Spring 2006

Technical Service Provider Re-Certification Process

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By Judy Martinson, Iowa USDA-NRCS

photoThe 2002 Farm Bill provided USDA with the opportunity to use Technical Service Providers (TSP) to perform conservation work on private lands. The public’s interest in conservation work, and the government’s financial commitment to put more conservation on the ground, is at historic levels. The TSP Initiative provided the direction for building a new industry of certified professionals committed to providing quality technical assistance to producers.

The Technical Service Provider Initiative is now three years old and those who first certified as TSPs are now eligible for re-certification. There have been a number of changes in the certification process since the initial applicants were certified.  Re-certifying TSPs need to be aware of these changes if they are to recertify in a timely manner. Re-certifying TSPs are expected to meet the same criteria as newly certifying TSPs. They also will need to ensure that all the application is completed prior to submitting the application.  In most cases, the application will not be accepted if the information is incomplete.

The TSP Certification Categories, Options, and Criteria have changed, both in the scope of criteria that must be met to certify in a category and, in some cases, the category a TSP certified in may have changed name. Many categories now require specific training prior to certification. The biggest change is that all TSP applications are now verified by a TSP Coordinator. In Iowa, applicants are requested to fax copies of all training certificates and licenses to the TSP Coordinator upon submission of the application.

Another change is that all TSPs must have email addresses and submit their applications via the Internet.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. 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.

Technical Service Provider Re-certification Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve forgotten my password or login ID and can’t login to TechReg. What should I do?

If you have forgotten your TechReg loginID and/or password, e-mail the eAuthHelpDesk@usda.gov and request a password reset. Include in your message, how they can contact you (email, telephone number, mail address) as well as your loginID and a good description of the problem (Technical Service Provider trying to access TechReg Website).

For a password reset they may require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.  With their current workload it will probably take a day to a week to process your request.  When they reset your password, they provide you a temporary password. When you login the next time, you will be prompted to change your password from the temporary one they provided to a new password you choose.

The eAuthentication folks recommend you login to your TechReg account every six months or so because the eAuthentication system automatically disables accounts which are not used for approximately a year to protect account owners' personal information.  So, if you haven’t logged in to TechReg for a year, you will probably need a password reset to enable your account again.

The TechReg Website has my old address/phone number/e-mail?  How do I change my address/phone number/e-mail?

Go to local USDA Service Center with government-issued ID (such as driver’s license) and ask them to update your SCIMS database record.  Once the change in the SCIMS database has been made, it may take one day for the change to be reflected on the TechReg Website.

You must have a valid, current e-mail address in the SCIMS database maintained by USDA.

You should also update your eAuthentication information, which you can do yourself on-line.  Go to the TechReg Website and begin to login.  When you see the eAuthentication Login screen that has the green banner labeled “eAuthentication Login”, click on “Update your account” under “Quick Links” on left hand side of screen.  Update your information as appropriate.

How can I satisfy the training requirements in Section F1 - NRCS Conservation Planning Training Requirement?

Conservation Planning is currently available online at the NRCS eLearning center. Conservation Planning is one of eight courses available for Technical Service Providers. 

1.       Introduction to Water Quality
2.       Nutrient Management Track Part 1
3.       Pest Management Track Part 1
4.       Agricultural Waste Primer
5.       Agricultural Waste Management Level 2
6.       Conservation Planning Part 1
7.       Cultural Resources Part 1
8.       Field Office Technical Guide Primer

These courses will eventually be migrated to the new Website AgLearn.
Equivalent training to NRCS Conservation Planning will also satisfy the Conservation Planning Requirement in some states.  Check with your TSP Coordinator to see what your state requires.

I have changed some things on my TSP application, but I don’t see anywhere to submit my application?  Where’s the "Sign Agreement (Click Only Once)" green button that’s supposed to be at the bottom of the Profile Part 2 (Technical Services) screen?

In Section G—Certification Categories the status needs to be marked “Ready” before the "Sign Agreement (Click Only Once)" green button appears.  If all the category status indicators are marked “Pending”, the green “Sign Agreement” button is hidden from view.

If the button is hidden, click on the "Confirm Qualifications" button beside each of the categories.  Once that new screen opens up, check the boxes that describe how you obtained the qualifications for that particular category option (Education, Work Experience, References, or NRCS familiarity).

Once you make these changes, then the "Sign Agreement (Click Only Once)" green button should appear (status should have changed from “Pending” to “Ready”) at the bottom of the Profile Part 2 (Technical Services) screen.  Click the “Sign Agreement” button (and subsequent ones) to electronically sign the TSP agreement and submit your TSP application to NRCS for verification.

After you have electronically signed your application, the status category will change from “Ready” to “Submitted.”  Any category marked “Pending” or “Ready” has not been submitted for NRCS review.  Only those categories marked “Submitted” will be reviewed by NRCS.

How long does NRCS have to review my application once I have submitted it?

NRCS has 60 days to review your application. You will be notified by e-mail once NRCS has reviewed your TSP application and certifies or defers your application.  Any deferral will list any problems and how they could be corrected.

If you apply only to one state, only one state will need to review your application.  If you have applied to many states, each of those states will have to review your application.  Generally, single-state reviews are much faster (weeks) than multi-state applications ( one to two months).

What should I do if I don’t want to renew as a TSP?

If you do nothing, once your three-year TSP certification period ends, your TSP account will automatically lapse.

If you want to remove your name before the end of the three-year certification period, you can remove your name from public display on the TechReg Website.  Log in to TechReg and under the “Display to Public” box enter “NO” instead of “YES”.  When someone searches on the TechReg Website to find a TSP, your name will not appear if you have checked “NO”.

 

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