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Title 7Subtitle APart 2 → Subpart D


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 2—DELEGATIONS OF AUTHORITY BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND GENERAL OFFICERS OF THE DEPARTMENT


Subpart D—Delegations of Authority to Other General Officers and Agency Heads


Contents
§2.27   Office of Administrative Law Judges.
§2.28   Chief Financial Officer.
§2.29   Chief Economist.
§2.30   Director, Office of Budget and Program Analysis.
§2.31   General Counsel.
§2.33   Inspector General.
§2.34   Director, National Appeals Division.
§2.35   Judicial Officer.
§2.36   Director, Office of Communications.
§2.37   Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
§2.38   Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

Editorial Note: Nomenclature changes to subpart D of part 2 appear at 60 FR 66713, Dec. 26, 1995.

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§2.27   Office of Administrative Law Judges.

(a) The following designations are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Office of Administrative Law Judges:

(1) Administrative law judges (formerly hearing examiners) are designated pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 556(b)(3) to hold hearings and perform related duties in proceedings subject to 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557, arising under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601 et seq.); the Commodity Exchange Act as amended (7 U.S.C. 1 et seq.); the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 499a et seq.); the Federal Seed Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1551 et seq.); the (Laboratory) Animal Welfare Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.); the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, as amended and supplemented (7 U.S.C. 181 et seq.); the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 630 et seq.); and any other acts providing for hearings to which the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557, are applicable. Pursuant to the applicable rules of practice, the administrative law judges shall make initial decisions in adjudication and rate proceedings subject to 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557. Such decisions shall become final without further proceedings unless there is an appeal to the Secretary by a party to the proceeding in accordance with the applicable rules of practice: Provided, however, that no decision shall be final for purposes of judicial review except a final decision of the Secretary upon appeal. As used herein, “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture, the Judicial Officer, or other officer or employee of the Department delegated, pursuant to the Act of April 4, 1940 (7 U.S.C. 450c-450g), and Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953 (5 U.S.C. App.), “regulatory functions” as that term is defined in the 1940 Act, in acting as final deciding officer in adjudication and rate proceedings subject to 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557. Administrative Law Judges are delegated authority to hold hearings and perform related duties as provided in the Rules of Practice Governing Cease and Desist Proceedings Under Section 2 of the Capper-Volstead Act, set forth in part 1, subpart I of this title.

(2) [Reserved]

(b) The Chief Administrative Law Judge is delegated the following administrative responsibilities subject to the guidance and control of the Assistant Secretary for Administration (See §2.24(a)(12)):

(1) Exercise general responsibility and authority for all matters related to the administrative activities of the Office of Administrative Law Judges; and

(2) Direct the functions of the Hearing Clerk as set out in §2.24(a)(12)(iii).

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 75 FR 43380, July 23, 2010]

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§2.28   Chief Financial Officer.

(a) The Chief Financial Officer, under the supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture, is responsible for executing the duties enumerated for agency Chief Financial Officers in the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, Public Law 101-576, 31 U.S.C. 902, and additional specified duties, including:

(1) Report directly to the Secretary regarding financial management matters.

(2) Oversee all financial management activities relating to the programs and operations of the Department and component agencies.

(3) Develop and maintain an integrated accounting and financial system for the Department and component agencies, including financial reporting and internal controls, which—

(i) Complies with applicable accounting principles, standards, and requirements, and internal control standards;

(ii) Complies with such policies and requirements as may be prescribed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB);

(iii) Complies with any other requirements applicable to such systems; and

(iv) Provides for complete, reliable, consistent, and timely information which is prepared on a uniform basis and which is responsive to the financial information needs of Department management and for the development and reporting of cost information, the integration of accounting and budgeting information, and the systematic measurement of performance.

(4) Make recommendations to the Secretary regarding the selection of the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the Department, and selection of principal financial officers of component agencies of the Department.

(5) Direct, manage, and provide policy guidance and oversight of Department financial management personnel, activities, and operations, including:

(i) Prepare and annually revise a Departmental plan to:

(A) Implement the 5-year financial management plan prepared by the Director of OMB under 31 U.S.C. 3512(a)(3); and

(B) Comply with the requirements established for agency financial statements under 31 U.S.C. 3515 and with the requirements for audits of Department financial statements established in 31 U.S.C. 3521(e) and (f).

(ii) Develop Departmental financial management budgets, including the oversight and recommendation of approval of component agency financial management budgets.

(iii) Recruit, select, and train personnel to carry out Departmental financial management functions.

(iv) Approve and manage Departmental, and approve component agency, financial management systems design or enhancement projects.

(v) Implement and approve Departmental, and approve component agency, asset management systems, including systems for cash management, credit management, debt collection, and property and inventory management and control.

(6) Prepare and transmit, by not later than 60 days after the submission of the audit report required by 31 U.S.C. 3521(f), an annual report to the Secretary and the Director of OMB, which shall include:

(i) A description and analysis of the status of financial management of the Department.

