Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA); Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP)

 
CONTENT
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER
contains documents other than rules or
proposed rules that are applicable to the
public. Notices of hearings and investigations,
committee meetings, agency decisions and
rulings, delegations of authority, filing of
petitions and applications and agency
statements of organization and functions are
examples of documents appearing in this
section.
Notices Federal Register
56572
Vol. 85, No. 178
Monday, September 14, 2020
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Farm Service Agency
Commodity Credit Corporation
[Docket ID CCC–2020–0007]
Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA);
Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP)
AGENCY
: Commodity Credit Corporation,
Farm Service Agency, USDA.
ACTION
: Notice.
SUMMARY
: The Seafood Trade Relief
Program (STRP) provides payments to
eligible commercial fishermen of
seafood commodities that have been
impacted by trade actions of foreign
governments resulting in the loss of
exports. This document announces the
availability of STRP funds for eligible
active commercial fishermen as
specified in this document, consistent
with the Presidential Memorandum
issued on June 24, 2020, ‘‘Protecting the
United States Lobster Industry.’’ The
Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers
STRP on behalf of the Commodity
Credit Corporation (CCC). Payments are
for the purpose of expanding or aiding
in the expansion of domestic markets
for U.S. caught and sold seafood.
DATES
: Application period: September
14, 2020, through December 14, 2020.
Comment Date: We will consider
comments on the Paperwork Reduction
Act that we receive by: November 13,
2020.
ADDRESSES
: We invite you to submit
comments on the information collection
requirements for STRP. You may submit
comments by any of the following
methods, although FSA and CCC prefer
that you submit comments
electronically through the Federal
eRulemaking Portal:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to
http://www.regulations.gov and search
for Docket ID CCC–2020–0007. Follow
the online instructions for submitting
comments.
Mail: William L. Beam, Deputy
Administrator, Farm Programs, Farm
Service Agency, USDA, 1400
Independence Ave. SW, Washington,
DC 20250. In your comment, specify the
docket ID CCC–2019–0007.
All comments received, including
those received by mail, will be posted
without change and publicly available
on http://www.regulations.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
William L. Beam, Deputy Administrator
for Farm Programs, telephone: (202)
720–3175.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
Background
The Presidential Memorandum issued
on June 24, 2020, ‘‘Protecting the United
States Lobster Industry,’’ (https://
www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-
actions/memorandum-protecting-
united-states-lobster-industry/) directs
USDA to consider taking appropriate
action, as permitted by law, to provide
assistance to eligible U.S. commercial
fishermen with seafood production that
have been impacted by trade actions of
foreign governments resulting in the
loss of exports. USDA, in consultation
with the Department of Commerce,
determined that assistance was
appropriate and will be made available
under section 5(e) of the CCC Charter
Act (15 U.S.C. 714c). This section
authorizes CCC to act to increase the
domestic consumption of agricultural
commodities by expanding or aiding in
the expansion of domestic markets or by
developing or aiding in the
development of new and additional
markets, marketing facilities, and uses
for such commodities. FSA administers
STRP on behalf of CCC.
Definitions
For STRP, the following definitions
apply. These definitions of ‘‘commercial
fishing’’ and ‘‘exclusive economic zone
(EEZ)’’ are consistent with the
definitions in the regulations of the
Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation
And Management Act, National Oceanic
And Atmospheric Administration,
Department Of Commerce (see 50 CFR
600.10, 622.2, and 635.2).
Commercial fishing means fishing
that is intended to, or results in, the
barter, trade, transfer, or sale of fish, but
does not include aquaculture with the
exception of geoducks and salmon.
Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) means
the zone established by Presidential
Proclamation 5030, 3 CFR part 22, dated
March 10, 1983, and is that area
adjacent to the United States that,
except where modified to accommodate
international boundaries, encompasses
all waters from the seaward boundary of
each of the coastal states to a line on
which each point is 200 nautical miles
(370.40 km) from the baseline from
which the territorial sea of the United
States is measured.
Eligibility and Payment Limits for STRP
This document announces the
availability of STRP payments for
commercial fishermen with seafood
production reported as U.S. harvested in
calendar year 2019. U.S. caught and
sold seafood includes those fish or
shellfish caught by U.S. vessels in
Canadian waters covered by the Treaty
Between the Governments of Canada
and the United States on Pacific
Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port
Privileges.
