Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.
Notice of solicitation of applications.
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the availability of approximately $1.1 million competitive grant funds for fiscal year (FY) 2007 for cooperatives and association of cooperatives to assist small, minority agricultural producers. USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs hereby requests proposals from eligible cooperatives and associations of cooperatives interested in a competitively awarded grant. The cooperatives and associations of cooperatives will use the grant money to fund technical assistance to small, minority agricultural producers in rural areas. The maximum award per grant is $175,000.
Applications for grants must be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:
Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than July 30, 2007, to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.
Electronic copies must be received by July 30, 2007, to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.
Application materials for the Small, Minority Producers Grant Program (SMPG) may be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm or by contacting the applicant's USDA Rural Development State Office at (202) 720-4323 and pressing “1”.
Submit electronic grant applications at http://www.grants.gov, following the instructions found on this Web site. Submit completed paper applications for a grant to the applicant's State Office as follows:
A list of Rural Development State Offices follows:
USDA Rural Development State Office, Sterling Center, Suite 601, 4121 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106-3683, (334) 279-3400.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 800 West Evergreen, Suite 201, Palmer, AK 99645-6539, (907) 761-7705.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 230 North First Avenue, Suite 206, Phoenix, AZ 85003-1706, (602) 280-8701.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 700 West Capitol Avenue, Room 3416, Little Rock, AR 72201-3225, (501) 301-3200.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 430 G Street, #4169, Davis, CA 95616-4169, (530) 792-5800.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 655 Parfet Street, Room E-100, Lakewood, CO 80215, (720) 544-2915.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1221 College Park Drive, Suite 200, Dover, DE 19904, (302) 857-3580.
USDA Rural Development State Office, P. O. Box 147010, 4440 NW. 25th Place, Gainesville, FL 32614-7010, (352) 338-3402.
USDA Rural Development State Start Printed Page 29950Office, Stephens Federal Building 355 E. Hancock Avenue, Athens, GA 30601-2768, (706) 546-2162.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 311, 154 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720, (808) 933-8380.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 9173 West Barnes Dr., Suite A1, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 378-5600.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 2118 West Park Court, Suite A, Champaign, IL 61821, (217) 403-6200.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 5975 Lakeside Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46278, (317) 290-3100.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 873, 210 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA 50309, (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1303 SW First American Place, Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66604, (785) 271-2700.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 771 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Lexington, KY 40503, (859) 224-7300.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 3727 Government Street, Alexandria, LA 71302, (318) 473-7920.
USDA Rural Development State Office, P.O. Box 405, 967 Illinois Avenue, Suite 4, Bangor, ME 04402-0405 (207) 990-9160.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 451 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002 (413) 253-4300.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 200, East Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 324-5188.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 410 AgriBank Building, 375 Jackson Street St, Paul, MN 55101, (651) 602-7800.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Suite 831, 100 West Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 39269, (601) 965-4316.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 601 Business Loop 70 West, Parkade Center, Suite 235, Columbia, MO 65203, (573) 876-0976.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 900 Technology Blvd., Unit 1, Suite B, Bozeman, MT 59718, (406) 585-2580.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 152, 100 Centennial Mall North Lincoln, NE 68508, (402) 437-5551.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1390 South Curry Street, Carson City, NV 89703-5146, (775) 887-1222.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 5th Floor North, 8000 Midlantic Drive, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054, (856) 787-7700.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 6200 Jefferson Street, NE., Room 255, Albuquerque, NM 87109, (505) 761-4950.
USDA Rural Development State Office, The Galleries of Syracuse, 441 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202, (315) 477-6400.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 4405 Bland Road, Suite 260, Raleigh, NC 27609, (919) 873-2000.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 208, P.O. Box 1737, 220 East Rosser, Bismarck, ND 58502-1737 (701) 530-2037.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 507, 200 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215-2477, (614) 255-2500, Ext. 4.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 100 USDA, Suite 108, Stillwater, OK 74074-2654, (405) 742-1000.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1201 Northeast Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 801, Portland, OR 97232, (503) 414-3300.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1 Credit Union Place, Suite 330, Harrisburg, PA 17110-2996, (717) 237-2262.
