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Notice

Funding Opportunity Title: Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions (Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program) Announcement Type: Announcement of Availability of Funds and Request for Application for Competitive Cooperative Partnership Agreements

Summary

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), operating through the Risk Management Agency (RMA), announces the availability of approximately $1.1 million (subject to availability of funds) for Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions (the Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program). The purpose of this cooperative partnership agreement program is to deliver training and information in management of production, marketing, and financial risk to U.S. agricultural producers. The program gives priority to educating producers of crops currently not insured under Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. A maximum of 110 cooperative partnership agreements will be funded, with a minimum of ten in each of the ten designated RMA Regions. The maximum award for any cooperative partnership agreement will be $10,000. Awardees must demonstrate non-financial benefits from a cooperative partnership agreement and must agree to the substantial involvement of RMA in the project. Funding availability for this program may be announced at approximately the same time as funding availability for similar but separate programs—CFDA No. 10.455 (Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships), and CFDA No. 10.458 (Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States). Prospective applicants should carefully examine and compare the notices for each program.

The collections of information in this announcement have been approved by OMB under control number 0563-0067.

This Announcement Consists of Eight Sections Back to Top

Section I—Funding Opportunity Description

A. Legislative Authority

B. Background

C. Definition of Priority Commodities

D. Project Goal

E. Purpose

Section II—Award Information

A. Type of Application

B. Funding Availability

C. Location and Target Audience

D. Maximum Award

E. Project Period

F. Description of Agreement—Awardee Tasks

G. RMA Activities

H. Other Tasks

Section III—Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

C. Other—Non-Financial Benefits

Section IV—Application and Submission Information

A. Electronic Application Package

B. Content and Form of Application Submission

C. Funding Restrictions

D. Limitation on Use of Project Funds for Salaries and Benefits

E. Indirect Cost Rates

F. Other Submission Requirements

G. Electronic Submissions

H. Acknowledgement of Applications

Section V—Application Review Information

A. Criteria

B. Selection and Review Process

Section VI—Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

1. Requirement To Use Program Logo

2. Requirement To Provide Project Information to an RMA-selected Representative

3. Private Crop Insurance Organizations and Potential Conflicts of Interest

4. Access to Panel Review Information

5. Confidential Aspects of Applications and Awards

6. Audit Requirements

7. Prohibitions and Requirements Regarding Lobbying

8. Applicable OMB Circulars

9. Requirement To Assure Compliance With Federal Civil Rights Laws

10. Requirement To Participate in a Post Award Teleconference

11. Requirement To Submit Educational Materials to the National AgRisk Education Library

12. Requirement To Submit Proposed Results to the National AgRisk Education Library

13. Requirement To Submit a Project Plan of Operation in the Event of a Human Pandemic Outbreak

C. Reporting Requirements

Section VII—Agency Contact

Section VIII—Additional Information

A. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

B. Required Registration With the Central Contract Registry (CCR) for Submission of Proposals

C. Related Programs

Full Text of Announcement Back to Top

I. Funding Opportunity Description Back to Top

A. Legislative Authority

The Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program is authorized under section 522(d)(3)(F) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (Act) (7 U.S.C. 1522(d)(3)(F)).

B. Background

RMA promotes and regulates sound risk management solutions to improve the economic stability of American agriculture. On behalf of FCIC, RMA does this by offering Federal crop insurance products through a network of private-sector partners, overseeing the creation of new risk management products, seeking enhancements in existing products, ensuring the integrity of crop insurance programs, offering outreach programs aimed at equal access and participation of underserved communities, and providing risk management education and information.

One of RMA's strategic goals is to ensure that its customers are well informed as to the risk management solutions available. This educational goal is supported by section 522(d)(3)(F) of the Act, which authorizes FCIC funding for risk management training and informational efforts for agricultural producers through the formation of partnerships with public and private organizations. With respect to such partnerships, priority is to be given to reaching producers of Priority Commodities, as defined below.

C. Definition of Priority Commodities

For purposes of this program, Priority Commodities are defined as:

  • Agricultural commodities covered by (7 U.S.C. 7333). Commodities in this group are commercial crops that are not covered by catastrophic risk protection crop insurance, are used for food or fiber (except livestock), and specifically include, but are not limited to, floricultural, ornamental nursery, Christmas trees, turf grass sod, aquaculture (including ornamental fish), and industrial crops.
  • Specialty crops. Commodities in this group may or may not be covered under a Federal crop insurance plan and include, but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, syrups, honey, roots, herbs, and highly specialized varieties of traditional crops.
  • Underserved commodities. This group includes: (a) Commodities, including livestock and forage, that are covered by a Federal crop insurance plan but for which participation in an area is below the national average; and (b) commodities, including livestock and forage, with inadequate crop insurance coverage.

