Home » Handbook



The Experienced Services Program (ESP), authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, and implemented in USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) offices, is a legislative older worker program for those 55 and older. ESP is a grants-based program administrated through a 5-year umbrella agreement between NOWCC and ERS.

Experienced Services Program was modeled after the Agriculture Conservation Experienced Services (ACES) Program at the USDA-NRCS and USFS.

NOWCC has developed this ESP Enrollee Handbook as an informational tool for the purpose of acquainting you with the policies, procedures, benefits and restrictions that affect your participation in the Experience Service Program. This Handbook is also a source of information for USDA-ERS Coordinators and Monitors.

Provisions outlined in the Experienced Services Program Handbook are not intended to bestow any rights or privileges on Enrollees or guarantee employment for any definite period of time. Enrollment in the Experienced Services Program is temporary. The enrollment relationship between NOWCC and the Enrollee is an at will relationship. This means that an Enrollee is free to terminate his or her enrollment at any time during the enrollment period, and NOWCC and USDA-ERS have the right to terminate the relationship with the Enrollee.

NOWCC ERS Experienced Services Program Participants (Enrollees), assist USDA-Economic Research Service in fulfilling the agency mission. Enrollees serve in administrative, technical and professional positions to carry out a variety of assignments.

For complete information about benefits, policies and procedures, please contact your NOWCC Field Office Staff.

Ask your Monitor to:   Contact your NOWCC Field Office if you:
  • clarify assignments
  • determine regular work schedules
  • approve timesheets
  • approve leave
  • resolve initial problems
  • have problems filling out your electronic timesheet
  • have questions about the use of leave or other benefits
  • have questions about your paycheck
  • are returning to your assignment after an extended medical absence
  • have a problem you cannot resolve with your Monitor
  • have concerns about your health or safety
  • are injured while on duty

Enrollment Agreement 

Under the federal statutory structure of the Experienced Services Program, ESP Enrollees do not have employee status with either ERS or NOWCC. Enrollees are not eligible to receive the benefits accorded to Federal government employees nor NOWCC employees.  Enrollees are eligible to receive benefits listed in this enrollee handbook.

Before an enrollee can begin an assignment under the ESP an Enrollment Agreement must be executed.  NOWCC Experienced Services Program Enrollment Agreements are between the Participant (Enrollee) and NOWCC.  Following are the wage range set for each position level:

Position Level Wage Range
1 $16.00 - $32.00
2 $24.00 - $40.00
3 $30.00 - $52.00
4 $42.00 - $82.00


Health & Safety

Because ESP Enrollees frequently work in field settings, it is critical that Enrollees adhere to the following guidelines for avoiding accidents:

  • Know the safety rules and follow every precaution to protect yourself and your colleagues from injury and illness.
  • Know the standard procedures for the tasks you perform and use all required protective equipment.
  • Report all unsafe conditions, practices and equipment.
  • Obtain first aid for every injury, however minor it may seem.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if seriously injured.

Workers's Compensation

Report any work-related accident, injury or illness at the earliest opportunity to your Monitor who will contact the NOWCC Field Office with details. The NOWCC ERS Experienced Services Program workers' compensation insurance carrier (The Hartford) will be notified by the NOWCC Field Office if necessary.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention if seriously injured.  For instructions on how to locate the Hartford's Preferred Providers and Pharmacies click here.

If You Leave the Program

A resignation should be submitted in writing, with notice, if possible. Remember to address your resignation to your NOWCC Field Office and copy your Monitor.

Prior to Leaving: All ERS property must be returned to your Monitor.

Last Paycheck: Your final paycheck will be issued to you in the same manner you have requested for all paychecks to be issued