Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program


credit: FFT Ireland

To establish a competitive research and extension grants program for the purpose of: (1) improving the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers; and (2) establishing and maintaining a national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories




Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2009: Newly authorized program - initial funding for FY "10. Fiscal Year 2010: To be provided by Program at a future date. Fiscal Year 2011: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

In general:
The Secretary may make competitive research and extension grants for the purpose of:
(1) improving the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers;
and
(2) establishing and maintaining a national, publicly available farm financial
management database to support improved farm management.



Selection criteria:
In allocating funds made available to carry out this section, the Secretary may give priority to grants that:
(1) demonstrate an ability to work directly with agricultural producers;

(2) collaborate with farm management and producer associations;

(3) address the farm management needs of a variety of crops and regions of the United
States; and

(4) use and support the national farm financial management database.

Administration:
Paragraphs (4), (7), (8), and (11)(B) of subsection (b) of section 450i of this title shall apply with respect to the making of grants under this section.
Authorization of appropriations:

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.

NIFA has determined that grant funds awarded under this authority may not be used for the renovation or refurbishment of research, education, or extension space; the purchase or installation of fixed equipment in such space; or the planning, repair, rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of buildings or facilities.

Fully discretionary.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by qualified public and private entities.

Pursuant to 7 U.S.C.

450i(7), this includes:
(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) colleges and universities;
(C) university research foundations;
(D) other research institutions and organizations;
(E) Federal agencies;
(F) national laboratories;
(G) private organizations or corporations;
(H) individuals; or
(I) any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (H).

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

An applicant s failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of an application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Applications may be submitted by qualified public and private entities. Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 450i(7), this includes:
(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) colleges and universities;
(C) university research foundations;
(D) other research institutions and organizations;
(E) Federal agencies;
(F) national laboratories;
(G) private organizations or corporations;
(H) individuals; or
(I) any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (H).

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. An applicant s failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of an application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Credentials/Documentation

A Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number must be obtained - A DUNS number is a unique number that identifies an organization. It has been adopted by the Federal government to help track how Federal grant money is distributed. If your organization does not have a DUNS number, call the special Dun & Bradstreet hotline at 1-866-705-5711 to receive one free of charge. You will receive a DUNS number within several days of your request. Please note, individual proprietorships (i.e. farmers, ranchers) can request and receive a DUNS number, but must register with Grants.gov as an organization, not as an individual.

Registration with Central Contractor Registry (CCR) is required - The CCR is the central government repository for organizations working with the Federal government. If your organization is not already registered, identify the primary contact who should register your organization. When your organization registers with CCR, it will be required to designate an e-Business Point of Contact (e-Business POC). The e-Business POC authorizes individuals to submit grant applications on behalf of the organization and creates a special password called a Marketing Partner ID Number (M-PIN) to verify individuals authorized to submit grant applications for the organization. Visit the CCR Web site at http://www.ccr.gov to begin this process. It may take several days to collect the information needed for your organization s registration. The CCR Assistance Center can be reached at 888-227-2423. This information collection is approved under OMB Control No. 0524-0039, "NIFA Application Kit for Research and Extension Programs."

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, "Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.". OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

All RFAs are published on the Agency s website and Grants.gov.

Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process.

Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.

Award Procedures

Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors:

(a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities;

(b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;

(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs;

(d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations;

(e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and

(f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

Deadlines

Not Applicable.

Authorization

Section 1672D of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5925f).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

:094 Deadlines:

Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.

Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. Respective links are provided below:
http://www.nifa.usda.gov/

http://www.grants.gov

:095 Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:

From 30 to 180 days.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The term of competitive project grants and/or cooperative agreements under this program may not exceed five (5) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).

This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No.

0524-0042, "NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS)." CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal financial Report to monitor cash.

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).

This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No.

0524-0042, "NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS)." CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

A final "Federal Financial Report" (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Branch, Office of Extramural Programs at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Branch,Office of Extramural Programs,National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, STOP 2271,1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986.

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).

This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No.

0524-0042, "NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS)." CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, and implemented in 7 CFR 3052. This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.

Records

In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations [2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)] grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1500-0-1-352.

Obigations

(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 09 $0; FY 10 est $1,438,500; FY 11 est $0 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal Assistance Programs - General Award Administrative Provisions and Program-Specific Administrative Provisions; 7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) ; 7 CFR Part 3018, New Restrictions on Lobbying; 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-profit Organizations; and 7 CFR Part 3021- USDA implementation of Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-free Workplace (Financial Assistance).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Economic and Community Systems (ECS) 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 2215, , Washington, District of Columbia 20024 Phone: (202) 720-7947 Fax: (202) 690-3162

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).



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