A project is considered as giving priority to Priority Commodities if 75 percent of the educational activities of the project are directed to producers of any of the three classes of commodities listed above or any combination of the three classes.

D. Project Goal

The goal of this program is to ensure that “* * * producers will be better able to use financial management, crop insurance, marketing contracts, and other existing and emerging risk management tools.”

E. Purpose

The purpose of the Commodity Partnership Small Session Program is to provide U.S. farmers and ranchers with training and informational opportunities to be able to understand:

  • The kinds of risks addressed by existing and emerging risk management tools;
  • The features and appropriate use of existing and emerging risk management tools; and
  • How to make sound risk management decisions.

In addition, for 2010, the FCIC Board of Directors and the FCIC Manager are seeking projects that also include the Special Emphasis Topics listed below which highlight the educational priorities with each of the ten RMA Regional Offices:

  • Billings, Montana Regional Office (MT, ND, SD, and WY)—Pasture, Rangeland, Forage, Livestock Gross Margin, Specialty Crops, Underserved Commodities, and 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions; and various crop insurance provisions.
  • Davis, California Regional Office (AZ, CA, HI, NV, and UT)—Apiculture program, drought mitigation and lack of irrigation water, risk management tools for invasive pests, Specialty Crops, Hawaii Tropical Fruits and Trees, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and risk management tools to maximize strategic solutions for using Farm Service Agency and RMA programs.
  • Jackson, Mississippi Regional Office (AR, KY, LA, MS, and TN)—AGR-Lite Insurance tools (TN), Nursery Price Endorsement Crop Insurance (all States), Nursery Insurance Tools (all States), 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Specialty Crops.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Regional Office (NM, OK, and TX)—Native American issues and Limited English Proficiency (all States), Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provision and various crop insurance provisions.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina Regional Office (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, and WV)—2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provision and various crop insurance provisions.
  • Connecticut—LGM Dairy Cattle, Northern Potatoes, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Delaware—LGM Dairy Cattle, Southern Potatoes, Specialty Crops and 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Maine—LGM Dairy Cattle, Northern Potatoes, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Maryland—LGM Dairy Cattle, Southern Potatoes, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Massachusetts—LGM Dairy Cattle, Northern Potatoes, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • New Hampshire—LGM Dairy Cattle, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • New Jersey—LGM Dairy Cattle, Southern Potatoes, Apples, Specialty Crops, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • New York—Specialty Crops, Apiculture Vegetation Index, LGM Dairy Cattle, Pasture Rangeland Forage Vegetation Index, Northern Potatoes, Apples, Cabbage, Grapes, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • North Carolina—Specialty Crops, Apiculture, Pasture Rangeland Forage Vegetation Index, LRP for Feeder Cattle, Fed Cattle, Lamb, and Swine, Southern Potatoes, Apples, Cabbage, Grapes, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Pennsylvania—Specialty Crops, Apiculture, LGM Dairy Cattle, Pasture Rangeland Forage, Northern Potatoes, Apples, Cabbage, Grapes, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Rhode Island—Specialty Crops, LGM Dairy Cattle, Northern Potatoes, Apples, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Virginia—Specialty Crops, Apiculture, Pasture Rangeland Forage, LRP for Feeder Cattle, Fed Cattle, Lamb, Swine, Southern Potatoes, Apples, Cabbage, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Vermont—Specialty Crops, LGM Dairy Cattle, Northern Potatoes, Apples, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • West Virginia—Specialty Crops, LGM Dairy Cattle, Apples, 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, and Nursery Crop Insurance Tools.
  • Spokane, Washington Regional Office (AK, ID, OR, and WA)—WA Regional Office (AK, ID, OR, and WA)—2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and Various Crop Insurance Provision, Crop Insurance Choices for Willamette Valley Oregon Producers, Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle (LGM), Cherry Actual Revenue History (ARH), Grape Insurance Program for Western Washington, Adjusted Gross Revenue Programs (AGR/AGR-Lite), Dry Pea and Lentil Insurance, and Specialty Crops.
  • Springfield, Illinois Regional Office (IL, IN, MI, and OH) Specialty Crops and 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota Regional Office (IA, MN, and WI)—AGR-Lite, understanding how Revenue Policies function and their relationship to marketing decisions, Specialty Crops, and 2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions.
  • Topeka, Kansas Regional Office (CO, KS, MO, and NE)—2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, Specialty Crops, and Pasture, Rangeland and Forage in States and counties with the program.
  • Valdosta, Georgia Regional Office (AL, FL, GA, SC, and Puerto Rico)—2011 Final Common Crop Regulations, Basic Provisions and various crop insurance provisions, Specialty Crops and Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage/Apiculture in States and counties with the program.

