Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement; Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 136 (Tuesday, July 16, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 136 (Tuesday, July 16, 2019)]
[Pages 33904-33911]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2019-14825]
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 136 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 /
[[Page 33904]]
[FOA No. OPPE-013]
Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement; Outreach and
Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran
Farmers and Ranchers
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 10.443--
Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and
Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers.
AGENCY: Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), USDA.
ACTION: Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) FY 2019.
SUMMARY: This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits
applications from community-based and non-profit organizations,
institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to compete for
financial assistance through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially
Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
Program (hereinafter referred to as the ``2501 Program''). Individual
applicants do not meet the eligibility criteria.
    Funding is being provided to eligible entities who, in partnership
with the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), will
conduct outreach initiatives and training to achieve the overall goal
of the 2501 Program--to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran
farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms and ranches while
increasing their participation in agricultural programs and services
provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is a non-
construction grant.
DATES: Only one project proposal may be submitted per eligible entity.
Proposals must be submitted through and received by
August 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Proposals submitted after this
deadline will not be considered for funding.
    OPPE will host two (2) teleconferences during the open period of
this announcement to answer any clarifying questions as follows:
 July 23, 2019 at 2 p.m. EST, Telephone Number: (800) 230-1085,
Passcode: 469845
 August 6, 2019 at 2 p.m. EST, Telephone Number: (800) 230-
1059, Passcode: 469846
Filing a Complaint of Discrimination
    To file a program discrimination complaint, you may obtain a
complaint form by sending an email to [email protected]. You or
your authorized representative must sign the complaint form. You are
not required to use the complaint form. You may write a letter instead.
If you write a letter, it must contain all the information requested in
the form and be signed by you or your authorized representative.
Incomplete information will delay the processing of your complaint.
Employment civil rights complaints will not be accepted through this
email address.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax,
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.
    Fax: (202) 690-7442.
    Email: [email protected].
Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, Attn: Kenya Nicholas,
Assistant Deputy Director, J.L. Whitten Building, Room 520-A, 1400
Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: (202) 720-6350,
Fax: (202) 720-7704, Email: [email protected].
    Persons with Disabilities: Persons who require alternative means
for communication (Braille large print, audiotape, etc.), should
contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
Additionally, alternative means for submissions due to disability
status will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Funding/Awards: The total funding
potentially available for this competitive opportunity is approximately
$16 million (including funds provided in the 2018 Farm Bill and the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019). The OPPE will award grants
from this announcement, subject to availability of funds and the
quality of applications received. All applicants will compete based on
their organization's entity type (e.g., nonprofit organization or
higher education institution), as described below. Projects that are
part of multi-year initiatives will be funded in accordance with the
approved statement of work. Additionally, USDA has the discretion to
fund multi-year projects in an effort to maximize outreach and
technical assistance ensuring geographical distribution of funds.
Eligible entities may receive subsequent years funding provided that:
    (a) Activities and associated costs do not overlap with projects
awarded in previous years; and
    (b) recipients are current and compliant with existing financial
and progress reporting. The progress of existing projects, along with
the percentage of funds used to date, may impact funding decisions.
    Funding will be awarded based on peer competition within the three
categories described below along with the amount of anticipated funding
for each category. The OPPE reserves discretion to allocate funding
between the three categories based upon the number and quality of
applications received. There is no commitment by the OPPE to fund any
particular application or to select a specific number of recipients
within each category.
    1. Category #1: Eligible entities described in Sections III.A.2,
III.A.3, and III.A.4 (1890 Land Grant colleges and universities, 1994
Tribal Land-Grant, Alaska Native and American Indian Tribal colleges
and universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions of higher
    2. Category #2: Eligible entities described in Sections III.A.1 and
III.A.6 (i.e., nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations,
including a network or a coalition of community-based organizations,
Indian Tribes (as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b), and National Tribal
    3. Category #3: Eligible entities described in Sections III.A.5 and
III.A.7 (i.e., all other institutions of higher education including
1862 colleges, nonprofit organizations without a 501(c)(3) status
certification from the
[[Page 33905]]
IRS, and other organizations or institutions, including those that
received funding under this program before January 1, 1996).
Contents of This Announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
II. Award Information
III. Eligibility Information
IV. Proposal and Submission Information
V. Application Review Information
VI. Award Administration Information
I. Funding Opportunity Description
A. Background
    The OPPE is committed to ensuring that socially disadvantaged and
veteran farmers and ranchers are able to equitably participate in USDA
programs. Differences in demographics, culture, economics, and other
factors preclude a single approach to identifying solutions that can
benefit our underserved farmers and ranchers. Community-based and non-
profit organizations, higher education institutions, and eligible
Tribal entities can play a critical role in addressing the unique
difficulties they face and can help improve their ability to start and
maintain successful agricultural businesses. With 2501 Program funding,
organizations can extend our outreach efforts to connect with and
assist local socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers
and to provide them with information on available USDA resources.
