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e-CFR data is current as of January 16, 2020

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XI → Part 1291

Title 7: Agriculture


§1291.1   Purpose and scope.
§1291.2   Definitions.
§1291.3   Eligible grant applicants.
§1291.4   Eligible grant project.
§1291.5   Restrictions and limitations on grant funds.
§1291.6   Completed application.
§1291.7   Review of grant applications.
§1291.8   Grant agreements.
§1291.9   Unobligated funds.
§1291.10   Reporting and oversight requirements.
§1291.11   Audit requirements.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621 note, as amended.

Source: 73 FR 51589, Sept. 4, 2008, unless otherwise noted.

§1291.1   Purpose and scope.

(a) Pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note), as amended by Section 10109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246, AMS will make grants to states to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth herein and other applicable federal statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to, 7 CFR part 3015 and part 3016.

(b) AMS encourages states to develop projects solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry: increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; participation of industry representatives at meetings of international standard setting bodies in which the U.S. government participates; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors; investing in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; and sustainability.

[74 FR 13316, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.2   Definitions.

(a) AMS means the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

(b) Application means the application for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program—Farm Bill (SCBGP-FB).

(c) Beginning farmer or rancher means an individual or entity who has not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years and substantially participates in the operation.

(d) Capital expenditures means expenditures for the acquisition cost of capital assets (equipment, buildings, land), or expenditures to make improvements to capital assets that materially increase their value or useful life. Acquisition cost means the cost of the asset including the cost to put it in place. Acquisition cost for equipment, for example, means the net invoice price of the equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in transit insurance, freight, and installation may be included in, or excluded from the acquisition cost in accordance with the governmental unit's regular accounting practices.

(e) Equipment means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the governmental unit for financial statement purposes, or $5000.

(f) General purpose equipment means equipment, which is not limited to research, scientific or other technical activities. Examples include office equipment and furnishings, telephone networks, information technology equipment and systems, reproduction and printing equipment, and motor vehicles.

(g) Grant period means the period of time from when the grant agreement is signed to the completion of all SCBGP-FB projects submitted in the State plan.

(h) Grantee means the government to which a grant is awarded and which is accountable for the use of the funds provided. The grantee is the entire legal entity even if only a particular component of the entity is designated in the grant agreement.

(i) Indirect costs means those costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefitting more than one cost objective, and not readily assignable to the cost objectives specifically benefitted, without effort disproportionate to the results achieved.

(j) Outcome measure means an event or condition that is external to the project and that is of direct importance to the intended beneficiaries and/or the public.

(k) Project means all proposed activities to be funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program—Farm Bill.

(l) Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. A “Socially Disadvantaged Group” is a group whose members have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.

(m) Special purpose equipment means equipment which is used only for research, scientific, or other technical activities.

(n) Specialty crop means fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops (including floriculture).

(o) State means the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(p) State department of agriculture means the agency, commission, or department of a state government responsible for agriculture within the state.

(q) Subgrantee means the government or other legal entity to which a subgrant is awarded and which is accountable to the grantee for the use of funds provided.

[74 FR 13316, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.3   Eligible grant applicants.

Eligible grant applicants are State departments of agriculture from the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

§1291.4   Eligible grant project.

(a) To be eligible for a grant, the project(s) must solely enhance the competitiveness of U.S. grown or U.S. territory grown eligible specialty crops, in either domestic or foreign markets.

(b) To be eligible for a grant, the project(s) must be completed within three calendar years after the grant agreement prescribed in §1291.8 of this part is signed. The grant period is established by the longest approved project submitted in the State plan. However, for cause, an extension of the grant period not to exceed three years may be granted by AMS on a case by case basis with a written request from the State.

(c) Projects should benefit the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, individual, or commercial product. Single organizations, institutions, and individuals are eligible to participate as project partners.

(d) Multi-state projects that address solutions to problems that cross state boundaries are eligible.

[73 FR 51589, Sept. 4, 2008, as amended at 74 FR 13317, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.5   Restrictions and limitations on grant funds.