II. Award Information Back to Top

A. Type of Application: In FY 2010, applications may be submitted to the Commodity Partnership for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Small Sessions Program as a new application. All new applications will be reviewed competitively using the selection process and evaluation criteria described in Section V—Application Review Process. Each award will be designated as a Cooperative Agreement, which will require substantial involvement by RMA.

B. Funding Availability: There is no commitment by USDA to fund any particular application. Approximately $1.1 million (subject to availability of funds) is available in fiscal year 2010 to fund up to 110 cooperative partnership agreements. The maximum award for any agreement will be $10,000. It is anticipated that a minimum of ten agreements will be funded in each of the ten designated RMA Regions.

In the event that all funds available for this program are not obligated after the maximum number of agreements are awarded or if additional funds become available, these funds may, at the discretion of the Manager of FCIC, be used to award additional applications that score highly by the technical review panel or allocated pro-rata to awardees for use in broadening the size or scope of awarded projects, if agreed to by the awardee. In the event that the Manager of FCIC determines that available RMA resources cannot support the administrative and substantial involvement requirements of all agreements recommended for funding, the Manager may elect to fund fewer agreements than the available funding might otherwise allow. It is expected that the awards will be made approximately 120 days after the application deadline. All awards will be made and agreements finalized no later than September 30, 2010.

C. Location and Target Audience: RMA Regional Offices and the States serviced within each Region are listed below. Staff from the respective RMA Regional Offices will provide substantial involvement for projects conducted within the Region.

Billings, Montana Regional Office: (MT, ND, SD, and WY.)

Davis, California Regional Office: (AZ, CA, HI, NV, and UT.)

Jackson, Mississippi Regional Office: (AR, KY, LA, MS, and TN.)

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Regional Office: (NM, OK, and TX.)

Raleigh, North Carolina Regional Office: (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, and WV.)

Spokane, Washington Regional Office: (AK, ID, OR, and WA.)

Springfield, Illinois Regional Office: (IL, IN, MI, and OH.)

St. Paul, Minnesota Regional Office: (IA, MN, and WI.)

Topeka, Kansas Regional Office: (CO, KS, MO, and NE.)

Valdosta, Georgia Regional Office: (AL, FL, GA, SC, and Puerto Rico.)

Applicants must clearly designate the RMA Region where educational activities will be conducted in their application narrative in block 12 of the SF-424 form. Applications without this designation will be rejected. Priority will be given to producers of Priority Commodities previously identified in this RFA. Applicants proposing to conduct educational activities in States served by more than one RMA Regional Office (RMA Region) must submit a separate application for each RMA Region. Single applications proposing to conduct educational activities in States served by more than one RMA Region will be rejected.

D. Maximum Award: Any application that requests Federal funding of more than $10,000 for a project will be rejected. RMA also reserves the right to fund successful applications at an amount less than requested if it is judged that the application can be implemented at a lower funding level.

E. Project Period: Projects will be funded for a period of up to one year from the project starting date.

F. Description of Agreement Award

Awardee Tasks

In conducting activities to achieve the purpose and goal of this program in a designated RMA Region, the awardee will be responsible for performing the following tasks:

  • Develop and conduct a promotional program. This program will include activities using media, newsletters, publications, or other appropriate informational dissemination techniques that are designed to: (a) Raise awareness for risk management; (b) inform producers of the availability of risk management tools; and (c) inform producers and agribusiness leaders in the designated RMA Region of training and informational opportunities.
  • Deliver risk management training and informational opportunities to agricultural producers and agribusiness professionals in the designated RMA Region. This will include organizing and delivering educational activities using the instructional materials assembled by the grantee to meet the local needs of agricultural producers. Activities should be directed primarily to agricultural producers, but may include those agribusiness professionals that have frequent opportunities to advise producers on risk management tools and decisions.
  • Document all educational activities conducted under the cooperative partnership agreement and the results of such activities, including criteria and indicators used to evaluate the success of the program. The awardee will also be required to provide information to RMA as requested for evaluation purposes.

G. RMA Activities

FCIC, working through RMA, will be substantially involved during the performance of the funded project through RMA's ten Regional Offices. Potential types of substantial involvement may include, but are not limited to the following activities.

