Step 1: Online Core Training

Incoming CRP Readiness Initiative participants begin by completing an online Core Training course. The self-guided, web-based course provides a comprehensive overview of the Conservation Reserve Program and CRP conservation plan development. Learning modules focus on topics like the history of CRP, the contracting process, CRP conservation plan development (including tools and resources), CRP plan implementation, and CRP plan follow-up management. Each module features interactive activities and learning objectives to enhance the training experience. Core Training is currently available free of charge to all participants. Estimated completion time is 16 hours, although some students may finish sooner.

Due to the regional differences of CRP, the online Core Training has been developed based on the practices and procedures common to the following states: AL, CO, GA, IA, IL, MD, MN, MS, MT, ND, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, VA. Interested professionals in other states may take the training, but may not have access to the same level of detail in those states.

Online Core Training Description and Registration Page

Step 2: Mentorship Program

Note: As of March 31, 2013 the mentorship component is only available to participants in the Western Region who sign up for Online Core by February 20, 2014. Participants in other regions may still complete the online Core Training through May 31, 2014 and all supplemental courses according to their individual course schedules. Plans submitted for TSP certification will be evaluated by the national NRCS CRP staff. For assistance, please contact Paul West, CRPRI Project Manager, at Paul.West@ces.uwex.edu

The second phase of the CRP Readiness Initiative provides Core Training participants with an experienced mentor from their state to assist with the development of a CRP plan upon completion of the Core Training. Submitting a completed CRP plan to NRCS is one of the requirements for being certified on TechReg as a CRP planner. In some states, participants may submit plans under contract with NRCS, and in others, participants will submit “mock” plans based on properties they are familiar with. Mentors will also be available to answer any questions and provide guidance to participants in the months following Core Training. Mentors are available to program participants in the following states only:  AL, CO, GA, IA, IL, MD, MN, MS, MT, ND, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, VA. If you are based in another state and have taken the Core Training, and are interested in working with a mentor from one of the above states, please contact us and we will try and set you up with a mentor. While the program cannot guarantee CRP contracts with NRCS, ongoing support will be provided as participants explore the opportunities in their states.

Step 3: Supplemental Courses

The Core Training provides a comprehensive introduction to CRP and CRP conservation planning, but some program participants may be interested in additional training in certain topic areas. Competency in these areas can be enhanced through supplemental short courses focused on key prediction models and planning tools. Online short course topics include RUSLE2, the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) and Web Tools and are currently open for registration. Additional short courses below will be offered in in-person and hybrid online/in-person formats in 2014. All short courses are available free of charge to Core Training participants and for a fee to all non-Core participants. Click on the course links below for more information. All courses are eligible for CEUs. Please indicate which categories you would like to apply for in your course pre-surveys.

Note: To receive supplemental training at no cost, participants must complete the Core Training prior to the listed registration dates. Online Core Training must be completed by May 31, 2014.

2014 Online Courses

Online courses are available for a limited time through May 31, 2014 and is available at no charge to all participants; all other online courses are FREE upon completion of Core Training. All CORE and Supplemental training must be complete by June 30, 2014.

Online Core Training

Note: the registration deadline is quickly approaching in order to complete this FREE course….sign up today!

This foundational course guides participants through the process of creating NRCS-compliant CRP conservation plans and includes topics like:

  • The NRCS 9-Step Planning process
  • General, Continuous and CREP CRP enrollment options
  • Video demonstrations of Web Soil Survey and the NRCS-CPA-52 form
  • An introduction of the Environmental Benefits Index
  • CRP-1, CRP-2 and CRP-2C forms
  • Other tips and tools available to planners
  • Guide to becoming a certified Technical Service Provider on TechReg

CRP and Foresty
Available in all states through May 31, 2014
This NEW online CRP and Forestry course showcases NRCS best practices and requirements for CRP forestry conservation plans to establish and maintain forests, windbreaks and riparian forest buffers in a variety of ecosystems.

Conservation Planning Web Tools
Available in all states through May 31, 2014
This course provides a hands-on exploration of Web Soil Survey (WSS) and the electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG), two tools used by conservation professionals across a variety of conservation programs. This is an online course, designed to be completed on the participant’s own schedule.

Understanding the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2)
Available in all states through May 31, 2014
The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2) course will teach students basic soil water erosion concepts as well as how to use the RUSLE2 model. This is an online course, designed to be completed on the student’s own schedule.

Understanding the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS)
Available in all states through May 31, 2014
The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) course covers the WEPS computer model, wind erosion process and its effects on agricultural production and the environment. This basic course takes student from software installation to basic use of WEPS to compare a variety of conservation practices to reduce wind erosion. This is an online course, designed to be completed on the student’s own schedule. 