USDA Rural Development State Office, IBM Building, Suite 601, 654 Munoz Rivera Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-6106, (787) 766-5095.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Strom Thurmond Federal Building, 1835 Assembly Street, Room 1007, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 765-5163.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Room 210, 200 4th Street, SW., Huron, SD 57350, (605) 352-1100.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 3322 West End Avenue, Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37203-1084 (615) 783-1300.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Federal Building, Suite 102, 101 South Main Street , Temple, TX 76501 (254) 742-9700.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, 125 South State Street, Room 4311, Salt Lake City, UT 84138 (801) 524-4324.
USDA Rural Development State Office, City Center, 3rd Floor, 89 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602 (802) 828-6080.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Culpeper Building, Suite 238, 1606 Santa Rosa Road, Richmond, VA 23229 (804) 287-1552.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 1835 Black Lake Boulevard, SW., Suite B, Olympia, WA 98512-5715 (360) 704-7715.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 75 High Street, Suite 320, Morgantown, WV 26505 (304) 284-4860.
USDA Rural Development State Office, 4949 Kirschling Court, Stevens Point, WI 54481 (715) 345-7600.
USDA Rural Development State Office, Dick Cheney Federal Building, P.O. Box 11005, 100 East B Street, Room 1005, Casper, WY 82602-5006 (307) 233-6700.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Visit the program Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm for application assistance or contact the USDA Rural Development State Office. Applicants are encouraged Start Printed Page 29951to contact their State Offices well in advance of the deadline to discuss their projects and ask any questions about the application process.
Federal Agency: Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS).
Funding Opportunity Title: Small, Minority Producer Grant.
Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.771
Dates: Application Deadline: Completed applications for grants may be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:
Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than July 30, 2007, to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.
Complete electronic copies must be received by July 30, 2007, to be eligible for FY 2007 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.
This will not affect other programs in USDA Rural Development.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
This solicitation is issued pursuant to the Revised Continuing Resolution, 2007, Public Law 110-5 dated February 15, 2007 which authorizes not to exceed $1,473,000 for cooperatives or associations of cooperatives whose primary focus is to provide assistance to small, minority agricultural producers and whose governing board and/or membership is comprised of at least 75 percent minority members. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the program's administration to USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs.
The primary objective of this grant program is to assist small, minority agricultural producers through cooperatives and associations of cooperatives. USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs will competitively award grants to fund cooperatives and/or associations of cooperatives to provide technical assistance to small, minority agricultural producers in rural areas. The maximum award amount per grant is $175,000.
Agency—Rural Business-Cooperative Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development or a successor agency.
Agricultural Commodity—An unprocessed product of farms, ranches, nurseries, and forests. Agricultural commodities include: livestock, poultry, and fish; fruits and vegetables; grains, such as wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale, rice, corn, and sorghum; legumes, such as field beans and peas; animal feed and forage crops; seed crops; fiber crops, such as cotton; oil crops, such as safflower, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed; trees grown for lumber and wood products; nursery stock grown commercially; Christmas trees; ornamentals and cut flowers; and turf grown commercially for sod. Agricultural commodities do not include horses or animals raised as pets, such as cats, dogs, and ferrets.
Cooperative Programs—The office within USDA Rural Development, and its successor organization, that administers programs authorized by the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 (7 U.S.C. 451 et seq.) and such other programs identified in USDA regulations.
Economic Development—The economic growth of an area as evidenced by increase in total income, employment opportunities, decreased out-migration of population, value of production, increased diversification of industry, higher labor force participation rates, increased duration of employment, higher wage levels, or gains in other measurements of economic activity, such as land values.
Feasibility Study—An analysis of the economic, market, technical, financial, and management feasibility of a proposed project.
Minority—Individuals who have been subjected to racial, ethnic, gender prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. Minority groups are Women, African Americans not of Hispanic Origin, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islanders.
Minority Association of Cooperatives—An association of cooperatives whose primary focus is to provide assistance to small, minority agricultural producers and where the governing board and/or membership is comprised of at least 75 percent minority.
Minority Cooperative—A farmer- or rancher-owned and -controlled business, organized and chartered as a cooperative, from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use by each of the farmer or rancher owners whose primary focus is to provide assistance to small, minority agricultural producers and where the governing board and/or membership is comprised of at least 75 percent minority.
Operating Cost—The day-to-day expenses of running a business; for example: utilities, rent, salaries, depreciation, product production costs, marketing and advertising, and other basic overhead items.