  • Collaborate with the awardee in assembling, reviewing, and approving risk management materials for producers in the designated RMA Region.
  • Collaborate with the awardee in reviewing and approving a promotional program for raising awareness for risk management and for informing producers of training and informational opportunities in the RMA Region.
  • Collaborate with the awardee on the delivery of education to producers and agribusiness leaders in the RMA Region. This will include: (a) Reviewing and approving in advance all producer and agribusiness leader educational activities; (b) advising the project leader on technical issues related to crop insurance education and information; and (c) assisting the project leader in informing crop insurance professionals about educational activity plans and scheduled meetings.
  • Conduct an evaluation of the performance of the awardee in meeting the deliverables of the project.

Applications that do not contain substantial involvement by RMA will be rejected.

H. Other Tasks

In addition to the specific, required tasks listed above, the applicant may propose additional tasks that would contribute directly to the purpose of this program. For any proposed additional task, the applicant must identify the objective of the task, the specific subtasks required to meet the objective, specific time lines for performing the subtasks, and the specific responsibilities of partners. The applicant must also identify specific ways in which RMA would have substantial involvement in the proposed project task.

III. Eligibility Information Back to Top

A. Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include State departments of agriculture, universities, non-profit agricultural organizations, and other public or private organizations with the capacity to lead a local program of risk management education for farmers and ranchers in an RMA Region. Individuals are not eligible applicants. Although an applicant may be eligible to compete for an award based on its status as an eligible entity, other factors may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal assistance under this program governed by Federal law and regulations (e.g. debarment and suspension; a determination of non-performance on a prior contract, cooperative agreement, grant or cooperative partnership; a determination of a violation of applicable ethical standards; a determination of being considered “high risk”). Applications from ineligible or excluded persons will be rejected in their entirety.

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

Although RMA prefers cost sharing by the applicant, this program has neither a cost sharing nor a matching requirement.

C. Other—Non-Financial Benefits

To be eligible, applicants must also be able to demonstrate that they will receive a non-financial benefit as a result of a cooperative partnership agreement. Non-financial benefits must accrue to the applicant and must include more than the ability to provide employment income to the applicant or for the applicant's employees or the community. The applicant must demonstrate that performance under the cooperative partnership agreement will further the specific mission of the applicant (such as providing research or activities necessary for graduate or other students to complete their educational program). Applications that do not demonstrate a non-financial benefit will be rejected.

IV. Application and Submission Information Back to Top

A. Electronic Application Package

Only electronic applications may be submitted via Grants.gov to the Risk Management Agency in response to this RFA.

Prior to preparing an application, it is suggested that the Project Director (PD) first contact an Authorized Representative (AR) (also referred to as Authorized Organizational Representative or AOR) to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through Grants.gov. If the organization is not prepared, the AR should see http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp for steps for preparing to submit applications through Grants.gov.

The steps to access application materials are as follows:

1. In order to access, complete, and submit applications, applicants must download and install a version of Adobe Reader compatible with Grants.gov. This software is essential to apply for RMA Federal awards. For basic system requirements and download instructions, please see http://www.grants.gov/help/download_software.jsp. To verify that you have a compatible version of Adobe Reader, Grants.gov established a test package that will assist you in making that determination. Grants.gov Adobe Versioning Test Package: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/AdobeVersioningTestOnly.jsp.

2. The application package must be obtained via Grants.gov, go to http://www.grants.gov, click on “Apply for Grants” in the left-hand column, click on “Step 1: Download a Grant Application Package and Instructions,” enter the funding opportunity number USDA-RMA-RME-SSGP-002000 in the appropriate box and click “Download Package.” From the search results, click “Download” to access the application package. If assistance is needed to access the application package (e.g. downloading or navigating Adobe forms), refer to resources available on the Grants.gov Web site first (http://grants/gov/). Grants.gov assistance is also available as follows:

  • Grants.gov customer support.

Toll Free: 1-800-518-4726.

Business Hours: 24 Hours a day.

E-mail: support@grants.gov.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission

A complete and valid application must include the following:

1. A completed OMB Standard Form 424, “Application for Federal Assistance.”

2. A completed OMB Standard Form 424-A, “Budget Information—Non-construction Programs.” Federal funding requested (the total of direct and indirect costs) must not exceed $10,000.

3. A completed OMB Standard Form 424-B, “Assurances, Non-constructive Programs.”

4. An Executive Summary (One page) and Proposal Narrative (Not to Exceed 10 single-sided pages in Microsoft Word) which will also include a Statement of Work.

5. Budget Narrative (in Microsoft Excel) describing how the categorical costs listed on the SF 424-A are derived. The budget narrative should provide enough detail for reviewers to easily understand how costs were determined and how they relate to the goals and objectives of the project.