Eligible STRP production only
includes marine species that are
harvested by commercial fisherman who
hold a valid federal or state license or
permit to catch seafood, and such
marine species are brought to shore and
sold or transferred to another party that
must be a legally permitted or licensed
seafood dealer or processed at sea and
sold by the same legally permitted
entity that harvested or processed the
product. Any seafood that is not sold to
a permitted dealer or by a permitted
dealer if the catch is processed at sea is
ineligible for payment. Only those
species and types of seafood listed in
the table in this document are eligible
for STRP payments. Geoducks and
salmon are the only aquaculture
production with estimated trade
damages of more than $5 million as
required by STRP.
No person or legal entity, excluding a
joint venture or general partnership, as
determined by the regulations in 7 CFR
part 1400 may receive, directly or
indirectly, more than $250,000 in
payments made pursuant to this NOFA.
In general, STRP applicants with an
average adjusted gross income (AGI) of
$900,000 or more are not eligible to
receive an STRP payment. Specifically,
the $900,000 average AGI limitation
provisions in 7 CFR part 1400 relating
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1
The average size of China’s retaliatory tariff on
U.S. seafood products is 30%.
2
Trade Data Monitor.
3
NOAA fisheries.
to limits on payments for persons or
legal entities, excluding joint ventures
and general partnerships, apply to each
commercial fisherman as an applicant
for STRP. The average AGI will be
calculated for a person or legal entity
based on the 3 complete tax years that
precede the year for which the payment
is made (for 2020 the tax years are 2016,
2017, and 2018). However, if the average
AGI of a person or legal entity is greater
than $900,000, the person or entity is
not eligible to receive a STRP payment,
unless at least 75 percent of the adjusted
gross income of the person or entity is
derived from farming, ranching,
forestry, seafood production, or related
activities.
State and local governments are not
eligible.
In general, foreign persons are not
eligible for STRP payments.
Specifically, the foreign persons rules in
7 CFR part 1400, subpart E apply in
determining eligibility for payments
made according to this NOFA and for
purposes of application of this subpart
under this NOFA, production of seafood
will be treated as production on a farm.
When applying, the U.S. commercial
fisherman applicant will certify to FSA,
on form CCC–916, the ownership share
in pounds of the commercially
produced seafood as reported to Federal
and State fisheries, this includes
harvested production in Territories of
the U.S.. In order to be eligible for
STRP, U.S. commercial fishermen
operations must be in business at the
time of application. Those commercial
fishermen operations that are not in
business at the time of application are
therefore ineligible for STRP. A person
or legal entity will be ineligible for
STRP, if for a portion or all of the 2020
calendar year, such person or legal
entity either:
Does not have an ownership
interest in the production; or
Does not have a Federal or State
permit for commercial fishing to harvest
seafood.
Applicants must comply with the
provisions of:
This NOFA; and
Form CCC–916 (and any required
production evidence, if requested by
FSA).
Application Process
Each eligible commercial fisherman
applies for STRP participation once by
completing a ‘‘2020 Seafood Trade
Relief Program (STRP) Application’’
(form CCC–916), which is available on
www.farmers.gov and in FSA county
offices. Each applicant must submit a
complete form CCC–916 either in
person, by mail, email, or facsimile to
an FSA county office. Applicants may
submit form CCC–916 in any county
office nationwide. If a producer who
applies must submit additional
documentation for eligibility, such as
certifications of compliance with
payment limitation on form CCC–902
and adjusted gross income provisions
on form CCC–941, or proof of a
commercial license, those additional
documents and forms must be
submitted no later than 60 days from the
date the producer signs the application.
No STRP payment will be issued until
an applicant certifies, as applicable, the
quantity of 2019 commercial production
reported in pounds to Federal or State
fisheries. The applicant must certify to
the total commercial production by the
application period deadline as specified
in this document.
Trade Disruptions
There remain retaliatory tariffs by
China on American seafood exports,
which continue to disrupt seafood
markets. The extent of those disruptions
can be measured by estimating the
extent to which seafood trade can
reasonably be expected to be impacted
by those retaliatory tariffs relative to
pre-tariff trade.