(ii) The annual financial statements prepared under 31 U.S.C. 3521.

(iii) The audit report transmitted to the Secretary under 31 U.S.C. 3521.

(iv) A summary of the reports on internal accounting and administrative control systems submitted to the President and the Congress under the amendments made by the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (31 U.S.C. 1113, 3512).

(v) Other information the Secretary considers appropriate to inform fully the President and the Congress concerning the financial management of the Department.

(7) Monitor the financial execution of the budget of the Department in relation to projected and actual expenditures, and prepare and submit to the Secretary timely performance reports.

(8) Review, on a biennial basis, the fees, royalties, rent, and other charges imposed by the Department for services and things of value it produces, and make recommendations on revising those charges to reflect costs incurred by the Department in providing those services and things of value.

(9) Access all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material that are the property of the Department or that are available to the Department, and that relate to programs and operations with respect to which the Chief Financial Officer has responsibilities, except that this grant allows no access greater than that permitted under any other law to records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material of the Office of Inspector General.

(10) Request such information or assistance as may be necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities granted by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-576), from any Federal, State, or local governmental entity.

(11) To the extent and in such amounts as may be provided in advance by appropriations acts, enter into contracts and other arrangements with public agencies and with private persons for the preparation of financial statements, studies, analyses, and other services, and making such payments as may be necessary to carry out the duties and prerogatives of the Chief Financial Officer.

(12) Designate the Department's Comptroller of the Department Working Capital Fund.

(13) Establish Departmental policies, standards, techniques, and procedures applicable to all USDA agencies for the following areas:

(i) Development, maintenance, review and approval of all departmental, and review and approval of component agency, internal control, fiscal, financial management and accounting systems including the financial aspects of payment management and property systems.

(ii) Selection, standardization, and simplification of program delivery processes utilizing grants, cooperative agreements and other forms of Federal assistance.

(iii) Review and approval of Federal assistance, internal control, fiscal, accounting and financial management regulations and instructions proposed or issued by USDA agencies for conformity with Departmental requirements.

(iv) Section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (21 U.S.C. 862) as it relates to grants, loans, and licenses.

(14) Establish policies related to the Department Working Capital Fund.

(15) Approve regulations, procedures and rates for goods and services financed through the Department Working Capital Fund which will impact the financial administration of the Fund.

(16) Exercise responsibility and authority for operating USDA's financial and subsidiary management systems and related administrative systems including: Departmentwide payroll and personnel information systems, statistics, administrative payments, billings and collections, and related reporting systems that are either requested by the agencies or required by the Department.

(17) Manage the National Finance Center (NFC).

(18) Provide management support services for the NFC, and by agreement with agency heads concerned, provide such services for other USDA tenants housed in the same facility. As used herein, such management support services shall include:

(i) Personnel services, as listed in §2.24(a)(4)(x), and organizational support services, with authority to take actions required by law or regulation to perform such services; and

(ii) Procurement, property management, space management, communications, messenger, paperwork management, and related administrative services, with authority to take actions required by law or regulation to perform such services.

(19) Exercise responsibility and authority for all matters related to the Department's accounting and financial operations including such activities as:

(i) Financial administration, including accounting and related activities.

(ii) Reviewing financial aspects of agency operations and proposals.

(iii) Furnishing consulting services to agencies to assist them in developing and maintaining accounting and financial management systems and internal controls, and for other purposes consistent with delegations in paragraph (a)(13) of this section.

(iv) Reviewing and monitoring agency implementation of Federal assistance policies.

(v) Reviewing and approving agencies' accounting systems documentation including related development plans, activities, and controls.

(vi) Monitoring agencies' progress in developing and revising accounting and financial management systems and internal controls.

(vii) Evaluating agencies' financial systems to determine the effectiveness of procedures employed, compliance with regulations, and the appropriateness of policies and practices.

(viii) Promulgation of Department schedule of fees and charges for reproductions, furnishing of copies and making searches for official records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

(ix) Monitoring USDA implementation of section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (21 U.S.C. 862) as it relates to grants, loans, and licenses.

(20) Establish Department and approve component agency programs, policies, standards, systems, techniques and procedures to improve the management and operational efficiency and effectiveness of the USDA including:

(i) Increased use of operations research and management science in the areas of productivity and management.

(ii) All activities financed through the Department Working Capital Fund.

(21) Develop Departmental policies, standards, techniques, and procedures for the conduct of reviews and analysis of the utilization of the resources of State and local governments, other Federal agencies and of the private sector in domestic program operations.

(22) Represent the Department in contacts with OMB, General Services Administration, GAO, Department of the Treasury, Office of Personnel Management, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce, Congress of the United States, State and local governments, universities, and other public and private sector individuals, organizations or agencies on matters related to assigned responsibilities.

(23) Establish policies related to travel by USDA employees.