6. Partnering Plan to include how each partner will aid in carrying out the project goal providing specific tasks. Include Letters of commitment from individuals and/or groups, and should include the specific tasks they have agreed to do with the applicant.

7. A completed and signed OMB Standard Form LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.

8. A completed and signed AD-1049, Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace.

a. * 1234. A complete RME-1 Form Risk Management Education Project Narrative (RME-1 Form). Complete all required parts.

* Applications that do not include items 1-8 above will be considered incomplete, will not receive further consideration, and will be rejected.

The percent of time devoted to the project for all key project personnel must be identified in the application. Applicants must list all current public or private support to which personnel identified in the application have committed portions of their time, whether or not salary support for persons involved is included in the budget (supporting agency, amount of award, effective date, expiration date, expiration date of award, etc.). An application that duplicates or overlaps substantially with an application already reviewed and funded (or to be funded) by another organization or agency will not be funded under this program. The percentage of time for both “Current” and “Pending” projects must not exceed 100% of time committed.

C. Funding Restrictions: Cooperative partnership agreement funds may not be used to:

a. Plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct a building or facility including a processing facility;

b. Purchase, rent, or install fixed equipment;

c. Repair or maintain privately owned vehicles;

d. Pay for the preparation of the cooperative partnership agreement application;

e. Fund political activities;

f. Purchase alcohol, food, beverage or entertainment;

g. Lend money to support farming or agricultural business operation or expansion;

h. Pay costs incurred prior to receiving a partnership agreement; or

i. Fund any activities prohibited in 7 CFR Parts 3015 and 3019, as applicable.

D. Limitation on Use of Project Funds for Salaries and Benefits

Total costs for salary and benefits allowed for projects under this announcement will be limited to not more than 70 percent reimbursement of the funds awarded under the cooperative partnership agreement as indicated in Section III. Eligibility Information, C. Other—Non-financial Benefits. One goal of the Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program is to maximize the use of the limited funding available for risk management education for producers of Priority Commodities. In order to accomplish this goal, RMA needs to ensure that the maximum amount of funds practicable is used for directly providing the educational opportunities. Limiting the amount of funding for salaries and benefits will allow the limited amount of funding to reach the maximum number of farmers and ranchers.

E. Indirect Cost Rates

a. Indirect costs allowed for projects submitted under this announcement will be limited to ten (10) percent of the total direct cost of the cooperative partnership agreement. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution's official negotiated indirect cost rate or 10 percent of the total direct costs.

b. RMA reserves the right to negotiate final budgets with successful applicants.

c. Applicants must provide a copy of their indirect cost rate negotiated with their cognizant agency.

F. Other Submission Requirements

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that RMA receives a complete application package by the closing date and time. The agency strongly encourages applicants to submit applications well before the deadline to allow time for correction of technical errors identified by Grants.gov. Application packages submitted after the deadline will be rejected.

G. Acknowledgement of Applications

Receipt of timely applications will be acknowledged by e-mail, whenever possible. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to provide e-mail addresses in their applications. If an e-mail address is not indicated on an application, timely receipt will be acknowledged by letter. There will be no notification of incomplete, unqualified or unfunded applications until after the awards have been made. When received by RMA, applications will be assigned an identification number. This number will be communicated to applicants in the acknowledgement of receipt of applications. An application's identification number should be referenced in all correspondence regarding the application. If the applicant does not receive an acknowledgement within 15 days of the submission deadline, the applicant should notify RMA's point of contact indicated in Section VII, Agency Contact.

V. Application Review Information Back to Top

A. Criteria

Applications submitted under the Commodity Partnerships Small Sessions Program will be evaluated within each RMA Region (area defined by States served by the Regional Office) according to the following criteria:

Project Impacts—Maximum 20 Points

The applicant must demonstrate that the project benefits to farmers and ranchers warrant the funding requested. Applicants will be scored according to the extent they can: (a) Identify the specific actions producers will likely be able to take as a result of the educational activities described in the Statement of Work; (b) identify the specific measures for evaluating results that will be employed in the project; (c) reasonably estimate the total number of producers reached through the various methods and educational activities described in the Statement of Work; and (d) justify such estimates with clear specifics. Reviewers' scoring will be based on the scope and reasonableness of the applicant's clear descriptions of specific expected actions producers will accomplish, and well-designed methods for measuring the project's results and effectiveness. Applicants using direct contact methods with producers will be scored higher.