    1. The 2501 Program was authorized by the Food, Agriculture,
Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. The Food, Conservation, and Energy
Act of 2008 expanded the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture (the
Secretary) to provide awards under the program and transferred the
administrative authority to the OPPE. The Agricultural Act of 2014
further expanded the program to include outreach and assistance to
veterans. The 2501 Program extends USDA's capacity to work with members
of farming and ranching communities by funding projects that enhance
the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran
farmers and ranchers in USDA programs. It is the OPPE's intention to
build lasting relationships between USDA, the recipient's
organizations, and socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and
    2. Only one proposal will be accepted from each organization. This
does not apply to applicants in the State of Massachusetts. The State
fiscal transfer agent may submit multiple proposals ensuring that only
one proposal is submitted on behalf of each of its individual fiscally
sponsored organizations.
B. Scope of Work
    The 2501 Program provides funding to eligible organizations for
training and technical assistance projects designed to assist socially
disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in owning and operating
viable agricultural enterprises. This is a non-construction grant.
Proposals must be consistent with requirements stated in 7 U.S.C.
2279(c)(3). Under this statute, the outreach and technical assistance
program funds shall be used exclusively:
    1. To enhance coordination of the outreach, technical assistance,
and education efforts authorized under agriculture programs;
    2. To assist the Secretary of Agriculture in:
    a. Reaching current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers
or ranchers and veteran farmers or ranchers in a linguistically
appropriate manner; and
    b. improving the participation of those farmers and ranchers in
USDA programs.
    Proposals from eligible entities must address two or more of the
following priority areas:
    1. Assist socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers in
owning and operating successful farms and ranches;
    2. Improve participation among socially disadvantaged or veteran
farmers and ranchers in USDA programs;
    3. Build relationships between current and prospective farmers and
ranchers who are socially disadvantaged or veterans and USDA's local,
state, regional, and National offices;
    4. Introduce agriculture-related information to socially
disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers through innovative
training and technical assistance techniques; and
    5. Introduce agricultural education targeting socially
disadvantaged youth, and/or socially disadvantaged beginning farmers
and ranchers, in rural and persistent poverty communities.
    OPPE is required to seek input from stakeholders providing
technical assistance under this grant program at least annually. This
is to ensure that the program is responsive to the eligible entities
providing technical assistance (7 U.S.C. 2279(c)(4)(J)). To fulfill
this obligation, the OPPE may require Project Directors to attend an
annual training conference that can be expensed with awarded grant
funds not to exceed $1,000 per award. The conference will allow
recipients, USDA officials, and other agriculture-related guests to
share ideas and lessons learned; provide training on performance and
financial reporting requirements; and provide information on USDA
programs and services. Project Directors will also have an opportunity
to make contacts in their field and regions and gather information on
best practices. Stakeholder input will also be accepted by those unable
to attend the annual symposium in person by September 30th of each
fiscal year at: [email protected].
C. Anticipated Outputs (Activities), Outcomes (Results), and
Performance Measures
    1. Outputs (Activities). The term ``output'' means an outreach,
educational component, or assistance activity, task, or associated work
product related to improving the ability of socially disadvantaged and
veteran farmers and ranchers to own and operate farms and ranches,
assistance with agriculture related activities, or guidance for
participation in USDA programs. Outputs may be quantitative or
qualitative but must be measurable during the period of performance.
    Examples of outputs from the projects to be funded under this
announcement may describe an organization's activities and their
participants such as: Number of workshops or meetings held and number
of participants attending; frequency of services or training delivered;
and to whom and/or development of products, curriculum, or resources
provided. Other examples include but are not limited to the following:
    a. Number of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers or ranchers
    b. number of conferences or training sessions held and number of
socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers who attended;
    c. type and topic of educational materials distributed at outreach
    d. creation of a program to enhance the operational viability of
socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers;
    e. number of completed applications submitted for consideration for
USDA programs; or
    f. activity that supports increased participation of socially
disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers in
USDA programs.
    Progress and Financial Reports will be required, as specified in
Section VI, Subsection D, ``Reporting Requirement.''
    2. Outcomes (Results). The term ``outcome'' means the difference or
[[Page 33906]]
effect that has occurred as a result from carrying out an activity,
workshop, meeting, or from delivery of services related to a
programmatic goal or objective. Outcomes refer to the final impact,
change, or result that occurs as a direct result of the activities
performed in accomplishing the objectives and goals of your project.