(24) Provide budget, accounting, fiscal, and related financial management services, with authority to take action required by law or regulation to provide such services for:

(i) The Secretary of Agriculture.

(ii) The general officers of the Department, except the Inspector General.

(iii) The offices and agencies reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Administration as a Working Capital Fund activity.

(iv) Any other offices or agencies of the Department as may be agreed.

(25) Develop, promulgate, and coordinate Department-wide policy concerning nonprocurement debarment and suspension.

(26) Prepare and submit to Congress reports on conferences sponsored or held by the Department or attended by employees of the Department (7 U.S.C. 2255b).

(27) Administer the debarment authorities in section 14211 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2209j) in coordination with the Director, Office of Contracting and Procurement.

(28) Redelegate, as appropriate, any authority delegated under paragraphs (a)(1) through (27) of this section to general officers of the Department and heads of Departmental agencies.

(29) Provide Departmentwide guidance on implementation of prize competition authority in section 24 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3719); develop guidelines to ensure that judges appointed for prize competitions under that authority are fairly balanced and operate in a transparent manner (15 U.S.C. 3719(k)(3)).

(30) Settle claims not otherwise provided for under 31 U.S.C. 3702(a) or another provision of law.

(b) The following authorities are reserved to the Secretary of Agriculture:

(1) Approval of prize competitions that may result in the award of more than $1,000,000 in cash prizes under section 24(m)(4)(B) of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3719(m)(4)(B)).

(2) [Reserved]

[79 FR 44110, July 30, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 58338, Sept. 29, 2015; 83 FR 61311, Nov. 29, 2018]

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§2.29   Chief Economist.

(a) The following delegations of authority are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Chief Economist:

(1) Related to economic analysis. (i) Coordinate economic analyses of, and review Department decisions involving, policies and programs that have substantial economic implications.

(ii) Review and assess the economic impact of all significant regulations proposed by any agency of the Department.

(iii) Review economic data and analyses used in speeches and Congressional testimony by Department personnel and in materials prepared for release through the press, radio, and television.

(2) Related to risk assessment. (i) Responsible for assessing the risks to human health, human safety, or the environment, and for preparing cost-benefit analyses, with respect to proposed major regulations, and for publishing such assessments and analyses in the Federal Register as required by section 304 of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 2204e).

(ii) Provide direction to Department agencies in the appropriate methods of risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses and coordinate and review all risk assessments and cost-benefit analyses prepared by any agency of the Department.

(3) Related to food and agriculture outlook and situation. (i) Coordinate and review all crop and commodity data used to develop outlook and situation material within the Department.

(ii) Oversee and clear for consistency analytical assumptions and results of all estimates and analyses which significantly relate to international and domestic commodity supply and demand, including such estimates and analyses prepared for public distribution by the Foreign Agricultural Service, the Economic Research Service, or by any other agency or office of the Department.

(4) Related to weather and climate. (i) Advise the Secretary on climate and weather activities, and coordinate the development of policy options on weather and climate.

(ii) Coordinate all weather and climate information and monitoring activities within the Department and provide a focal point in the Department for weather and climate information and impact assessment.

(iii) Arrange for appropriate representation to attend all meetings, hearings, and task forces held outside the Department which require such representation.

(iv) Designate the Executive Secretary of the USDA Weather and Climate Program Coordinating Committee.

(5) Related to interagency commodity estimates committees. (i) Establish Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees for Commodity Credit Corporation price-supported commodities, for major products thereof, and for commodities where a need for such a committee has been identified, in order to bring together estimates and supporting analyses from participating agencies, and to develop official estimates of supply, utilization, and prices for commodities, including the effects of new program proposals on acreage, yield, production, imports, domestic utilization, price, income, support programs, carryover, exports, and availabilities for export.

(ii) Designate the Chairman, who shall also act as Secretary, for all Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees.

(iii) Assure that all committee members have the basic assumptions, background data and other relevant data regarding the overall economy and market prospects for specific commodities.

(iv) Review for consistency of analytical assumptions and results all proposed decisions made by Commodity Estimates Committees prior to any release outside the Department.

(6) [Reserved]

(7) Related to long-range commodity and agricultural-sector projections. Establish committees of the agencies of the Department to coordinate the development of a set of analytical assumptions and long-range agricultural-sector projections (2 years and beyond) based on commodity projections consistent with these assumptions and coordinated through the Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees.