Statement of Work—Maximum 20 Points

The applicant must produce a clear and specific Statement of Work for the project. For each of the tasks contained in the Description of Agreement Award (refer to Section II Award Information), the applicant must identify and describe specific subtasks, responsible entities, expected completion dates, RMA substantial involvement, and deliverables that will further the purpose of this program. Applicants will be scored higher to the extent that the Statement of Work is specific, measurable, reasonable, has specific deadlines for the completion of subtasks, relates directly to the required activities and the program purpose described in this announcement, which is to provide producers with training and informational opportunities so that the producers will be better able to use financial management, crop insurance, marketing contracts, and other existing and emerging risk management tools. Applicants are required to submit this Statement of Work on Form RME-2 Form. All narratives should give estimates of how many producers will be reached through this project. Estimates for non-producers can also be made but they should be separate from the estimate of producers.

Project Management—Maximum 20 Points

The applicant must demonstrate an ability to implement sound and effective project management practices. Higher scores will be awarded to applicants that can demonstrate organizational skills, leadership, and experience in delivering services or programs that assist agricultural producers in the respective RMA Region. The project manager must demonstrate that he/she has the capability to accomplish the project goal and purpose stated in this announcement by (a) having a previous working relationship with the farm community in the designated RMA Region of the application, including being able to recruit approximately the number of producers to be reached in the application and/or (b) having established the capacity to partner with and gain the support of grower organizations, agribusiness professionals, and agribusiness leaders locally to aid in carrying out a program of education and information, including being able to recruit approximately the number of producers to be reached in this application. Applicants are encouraged to designate an alternate Project Leader in the event the Project Leader is unable to finish the project. Applicants that will employ, or have access to, personnel who have experience in directing local educational programs that benefit agricultural producers in the respective RMA Region will receive higher rankings.

Budget Appropriateness and Efficiency—Maximum 20 Points

Applicants must provide a detailed budget summary that clearly explains and justifies costs associated with the project. Applicants will receive higher scores to the extent that they can demonstrate a fair and reasonable use of funds appropriate for the project and a budget that contains the estimated cost of reaching each individual producer.

Priority Commodity—Maximum 20 Points

The applicant can submit projects that are not related to Priority Commodities. However, priority will be given to projects relating to Priority Commodities. Priority will also be given to projects related to the Special Emphasis Topics. Projects that relate to Priority Commodities and the Special Emphasis Topics will be eligible for the most points.

B. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated using a two-part process. First, each application will be screened by RMA personnel to ensure that it meets the requirements in this announcement. Applications that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or that are incomplete will not receive further consideration during the next process. Applications that meet announcement requirements will be sorted into the RMA Region in which the applicant proposes to conduct the project and will be presented to a review panel for consideration.

Second, the review panel will meet to consider and discuss the merits of each application. The panel will consist of not less than three independent reviewers. Reviewers will be drawn from USDA, other Federal agencies, and public and private organizations, as needed. After considering the merits of all applications within an RMA Region, panel members will score each application according to the criteria and point values listed above. The panel will then rank each application against others within the RMA Region according to the scores received. A lottery will be used to resolve any instances of a tie score that might have a bearing on funding recommendations. If such a lottery is required, the names of all tied applicants will be entered into a drawing. The first tied applicant drawn will have priority over other tied applicants for funding consideration.

The review panel will report the results of the evaluation to the Manager of FCIC. The panel's report will include the recommended applicants to receive cooperative partnership agreements for each RMA Region. Funding will not be provided for an application receiving a score less than 45. Funding will not be provided for an application that is highly similar to a higher-scoring application in the same RMA Region. Highly similar is one that proposes to reach the same producers likely to be reached by another applicant that scored higher by the panel and the same general educational material is proposed to be delivered.

An organization, or group of organizations in partnership, may apply for funding under other FCIC or RMA programs, in addition to the program described in this announcement. However, if the Manager of FCIC determines that an application recommended for funding is sufficiently similar to a project that has been funded or has been recommended to be funded under another RMA or FCIC program, then the Manager may elect not to fund that application in whole or in part. The Manager of FCIC will make the final determination on those applications that will be awarded funding.

VI. Award Administration Information Back to Top

A. Award Notices

The award document will provide pertinent instructions and information including, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Legal name and address of performing organization or institution to whom the Director has issued an award under the terms of this request for applications;

(2) Title of project;

(3) Name(s) and institution(s) of PDs chosen to direct and control approved activities;

(4) Identifying award number assigned by the Department;

(5) Project period, specifying the amount of time the Department intends to support the project without requiring recompeting for funds;

(6) Total amount of Departmental financial assistance approved by the Director during the project period;

(7) Legal authority(ies) under which the award is issued;

(8) Appropriate Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number;

(9) Applicable award terms and conditions (see http://www.rma.usda.gov/business/awards/awardterms.htm l to view RMA award terms and conditions);

(10) Approved budget plan for categorizing allocable project funds to accomplish the stated purpose of the award; and

(11) Other information or provisions deemed necessary by RMA to carry out its respective awarding activities or to accomplish the purpose of a particular award.

