Client: US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The Challenge

NEST serves as the official NRCS authoritative source and national database for various conservation easement programs and related environmental protection enrollments, to include applications, enrollments, operations and maintenance activities and reports, and monitoring data. The older and outdated NEST platform needed to be completely modernized to meet the requirements from the 2018 Farm Bill while educating the customer base on the new implementations.

Our Approach

Because the existing NEST system was more than 50 revisions behind, TSPi determined the most efficient way to make the necessary changes was to temporarily shut down the legacy NEST system for two weeks to implement the core software updates. Our team provided a comprehensive update to the MicroPact Entellitrak platform and made a number of other system improvements. TSPi also provided USDA Farm Bill-related Development, Modernization, and Enhancement (DME) support on NEST, using the SAFe framework to manage Program Increment (PI) Planning to prioritize business value of objectives and balance business requests and modernization efforts with the ever shifting agency needs, adjustments based on the Farm Bill, other Congressional Mandates, new Agency implementation policies, and maintenance activities.

Results

The modernized NEST system allows for conservationists at local, state, and national levels to perform the complex easements and related end-to-end program activities. Moreover, TSPi’s approach is currently sustaining the legacy system alongside the newly re-platformed system. This allows for the continuous delivery of current legislative requirements for countless easement programs while also providing significant organizational and easement operational improvements in USDA’s ability to support both National and State allocations, financial accountability audits, and national easement program administration.

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