(8) Related to agricultural labor affairs. Exercise the following functions of the Secretary under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.):

(i) Pursuant to section 214(c) of INA (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)), provide consultation to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Labor concerning the question of the importation of aliens as nonimmigrant temporary agricultural workers, known as “H-2A” workers, under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a);

(ii) Pursuant to section 218(e) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1188 note), provide consultation to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Labor concerning all regulations to implement 8 U.S.C. 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) and 1188 providing for the importation of H-2A workers;

(iii) Pursuant to section 210(h) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1160(h)), promulgate regulations to define “seasonal agricultural services” for purposes of the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) Program;

(iv) Pursuant to section 210A(a) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(a)), determine jointly with the Secretary of Labor the number (if any) of additional special agricultural workers, known as “replenishment agricultural workers” (RAWs), who should be admitted to the United States or otherwise acquire the status of aliens lawfully admitted for temporary residence during fiscal years 1990 through 1993 to meet a shortage of workers to perform seasonal agricultural services in the United States during each such fiscal year;

(v) Pursuant to section 210A(a)(7) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(a)(7)), determine jointly with the Secretary of Labor emergency requests to increase the shortage number;

(vi) Pursuant to section 210A(a)(8) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(a)(8)), determine jointly with the Secretary of Labor requests to decrease the number of man-days of seasonal agricultural services required of RAWs to avoid deportation and for naturalization under section 210A(d)(5)(A) and (B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(d)(5)(A) and (B));

(vii) Pursuant to section 210A(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(b)(1)), calculate jointly with the Secretary of Labor and annual numerical limitation on the number of RAWs who may be admitted or otherwise acquire the status of aliens lawfully admitted for temporary residence during fiscal years 1990 through 1993 under section 210A(c)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(c)(1)); and

(viii) Pursuant to section 210A(b)(2) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1161(b)(2)), establish jointly with the Secretary of Labor the information that must be reported by any person or entity who employs SAWs or RAWs in seasonal agricultural services during fiscal years 1989 through 1992, and to designate jointly with the Secretary of Labor the official to whom the person or entity must furnish such certification.

(9) Related to the Capper-Volstead Act. Serve as Chairman of the Capper-Volstead Act Committee to identify cases of undue price enhancement by associations of producers and issue complaints requiring such associations to show cause why an order should not be made directing them to cease and desist from monopolization or restraint of trade. The Chairman is authorized to call upon any agency of the Department for support in carrying the functions of the Committee (7 U.S.C. 292).

(10) Related to committee management. Establish and reestablish regional, state, and local advisory committees for activities under his or her authority. This authority may not be redelegated.

(11) Related to energy. (i) Advise the Secretary and other policy-level officials of the Department on energy policies and programs, including legislative and budget proposals.

(ii) Serve as or designate the Department representative at hearings, conferences, meetings and other contacts with respect to energy and energy-related matters, including liaison with the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental agencies and departments.

(iii)-(iv) [Reserved]

(v) Provide Department leadership in:

(A) Analyzing and evaluating existing and proposed energy policies and strategies, including those regarding the allocation of scarce resources;

(B) Developing energy policies and strategies, including those regarding the allocation of scarce resources;

(C) Reviewing and evaluating Departmental energy and energy-related programs and programs progress;

(D) Developing agricultural and rural components of national energy policy plans; and

(E) Preparing reports on energy and energy-related polices and programs required under Acts of Congress and Executive orders, including those involving testimony and reports on legislative proposals.

(vi) Provide Departmental oversight and coordination with respect to resources available for energy and energy-related activities, including funds transferred to USDA from other departments or agencies of the Federal Government pursuant to interagency agreements.

(vii) Administer a competitive biodiesel fuel education grants program (7 U.S.C. 8106).

(viii) Implement a memorandum of understanding with the Secretary of Energy regarding cooperation in the application of hydrogen and fuel cell technology programs for rural communities and agricultural producers.

(12) Related to climate change.

(i) Coordinate policy analysis, long-range planning, research, and response strategies relating to climate change issues.

(ii) Provide liaison with other Federal agencies, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, regarding climate change issues.

(iii) Inform the Department of scientific developments and policy issues relating to the effects of climate change on agriculture and forestry, including broader issues that affect the impact of climate change on the farms and forests of the United States.

(iv) Recommend to the Secretary alternative courses of action with which to respond to such scientific developments and policy issues.

(v) Ensure that recognition of the potential for climate change is fully integrated into the research, planning, and decisionmaking processes of the Department.

(vi) Coordinate global climate change studies.

(vii) Coordinate the participation of the Department in interagency climate-related activities.

(viii) Consult with the National Academy of Sciences and private, academic, State, and local groups with respect to climate research and related activities.

(ix) Represent the Department to the Office of Science and Technology Policy on issues related to climate change.

(x) Represent the Department on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(xi) Review all Department budget items relating to climate change issues, including specifically the research budget to be submitted by the Secretary to the Office of Management and Budget.

(13) Related to environment.

(i) Coordinate implementation of section 1245 of the Food Security Act of 1985 regarding environmental services markets (16 U.S.C. 3845).

(ii) [Reserved]

(14) Related to agreements.

(i) Enter into contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements to further research programs in the food and agricultural sciences (7 U.S.C. 3318).

(ii) Enter into cost-reimbursable agreements relating to agricultural research (7 U.S.C. 3319a).