Following approval by the awarding official of RMA of the applications to be selected for funding, project leaders whose applications have been selected for funding will be notified. Within the limit of funds available for such a purpose, the awarding official of RMA shall enter into cooperative partnership agreements with those selected applicants.

After a cooperative agreement has been signed, RMA will extend to awardees, in writing, the authority to draw down funds for the purpose of conducting the activities listed in the agreement. All funds provided to the applicant by FCIC must be expended solely for the purpose for which the funds are obligated in accordance with the approved agreement and budget, the regulations, the terms and conditions of the award, and the applicability of Federal cost principles. No commitment of Federal assistance beyond the project period is made or implied for any award resulting from this notice.

Notification of denial of funding will be sent to applicants after final funding decisions have been made and the awardees announced publicly. Reasons for denial of funding can include, but are not limited to, incomplete applications, applications with evaluation scores that are lower that other applications in an RMA Region, or applications that are highly similar to a higher-scoring application in the same RMA Region. Highly similar is an application that proposes to reach the same producers likely to be reached by another applicant that scored higher by the panel and the same general educational material is proposed to be delivered.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

1. Requirement To Use Program Logo

Applicants awarded cooperative partnership agreements will be required to use a program logo and design provided by RMA for all instructional and promotional materials, when deemed appropriate.

2. Requirement To Provide Project Information to an RMA-Selected Representative

Applicants awarded cooperative partnership agreements may be required to assist RMA in evaluating the effectiveness of its educational programs by providing documentation of educational activities and related information to any representative selected by RMA for program evaluation purposes.

3. Private Crop Insurance Organizations and Potential Conflicts of Interest

Private organizations that are involved in the sale of Federal crop insurance, or that have financial ties to such organizations, are eligible to apply for funding under this announcement. However, such entities will not be allowed to receive funding to conduct activities that would otherwise be required under a Standard Reinsurance Agreement or any other agreement in effect between FCIC and the entity. Also, such entities will not be allowed to receive funding to conduct activities that could be perceived by producers as promoting one company's services or products over another's. If applying for funding, such organizations are encouraged to be sensitive to potential conflicts of interest and to describe in their application the specific actions they will take to avoid actual and perceived conflicts of interest.

4. Access to Panel Review Information

Upon written request from the applicant, scores from the evaluation panel, not including the identity of reviewers, will be sent to the applicant after the review and awards process has been completed.

5. Confidential Aspects of Applications and Awards

The names of applicants, the names of individuals identified in the applications, the content of applications, and the panel evaluations of applications will all be kept confidential, except to those involved in the review process, to the extent permitted by law. In addition, the identities of review panel members will remain confidential throughout the entire review process and will not be released to applicants. At the end of the fiscal year, names of panel members will be made available. However, panelists will not be identified with the review of any particular application. When an application results in a partnership agreement, that agreement becomes a part of the official record of RMA transactions, available to the public upon specific request. Information that the Secretary of Agriculture determines to be of a confidential, privileged, or proprietary nature will be held in confidence to the extent permitted by law. Therefore, any information that the applicant wishes to be considered confidential, privileged, or proprietary should be clearly marked within an application, including the basis for such designation. The original copy of an application that does not result in an award will be retained by RMA for a period of one year. Other copies will be destroyed. Copies of applications not receiving awards will be released only with the express written consent of the applicant or to the extent required by law. An application may be withdrawn at any time prior to award.

6. Audit Requirements

Applicants awarded cooperative partnership agreements are subject to audit.

7. Prohibitions and Requirements With Regard to Lobbying

Section 1352 of 101, enacted on October 23, 1989, imposes prohibitions and requirements for disclosure and certification related to lobbying on awardees of Federal contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and loans. It provides exemptions for Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations. Current and prospective awardees, and any subcontractors, are prohibited from using Federal funds, other than profits from a Federal contract, for lobbying Congress or any Federal agency in connection with the award of a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or loan. In addition, for each award action in excess of $100,000 ($150,000 for loans) the law requires awardees and any subcontractors: (1) To certify that they have neither used nor will use any appropriated funds for payment of lobbyists; (2) to disclose the name, address, payment details, and purpose of any agreements with lobbyists whom awardees of their subcontractors will pay with profits or other non-appropriated funds on or after December 22, 1989; and (3) to file quarterly up-dates about the use of lobbyists if material changes occur in their use. The law establishes civil penalties for non-compliance. A copy of the certification and disclosure forms must be submitted with the application, are available at the address, and telephone number listed in Section VII. Agency Contact.