Project—Includes all activities to be funded by the Small Minority Agricultural Producer Grant and any matching funds.
Small, Minority Agricultural Producer—Minority persons or 100 percent minority-owned entities, including farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters, and fishermen, with gross annual sales of not more than $250,000 that engage in the production or harvesting of an agricultural commodity.
Rural and Rural Area—Includes all the territory of a State that is not within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 50,000 or more and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such city or town, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census using the latest decennial census of the United States.
Rural Development—A mission area within USDA consisting of the Office of Under Secretary for Rural Development, Rural Development Business and Cooperative Programs, Rural Development Housing Programs, and Rural Development Utilities Programs and their successors.
State—Includes each of the several States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and, as may be determined by the Secretary to be feasible, appropriate and lawful, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.
Technical Assistance—An advisory service performed for the benefit of a small, minority agricultural producer such as market research; product and/or service improvement; legal advice and assistance; feasibility study, business plan, and marketing plan development; and training. Technical assistance does not include the operating costs of a cooperative being assisted.
II. Award Information
Type of Award: Grant
Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2007
Approximate Total Funding: $1.1 million
Approximate Number of Awards: 6 Start Printed Page 29952
Approximate Average Award: $175,000
Floor of Award Range: None
Ceiling of Award Range: $175,000
Anticipated Award Date: September 14, 2007
Budget Period Length: 12 months
Project Period Length: 12 months
III. Eligibility Information
A. Eligible Applicants
Applicants must be a minority cooperative or a minority association of cooperatives.
B. Cost Sharing or Matching
No matching funds are required.
C. Other Eligibility Requirements
Use of Funds: The funds may only be used for technical assistance projects.
Project Area Eligibility: The Project proposed must take place in a rural area.
Grant Period Eligibility: If awarded, funds must be expended in 1 year. Applications must have a time frame of no more than 365 days with the time period beginning no earlier than October 1, 2007 and ending no later than December 31, 2008. Projects must be completed within the 1-year time frame. The Agency will not approve requests to extend the grant period. Applications that request funds for a time period ending after December 31, 2008, will not be considered for funding.
Completeness Eligibility: Applications lacking sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring will be considered ineligible. Applications that are non-responsive to this notice will be considered ineligible.
Multiple Grant Eligibility: An applicant may not submit more than one grant application in any one funding cycle.
Activity Eligibility: Applications must propose technical assistance, as defined, to benefit their members or other small minority agricultural producers who are not members or they will not be considered for funding. Applications that have ineligible costs that equal more than 10 percent of the total project costs will be determined ineligible and will not be considered for funding. An application that has ineligible costs of 10 percent or less of total project costs and is selected for funding, must remove all ineligible costs from the budget and replace them with eligible activities or the amount of the grant award will be reduced accordingly. An applicant may not submit an application that duplicates current activities or activities to be paid for by other Federally funded grant programs.
IV. Application and Submission Information
A. Address To Request Application Package
The application package for applying on paper for this funding opportunity can be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm. Alternatively, applicants may contact their USDA Rural Development State Office at the above list. For electronic applications, applicants must visit http://www.grants.gov and follow the instructions.
B. Content and Form of Submission
Applications must be submitted on paper or electronically. An application guide may be viewed at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm. It is recommended that applicants use the template provided on the Web site. The template can be filled out electronically and printed out for submission with the required forms for paper submission or it can be filled out electronically and submitted as an attachment through http://www.grants.gov.
Applications submitted by paper form, applicants must submit one signed original of the completed application. The application should be in the following format:
Font size: 12 point unreduced
Paper size: 8.5 by 11 inches
Printed on only one side of each page.
Held together only by rubber bands or metal or plastic clips; not bound in any other way.
The submission must include all pages of the application. It is recommended that the application be in black and white, and not color.
If the application is submitted electronically, the applicant must follow the instructions given at the Internet address: http://www.grants.gov. Applicants are advised to visit the site well in advance of the application deadline if they plan to apply electronically to ensure that they have obtained the proper authentication and have sufficient computer resources to complete the application.
Applicants must complete and submit the following elements. The Agency will screen all applications for eligibility and to determine whether the application is complete and sufficiently responsive to the requirements set forth in this notice to allow for an informed review. Information submitted as part of the application will be protected to the extent permitted by law.