(iii) Make competitive grants to, or enter into cooperative agreements with, agricultural and food policy research centers (7 U.S.C. 3155).

(15) Carry out prize competition authorities in section 24 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3719) related to functions otherwise delegated to the Chief Economist, except for authorities delegated to the Chief Financial Officer in §2.28(a)(29) and authorities reserved to the Secretary in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(16) Related to Pest Management and Policy. Coordinate USDA policy relative to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) and coordinate the Department's Integrated Pest Management Programs and the Pesticide Assessment Program (7 U.S.C.136-136y) (7 U.S.C. 7653).

(b) The following authorities are reserved to the Secretary of Agriculture:

(1) Approval of prize competitions that may result in the award of more than $1,000,000 in cash prizes under section 24(m)(4)(B) of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3719(m)(4)(B)).

(2) [Reserved]

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 63 FR 66979, Dec. 4, 1998; 64 FR 40735, July 28, 1999; 68 FR 27442, May 20, 2003; 73 FR 56706, Sept. 30, 2008; 74 FR 3405, Jan. 21, 2009; 77 FR 14952, Mar. 14, 2012; 78 FR 40938, July 9, 2013; 79 FR 44111, July 30, 2014; 80 FR 58338, Sept. 29, 2015; 83 FR 61311, Nov. 29, 2018]

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§2.30   Director, Office of Budget and Program Analysis.

(a) The following delegations of authority are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Director, Office of Budget and Program Analysis:

(1) Serve as the Department's Budget Officer and exercise general responsibility and authority for all matters related to the Department's budgeting affairs including:

(i) Resource administration, including all phases of the acquisition, and distribution of funds and staff years.

(ii) Legislative and regulatory reporting and related activities.

(2) Provide staff assistance for the Secretary, general officers, and other Department and agency officials.

(3) Formulate and promulgate Departmental budgetary, legislative and regulatory policies and procedures.

(4) Represent the Department in contacts with the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, the Department of the Treasury, Congressional Committees on Appropriations, and other organizations and agencies on matters related to his or her responsibility.

(5) Coordinate and/or conduct policy and program analyses on agency operations and proposals to assist the Secretary, general officers and other Department and agency officials in formulating and implementing USDA policies and programs.

(6) Review and analyze legislation, regulations, and policy options to determine their impact on USDA programs and policy objectives and on the Department's budget.

(7) Monitor ongoing studies with significant program or policy implications.

(8) Exercise responsibility for coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, Public Law 103-62, and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Public Law 111-352, at the Department.

(b) The following authority is reserved to the Secretary of Agriculture: Final approval of the Department's program and financial plans.

[79 FR 44111, July 30, 2014]

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§2.31   General Counsel.

(a) Related to legal services. The General Counsel, as the chief law officer of the Department, is legal advisor to the Secretary and other officials of the Department and responsible for providing legal services for all the activities of the Department. The delegations of authority by the Secretary of Agriculture to the General Counsel include the following:

(1) Consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, compromise, and settle claims pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, as amended (28 U.S.C. 2671-2680), and the regulations of the Attorney General contained in 28 CFR part 14; delegate the authority to consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, compromise, and settle, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act as amended (28 U.S.C. 2671-2680) and the regulations of the Attorney General contained in 28 CFR part 14, claims less than $2500 that allege the negligence or wrongful act of an employee of a USDA agency; and consider, ascertain, adjust, determine compromise, and settle claims pursuant to section 920 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127 (7 U.S.C. 2262a).

(2) Certify documents as true copies of those on file in the Department.

(3) Sign releases of claims of the United States against private persons for damage to or destruction of property of the department, except those claims cognizable under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

(4) Responsible for the overall management and operation of the Law Library, furnishing complete legal and legislative library services to the Office of the General Counsel and the Department.

(5) Make determinations as to whether employees of the Department may retain commercial rights in inventions; prepare patent applications and prosecute the same before the Patent Office.

(6) Represent the Department in formal rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings held in connection with the administration of the Department's activities, and decide whether initial decisions of the administrative law judges shall be appealed by the Department to the Secretary.

(7) Represent the Department in connection with legal issues that arise in its relations with the Congress, the General Accounting Office, or other agencies of the Government.

(8) [Reserved]

(9) In civil actions arising out of the activities of the Department, present the Department's case to the Attorney General and U.S. attorneys and, upon request of the Department of Justice, assist in the preparation and trial of such cases and in the briefing and argument of such cases at the appellate level.

(10) Review cases having criminal aspects and refer them to the Department of Justice.

(11) Act as liaison between the Department and the Department of Justice.

(12) Perform the following legal services:

(i) Render legal opinions on questions arising in the conduct of the Department's activities;

(ii) Prepare or review regulations;

(iii) Draft proposed legislation;

(iv) Prepare or review contracts, mortgages, deeds, leases, and other documents; and

(v) Examine titles to land to be acquired or accepted as security for loans.