8. Applicable OMB Circulars

All partnership agreements funded as a result of this notice will be subject to the requirements contained in all applicable OMB circulars.

9. Requirement To Assure Compliance With Federal Civil Rights Laws

Awardees of all cooperative partnership agreements funded as a result of this notice are required to know and abide by Federal civil rights laws and to assure USDA and RMA that the awardee is in compliance with and will continue to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), 7 CFR Part 15, and USDA regulations promulgated thereunder, 7 CFR 1901.202. RMA requires awardees to submit an Assurance Agreement (Civil Rights), assuring RMA of this compliance prior to the beginning of the project period.

10. Requirement To Participate in a Post Award Teleconference

RMA requires that project leaders participate in a post award teleconference, if conducted to become fully aware of agreement requirements and for delineating the roles of RMA personnel and the procedures that will be followed in administering the agreement and will afford an opportunity for the orderly transition of agreement duties and obligations if different personnel are to assume post-award responsibility.

11. Requirement To Submit Educational Materials to the National AgRisk Education Library

RMA requires that project leaders upload digital copies of all risk management educational materials developed because of the project to the National AgRisk Education Library (http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/) for posting, if electronically reporting. RMA will be clearly identified as having provided funding for the materials.

12. Requirement To Submit Proposed Results to the National AgRisk Education Library

RMA requires that project leaders submit results of the project to the National AgRisk Education Library (http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/) for posting if electronically reporting.

13. Requirement To Submit a Project Plan of Operation in the Event of a Human Pandemic Outbreak

RMA requires that project leaders submit a project plan of operation in case of a human pandemic event. The plan should address the concept of continuing operations as they relate to the project. This should include the roles, responsibilities, and contact information for the project team and individuals serving as back-ups in case of a pandemic outbreak.

C. Reporting Requirements

Awardees will be required to submit quarterly progress reports using the Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) as the cover sheet, quarterly financial reports (OMB Standard Form 425), and quarterly Activity Logs (Form RMA-300) throughout the project period, as well as a final program and financial report not later than 90 days after the end of the project period. The quarterly progress reports, Activity Logs, and final program reports MUST be submitted through the Results Verification System. The Web site address is http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/RMA/Reporting.

Awardees will be required to submit prior to the award:

  • A completed and signed Assurance Agreement (Civil Rights).
  • A completed and signed Faith-Based Survey on EEO.

VII. Agency Contact Back to Top

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number (CFDA): 10.459.

DATES: Back to Top

Electronic applications submitted through Grants.gov are due at April 27, 2010. Hard copy applications will NOT be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to contact: Leonard Randolph, Sundii Johnson-Phillips, or Lydia M. Astorga, USDA-RMA-RME, phone: 202-720-0779, e-mail: RMA.Risk-Ed@rma.usda.gov. You may also obtain information regarding this announcement from the RMA Web site at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/aboutrma/agreements.

VIII. Other Information Back to Top

A. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of over 70 million businesses worldwide. The Office of Management and Budget published a notice of final policy issuance in the Federal Register June 27, 2003 (68 FR 38402) that requires a DUNS number in every application (i.e., hard copy and electronic) for a grant or cooperative agreement on or after October 1, 2003. Therefore, potential applicants should verify that they have a DUNS number or take the steps needed to obtain one. For information about how to obtain a DUNS number, go to http://www.grants.gov. Please note that the registration may take up to 14 business days to complete.

B. Required Registration With the Central Contract Registry (CCR) for Submission of Proposals

The Central Contract Registry (CCR) is a database that serves as the primary Government repository for contractor information required for the conduct of business with the Government. This database will also be used as a central location for maintaining organizational information for organizations seeking and receiving grants from the Government. Such organizations must register in the CCR prior to the submission of applications. A DUNS number is needed for CCR registration. For information about how to register in the CCR, visit “Get Registered” at the Web site, http://www.grants.gov. Allow a minimum of 5 business days to complete the CCR registration.

C. Related Programs

Funding availability for this program may be announced at approximately the same time as funding availability for similar but separate programs—CFDA No. 10.455 (Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships), and CFDA No. 10.458 (Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States). These programs have some similarities, but also key differences. The differences stem from important features of each program's authorizing legislation and different RMA objectives. Prospective applicants should carefully examine and compare the notices for each program.

Signed in Washington, DC on February 23, 2010.

William J. Murphy,

Manager, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

[FR Doc. 2010-3975 Filed 2-25-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-08-P

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