The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces that it is inviting proposals for the 2015 Foreign Market Development Cooperator (Cooperator) program. The intended effect of this notice is to solicit applications from eligible applicants for fiscal year 2015 and to set out criteria for the award of funds under the program in October 2014. The Cooperator program is administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, May 19, 2014. Applications received after this date will not be considered.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Entities wishing to apply for funding assistance should contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service by courier address: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: email@example.com. Information is also available on the FAS Web site at http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/foreign-market-development-program-fmd.
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I. Funding Opportunity Description
Announcement Type: New.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.600.
Authority: The Cooperator program is authorized by title VII of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, as amended. Cooperator program regulations appear at 7 CFR part 1484.
Purpose: The Cooperator program is designed to create, expand, and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products through cost-share assistance. Financial assistance under the Cooperator program will be made available on a competitive basis and applications will be reviewed against the evaluation criteria contained herein and in the Cooperator program regulations. All U.S. agricultural commodities, except tobacco, are eligible for consideration.
FAS allocates funds in a manner that effectively supports the strategic decision-making initiatives of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. In deciding whether a proposed project will contribute to the effective creation, expansion, or maintenance of foreign markets, FAS considers whether the applicant provides a clear, long-term agricultural trade strategy and a program effectiveness time line against which results can be measured at specific intervals using quantifiable product or country goals. FAS also considers the extent to which a proposed project targets markets with the greatest growth potential. These factors are part of the FAS resource allocation strategy to fund applicants who can demonstrate performance and address the objectives of the GPRA.
II. Award Information
Under the Cooperator program, FAS enters into agreements with eligible nonprofit U.S. trade organizations to share the cost of certain overseas marketing and promotion activities. Funding priority is given to organizations that have the broadest possible producer representation of the commodity being promoted and that are nationwide in membership and scope. Cooperators may receive assistance only for generic activities that do not involve promotions targeted directly to consumers. The program generally operates on a reimbursement basis.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants: To participate in the Cooperator program, an applicant must be a nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organization.
2. Cost Sharing: To participate in the Cooperator program, an applicant must agree to contribute resources to its proposed promotional activities. The Cooperator program is intended to supplement, not supplant, the efforts of the U.S. private sector. The contribution must be at least 50 percent of the value of resources provided by CCC for activities conducted under the project agreement.
The degree of commitment of an applicant to the promotional strategies Start Printed Page 21717contained in its application, as represented by the agreed cost-share contributions specified therein, is considered by FAS when determining which applications will be approved for funding. Cost-share may be actual cash invested or in-kind contributions, such as professional staff time spent on design and execution of activities. The Cooperator program regulations, including sections 1484.50 and 1484.51, provide detailed discussion of eligible and ineligible cost-share contributions.
3. Other: Applications should include a justification for funding assistance from the program—an explanation as to what specifically could not be accomplished without federal funding assistance and why participating organization(s) are unlikely to carry out the project without such assistance.
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package: Organizations are encouraged to submit their FMD applications to the FAS through the Unified Export Strategy (UES) application Internet Web site. The UES allows applicants to submit a single consolidated and strategically coordinated proposal that incorporates requests for funding and recommendations for virtually all of the FAS marketing programs, financial assistance programs, and market access programs. The suggested UES format encourages applicants to examine the constraints or barriers to trade faced, identify activities that would help overcome such impediments, consider the entire pool of complementary marketing tools and program resources, and establish realistic export goals.
Applicants planning to use the Internet-based system must contact the FAS/Program Operations Division to obtain site access information. The Internet-based application may be found at the following URL address: https://www.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/.
FAS highly recommends applying via the Internet-based application as this format virtually eliminates paperwork and expedites the FAS processing and review cycle. However, applicants also have the option of submitting an electronic version of their application to FAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission: To be considered for the Cooperator program, an applicant must submit to FAS information required by the Cooperator program regulations in section 1484.20. In addition, in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's policy (68 FR 38402 (June 27, 2003)) regarding the need to identify entities that are receiving government awards, all applicants must submit a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. An applicant may request a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711.
In addition, in accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the Cooperator program and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:
(i) Be registered in the CCR prior to submitting an application or plan;
(ii) Maintain an active CCR registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by CCC; and
(iii) Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to CCC.
Similarly, in accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to the Cooperator program and does not qualify for an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b) must ensure it has the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the applicable reporting requirements of 2 CFR part 170 should it receive funding under the Cooperator program. Incomplete applications and applications that do not otherwise conform to this announcement or the Cooperator program regulations will not be accepted for review.