(13) Perform such other legal services as may be required in the administration of the Department's activities, including the defense program.

(14) Serve as a member of the Capper-Volstead Act Committee to identify cases of undue price enhancement by associations of producers and issue complaints requiring such associations to show cause why an order should not be made directing them to cease and desist from monopolization or restraint of trade (7 U.S.C. 292).

(15) Settle claims for damage to, or loss of, privately owned property pursuant to the provisions of 31 U.S.C. 3723.

(16) Serve on the USDA Hazardous Materials Policy Council.

(17) On a non-exclusive basis, assert in litigation the deliberative process privilege and other legally recognized privileges.

(18) Conduct legal sufficiency reviews and concur before a proposed settlement offer is made to an opposing party for all informal and formal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Office of Special Counsel (OSC), or Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) complaints that:

(i) Require a payment of compensatory damages or attorney's fees resulting in costs to the Department totaling $50,000 or more; or

(ii) Are brought by, or allege discriminatory conduct by, any political appointee; or

(iii) Place any political appointee on a detail outside the Department or on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement for one year or more if the Department retains the obligation to pay the employee's salary and benefits during the duration of the detail or IPA agreement.

(19) Review monetary settlement agreements of any dollar amount negotiated by USDA offices or agencies upon request except that legal sufficiency review conducted by and concurrence from the Office of the General Counsel is required prior to execution for all proposed settlement agreements negotiated by USDA offices or agencies totaling $500,000 or more, including attorney's fees. This required review is in addition to existing delegations of authority and processes for USDA offices' or agencies' processing of settlement agreements. This required review does not apply to:

(i) Settlements pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, which the Office of the General Counsel handles pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section;

(ii) Settlements for personnel matters, which the Office of the General Counsel handles pursuant to paragraph (a)(18) of this section;

(iii) Settlement of contract claims, which contracting officers handle pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act (41 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 CFR parts 1 through 99); or

(iv) Settlement of USDA offices' or agencies' debt collection actions.

(20) Conduct legal sufficiency reviews and concur with all proposed agency contracts or other transactions to retain outside counsel or for the provision of legal services regardless of whether an agency has specific statutory authority to retain outside counsel or legal services. The following services do not require legal sufficiency review and concurrence from the Office of the General Counsel: Contracts for the provision of services in relation to USDA office's and agencies' Freedom of Information Act activities; contracts for the performance of trademark searches or other trademark or copyright related services; or contracts for the performance of patent prosecution or other related patent services.

(b) Related to ethics. The following delegation of authority is made by the Secretary to the General Counsel: Provide administrative supervision for the Office of Ethics.

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 61 FR 49237, Sept. 19, 1996; 65 FR 12429, Mar. 9, 2000; 70 FR 23927, May 6, 2005; 70 FR 30610, May 27, 2005; 78 FR 40938, July 9, 2013; 79 FR 44112, July 30, 2014; 83 FR 22184, May 14, 2018]

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§2.33   Inspector General.

(a) The following delegations of authority are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Inspector General:

(1) Advise the Secretary and General officers in the planning, development, and execution of Department policies and programs.

(2) At the request of the Director, Homeland Security Staff (Director), determine the availability of law enforcement personnel of the Office of Inspector General to assist the Director in providing for the personal security for the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary.

(3) Serve as liaison official for the Department for all audits of USDA performed by the General Accounting Office.

(4) In addition to the above delegations of authority, the Inspector General, under the general supervision of the Secretary, has specific duties, responsibilities, and authorities pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-452, 5 U.S.C. App.

(b) The following authority is reserved to the Secretary of Agriculture: Approving the implementation in the Office of Inspector General of administrative policies or procedures that contravene standard USDA administrative policies as promulgated by the Assistant Secretary for Administration.

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 72 FR 36859, July 6, 2007]

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§2.34   Director, National Appeals Division.

The Director, National Appeals Division, under the general supervision of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary, has specific duties, responsibilities, and authorities pursuant to subtitle H of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, Public Law 103-354 (7 U.S.C. 6991 et seq.), including:

(a) Deciding appeals from adverse decisions, made by an officer or employee of an agency of the Department designated by the Secretary, that are adverse to participants. The term “agency” shall include the following and any predecessor agency: the Farm Service Agency; the Commodity Credit Corporation (with respect to domestic programs); the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; the Rural Housing Service; the Rural Business-Cooperative Service; the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and a State, county, or area committee established under section 8(b)(5) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h(b)(5)); and

(b) The authority to appoint such hearing officers and other employees as are necessary for the administration of the activities of the Division.

(c) Prepare a report each year on the number of requests for equitable relief and the disposition of such requests for inclusion in the report of the Secretary to Congress on equitable relief requests made to the Department under farm and conservation programs (7 U.S.C. 7996(g)(2).

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 68 FR 27442, May 20, 2003; 79 FR 44112, July 30, 2014]

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§2.35   Judicial Officer.