Outcomes may refer to results that are agricultural, behavioral,
social, or economic in nature. Outcomes may reflect an increase in
knowledge or skills, a greater awareness of available resources or
programs, or actions taken by stakeholders as a result of learning.
Specifically, outcomes must be quantitative as it relates to the
project goals and objectives.
    Project Directors will be required to document anticipated outcomes
that are funded under this announcement including, but not limited to
the following:
    a. Number of new farmers and/or ranchers as a result of your award;
    b. number of farmers and/or ranchers whom applied to participate in
USDA's programs and services among socially disadvantaged and veteran
farmers and ranchers by program area, race, sex, national origin and
    c. number of applications approved for funding among socially
disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers as a result of your
activities funded with grant funds by program area, race, sex, national
origin and disability;
    d. number of farmers and/or ranchers whom have increased access to
and participation in USDA's programs and services for socially
disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to increase outreach
efforts through effective communication linguistically appropriate;
    e. increase in sustainability and retention of socially
disadvantaged and veteran farming operations;
    f. increase in profitability and economic stability resulting from
increased marketing and sales opportunities for the products of
socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers; and
    g. increase in the number of USDA Agency's programs and services
    3. Performance Measures. Performance measures are tied to the goals
or objectives of each activity and ultimately the overall purpose of
the project. They provide insight into the effectiveness of proposed
activities by indicating areas where a project may need adjustments to
ensure success. Applicants must develop performance measure
expectations which will occur as a result of their proposed activities.
These expectations will be used as a mechanism to track the progress
and success of a project. Project performance measures should include
statements such as: Whether workshops or technical assistance will meet
the needs of farmers or ranchers in the service area and why; how much
time will be spent in group training or individual hands-on training of
farmers and ranchers in the service area; or whether activities will
meet the demands of stakeholders. Project performance measures must
include the assumptions used to make those estimates.
    Consider the following questions when developing performance
measurement statements:
     What is the measurable short-term and long-term impact the
project will have on servicing or meeting the needs of stakeholders?
     How will the organization measure the effectiveness and
efficiency of their proposed activities to meet their overall goals and
II. Award Information
A. Statutory Authority
    The statutory authority for this action is 7 U.S.C. 2279(c), which
authorizes award funding for projects designed to provide outreach and
assistance to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.
B. Expected Amount of Funding
    The total estimated funding expected to be available for awards
under this competitive opportunity is approximately $16 million,
including funds provided in the 2018 Farm Bill and the Consolidated
Appropriations Act of 2019. Funding will be awarded in the following
three categories for a maximum of $750,000:
    A. Proposals less than $300,000
    B. Proposals between $300,000-$525,000
    C. Proposals exceeding $525,000
C. Project Period
    The performance period for projects selected from this solicitation
will not begin prior to the effective award date listed in the grant
agreement. The maximum project period is three (3) years.
D. Award Type
    Funding for selected projects will be in the form of a grant
agreement which must be fully executed no later than September 30,
2019. The anticipated Federal involvement will be limited to the
following activities:
    1. Approval of recipients' final budget and statement of work
accompanying the grant agreement;
    2. Monitoring of recipients' performance through quarterly, annual
and final financial and performance reports; and
    3. Evaluation of recipients' use of federal funds through desk
audits and on-site visits.
III. Eligibility Information
A. Eligible Entities
    1. Any not for profit community-based organization, network, or
coalition of community-based organizations that:
     Demonstrates experience in providing agricultural
education or other agricultural-related services to socially
disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers;
     provides documentary evidence of work with, and on behalf
of, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers during the
3-year period preceding the submission of a proposal for assistance
under this program; and
     does not or has not engaged in activities prohibited under
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
    2. An 1890 or 1994 institution of higher education (as defined in 7
U.S.C. 7601).
    3. An American Indian Tribal community college or an Alaska Native
cooperative college.
    4. A Hispanic-Serving Institution of higher education (as defined
in 7 U.S.C. 3103).
    5. Any other institution of higher education (as defined in 20
U.S.C. 1001) that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural
education or other agricultural-related services to socially
disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
    6. An Indian Tribe (as defined in 25 U.S.C. 5304) or a national
tribal organization that has demonstrated experience in providing
agricultural education or other agriculturally-related services to
socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
    7. All other organizations or institutions that received funding
under this program before January 1, 1996, but only with respect to
projects that the Secretary considers similar to projects previously
carried out by the entity under this program.
B. Cost-Sharing or Matching
    Matching is not required for this program.
