NB_180_21_8 - NB 180-21-8 CPA – Waiver Request Template and Process for the Transition Plan for Implementation of 180-GM-409, “Conservation Planning Policy”
NB 180-21-8 CPA – Waiver Request Template and Process for the Transition Plan for Implementation of 180-GM-409, “Conservation Planning Policy”
National Bulletin: 180-21-8 Date: September 24, 2021
Subject: CPA – Waiver Request Template and Process for the Transition Plan for Implementation of 180-GM-409, “Conservation Planning Policy”  


 
 
Purpose.   To notify States of the process for requesting a waiver to the deadline for legacy conservation planners to complete the remaining competency requirements for their current conservation planner role as part of the 180-GM-409, “Conservation Planning Policy”, 5-year transition plan that ends on December 31, 2021. 
 
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2022
 
Background.   Individuals who were designated as conservation planners prior to January 2017 (known as “legacy planners”) must meet all requirements for their current designation by January 1, 2022. Legacy planners not completing all requirements for their current conservation planner designation by the end of this 5-year transition plan shall have their current conservation planner role designation suspended by the State until the role designation requirements are completed, or until the individual is assigned to another planner role (Level I or Level II) that is met with their qualifications. Only Level III and IV certified planners are permitted by policy (180-GM-409) to certify conservation plans (unless otherwise authorized). Diminished capability to certify conservation plans can cause difficulty meeting goals and serving customers.

Coordination among States, National Technology Support Centers (NTSCs), Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance Division (CPTAD), Employee Development Services (EDS), Soil Health Division (SHD), and National Conservation Planning Partnership have identified legacy planner needs (see NB 180-21-05). Proficiency exams and new online and blended trainings have been developed to help meet the legacy planners’ required competencies. States should contact NTSCs, EDS, and SHD if they need assistance in developing their training plans or providing training to assist the legacy planners in achieving their needed courses.

If States are still unable to ensure that all their legacy planners will complete the remaining competencies and satisfy the requirements for their current conservation planner role designation by January 1, 2022, then States can submit a waiver to the deadline and request an extension (not to exceed 12 months) for the competencies and requirements that can only be met by in-person courses. Extensions will not be granted for competencies where an online course option is available for planners to complete. State waiver requests must be accompanied by the State’s plan to complete the training within the requested time frame. This plan should include what training requirements are outstanding, include when the needed training is scheduled within the waiver timeframe, and list the names of legacy planners and their individual outstanding training requirements covered by the waiver. All staff covered by a waiver will be required to have the Level III planner certification program completed in AgLearn prior to the waiver expiration date.         
 
Explanation.   States may request a deadline waiver by completing page 1 of the State Waiver Request Template (see Attachment A) and by attaching the State legacy planner training plan. Transmit the request via email from the State conservationist to Matt Flint, acting Conservation Planning Branch Chief (matt.flint@usda.gov). Waiver requests should be submitted no later than October 25, 2021.    
 
Contact.   Questions concerning this national bulletin should be sent to Matt Flint at matt.flint@usda.gov.     
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT   
Deputy Chief for Programs     
 
Attachment A – State Waiver Request Template   
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