The STRP rates were calculated using
USDA’s assessment of the expected
trade damage using partial equilibrium
trade modeling. The model for each
commodity is based on economic theory
and each employ modeling frameworks
and parameters widely recognized and
utilized in both the academic and trade
policy communities. Based on the
increased tariff, the models simulate the
expected reduction in U.S. exports to
the retaliatory partner market, holding
other factors constant. Trade damages
are calculated as the difference in trade
with the tariff and the baseline (without
the tariff).
The expected trade impacts depend
on several factors, including the tariff
levels, the amount of production
affected by the trade disruption, the
sensitivity of the retaliating country’s
consumers to higher prices due to the
tariffs, and the availability of substitutes
for U.S. products. The trade model
factors all of these variables and the
damage results provide an estimate for
the adjustment costs due to the trade
disruption. The rates are determined by
allocating the adjustment costs over the
affected supply to obtain a per-unit
basis.
The methodology is similar to the
approach USDA employed to estimate
the trade damages for U.S. commodities
affected by retaliatory tariffs to establish
commodity payment rates for the
Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and
purchase targets for the Food Purchase
and Distribution Program (FPDP). USDA
provided a detailed accounting of how
those gross damage estimates were
calculated which may be found here:
2018 MFP and FPDP: https://
www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/
documents/USDA_Trade_Methodology_
Report_2018.pdf.
2019 MFP and FPDP: https://
www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/
documents/USDA_Trade_Methodology_
Report_2019.pdf.
Payment Rates and Payment
Calculations
Data on impacted seafood tariffs
1
and
global trade flows of seafood products in
2017
2
was used to estimate gross trade
damages. Average domestic landings
between 2017 and 2019 were used to
determine payment rates per pound of
eligible commodity.
3
Commodities with
estimated trade damages of less than $5
million were not considered.
Species group
1
Value of
China’s
imports of
U.S. seafood
products
(2017)
2
(in million $)
Trade damage
(model
estimates)
(in million $)
U.S. domestic
landings
(2017–2019)
3
(in million lbs)
Salmon ....................................................................................................................... $319 $135 840
Sole, Flounder, and Turbot ........................................................................................ 185 78 525
Pacific Cod ................................................................................................................. 177 75 545
Lobsters ..................................................................................................................... 167 71 142
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Species group
1
Value of
China’s
imports of
U.S. seafood
products
(2017)
2
(in million $)
Trade damage
(model
estimates)
(in million $)
U.S. domestic
landings
(2017–2019)
3
(in million lbs)
Crabs (Dungeness, King, Snow, and Southern tanner) ............................................ 113 48 103
Pollock ....................................................................................................................... 90 38 3,368
Atka Mackerel, Sablefish, Goosefish, Pacific ocean perch ....................................... 80 34 330
Squid .......................................................................................................................... 76 32 160
Tunas ......................................................................................................................... 18 7.5 59
Geoduck ..................................................................................................................... 15 6.4 8.4
Herrings ..................................................................................................................... 14 5.9 137
1
Commodities with estimated trade damages of less than $5 million were not considered.
2
Source: Trade Data Monitor.
3
Source: NOAA fisheries
The STRP seafood payment rate is on
a per pound basis as shown in the
following table.
Seafood Rate ($/lb.)
Atka mackerel ....................... $0.10
Crab -Dungeness ................. 0.47
Crab, King ............................. 0.47
Crab, Snow ........................... 0.47
Crab, Southern Tanner ......... 0.47
Flounder ................................ 0.15
Geoduck ............................... 0.76
Goosefish .............................. 0.10
Herring .................................. 0.04
Lobster .................................. 0.50
Pacific Cod ........................... 0.14
Pacific Ocean Perch ............. 0.10
Pollock .................................. 0.01
Sablefish ............................... 0.10
Salmon .................................. 0.16
Sole ....................................... 0.15
Squid ..................................... 0.20
Tuna ...................................... 0.13
Turbot ................................... 0.15
Those payment rates reflect the
estimated severity of the impact of trade
disruptions to U.S. seafood caught and
sold commercially, and the adjustment
to new trade patterns for the types of
seafood products identified in this
document.