1. Form SF-424, “Application for Federal Assistance.” The form must be completed, signed and submitted as part of the application package.
Please note that applicants are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. The DUNS number is a nine-digit identification number, which uniquely identifies business entities. There is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, access http://www.dnb.com/us/ or call 866-705-5711. For more information, see the SMPG Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm or by contacting the applicant's USDA Rural Development State Office. In addition to the DUNS number, an applicant must provide a legal Employment Identification Number.
2. Form SF-424A, “Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs.” This form must be completed and submitted as part of the application package.
3. Form SF-424B, “Assurances—Non-Construction Programs.” This form must be completed, signed, and submitted as part of the application package.
4. Table of Contents. For ease of locating information, each application must contain a detailed Table of Contents (TOC) immediately following the SF-424B. The TOC must include page numbers for each component of the application. Pagination should begin immediately following the TOC.
5. Eligibility Discussion: A detailed discussion, not to exceed four pages, must describe how the applicant meets the following requirements.
(i) Applicant Eligibility: If the applicant is a cooperative, the application must reference the business's good standing as a cooperative in its state of incorporation. If the applicant is an association of cooperatives, the application must reference the association's good standing as a legal business structure in its state of incorporation. If the applicant is selected for a grant, they must provide their Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws along with the State's Certificate of Good Standing to verify they are incorporated as a cooperative or an association of cooperatives in the State they have applied. The applicant must describe how it meets the definition of a “minority cooperative” or “minority association of cooperatives” as defined in the Definitions section of this Notice. The applicant must apply as only one type of applicant.
(ii) Use of Funds: The applicant must provide a detailed discussion on how the proposed project activities meet the definition of technical assistance. Start Printed Page 29953
(iii) Project Area: The applicant must provide information on where the projects are planned to be located and that the areas meet the “rural area” definition.
(iv) Grant Period: The applicant must provide a time frame for the proposed project and discuss how the project will be completed within that time frame.
6. Budget/Work Plan: The applicant must describe, in detail not to exceed four pages, the purpose of the grant, what type of assistance will be provided, and the total amount of funds needed to assist for each project. The budget must also present a breakdown of estimated costs associated with each task/activity for each project. The amount of grant funds requested will be adjusted if the applicant does not have justification for all costs.
7. Evaluation Criteria: Each of the evaluation criteria referenced in this notice must be addressed, specifically and individually on separate pages, in narrative form, not to exceed a total of one page for each evaluation criteria. Failure to address the evaluation criteria by the application deadline will result in the application being determined ineligible.
C. Submission Dates and Times
Application Deadline Date: July 30, 2007.
Explanation of Deadlines: Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight by the deadline date (see Section IV.F. for the address). Electronic applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov by the deadline date. Courier applications must be delivered by the deadline date. If the Applicant's application does not meet the deadline, it will not be considered for funding. Applicants will be notified if their application did not meet the submission deadline. Applicants will also be notified by mail or by e-mail if their application is received on time.
D. Intergovernmental Review of Applications
Executive Order (EO) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to this program. This EO requires that Federal agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with State and local governments. Many states have established a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of States that maintain an SPOC may be obtained at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html. If your State has an SPOC, you may submit your application directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to Rural Development for consideration as part of your application. If your State has not established an SPOC or you do not want to submit your application, Rural Development will submit your application to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies.
You are also encouraged to contact Cooperative Programs at 202-720-7558 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about this process.
E. Funding Restrictions
Grant funds must be used for technical assistance. No funds made available under this solicitation shall be used to:
1. Plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct a building or facility, including a processing facility;
2. Purchase, rent, or install fixed equipment, including processing equipment;
3. Purchase vehicles, including boats;
4. Pay for the preparation of the grant application;
5. Pay expenses not directly related to the funded project;
6. Fund political or lobbying activities;
7. Fund any activities prohibited by 7 CFR parts 3015 and 3019;
8. Fund architectural or engineering design work for a specific physical facility;
9. Fund any direct expenses for the production of any commodity or product to which value will be added, including seed, rootstock, labor for harvesting the crop, and delivery of the commodity to a processing facility;
10. Fund research and development;
11. Purchase land;
12. Duplicate current services or replace or substitute support previously provided;
13. Pay costs of the project incurred prior to the date of grant approval;
14. Pay for assistance to any private business enterprise which does not have at least 51 percent ownership by those who are either citizens of the United States or reside in the United States after being legally admitted for permanent residence;
15. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States;
16. Pay the operating costs of cooperative and/or association of cooperatives; or
17. Pay expenses for applicant employee training.
F. Other Submission Requirements
Applicants may submit their paper application for a grant to their Rural Development State Office listed under the Addresses section. Applicants may submit their application electronically at http://www.grants.gov. Applications may not be submitted by electronic mail, facsimile, or hand-delivery. Each application submission must contain all required documents in one envelope, if sent by mail or express delivery service.
