USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has issued an interim final rule for the Technical Service Provider (TSP) program.
These proposed revisions were required in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 or more commonly referred to as the 2008 Farm Bill. The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) worked closely with Congress and USDA officials to ensure the 2008 Farm Bill included a fair and reasonable payment rate for third-party providers of technical assistance. Giving the authority to state NRCS offices allows the rate to account for local market cost, where a national rate would be unable to accomplish that.
Currently, NRCS payment rates are based on the cost to the agency to perform the technical service and are established by the NRCS National Office. The rates include costs associated with planning, design, installation, checkout of conservation practices, and overhead costs.
This rulemaking changes the existing policy by establishing that the NRCS State offices will determine fair and reasonable payment rates for TSP assistance using guidelines established by the National Office and local NRCS cost, market, and procurement data that are available. NRCS will emphasize using market rate data where available to determine TSP payment rates. The National Office will publish the State payment rates for each practice on the TechReg Web site.
NRCS will establish several processes to ensure rates are fair and reasonable:
To view the interim final rule on the TSP program click here. For more information, contact Jon Samson of ARA at 202-457-0825 or Jon@aradc.org.
(Source: Agricultural Retailers Association)