FAS administers various other agricultural export assistance programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP), the Emerging Markets Program, the Quality Samples Program, and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program. Any organization that is not interested in applying for the Cooperator program but would like to request assistance through one of the other programs mentioned should contact the Program Operations Division.
3. Submission Dates and Times: All applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, May 19, 2014. All Cooperator program applicants, regardless of the method of submitting an application, also must submit by the application deadline, an original signed certification statement as specified in 7 CFR 1484.20(a)(14) to the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250. Applications or certifications received after this date will not be considered.
4. Funding Restrictions: Certain types of expenses are not eligible for reimbursement by the program, and there are limits on other categories of expenses. CCC also will not reimburse unreasonable expenditures or expenditures made prior to approval. Full details are available in the Cooperator program regulations, including sections 1484.54 and 1484.55.
V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria and Review Process: Following is a description of the FAS process for reviewing applications and the criteria for allocating available Cooperator program funds.
(1) Phase 1—Sufficiency Review and FAS Divisional Review
Applications received by the closing date will be reviewed by FAS to determine the eligibility of the applicants and the completeness of the applications. These requirements appear in sections 1484.14 and 1484.20 of the Cooperator program regulations as well as in this Notice. Applications that meet the requirements then will be further evaluated by the appropriate Commodity Branch office of the FAS/Cooperator Programs Division. The Commodity Branch will review each application against the criteria listed in section 1484.21 of the Cooperator program regulations. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals. The Commodity Branch then recommends an appropriate funding level for each approved application for consideration by the Office of the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs.
(2) Phase 2—Competitive Review
Meritorious applications are passed on to the Office of the Deputy Administrator, Office of Trade Programs, for the purpose of allocating available funds among those applicants. Applicants will compete for funds on the basis of the following allocation criteria as appropriate (the number in parentheses represents a percentage weight factor):
(a) Contribution Level (40)
- The applicant's 6-year average share (2010-2015) of all contributions under the Cooperator program (contributions may include cash and goods and services provided by U.S. entities in support of foreign market development activities) compared to;
- The applicant's 6-year average share (2010-2015) of the funding level for all Cooperator program participants.
(b) Past Export Performance (20)
- The 6-year average share (2009-2014) of the value of exports promoted by the applicant compared to;Start Printed Page 21718
- The applicant's 6-year average share (2009-2014) of the funding level for all Cooperator participants plus, for those groups participating in the MAP program, a 6-year average share (2009-2014) of all MAP budgets.
(c) Past Demand Expansion Performance (20)
- The 6-year average share (2009-2014) of the total value of world trade of the commodities promoted by the applicant compared to;
- The applicant's 6-year average share (2009-2014) of all Cooperator program expenditures plus, for those groups participating in the MAP program, a 6-year average share (2009-2014) of all MAP expenditures.
(d) Future Demand Expansion Goals (10)
- The projected total dollar value of world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2020 compared to;
- The applicant's requested funding level.
(e) Accuracy of Past Demand Expansion Projections (10)
- The actual dollar value share of world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2013 compared to;
- The applicant's past projected share of world trade of the commodities being promoted by the applicant for the year 2013, as specified in the 2010 Cooperator program application.
The Commodity Branches' recommended funding levels for each applicant are converted to percentages of the total Cooperator program funds available and then multiplied by each weight factor to determine the amount of funds allocated to each applicant.
2. Anticipated Announcement Date: Announcements of funding decisions for the Cooperator program are anticipated during October 2014.
VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices: FAS will notify each applicant in writing of the final disposition of its application. FAS will send an approval letter and project agreement to each approved applicant. The approval letter and project agreement will specify the terms and conditions applicable to the project, including the levels of Cooperator program funding, and cost-share contribution requirements.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: Interested parties should review the Cooperator program regulations, which are available at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/foreign-market-development-program-fmd. Hard copies may be obtained by contacting the Program Operations Division.
3. Reporting: FAS requires various reports and evaluations from Cooperators. Reporting requirements are detailed in the Cooperator program regulations in sections 1484.53, 1484.70, and 1484.72.
VII. Agency Contact(s)
For additional information and assistance, contact the Program Operations Division, Office of Trade Programs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Courier address: Room 6512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250, or by phone: (202) 720-4327, or by fax: (202) 720-9361, or by email: email@example.com.
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Signed at Washington, DC, on the 18th of March 2014.
Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2014-08628 Filed 4-15-14; 11:15 am]
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