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e-CFR data is current as of March 4, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter VISubchapter FPart 652Subpart A → §652.5

Title 7: Agriculture
Subpart A—General Provisions

§652.5   Participant acquisition of technical services.

(a) Participants may obtain technical assistance directly from the Department or, when available, from a TSP.

(b) To acquire technical assistance directly from the Department, participants should contact their local USDA Service Center.

(c) To acquire technical services from a TSP, participants must:

(1) Enter into and comply with a program contract or a written agreement prior to acquiring technical services; and

(2) Select a certified TSP from the approved list of TSPs.

(d) The Department may approve written agreements for technical assistance prior to program participation based on available funding and natural resource priorities as identified by the State Conservationist.

(e) The technical assistance indicated in paragraph (d) may include the development of conservation plans or activity plans suitable for subsequent incorporation into a program contract.

(f) The Department may make payment to eligible participants who have a technical service contract and utilize it for technical assistance from a TSP.

(g) The Department will identify in the particular program contract or written agreement the payment provisions for TSPs hired directly by the participant.

(h) To obtain payment for technical services, participants must submit to the Department valid invoices, supporting documentation, and requests for payment. The Department will issue payment within 30 days of receiving these items. The Department may pay a participant for some or all of the costs associated with the technical services provided by a TSP hired by the participant, or upon receipt of an assignment of payment from the participant, make payment directly to the TSP.

(i) Participants must authorize in writing to the Department the disclosure of their records on file with the Department that they wish to make available to specific TSPs.

(j) Payments for technical services will be made only one time for the same technical service provided unless, as determined by the Department, the emergence of new technologies or major changes in the participant's farming or ranching operations necessitate the need for additional technical services.

(k) The Department will not make payment for activities or services that are customarily provided at no cost by a TSP to a participant as determined by the State Conservationist.

(l) Payment rates for technical services acquired by participants.

(1) NRCS will calculate TSP payment rates for technical services using national, regional, and locally determined price data.

(2) Establishing TSP payment rates.

(i) NRCS will establish guidelines to analyze the local pricing information using a standardized method.

(ii) NRCS will establish TSP payment rates for the various categories of technical services. NRCS will determine the rates according to NRCS regional and local cost data, procurement data, and market data.

(iii) National Headquarters will review and approve State payment rates to ensure consistency where similar resource conditions and agricultural operations exist. Payment rates may vary to some degree between or within States due to differences in State laws, the cost of doing business, competition, and other variables.

(iv) National Headquarters and State levels will review payment rates annually or more frequently, as needed, and adjust the rates based upon data from existing procurement contracts, Federal cost rates, and other appropriate sources.

(v) NRCS may adjust payment rates, as needed, on a case-by-case basis in response to unusual conditions or unforeseen circumstances in delivering technical services such as highly complex technical situations, emergency conditions, serious threats to human health or the environment, or major resource limitations. In these cases, NRCS will set a case-specific TSP payment rate based on the Department's determination of the scope, magnitude, and timeliness of the technical services needed.

[75 FR 6845, Feb. 12, 2010, as amended at 79 FR 44640, Aug. 1, 2014]

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