[[Page 33907]]
C. Threshold Eligibility Criteria
    Applications from eligible entities that meet all criteria will be
evaluated as follows:
    1. Proposals must comply with the submission instructions and
requirements set forth in Section IV of this announcement. Pages in
excess of the page limitation will not be considered.
    2. Proposals must be received through as specified
in Section IV of this announcement on or before the proposal submission
deadline. Applicants will receive an electronic confirmation receipt of
their proposal from
    3. Proposals received after the submission deadline will not be
considered. Please note that in order to submit proposals,
organizations must create accounts in and in the System
for Awards Management (; both of which could take several
weeks. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that organizations begin
this process immediately. Registering early could prevent unforeseen
delays in submitting your proposal.
    4. Proposals must address a minimum of two or more of the priority
areas that provide outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged or
veteran farmers and ranchers as stated in Section I, Subsection B,
Scope of Work.
    5. Incomplete or partial applications will not be eligible for
IV. Proposal and Submission Information
A. System for Award Management (SAM)
    It is a requirement to register for SAM ( There is NO
fee to register for this site.
    Per 2 CFR part 200, applicants are required to: (1) Be registered
in SAM prior to submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique
entity identifier in the application; and (3) continue to maintain an
active SAM registration with current information at all times during
which the organization has an active Federal award or an application or
plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. The OPPE may not
make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied
with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. If
an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time
the OPPE is ready to make a Federal award, OPPE may determine that the
applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that
determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another
    SAM contains the publicly available data for all active exclusion
records entered by the Federal Government identifying those parties
excluded from receiving Federal contracts, certain subcontracts, and
certain types of Federal financial and non-financial assistance and
benefits. All applicant organizations and their key personnel will be
vetted through to ensure they are in compliance with this
requirement and not on the Excluded Parties List. Organizations
identified as having delinquent Federal debt may contact the Treasury
Offset Program at (800) 304-3107 for instructions on resolution, but
will not be awarded a 2501 Program grant prior to resolution.
B. Obtain Proposal Package From
    Applicants may download individual grant proposal forms from For assistance with, please consult the
Applicant User Guide at
    Applicants are required to submit proposals through
Applicants will be required to register through in order
to begin the proposal submission process. We strongly suggest you
initiate this process immediately to avoid processing delays due to
registration requirements.
    Federal agencies post funding opportunities on The
OPPE is not responsible for submission issues associated with If you experience submission issues, please contact support staff for assistance.
    Proposals must be submitted by August 15, 2019, via
at 11:59 p.m. EST. Proposals received after this deadline will not be
C. Content of Proposal Package Submission
    All submissions must contain completed and electronically signed
original application forms, as well as a Project Summary, Project
Narrative, and a Budget Narrative as described below:
    1. Forms and documents. The forms listed below can be found in the
proposal package at and must be submitted with all
applications. Required forms are provided as fillable PDF templates.
Applicants must download and complete these forms and submit them in
the application submission portal at PDF documents
listed below are documents the applicant must create in Word format and
then submit in PDF format.
     Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance
     Standard Form (SF) 424A, Budget Information-Non-
Construction Programs
     Standard Form (SF) 424B, Assurances--Non-Construction
     Key Contacts Form (please provide first, middle, and last
     PDF document of 1-Page Project Summary
     PDF document of Project Narrative
     PDF document of Budget Narrative
     Form AD-3031, Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax
Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants
    Please note, additional required forms from organizations being
awarded 2501 Grant funds will be provided for execution upon grant
    2. Attachments. The attachments listed below are required for all
proposals and must be included in the proposal package at Attachment 1 will consist of the Project Summary Page
and the Project Narrative. Attachment 2 will consist of the Budget
Narrative. Please submit the summary and narratives in PDF format to
preserve the content and formatting. Attachment 3 will consist of
Appendices. NOTE: Number each page of each attachment and indicate the
total number of pages per attachment (i.e., 1 of 15, 2 of 15, etc.). DO
are password protected cannot be viewed by the OPPE staff or members of
the Independent Review Panel.
    Attachment 1: Project Summary Page. The proposal must contain a
Project Summary Page, which should not be numbered and must follow
immediately after the SF Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance
form. The Project Summary Page is limited to 250 words and should be
written as a CONCISE summary or advertisement about your project. It
should contain:
     Your organization's name;
     Name of your project;
     Three or four sentences describing your project;
     The primary populations/communities you serve;
     The project's geographic service area (counties, state(s),
etc.); and
     Project Director's name, email address, and telephone
    No points will be given or subtracted for the Project Summary Page
as it will be used for informational purposes. Organizations can expect
that the Project Summary Page may be used in its entirety or in part
for media purposes to include press releases, informational
[[Page 33908]]
emails to potential stakeholders or partners, to provide upper echelons
of government with a snapshot of an organization, and for demographic
purposes. Please do not restate the objectives of the 2501 Program
(i.e., ``to provide outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged
farmers and ranchers and veterans farmers and ranchers''); it should
reflect the goal of your specific project.
