A new program at Iowa State University will make it easier for livestock producers nationwide to get help developing Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans. CNMPs are required for participation in some federal farm programs, and they must be prepared by Natural Resources Conservation Service employees or a USDA-certified, third-party Technical Service Provider.

USDA and Iowa State officials signed a five-year agreement in October that allows individuals certified through the Iowa State program to be recognized by USDA as certified-technical-service providers. Consultants can be certified in the areas of manure and wastewater handling and storage, nutrient management, land-treatment practices, feed management and total plan development.

Lara Moody, an extension program specialist in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, is the program coordinator. "The ISU-certified specialists can register themselves on a national, Web-based registry called TechReg that is available to landowners, farmers, ranchers and others seeking conservation technical assistance," says Moody.

To complete the technical service provider certification program, individuals first must complete a course offered by ISU. The next course will be Nov. 15-17, 2005 in Portland, Ore. After participating in the course, individuals must fulfill a list of certification requirements set by the NRCS and then submit the necessary materials and signature pages to the ISU program coordinator. Iowa State is the only land grant university approved by the USDA to offer a TSP certification program in the comprehensive nutrient management planning area.

Information about the ISU program is online at http://www.abe.iastate.edu/wastemgmt/. Additional information on technical service provider assistance is available at http://techreg.usda.gov.

Iowa State University