(a) Grant funds may not be used to fund political activities in accordance with provisions of the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. 1501-1508 and 7321-7326).

(b) Development or participation in lobbying activities pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1352 including costs of membership in organizations substantially engaged in lobbying are unallowable.

(c) Grant funds shall supplement the expenditure of State funds in support of specialty crops grown in that State, rather than replace State funds.

(d) Grantees and subgrantees must comply with 7 CFR part 3015.

(e) Capital expenditures for general purpose equipment, buildings, and land are unallowable as direct and indirect charges.

(f) Capital expenditures for special purpose equipment are allowable as direct costs, provided that items with a unit cost of $5000 or more have the prior approval of AMS.

(g) Rental costs of buildings and equipment are allowable as direct costs in accordance with the cost principles in subpart T of 7 CFR part 3015.

[73 FR 51589, Sept. 4, 2008, as amended at 74 FR 13317, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.6   Completed application.

Completed applications shall be clear and succinct and shall include the following documentation satisfactory to AMS.

(a) One SF-424 “Application for Federal Assistance”.

(b) SF-424A “Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs” showing the budget for each project.

(c) One SF-424B “Assurances—Non-Construction Program”.

(d) Completed applications must also include one State plan to show how grant funds will be utilized solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The State plan shall include the following:

(1) Cover page and granting processes. Include the point of contact and lead agency for administering the plan. Provide a description of the affirmative steps taken to conduct outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers and beginning farmers. Describe how these groups were identified and the methods used to reach out to them. Identify if an award was made to either a socially disadvantaged farmer or a beginning farmer. If steps were not taken to conduct outreach to these groups, provide a justification for why not. Provide a description of the affirmative steps taken to conduct a competitive grant process. Include the steps taken to conduct outreach to specialty crop stakeholders to receive and consider public comment to identify their priority needs in enhancing the competiveness of specialty crops. Identify the methods used to solicit proposals that meet specialty crop stakeholders' needs, including any focus on multi-state projects. Include a description of the process used to review proposals in a fair and equitable manner. State departments of agriculture may also provide a copy of the issued request for proposals. If a competitive grant process was not used, provide a justification why not.

(2) Project title and abstract. Include the title of the project and an abstract of 200 or fewer words for each project.

(3) Project purpose. For each project, clearly state the purpose of the project. Describe the specific issue, problem, interest, or need to be addressed. Explain why the project is important and timely. If funding is being directed at a state marketing program, describe how the state will ensure that funding is being used solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops as defined in §1291.2(n). If a project builds on a previous Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) or SCBGP-FB project, indicate clearly how the new project compliments previous work. For each project, indicate if the project will be or has been submitted to or funded by another Federal or State grant program.

(4) Potential impact. Discuss the number of people or operations affected, the intended beneficiaries of each project, and/or potential economic impact if such data are available and relevant to the project.

(5) Expected measurable outcomes. For each project, describe at least one distinct, quantifiable, and measurable outcome-oriented objective that directly and meaningfully supports the project's purpose. The measurable outcome-oriented objective must define an event or condition that is external to the project and that is of direct importance to the intended beneficiaries and/or the public. Outcome measures may be long term that exceed the grant period. Describe how performance toward meeting outcomes will be monitored. For each project, include a performance-monitoring plan to describe the process of collecting and analyzing data to meet the outcome-oriented objectives.

(6) Work plan. For each project, explain briefly the activities that will be performed to accomplish the objectives of the project. Be clear about who will do the work. Include appropriate time lines.

(7) Budget narrative. The limit on indirect costs, not to exceed 10 percent, will be published in a Federal Register notice each fiscal year. Provide a justification if indirect costs exceed 10 percent or exceed that fiscal year's limit as announced in the Federal Register. Provide in sufficient detail information about the budget categories listed on SF-424A for each project to demonstrate that grant funds are being expended on eligible grant activities that meet the purpose of the program.

(8) Project oversight. Describe the oversight practices that provide sufficient knowledge of grant activities to ensure proper and efficient administration for each project.

(9) Project commitment. Describe how all grant partners commit to and work toward the goals and outcome measures of each proposed project(s).