     Attachment 1: Project Narrative. In 20 double-spaced pages
or less, using 1-inch margins and 12-point font, indicate the
organization that will conduct the project and the priority areas that
will be addressed by the project. Please be concise. Note: Members of
the review panel will not be required to review proposals from
organizations that have deviated from these formatting specifications.
    [cir] Project proposals should include a well-conceived strategy
for addressing the priority areas stated in Section I, Part B, Scope of
Work. Additionally, proposals must: (1) Define and establish the
existence of the needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,
veteran farmers and ranchers, or both; (2) identify the geographic area
of service; and (3) discuss the potential impact of the project.
    [cir] Programmatic Capability: Project proposals must: (1) Identify
the experience of the organization(s) taking part in the project (past
successes); (2) identify the names of organizations that will be your
partners in the project if any; (3) identify the qualifications,
relevant experience, education, and publications of each Project
Director or collaborator; (4) specifically address the work to be
completed by key personnel and the roles and responsibilities within
the scope of the proposed project.
    [cir] Financial Management Experience: Document a demonstrated
ability to successfully manage and complete your project by including
details of past successfully completed projects and financial
management experiences.
    [cir] Tracking and Measuring: Clearly document a detailed plan for
tracking and measuring the progress and results of the project in terms
of achieving expected project outputs and outcomes as stated in Section
I, Part C, Performance Measures.
    [cir] In an organized format, create a timeline for each task to be
accomplished during the period of performance timeframe. Relate each
task to one of the five priority areas in Section I, Subsection B. The
timeline is part of the 15-page limit but can be as simple as a one-
page description of tasks.
     Attachment 2: Budget Narrative. The Budget Narrative
should identify and describe the costs associated with the proposed
project, including sub-awards or contracts and indirect costs. Please
refer to 2 CFR 200 Subpart E--Cost Principles, to review allowable/
unallowable costs. Applicants may charge their negotiated indirect cost
rate or 10 percent, whichever is lower. Indirect cost rates exceeding
10 percent will not be permitted. Other funding sources may also be
identified in this attachment. Each cost indicated must be reasonable,
allocable, necessary, and allowable under the Federal Cost Principles
(2 CFR part 200, subpart E--Cost Principles) in order to be funded. The
Budget Narrative should not exceed two pages and is not part of the
Project Narrative.
     Attachment 3: Appendices. Organizations may submit
abbreviated Articles of Incorporation for recently established
organizations (must have been established at least 3 years prior to
this application); r[eacute]sum[eacute]s for key personnel; Letters of
Commitment; Letters of Intent, Partnership Agreements, or Memoranda of
Understanding with partner organizations; Letters of Support; 501(c)(3)
certification from the IRS, or other supporting documentation which is
encouraged but not required. Applicants can consolidate all
supplemental materials into one additional attachment. Do not include
sections from other attachments as an Appendix.
    Checklist of documents to submit through
    1. SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance. Note: Ensure this is
completed with accuracy; particularly email addresses and phone
numbers. The OPPE may not be able to reach you if your information is
    2. Project Summary Page (no more than 250 words).
    3. Project Narrative including a timeline (no more than 20 pages,
12-point font, and 1-inch margins only).
    Note:  To ensure fairness and uniformity for all applicants,
Project Narratives not conforming to this stipulation may not be
    4. SF-424A, Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs
    5. SF 424B, Assurances--Non-Construction Programs
    6. Budget Narrative (not to exceed 2 pages)
    7. Key Contacts Form (include the Project Director/Manager and
Financial Representative). Provide first, middle, and last names.
    Note:  Please ensure this form is completed with accuracy.
Individuals not listed on an applicants' Key Contact Form will not
receive information about or access to data that concerns the
applicant organization.
    8. R[eacute]sum[eacute]s of key personnel, Partnership Agreements,
Letters of Intent, Support, or Recommendation, proof of 501(c)(3)
status (if applicable), etc.
    Best practice notes:
    * Complete the following as soon as possible:
    (1) Obtain a registered DUNs number.
    (2) Register and maintain an active System for Award Management
(SAMs) account.
    (3) Register in
    * Only submit Adobe PDF file format documents to to
preserve content and formatting.