The actual production (in pounds)
used to calculate an STRP payment
under this document is not to exceed
the 2019 reported commercial
production in which the applicant had
an ownership share (greater than zero
shares) for seafood caught in U.S.
territorial waters, including seafood
caught in EEZs as authorized by treaties
between the United States and Canada.
The STRP payment, subject to the
payment limit, will be calculated as
follows:
Commercial Fisherman’s Share of
Production of Seafood Commodity (in
pounds) × STRP Payment Rate
For example, a commercial fisherman
submits an application specifying cod
landings for 2019 as 375,000 pounds.
FSA calculates the payment by
multiplying 375,000 × $0.14.
Production Evidence
To apply for an STRP payment for
seafood, on the application, the
applicant commercial fisherman will
certify the amount of commercial
landings in pounds for the 2019 season.
If requested by FSA, the commercial
fisherman must also provide supporting
documentation to provide production
evidence for the amount and type of
certified landings.
Examples of acceptable
documentation for production evidence
include: legal commercial fishing
production records that are determined
acceptable by the FSA county
committee as verified by the appropriate
Federal or State fishery management
agency.
Paperwork Reduction Act
Requirements
In accordance with the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C.
Chapter 35), FSA is requesting
comments from interested individuals
and organizations on the information
collection activities related to STRP.
After the 60-day period ends, the
information collection request will be
submitted to OMB for the 3-year
approval to cover STRP information
collection.
To start the STRP information
collection approval, prior to publishing
this document, FSA received emergency
approval from OMB for 6 months. The
emergency approval covers STRP
information collection activities.
Title: Seafood Trade Relief Program
(STRP).
OMB Control Number: 0560–New.
Type of Request: New Collection.
Abstract: This information collection
is required to support all STRP
information collection activities
(applicable notifications published in
the Federal Register) to provide
payments to the eligible applicants,
with respect to seafood that have been
impacted by trade actions of foreign
governments resulting in the loss of
exports. The information collection is
necessary to evaluate the application
and other required paperwork for
determining the commercial fisherman’s
eligibility and assist in commercial
fisherman’s payment calculations.
To start the STRP collection approval,
FSA received emergency approval from
OMB for 6 months. The emergency
approval covers this NOFA and any
other STRP information collection
activities.
For the following estimated total
annual burden on respondents, the
formula used to calculate the total
burden hour is the estimated average
time per response multiplied by the
estimated total annual responses.
Public reporting burden for this
information collection is estimated to
include the time for reviewing
instructions, searching existing data
sources, gathering and maintaining the
data needed and completing and
reviewing the collections of
information.
Type of Respondents: Commercial
fishermen.
Estimated Annual Number of
Respondents: 43,000.
Estimated Number of Reponses per
Respondent: 5.03.
Estimated Total Annual Responses:
216,300.
Estimated Average Time per
Response: 0.399 hours.
Estimated Total Annual Burden on
Respondents: 86,308 hours.
FSA is requesting comments on all
aspects of this information collection to
help us to:
(1) Evaluate whether the collection of
information is necessary for the proper
performance of the functions of the
FSA, including whether the information
will have practical utility;
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(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the FSA’s
estimate of burden including the
validity of the methodology and
assumptions used;
(3) Enhance the quality, utility and
clarity of the information to be
collected; and
(4) Minimize the burden of the
collection of information on those who
are to respond, including through the
use of appropriate automated,
electronic, mechanical, or other
technological collection techniques or
other forms of information technology.
All comments received in response to
this document, including names and
addresses when provided, will be a
matter of public record. Comments will
be summarized and included in the
submission for Office of Management
and Budget approval.
Environmental Review
The environmental impacts for STRP
have been considered in a manner
consistent with the provisions of the
National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321–4347), the
regulations of the Council on
Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts
1500–1508), and the FSA regulation for
compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part
799).
As previously stated, the intent of
STRP is to provide financial assistance
to commercial fishermen for expanding
or aiding in the expansion of domestic
markets for U.S. commercially caught
and sold seafood, because seafood
commodities have been impacted by
trade actions of foreign governments
resulting in the loss of exports. The
limited discretionary aspects of STRP
(for example, determining AGI and
payment limitations) were designed to
be consistent with established FSA and
CCC programs, but also take into
account certain differences associated
with seafood production from crop
production. These discretionary aspects
do not have the potential to impact the
human environment as they are
administrative. Accordingly, the
following Categorical Exclusions in 7
CFR part 799.31 apply:
§ 799.31(b)(6)(iii) applies to
financial assistance to supplement
income, manage the supply of
agricultural commodities, or influence
the cost and supply of such
commodities; and
§ 799.31(b)(6)(iv) applies to
individual farm participation in FSA
programs where no ground disturbance
or change in land use occurs as a result
of the proposed action or participation.
