The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) announces its partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to expand conservation technical assistance capacity.

ASA and NRCS recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that furthers conservation efforts targeted at improving nutrient management. With this MOU, ASA and its International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program establish a framework enabling ASA to recommend individuals for the NRCS Technical Service Provider (TSP) program. The TSP program enables certified individuals outside of the NRCS to provide, among other things, nutrient management plans to producers and landowners.

”The ICCA Program is excited to continue our over 20-year relationship with USDA NRCS TSP. This new version of the MOU will create a more streamlined process for certified crop advisers [CCA] and certified professional soil scientists [CPSS] to engage with and expand NRCS’s workforce to meet the needs of U.S. farmers and landowners to increase their conservation practices,” says Luther Smith, chief administrative officer of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.

As trusted on-farm advisers, CCAs are uniquely positioned to become TSPs and assist producers with activities and planning related to nutrient management, soil health, integrated pest management, organics and grazing management. TSPs offer planning, design and implementation services to agricultural producers, such as farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners on behalf of the NRCS. This assistance helps improve the producer's operation.

“There are simply not enough TSPs certified currently to cover the increasing workload for the various conservation practices that NRCS will be funding in coming years,” says Dennis Godar, CPAg/CCA. “The MOU between ASA and NRCS is very encouraging and timely to increase numbers by certifying qualified CCAs as TSPs. CCAs are highly trained individuals and trusted advisers already familiar with their clients' operations. It makes sense to strengthen relationships between NRCS, CCA-TSPs and farmers/landowners.” Godar has been a TSP since 2003.


The MOU will benefit ASA by providing ASA/ICCA-certified individuals the opportunity to become accepted by the NRCS as a TSP through recognition of ASA/ICCA requirements. The NRCS will place ASA-certified TSPs on the approved list to provide technical services to USDA conservation program participants, thereby expanding their scope of services to existing and future clientele.

—From an ASA news release