    * Documents must be named with short titles to prevent issues with
uploading/downloading documents from Documents with
long names may not always upload/download properly.
    * Do not password protect any submitted forms or documents.
    * Ensure all the information on your SF-424 Application and Key
Contact forms are correct. Please include first, middle, and last names
on Key Contact forms.
on the application where you may upload attachments:
    * On block 14, click on ``Add Attachment'' to upload your Project
Summary and Project Narrative.
    * In the section that reads ``Budget Narrative File(s)'', type in
the ``Mandatory Budget Narrative Filename''. Just below the file name,
click on ``Add Mandatory Budget Narrative'' to upload your Budget
    * After block 15, click on ``Add Attachments'' to add all your
supporting documents (r[eacute]sum[eacute]s, Partnership Agreements,
Letters of Support, etc.).
D. Sub-Awards and Partnerships
    Funding may be used to provide sub-awards, which includes using
sub-awards to fund partnerships; however, the recipient must utilize at
least 50 percent of the total funds awarded, and no more than three
sub-awards will be permitted. All sub-awardees must comply with
applicable requirements for sub-awards. Applicants must provide
documentation of a competitive bidding process for services, contracts,
and products, including consultant contracts, and conduct cost and
price analyses to the extent required by applicable procurement
[[Page 33909]]
    The OPPE awards funds to one eligible applicant as the recipient.
Please indicate a lead applicant as the responsible party if other
organizations are named as partners or co-applicants or members of a
coalition or consortium. The recipient will be held accountable to the
OPPE for the proper administrative requirements and expenditure of all
E. Submission Dates and Times
    The closing date and time for receipt of proposal submissions is
August 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m., EST, via Proposals
received after the submission deadline will be considered late without
further consideration. Proposals must be submitted through without exception. Additionally, organizations must also
be registered in the SAM ( Creating an account for both
websites can take several weeks to receive account verification and/or
PIN numbers. Please allow sufficient time to complete access
requirements for these websites. The proposal submission deadline is
F. Confidential Information
    In accordance with 2 CFR part 200, the names of entities submitting
proposals, as well as proposal contents and evaluations, will be kept
confidential to the extent permissible by law. Any information that the
applicant wishes to have considered as confidential, privileged, or
proprietary should be clearly marked as such in the proposal. If an
applicant chooses to include confidential or proprietary information in
the proposal, it will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by
G. Pre-Submission Proposal Assistance
    1. The OPPE may not assist individual applicants by reviewing draft
proposals or providing advice on how to respond to evaluation criteria.
However, the OPPE will respond to questions from individual applicants
regarding eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the
submission of the proposal, and requests for clarification regarding
the announcement. Any questions should be submitted to
[email protected]. Additionally, OPPE will host public
teleconferences to address clarifying questions during the open period
of this solicitation as listed on Page 1.
    2. The OPPE will post questions and answers relating to this
funding opportunity during its open period on the Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs) section of our website: Reviewing this section of our website will likely save you
valuable time. The OPPE will update the FAQs on a weekly basis and
conduct webinars on an as-needed basis.
    3. Please visit our website at: to review the most recent Terms and Conditions for
administering our grants. This version is subject to change upon new
program requirements.
V. Application Review Information
A. Evaluation Criteria
    Only eligible entities whose proposals meet the threshold criteria
in Section III of this announcement will be reviewed according to the
evaluation criteria set forth below. Applicants should explicitly and
fully address these criteria as part of their proposal package. Each
proposal will be evaluated under the regulations established under 2
CFR part 200.
    An Independent Review Panel will use a point system to rate each
proposal, awarding a maximum of 100 points (80 points, plus an
additional 20 discretionary points for secretarial priorities). Each
proposal will be reviewed by at least two members of the Independent
Review Panel who will review and score all applications submitted. The
Independent Review Panel will numerically score and rank each
application within the three funding categories. Funding decisions will
be based on the Independent Review Panel's recommendations to the
designated approving official. Final funding decisions will be made by
the designated approving official and are not appealable.
    Please be patient as processing all submitted applications, vetting
key personnel, proposal reviews, approval process, and agreement
creation is a lengthy process that takes approximately two to three
months. All applicants will be notified of their application status
when final selections have been made.
B. Evaluation Criteria for New Grants Proposals
                        Criteria                              Points
1. Project Narrative: Under this criterion, your                      40
 proposal will be evaluated to the extent to which the
 narrative includes a well-conceived strategy for
 addressing the requirements and objectives stated in
 Section I, Part B, Scope of Work, (see page 5, Project
 Narrative, for further clarification) identifying a
 minimum of two or more of the priority areas...........
