you have further questions about the TSP recertification process and you are a TSP certified in Iowa, contact Judy Martinson at (515) 323-2229 or at judy.martinson@ia.usda.gov. Out of state TSPs may access the contact information for your state TSP Coordinator at http://techreg.usda.gov.

How do I obtain my eAuthentication account?

eAuthentication is initiated on the NRCS TechReg Website. Follow the three steps listed below to complete the eAuthentication process. 

1. Use the Internet to request a Level 2 eAuthentication Account

In the upper left hand corner of the TechReg Website is an orange box. Click on the word “here” in the phase “First-time TechReg Users, click here.”

You can now register for your eGovernment account online

Follow the steps described to request a Level 2 eAuthentication account.

  • Fill out the online registration form.
  • Create a user ID and password.
  • Respond to the confirmation e-mail the system sends to you.

There are several things that you must keep in mind as you complete the application:
 Your first name and last name on the application must match EXACTLY what is found on your driver’s license.

  • Your address on the application must match EXACTLY what is found on your driver’s license.
  • You must have an email account.
  • You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.  You must click on your confirmation email within 7 days or you must start the process over again.
  • If you do not receive the email, within 24 hrs, or the activation link doesn’t work, contact the USDA eAuthentication Help Desk immediately via email at: eAuthHelpDesk@usda.gov
  • Do not lose or forget your account number, password and  your three security attributes (four digit PIN, birth date and mother’s maiden name)

Hint:  For mother’s maiden name, use only the last name

 2.  Activate your account

Take your official identification to your local NRCS Service Center

  • stateID
    -state driver’s license
    -military ID
    -passport
  • Ask to see a USDA employee who can verify your identity and activate your USDA eAuthentication Account.  This person is known as a Local Registration Authority (LRA).
  • Request that the LRA ensure that you have a record in the Service Center Customer Database (known to USDA employees as the SCIMS database).
    An LRA will:
    -Identity proof you (verify your identity) against your official -identification.
    -Check the USDA Customer Databases for your Customer Record by name and social security number (SSN). A record will be created for you if one doesn’t exist currently.
    -Link your USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account to your record in the Customer Database.

After your account is activated by the USDA employee:

  • You will receive an email notification that your account was activated.
  • Your account will be ready to conduct official business within 1 hour after the activation.
  • The first time you use your account, you will be forced to change your password.
  • If you have trouble with your account, contact the eAuthHelpDesk at: eAuthHelpDesk@usda.gov

3.  Login to Your USDA Account

  • In the upper left hand corner of the TechReg Website is an orange box. 
  • Click on the word “Login”.  Login using your eAuthentication ID and password. 
  • The first time that you login you will be asked to change your password.
  • Do not lose/forget the new password. 

What specific training is needed for certification?

Most states require the following training for CNMP Manure and Waste Management and for CNMP Nutrient Management.  Refer to the references above for certification in other CNMP categories.  You must have obtained your eAuthentication ID prior to registering for the training. Training is either online or self-study. It may take up to three weeks for self-study course to arrive at your home/business.  It may take an additional two to four weeks to complete the self-study courses. 

CNMP Manure and Waste Management has the following requirements:

Conservation Planning Course – Modules One to Five (NRCS web course)
Agricultural Waste Management Systems: A Primer Course (NRCS web course)
Animal Waste Management Systems Level 2
Introduction to Water Quality
Univ TN/ISU CNMP Plan Development – MWHS Certification
Educational or licensing required by state, tribal, or local law

CNMP Nutrient Management has the following requirements:

Conservation Planning Course – Modules One to Five (NRCS web course)
Agricultural Waste Management Systems: A Primer Course (NRCS web course)
Animal Waste Management Systems Level 2
Introduction to Water Quality
Nutrient and Pest Management Considerations  - Nutrient Management Modules
Univ TN/ISU CNMP Plan Development – Nutrient Management Certification
Educational or licensing required by state, tribal, or local law

Do all states have the same requirements?

No, all states do not have the same requirements. Some states have additional educational requirements. A few states require that applicants attend a CNMP specific to that state prior to certification. Contact your state TSP Coordinator for additional information.

Does a TSP have to be licensed as an engineer prior to obtaining CNMP certification in Manure and Waste Management?

Again, each state is different in their requirements. In Iowa, the TSP does not have to be an engineer to plan the Manure Management portion of the CNMP. They must be an engineer and certified in CNMP to complete any engineering design portion of a CNMP.

If a TSP is certified in Nutrient Management – Organic and Inorganic may they design a nutrient management plan for a CNMP?

No. The TSP must be certified in CNMP Nutrient Management.

If a TSP is certified in Nutrient Management – Organic and Inorganic may they design a nutrient management plan for a CNMP?

No. The TSP must be certified in CNMP Manure and Waste Management

Must TSPs previously certified in CNMP practices (without completing the new required NRCS courses) now fulfill the new training requirements?

In Iowa, the answer is generally yes. Contact the Iowa TSP Coordinator to inquire about exceptions to this rule.

 

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