V. Application Scoring Criteria Review Information
All eligible and complete applications will be evaluated based upon the following criteria. Failure to address any one of the following criteria by the application deadline will result in the application being determined ineligible and the application will not be considered for funding. The total points possible for the criteria are 60 and the maximum number of points for each of the following sections is 15. Any application receiving less than 40 total points will not be funded.
1. Rural Area: Projects must be in rural areas. Points will be awarded based upon the rural area where the proposed project is located. The Agency will determine if the area meets the rural area definition by using the following Web site: http://maps.ers.usda.gov/loanlookup/viewer.htm.
(i) If the proposed project is located in a city or town with a population of at least 15,000 and no more than 25,000 people, 5 points will be awarded;
(ii) If the proposed project is located in a city or town with a population of at least 5,000 and less than 15,000 people, 10 points will be awarded; or
(iii) If the proposed project is located in a city or town with a population of less than 5,000 people, 15 points will be awarded.
(iv) If the proposed project is located in an unincorporated area, 15 points will be awarded.
If the applicant proposes to provide assistance in multiple areas or cities, the applicant must list the areas or cities where the assistance will be provided, the population for each and the amount of assistance of each area. Points will be calculated by using the above point scale for each, with the points awarded using a weighted average of the points for the areas served. The information needed for this criterion may be obtained using the population finder tool at http://www.census.gov/.
2. Per capita personal income: Points will be awarded proportionally based upon a comparison of the per capita personal income of the county in which a proposed project is located to the state per capital personal income: Start Printed Page 29954
(i) If the per capita personal income level in the county where the proposed project will be located is less than 80 percent of the state per capita personal income level, 15 points will be awarded;
(ii) If the per capita personal income level in the county where the proposed project will be located is at least 80 percent and less than 90 percent of the state per capita personal income level, 10 points will be awarded;
(iii) If the per capita personal income level in the county where the proposed project will be located is at least 90 percent and less than 100 percent of the state per capita personal income level, 5 points will be awarded; or
(iv) If the per capita personal income level in the county where the proposed project will be located is equal to or exceeds the state per capita personal income, no points will be awarded.
If the applicant proposes to provide assistance in multiple rural counties, the applicant must list the counties where the assistance will be provided; the percentage of assistance intended to be spent in each county, and the per capita personal income level for each county. Points will be calculated by using the above point score for each county's per capital personal income level, with the total points awarded in proportion to where the assistance is directed. (For example, if 50% of the grant money will be spent in a county where the per capita income is below 80 percent, and 50% will be spent in a county where the per capita income is between 90 and 100 percent, points will be calculated as follows: [(.5)*(15) + (.5)*(5) = 10 points]. The information needed for this criterion may be obtained at http://www.bea.gov.
3. Experience. Points will be awarded based upon the relevant experience of the staff or the consultants hired to provide the proposed technical assistance.
(i) If the staff or consultants have no experience in providing technical assistance, 0 points will be awarded;
(ii) If each of the staff or consultants has 3 years of experience in providing technical assistance, 5 points will be awarded;
(iii) If each of the staff or consultants have at least 3 years of experience in providing the same type of technical assistance as proposed in the project, 10 points will be awarded; or
(iv) If each of the staff or consultants has at least 3 years of experience in providing the same type of technical assistance as proposed in the project to small, minority agricultural producers, 15 points will be awarded.
Applicants must describe the specific type of technical assistance that each staff member or consultant has experience in providing. Resumes of each individual staff member or consultant must be included as an attachment listing their experience for the type of technical assistance, along with a list of small, minority agricultural producers they've assisted. The attachments will not count toward the maximum page total. The Agency will compare the described assistance and the resumes to the work plan to determine point total.