In addition, the OPPE may award up to 20 discretionary                20
 points (five (5) points each) for the following
 eligible entities:.....................................
 Nongovernmental and community-based
 organizations with an expertise in working with
 socially disadvantaged and/or veteran farmers and
 ranchers (2018 Farm Bill provision).
 Projects to assist states/communities
 identified as rural and/or persistent poverty;.........
 Projects assisting beginning and/or youth
 farmers and ranchers (as defined in 7 U.S.C. 3319f);...
 Projects with an emphasis on partnering and
 leveraging funding with other organizations, entities
 or programs to maximize areas of coverage for outreach
 (i.e., nonprofits, for profits, Federal, state, tribal
 and local entities, higher education institutions,
2. Programmatic Capability: Under this criterion,                    10.
 applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to
 successfully complete and manage the proposed project
 considering the applicant's: Organizational experience,
 its staff's expertise and/or qualifications, and the
 organization's resources. The organization must also
 clearly document its historical successes and future
 plans to continue assisting socially disadvantaged and
 veteran farmers and ranchers...........................
3. Financial Management Experience: Under this                         5
 criterion, applicants will be evaluated based on their
 demonstrated ability to successfully complete and
 manage the proposed project considering the applicants'
 past performance in successfully completing and
 managing prior funding agreements identified, Section
 I, Part C, Performance Measures (see page 8). Past
 performance documentation on successfully completed
 projects may be at the Federal, state, or local
 community level. Per 2 CFR 200.205, if an applicant is
 a prior recipient of Federal awards, their record in
 managing that award will be reviewed, including
 timeliness of compliance with applicable reporting
 requirements and conformance to the terms and
 conditions of previous Federal awards..................
[[Page 33910]]

4. Tracking and Measuring: Under this criterion, the                  15
 applicant's proposal will be evaluated based upon
 clearly documenting a detailed plan for tracking and
 measuring their progress toward achieving the expected
 project outputs and (see page 6). Applicants should
 indicate how they intend to clearly document the
 effectiveness of their project in achieving proposed
 thresholds or benchmarks in relation to stated goals
 and objectives. For example, state how your
 organization plans to connect socially disadvantaged
 and veteran farmers and ranchers with USDA agricultural
 programs. Specifically, how many new or existing
 farmers and ranchers were assisted in applying for
 USDA's programs and services, versus the number of
 farmers and ranchers approved. Applicants must clearly
 demonstrate how they will ensure timely and successful
 completion of the project with a reasonable time
 schedule for execution of the tasks associated with the
 projects. This criterion should clearly address how you
 will quantify the tracking of your progress and
 measuring the success of your planned project..........
5. Budget: Under this criterion, proposed project budget              10
 will be evaluated to determine whether costs are
 reasonable, allowable, allocable, and necessary to
 accomplish the proposed goals and objectives; and
 whether the proposed budget provides a detailed
 breakdown of the approximate funding used for each
 major activity. Additionally, indirect costs (10
 percent maximum) must be appropriately applied (see
 page 14). Food for conferences may not exceed $10 per
 person. Additionally, cattle for demonstration projects
 only, may not exceed $4000, which includes any
 transportation costs, feed/feeding lot, etc.). Grant
 funds may NOT be used to pay attendees as an incentive
 for participation in conferences nor be advertised as
 such. For a list of unallowable costs, please see 2 CFR
 Part 200, subpart E....................................
C. Selection of Reviewers
    All applications will be reviewed by members of an Independent
Review Panel. Panel members are selected based upon training and
experience in assisting socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and
ranchers. This assistance includes, but is not limited to, bringing
increased awareness of USDA's programs and services in underserved
communities, outreach, technical assistance, cooperative extension
services, civil rights, education, statistical, and ethnographic data
collection and analysis, and agricultural programs, and are drawn from
a diverse group of experts, including applicant peers, to create a
balanced panel.
VI. Award Administration Information
A. Award Notices
Proposal Notifications and Feedback
    1. Successful applicants will be notified by the OPPE via
telephone, email, and/or postal mail that its proposed project has been
recommended for award. The notification will be sent to the Project
Manager listed on the SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance.
Project Managers should be the Authorized Organizational Representative
(AOR) and authorized to sign on behalf of the organization. It is
imperative that this individual is responsive to notifications by the
OPPE. If the individual is no longer in the position, please notify the
OPPE immediately to submit the new contact for the application by
updating your organization's Key Contact form and forwarding a
r[eacute]sum[eacute] of the new key personnel. The award notice will be
forwarded to the recipient for execution and must be returned to the
OPPE Director, who is the authorizing official. Once grant documents
are executed by all parties, authorization to begin work will be given.
