CTP Program participant using TSP

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Use of the Conservation Transaction Plug-In Application Guide Sheet A - Program Participant Hired Technical Service Providers April 2011 Background The Conservation Transaction Plug-In application (Plug-In) allows third-party planners to access the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Conservation Planning database (NCP), using privately owned computers and third-party planning software, to check out client plan information and check completed plans back to the database. The plug-in was developed for use by Technical Service Providers (TSP) hired by NRCS conservation program participants to develop conservation plans. For general information about the Plug-In application or the permission process, TSPs can contact the NRCS State office in the State where they will be working. For information pertaining to particular clients or plans, TSPs should contact the local NRCS office where the client’s folders are serviced. Plug-In Process for TSPs Hired By Program Participants To utilize the Plug-In application, a non-NRCS planner must have a level 2 eAuthentication account and be either a certified TSP in TechReg or be an NRCS affiliate. The following steps are for planners who are certified TSPs and are hired by an NRCS program participant to perform conservation planning. Due to the personal nature of NCP data, permission for a TSP to view customer data must be provided by the program participant by filling out and signing form NRCS-CPA-70. This form specifies who is to receive permission to view the participant’s NCP information, what particular folders or plans can be viewed, and when the permission will expire. The form will be signed by all owners and operators with interest in the data contained in the specified folder/plan. The program participant will need to contact the local NRCS office for assistance in filling out the form, because specific folder and plan identifiers are required. The participant does not need to visit the office if the information can be relayed over the telephone or other means, but the original form and signature needs to be delivered to the local NRCS office prior to permissions being granted. The NRCS-CPA-70 can be downloaded from GeoAgro by going to wikiagro.com and typing “TSP” in the search box. Then select “How does a TSP access a customer folder.” The form can also be found on the TSP Web site TechReg.usda.gov under “Online Resources.” NRCS staff can access the form on the Toolkit SharePoint site. Permissions for TSPs using the Plug-In are granted in the NRCS role assignment application, Zroles, by State, area, or local NRCS employees with the Plug-In “State” or “Office Role Grantor” role. Employees with the State Role Grantor role can grant role granting permissions to NRCS field staff within their State. The permissions end date provided on the NRCS-CPA-70 by the program participant will be entered by the NRCS role grantor, in Zroles, for all folder permissions assigned for a TSP’s Conservation Plug-In User role. Note, this is not the end date field for the role, but is entered in a pop-up field after selecting the specific client folder/plan. Use of the Conservation Transaction Plug-In Application Guide Sheet A Page 2 Currently, there is only one third-party planning software application that includes the Plug-In module. To access the Plug-In, TSPs must utilize the GeoAgro CPlanner software and work from a computer outside of the USDA network. The CPlanner software is not certified for NRCS computers and must not be loaded on NRCS network computers. The CPlanner software is available at GeoAgro.com under the NRCS Programs tab and is currently free to the TSP. Before a TSP begins planning with CPlanner, a folder must exist in the NCP for them to access. If a folder does not already exist, an NRCS planner at the local office will create a customer folder and “consplan” file using the NRCS Customer Service Toolkit (Toolkit). When creating a new folder, the NRCS planner should also create the Planned Land Unit layer using the Farm Service Agency common land unit layer if available. After being notified by NRCS that permissions have been granted and a folder is available, the TSP can begin using CPlanner to check out the customer folder or plan. The folder will be locked to other users while the TSP has the folder or plan checked out. This lock can be broken by NRCS employees with advanced roles, but any changes to the plan made by the TSP will be lost. If an NRCS employee needs to break a lock, an attempt should be made to contact the TSP and provide the opportunity to check the folder back normally. If needed, documents, photos, sketches, or notes can be placed in the document exchange area through Toolkit or CPlanner to further aide in the planning process. The document exchange feature only works when permission is granted at the customer folder level. When finished with the planning and documentation process, the TSP can “check-in” the modified folder back to the NCP using CPlanner. The TSP will notify the local NRCS office that a plan has been checked in, so the plan can be reviewed. When a plan is checked back into the NCP through the Plug-In, a workflow status of “Pending Review” will automatically be assigned to the plan in Toolkit. NRCS planners at the local office will review the plan, using Toolkit, to make sure all required fields are populated and the data looks logical. Examples of unacceptable data could include a blank narrative field or a planned amount that looks suspicious, such as a planned amount of “1” for a fence practice. Supporting information in the document exchange can be viewed using the “TSP” button in Toolkit. After reviewing the data, the workflow status will be set to “Approved” or “Pending Correction” by the NRCS planner. If “Pending Correction” is selected, the NRCS planner will contact the TSP to let them know the plan is incomplete and needs additional information. When the Toolkit workflow status is set to “Approved” by an NRCS planner, the process is finished and the plan is saved in the NCP.