New!!

In-Field Technology Webinar

June 19, 2014, 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Registration Deadline: June 15, 2014

This one-hour webinar will cover useful mobile phone and tablet-based applications for conservation planning field work. A variety of applications will be introduced for tasks such as navigation, data management, plant identification and soils information.

2014 In-Person Courses

CRP Plan – Start to Finish
Available in NC, LA, TX

Salisbury, North Carolina
Date: May 13
Registration deadline: May 5

West Monroe, Louisiana
Date: May 20
Registration deadline: May 12

Lubbock, Texas
Date: May 28
Registration deadline: May 20

CRP Plan: Start to Finish is a one-day course designed to walk participants through the CRP conservation planning process step by step. Participants in this course will learn how to: develop NRCS-required maps, use online tools to evaluate soils in order to choose the best conservation practices, assess installation and maintenance specifications, and develop a timeline so landowners can meet all CRP program requirements.

Plant Identification

Available in Lafayette, IN on July 15, 2014. Register by July 7, 2014.

Participants will develop practical knowledge of plant terminology and morphology, learn the diagnostic characteristics of plant groups typically found on CRP lands, practice using a dichotomous key for plant identification, and identify plant specimens in classroom and field settings.

Hybrid Online/In-Person Courses

Note: the online portion of this course must be completed before the in-person training.

Mid-Contract Management: Creating and Maintaining Exceptional Habitat – Available in NC, MD, PA, IN

Salisbury, North Carolina
Date: Wednesday, May 14
Registration deadline: April 21

Queenstown, Maryland
Date: May 20
Registration deadline: April 28

Keedysville, Maryland
Date: May 28
Registration deadline: May 5

Leesport, Pennsylvania
Date: June 24
Registration deadline: June 2

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Date: Wednesday July 9
Registration deadline: June 16

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Date: Tuesday, July 15
Registration deadline: June 23

Lafayette, Indiana
Date: Tuesday, July 16
Registration deadline: June 24

The Mid-Contract Management course provides participants with a background in mid-contract management purpose, benefits and limitations within the CRP conservation planning process. Students will learn strategies in working with landowners to develop a mid-contract management plan and conduct a site visit to evaluate the effectiveness of mid-contract management practices on the land. 

NEPA and the CPA-52 Environmental Evaluation – Available in LA

West Monroe, Louisiana
Date: May 21
Registration deadline: April 28

The CPA-52 course focuses on NRCS’ process to evaluate environmental quality and other ecosystem health issues that are at the core of every conservation plan. The CPA-52 serves as a baseline environmental evaluation and is part of the required NEPA assessment. 

Developing Wildlife Habitat – Available in PA

Leesport, Pennsylvania
Date: Wednesday, June 25
Registration deadline: June 2

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, July 10
Registration deadline: June 17

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Date: Wednesday, July 16
Registration deadline: June 23

The Developing Wildlife Habitat course covers landscape and habitat concepts. The students will learn to “read the landscape” by identifying landscape features within the context of Wildlife Habitat Guides (WHG) and Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs). The student will learn to apply a “state and transition” process to identify existing site features and choose the conservation practices that will transition the site to the desired habitat. Landowner input will be used to guide students toward completing a CRP Wildlife Habitat Plan within the context of a virtual field day to prepare the student for the corresponding in-field component.

Courses are free to NRCS and FSA staff and to those who completed CRP Core Training.

 

Step 4: TechReg CRP Certification

TechReg is the NRCS’s registry of Technical Service Providers who have been certified to work on one or more of the agency’s conservation programs.  Individual TSPs or organizations may register, and then provide evidence that they meet the certification criteria for those programs they are interested in working on.

Choosing to become registered on TechReg is at the discretion of each participant. Since many organizations and state agencies already have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) or contribution agreements to do CRP work, individual certification may or may not be required. Becoming registered on TechReg does provide some tangible benefits, however, including a listing on the NRCS TechReg website and representation on a list of certified contractors maintained by each participating NRCS state office.

Participation in the CRP Readiness Core Training and submission of a completed CRP plan will satisfy the Knowledge, Planning, and Training requirements under the CRP Conservation Planner TechReg category. CRPRI participants who choose to work with a mentor to complete a CRP plan may submit that plan as part of the certification requirements. Conservation professionals new to TechReg will also need to complete the basic TSP requirements as outlined by NRCS. Please visit the NRCS website for detailed instructions.

Download CRP TechReg Requirement Document

Download Registration Guide