At a minimum, this process can take up to 30 days from the date of
    2. Within 10 days of award status notification, unsuccessful
applicants may request feedback on their application. Feedback will be
provided as expeditiously as possible. Feedback sessions will be
scheduled contingent upon the number of requests and in accordance with
7 CFR 2500.026.
B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    All awards resulting from this solicitation will be administered in
accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform
Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements
for Federal Awards codified at 2 CFR part 200, as supplemented by USDA
implementing regulations at 2 CFR parts 400 and 415, and OPPE Federal
Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Procedures,
7 CFR part 2500. In compliance with its obligations under Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13166, it is the
policy of the OPPE to provide timely and meaningful access for persons
with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to projects, programs, and
activities administered by Federal grant recipients. Recipient
organizations must comply with these obligations upon acceptance of
grant agreements as written in OPPE's Terms and Conditions. Following
these guidelines is essential to the success of our mission to improve
access to USDA programs for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers
and ranchers.
C. Data Universal Numbering System, System for Award Management, and
    In accordance with the Federal Funding Accountability and
Transparency Act (FFATA) and the USDA implementation, all applicants
must obtain and provide an identifying number from Dun and Bradstreet's
(D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS). Applicants can receive a
DUNS number, at no cost, by calling the toll-free DUNS number request
line at (866) 705-5711 or visiting the D&B website at
    In addition, FFATA requires applicants to register with the System
for Award Management (SAM). This registration must be maintained and
updated annually. Applicants can register or update their profile, at
no cost, by visiting the SAM website at This is a
requirement to register for
    All applicants must register for an account on to
submit their application. There is no cost for registration. All
applications must be submitted through This website is
managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, not OPPE. Many
Federal agencies use this website to post Funding Opportunity
Announcements (FOA). Please click on the ``Support'' tab to contact
their customer support personnel for help with submitting your
D. Reporting Requirement
    Your approved statement of work, timeline, and budget are your
guiding documents in carrying out the activities of your project and
for your reporting requirements. Please familiarize yourself with
USDA's grants management system called ezFedGrants: In accordance with 2
CFR part 200, the
[[Page 33911]]
following reporting requirements will apply to awards provided under
this FOA. The OPPE reserves the right to revise the schedule and format
of reporting requirements as necessary in the award agreement.
    1. Quarterly Progress Reports and Financial Reports will be
required as follows:
     Quarterly Progress Reports. The recipient must submit the
most current OMB-approved Performance Progress Report form (SF-PPR).
For each report, the recipient must complete fields 1 through 12 of the
SF-PPR. To complete field 10, the recipient is required to provide a
detailed narrative of project performance and activities as an
attachment, as described in the award agreement. Quarterly progress
reports must be submitted to the designated OPPE official via
ezFedGrants within 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter.
     Quarterly Financial Reports. The recipient must submit SF
425, Federal Financial Report. For each report, the recipient must
complete both the Federal Cash Transaction Report and the Financial
Status Report sections of the SF-425. Quarterly financial reports must
be submitted to the designated OPPE official via ezFedGrants within 30
days after the end of each calendar quarter.
    2. Annual reports may be warranted for multi-year projects.
    3. Final Progress and Financial Reports will be required upon
project completion. This report must include a summary of the project
or activity throughout the funding period, achievements of the project
or activity, and a discussion of overall successes and issues
experienced in conducting the project or project activities. It should
convey the impact your project had on the communities you served and
discuss the project's accomplishments in achieving expected outcomes.
This requirement includes, but is not limited to, the number of new
USDA applicants as a result of your award, the number of approved
applicants for USDA programs and services, increased awareness of USDA
programs and services, etc. The final Financial Report should consist
of a complete SF-425 indicating the total costs of the project. Final
Progress and Financial Reports must be submitted to the designated OPPE
official via ezFedGrants within 90 days after the completion of the
award period as follows:
                    Report                             Performance period            Due date      Grace period
Form SF-425, Federal Financial Report and       1 October thru 31 December......      12/31/2019       1/30/2020
 Progress Report (Due Quarterly).               1 January thru 31 March.........       3/31/2020       4/30/2020
                                                1 April thru 30 June............       6/30/2020       7/30/2020
                                                1 July thru 30 September........       9/30/2020      10/30/2020
Annual and Final Progress and Financial              Earlier of December 30, 2020, or 90 days after project
 Reports.                                                                  completion.
* Dates subject to change at the discretion of OPPE.
    Signed this 8th day of July 2019.
Riley Pagett,
Chief of Staff, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
[FR Doc. 2019-14825 Filed 7-15-19; 8:45 am]