(a) Pursuant to the Act of April 4, 1940, as amended (7 U.S.C. 450c-450g), and Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953 (5 U.S.C. app.), the Secretary of Agriculture makes the following delegations of authority to the Judicial Officer. The Judicial Officer is authorized to:

(1) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557;

(2) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings which are or may be subject to the “Rules of Practice Governing Formal Adjudicatory Proceedings Instituted by the Secretary Under Various Statutes” set forth in part 1, subpart H, of this title;

(3) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings which are or may be subject to the “Rules of Practice Governing Cease and Desist Proceedings Under Section 2 of the Capper-Volstead Act” set forth in part 1, subpart I, of this title;

(4) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to the “Procedures Related to Administrative Hearings Under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986” set forth in part 1, subpart L, of this title;

(5) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to the “Rules of Practice Governing Adjudication of Sourcing Area Applications and Formal Review of Sourcing Areas Pursuant to the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.)” set forth in part 1, subpart M, of this title;

(6) Act as final deciding officer in rate proceedings under the Packers and Stockyards Act, as amended and supplemented (7 U.S.C. 181-229);

(7) Act as final deciding officer in reparation proceedings under statutes administered by the United States Department of Agriculture;

(8) Act as final deciding officer in appeals under section 63 of the Plant Variety Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 2443), and in reexamination proceedings under section 91 of the Plant Variety Protection Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2501);

(9) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings under section 359i of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1359ii);

(10) Issue rules of practice applicable to proceedings conducted under section 359i of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1359ii);

(11) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to the “Rules of Practice Governing Proceedings on Petitions To Modify or To Be Exempted From Marketing Orders” set forth in sections 900.50 through 900.71 of this title;

(12) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to the “Rules of Practice Governing Proceedings on Petitions to Modify or To Be Exempted from Research, Promotion, and Information Programs” set forth in part 1200, subpart B, of this title; and

(13) Act as final deciding officer in adjudicatory proceedings subject to “Appeals of Quality Control (‘QC’) Claims” set forth in part 283 of this title.

(b) The delegation of authority from the Secretary of Agriculture to the Judicial Officer in paragraph (a) of this section shall not be construed to limit the authority of the Judicial Officer to perform any functions, in addition to those identified in the Act of April 4, 1940, as amended (7 U.S.C. 450c-450g), which may be assigned by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Judicial Officer.

(c) As used in this section, the term Judicial Officer shall mean any person or persons so designated by the Secretary of Agriculture.

[68 FR 27443, May 20, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 43380, July 23, 2010]

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§2.36   Director, Office of Communications.

(a) Delegations. The following delegations of authority are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to Director, Office of Communications:

(1) Related to public affairs. (i) Advise and counsel general officers on public affairs matters to the Department.

(ii) Organize and direct the activities of a public affairs office to include press relations of the secretary of agriculture and other executive functions and services for general officers of the Department.

(2) Related to information activities. (i) Advise the secretary and general officers in the planning, development, and execution of Department policies and programs.

(ii) Direct and coordinate the overall formulation and development of policies, programs, plans, procedures, standards and organization structures and staffing patterns for the information activities of the Department and its agencies, both in Washington and in the field.

(iii) Exercise final review and approval of all public information material prepared by the Department and its agencies and select the most effective method and audience for distributing this information.

(iv) Serve as the central public information authority in the USDA, with authority to determine policy for all USDA and Agency communication activities, as well as emergency public information and messaging communication activities, in order to provide leadership and centralized operational direction for all USDA public information activities and ensure all materials shall effectively support USDA policies and programs, including the defense program.

(v) Serve as the central printing authority in the USDA, with authority to represent the USDA with Joint Committee on Printing of the Congress, the Government Printing Office, and other Federal and State agencies on information matters.

(vi) Cooperate with and secure the cooperation of commercial, industrial and other nongovernmental agencies and concerns regarding information work as required in the execution of the Department's programs.

(vii) Plan and direct communication research and training for the Department and its agencies.

(viii) [Reserved]

(ix) Supervise and provide leadership and final clearance for the planning, production, and distribution of visual information material for the department and its agencies in Washington, D.C., and the field, and provide such information services as may be deemed necessary.

(x) Maintain overall responsibility and control over the preparation of the “Agricultural Decisions.”

(xi) Administer, direct and coordinate publications and user fee authority granted under section 1121 of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981, as amended by section 1769 of the Food Security Act of 1985, 7 U.S.C. 2242a; and publish any appropriate regulations necessary to the exercise of this authority.

(xii) Serve as the central authority to determine policy, plans, procedures, and standards for the Department and agency strategic communications plans; request, receive, review, and approve agency communications plans; and provide centralized communication strategies for the Secretary and agencies, including the creativity, production, and oversight of communication products.

(xiii) When required, support and coordinate staffing of a JIC as identified in the NIMS, and if required, establish and administer a JIC to provide a structure for developing and delivering incident-related coordinated messages.