(10) Multi-state projects. If the project is a multi-state project, describe how the states are going to collaborate effectively with related projects with one state assuming the coordinating role. Indicate the percent of the budget covered by each state.

[74 FR 13317, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.7   Review of grant applications.

(a) Applications will be reviewed and approved or rejected as appropriate for conformance with the provisions in §1291.6 of this part. AMS may request the applicant provide additional information or clarification.

(b) Incomplete applications as of the deadline for submission will not be considered.

§1291.8   Grant agreements.

(a) After approval of a grant application, AMS will enter into a grant agreement with the State department of agriculture.

(b) AMS grant agreements will include at a minimum the following:

(1) The projects in the approved State plan.

(2) Total amount of Federal financial assistance that will be advanced.

(3) Beginning and end dates of the grant agreement period.

(4) Terms and conditions pursuant to which AMS will fund the project(s).

§1291.9   Unobligated funds.

(a) States who do not apply for or do not request all available funding during the specified grant application period will forfeit all or that portion of available funding not requested for that application year.

(b) Funds not obligated will be allocated, by a date as determined by the Secretary, pro rata to the remaining States who applied during the specified grant application period to be solely expended on projects previously approved in their State plan.

§1291.10   Reporting and oversight requirements.

(a) An annual performance report will be required of all State departments' of agriculture within 90 days after the completion of the first year of the project(s), until the expiration date of the grant agreement. If the grant period is one year or less, then only a final performance report is required (See paragraph (b) of this section). The annual performance report shall include the following:

(1) Activities Performed. Briefly summarize activities performed, targets, and/or performance goals achieved during the reporting period to meet measurable outcomes for each project.

(2) Problems and Delays. Note unexpected delays or impediments for each project.

(3) Future Project Plans. Outline work to be performed during the next reporting period for each project.

(4) Funding Expended To Date. Comment on the level of grant funds expended to date for each project.

(b) A final performance report will be required of all State departments of agriculture within 90 days following the expiration date of the grant period. The final progress report shall include the following:

(1) Project Summary. An outline of the issue, problem, interest, or need for each project.

(2) Project Approach. How the issue or problem was approached via each project.

(3) Goals and Outcomes Achieved. How the performance goals and measurable outcomes were achieved for each project(s). If outcome measures were long term, summarize the progress that has been made towards achievement.

(4) Beneficiaries. Description and quantitative data for the number of people or operations that have benefited from the project's accomplishments, and/or the potential economic impact of each project.

(5) Lessons Learned. Lessons learned, results, conclusions, for each project. If outcome measures were not achieved, identify and share the lessons learned to help expedite problem-solving.

(6) Contact Person. List the contact person for each project with telephone number and email address.

(7) Additional Information. Include other relevant project information available (e.g. publications, Web sites, photographs).

(c) A final SF-269A “Financial Status Report (Short Form)” or SF-269 “Financial Status Report (Long Form)” if the project(s) had program income, is required within 90 days following the expiration date of the grant period.

(d) AMS will monitor States, as it determines necessary, to assure that projects are completed in accordance with the approved State plan. If AMS, after reasonable notice to a State, and opportunity to be heard, finds that there has been a failure by the State to comply substantially with any provision or requirement of the State plan, AMS may disqualify, for one or more years, the State from receipt of future grants under the SCBGP or SCBGP-FB.

(e) States shall diligently monitor performance to ensure that time schedules are being met, project work within designated time periods is being accomplished, and other performance measures are being achieved.

[73 FR 51589, Sept. 4, 2008, as amended at 74 FR 13318, Mar. 27, 2009]

§1291.11   Audit requirements.

Each year that a State receives a grant under the SCBGP-FB, the State is required to conduct an audit of the expenditures of SCBGP-FB funds. If the Single Audit Act applies to an eligible grantee, the State shall submit the annual audit results to AMS within 30 days after completion of the audit. If the Single Audit Act does not apply, the State shall conduct an audit of all SCBGP-FB funds no later than 60 days after the end date of the grant agreement. The State shall submit to AMS not later than 30 days after completion of the audit, a copy of the audit results.

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