No Extraordinary Circumstances
(§ 799.33) exist. As such, the
implementation of STRP and the
participation in STRP do not constitute
major Federal actions that would
significantly affect the quality of the
human environment, individually or
cumulatively. Therefore, CCC will not
prepare an environmental assessment or
environmental impact statement for this
action and this document serves as
documentation of the programmatic
environmental compliance decision for
this federal action.
Federal Assistance Programs
The title and number of the Federal
assistance programs, as found in the
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance,
to which this document applies is
10.131—Seafood Trade Relief Program.
Richard Fordyce,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
Robert Stephenson,
Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit
Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2020–20143 Filed 9–9–20; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 3410–05–P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Forest Service
Information Collection: Federal and
Non-Federal Financial Assistance
Instruments
AGENCY
: Forest Service, Agriculture
(USDA).
ACTION
: Notice; request for comment.
SUMMARY
: In accordance with the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the
Forest Service is seeking comments
from all interested individuals and
organizations on the adoption of a new
form to replace multiple versions of a
currently approved information
collection, OMB 0596–0217, Federal
and Non-Federal Financial Assistance
Instruments.
DATES
: Comments must be received in
writing on or before November 13, 2020
to be assured of consideration.
Comments received after that date will
be considered to the extent practicable.
ADDRESSES
: Comments concerning this
notice should be addressed to
Jacqueline Henry, USDA Forest Service,
Director for Office of Grants and
Agreements, 1400 Independence Ave.
SW, Mailstop 1138, Washington, DC
20250.
Comments also may be submitted via
facsimile to 703–605–4776 or by email
to: jacqueline.henry@usda.gov.
The public may inspect comments
received at USDA Forest Service, 1400
Independence Ave. SW, Washington,
DC 20250, during normal business
hours. Visitors are encouraged to call
ahead to 703–605–4776 to facilitate
entry to the building.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Jacqueline Henry, Director for Office of
Grants and Agreements, telephone 703–
605–4776.
Individuals who use
telecommunication devices for the deaf
(TDD) may call the Federal Relay
Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339, 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, including
holidays.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
Title: Federal and Non-Federal
Financial Assistant Instruments.
OMB Number: 0596–0217.
Expiration Date of Approval: 11/30/
2017.
Type of Request: Renewal with
change.
Abstract: In order to perform specific
Forest Service activities, Congress
created several authorities to assist the
Agency in carrying out its mission. The
Forest Service issues partnership
agreements under specific authorities
exempt from the Federal Grants and
Cooperative Agreements Act (FGCAA).
This collection is for a new form that
will be used to enter into the following
agreement types by the Forest Service:
(1) Participating Agreements (replaces
FS–1500–16 and 16A through 16G),
(2) Cost-Reimbursable Agreement
(replaces FS–1500–12),
(3) Joint Venture Agreement (replaces
FS–1500–14 and 14A),
(4) Cooperative Research and
Development Agreements (replaces
FS1500–13 through 13B); and,
(5) Challenge Cost-Share Agreement
(replaces FS–1500–10 and 10A through
10C).
In addition to Federal Financial
Assistance (FFA), Congress created
specific authorizations for acts outside
the scope of the FGCAA. Appropriations
language was developed to convey
authority for the Forest Service to enter
into relationships that are outside the
scope of the FGCAA. The Forest Service
implements these authorizations using
instruments such as collection
agreements, FGCAA exempted
agreements, memorandums of
understanding, and other agreements
which mutually benefit participating
parties. These instruments fall outside
the scope of the Federal Acquisition
Regulations (FAR) and often require
financial plans and statements of work.
Forest Service employees collect
information from cooperating parties
from the pre-award to the closeout stage
via telephone calls, emails, postal mail,
and person-to-person meetings to create,
develop, and administer these funded
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