(xiv) Serve as the central authority to determine policy, plans, procedures, guidelines, and standards for the creation and use of logos/marks by the Department's mission areas, staff offices or agencies, not otherwise provided for by specific laws and regulations, and excluding the Official USDA Seal and Official USDA Symbol.

(b) [Reserved]

[60 FR 56393, Nov. 8, 1995, as amended at 74 FR 19373, Apr. 29, 2009; 76 FR 66601, 66602, Oct. 27, 2011]

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§2.37   Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

(a) In compliance with the Small Business Act, the Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization is designated as the Department's Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, who shall report directly to the Secretary of Agriculture or the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. The Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization has specific responsibilities under the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 644(k). These duties include being responsible for the following:

(1) Administer the Department's small and disadvantaged business activities related to procurement contracts, minority bank deposits, and grants and loan activities affecting small and minority businesses including women-owned business, and the small business, small minority business, and small women-owned business subcontracting programs.

(2) Provide Departmentwide liaison and coordination of activities related to small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses with the Small Business Administration and others in the public and private sector.

(3) Develop policies and procedures required by the applicable provision of the Small Business Act, as amended, to include the establishment of goals.

(4) Implement and administer programs described under sections 8 and 15 of the Small Business Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 637 and 644).

(5) In compliance with the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-183) amending the Small Business Act, implement and administer procurement programs for small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.

(b) The following additional authorities are delegated by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization:

(1) In compliance with the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501 et seq.), implement and administer the Department's AbilityOne program for purchases from qualified nonprofit agencies for the blind or for the severely disabled.

(2) [Reserved]

[79 FR 44112, July 30, 2014]

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§2.38   Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

(a) Delegations. The following delegations of authority are made by the Secretary of Agriculture to the Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement:

(1) Related to Advocacy and Outreach:

(i) Ensure that small farms and ranches, beginning farmers or ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers have access to, and equitable participation in, programs and services of the Department pursuant to section 226B(c) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6934(c)).

(ii) Oversee the Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

(iii) Oversee the operations of the Office of Small Farms Coordination.

(iv) Administer section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279), except for authorities related to the Census of Agriculture and economic studies in subsection (h) of that section.

(v) Oversee the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee pursuant to section 14008 of FCEA (7 U.S.C. 2279 note).

(vi) Administer the low-income migrant and seasonal farmworker grants program under section 2281 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 5177a).

(vii) Consult with appropriate entities regarding integration of farmworker interests into Department programs, including assisting farmworkers in becoming agricultural producers or landowners, and research, program improvements, and agricultural education opportunities for low-income and migrant seasonal farmworkers.

(viii) Administer the grants program under section 14204 of FCEA (7 U.S.C. 2008q-1) to improve the supply, stability, safety, and training of the agricultural labor force.

(ix) Administer and coordinate a USDA outreach program in collaboration with USDA agencies.

(x) Administer section 2501A of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279-1), including the authority to coordinate Department policy for the issuance of receipts under subsection (e) of that section.

(xi) Provide strategic planning and performance measurement, coordinate outreach activities, monitor goals and objectives, and evaluate programs, of Department programs and activities involving small farms or ranches and beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.

(xii) Administer the USDA/1994 Land Grant Institutions (Tribal Colleges) Programs.

(xiii) Administer the USDA/1890 Liaison Officer Program.

(xiv) Administer the Hispanic Serving Institutions National Program, including through the use of cooperative agreements under 7 U.S.C. 3318(b).

(xv) Serve as a lead agency in carrying out student internship programs (7 U.S.C. 2279c).

(xvi) Coordinate outreach to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

(2) Related to Indian tribes:

(i) Serve as the Department's primary point of contact for tribal issues.

(ii) Advise the Secretary on policies related to Indian tribes.

(iii) Serve as the official with principal responsibility for the implementation of Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,” including the provision of Department-wide guidance and oversight regarding tribal consultation, coordination, and collaboration.

(iv) Coordinate the Department's programs involving assistance to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

(v) Enter into cooperative agreements to improve the coordination and effectiveness of Federal programs, services, and actions affecting rural areas (7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4)); and to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers (7 U.S.C. 2279(a)(3)).

(3) Oversee the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison (7 U.S.C. 6919).

(4) Oversee the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

(5) Oversee the Women in Agriculture Initiative.

(6) With the exception of competitive grant programs administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or any youth employment opportunity programs such as Pathways or Job Corp, serve as the Department lead for strategic planning and coordinating youth outreach activities of USDA agencies' programs (including, but not limited to, 4-H; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs; information and cyber technology student programs, Future Farmers of America (FFA) activities; summer high school internships; and youth gardening programs); development of program evaluation metrics and consistent messaging for youth outreach activities; and monitoring goals and objectives.

(b) [Reserved]

[83 FR 61312, Nov. 29, 2018]

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