4. Number of small, minority agricultural producers assisted. Points will be awarded based upon the number of agricultural, minority producers being assisted.
(i) If the proposed project will benefit 1-10 producers, 5 points will be awarded;
(ii) If the proposed project will benefit 11-50 producers, 10 points will be awarded; or
(iii) If the proposed project will benefit more than 50 producers, 15 points will be awarded.
Applicants must list the number of small, minority agricultural producers that will directly benefit from the assistance provided.
B. Review and Selection Process
The Agency will screen all proposals to determine whether the application is eligible and sufficiently responsive to the requirements set forth in this notice to allow for an informed review. Applications will be tentatively scored by the State Offices and submitted to the National Office for review and selection. The National Office will review the scores based upon the point allocation specified in this notice. The applications will be funded in scoring rank order and will be submitted to the Administrator in rank order, together with funding level recommendations.
C. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Award Date: The announcement of award selections is expected to occur on or about September 14, 2007.
VI. Award Administration Information
A. Award Notices
Successful applicants will receive a notification of tentative selection for funding from Rural Development. Applicants must comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and this notice before the grant award will receive final approval.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification, including mediation procedures and appeal rights, by mail.
B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
The following additional requirements apply to grantees selected for this program:
- Agency approved Grant Agreement.
- Letter of Conditions.
- Form RD 1940-1, “Request for Obligation of Funds.”
- Form RD 1942-46, “Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.”
- Form AD-1047, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions.”
- Form AD-1048, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions.”
- Form AD-1049, “Certification Regarding a Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants).”
- Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement.”
- Form 2006-38, “Civil Rights Impact Analysis.” Prior to approval of all grants, a Civil Rights Impact Analysis will be conducted.
Additional information on these requirements can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/smpg/smpg.htm.
Fund Disbursement: The Agency will determine, based on 7 CFR 3015, 3016 and 3019, as applicable, whether disbursement of a grant will be by advance or reimbursement. As needed, but not more frequently than once every 30 days, an original of SF-270, “Request for Advance or Reimbursement,” may be submitted to Rural Development. Recipient's request for advance shall not be made in excess of reasonable outlays for the month covered.
Reporting Requirements: Grantees must provide Rural Development with an original or an electronic copy that includes all required signatures of the following reports. The reports should be submitted to the Agency contact listed on the Grant Agreement and Letter of Conditions. Failure to submit satisfactory reports on time may result in suspension or termination of the grant. Grantees will need to submit:
1. Form SF-269 or SF-269A. A “Financial Status Report,” listing expenditures according to agreed upon budget categories, on a semiannual basis. Reporting periods end each March 31 and September 30. Reports are due 30 days after the reporting period ends.
2. Semiannual performance reports that compare accomplishments to the Start Printed Page 29955objectives stated in the proposal. Identify all tasks completed to date and provide documentation supporting the reported results. If the original schedule provided in the work plan is not being met, the report should discuss the problems or delays that may affect completion of the Project. Objectives for the next reporting period should be listed. Compliance with any special condition on the use of award funds must be discussed. Reports are due as provided in paragraph (1) of this section. Supporting documentation must also be submitted for completed tasks. The supporting documentation for completed tasks include, but are not limited to, feasibility studies, marketing plans, business plans, articles of incorporation, and bylaws as they relate to the assistance provided.
3. Final project performance reports that compare accomplishments to the objectives stated in the proposal. Identify all tasks completed and provide documentation supporting the reported results. If the original schedule provided in the work plan was not met, the report must discuss the problems or delays that affected completion of the project. Compliance with any special condition on the use of award funds must be discussed. Supporting documentation for completed tasks must also be submitted. The supporting documentation for completed tasks includes, but is not limited to, feasibility studies, marketing plans, business plans, articles of incorporation, and bylaws as they relate to the assistance provided. The final performance report is due within 90 days of the completion of the project. The report must also include a summary at the end of the report with the number of small minority agricultural producers assisted to assist in documenting the annual performance goals of the SMPG program for Congress.
VII. Agency Contacts
For general questions about this announcement and for program technical assistance, please contact the appropriate State Office as indicated in the Addresses section of this notice.
VIII. Non-Discrimination Statement
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, martial status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.Start Signature
Dated: May 22, 2007.
Jackie J. Gleason,
Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. E7-10301 Filed 5-29-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P