Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 246 (Monday, December 23, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 70393-70399]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27248]
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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.
The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents.
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 246 / Monday, December 23, 2019 /
Rules and Regulations
[[Page 70393]]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Commodity Credit Corporation
7 CFR Part 1487
RIN 0551-AA98
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program
AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation and Foreign Agricultural Service,
USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
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SUMMARY: This rule revises the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops
(TASC) program regulations to incorporate legislative changes
introduced in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and to
incorporate changes that conform the operation of the program to the
requirements in the ``Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost
Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards'' (Uniform
Guidance) and Federal grant-making best practices.
DATES: This rule is effective on December 23, 2019.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Curt Alt, (202) 690-4784,
[email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Background
    The TASC is authorized by Section 203 of the Agricultural Trade Act
of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 5623), as amended. The TASC regulations appear at 7
CFR part 1487.
    The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334), which
reauthorized the program for fiscal years 2019-2023, introduced
legislative changes to the program that improve the program's
flexibility and usefulness to stakeholders, such as making work on
potential barriers to trade eligible for funding under the program and
eliminating the five-year limit on program funding. In addition, this
rule updates the regulations to bring the operation of the program into
conformance with the requirements in the Uniform Guidance. Additional
changes are desirable to bring the administration of the program into
line with the current best practices in Federal grantmaking.
Notice and Comment
    This rule is being issued as a final rule without prior notice and
opportunity for comment. The Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C.
553) exempts rules ``relating . . . to public property, loans, grants,
benefits, or contracts'' from the statutory requirements for prior
notice and opportunity for comment and publication of the rule not less
than 30 days before its effective date (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2)).
Accordingly, this final rule is effective when published in the Federal
Register.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
    The program covered by this regulation is listed in the Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) under the following FAS CFDA number:
10.604, Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program.
E-Government Act Compliance
    The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is committed to complying
with the E-Government Act of 2002 (44 U.S.C. chapter 36), to promote
the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide
increased opportunities for citizens' access to Government information
and services, and for other purposes.
Executive Order 12988
    This rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order
12988, ``Civil Justice Reform.'' This rule does not preempt State or
local laws, regulations, or policies unless they present an
irreconcilable conflict with this rule. This rule will not be
retroactive.
Executive Order 12372
    Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal
Programs,'' requires consultation with officials of State and local
governments that would be directly affected by the proposed Federal
financial assistance. The objectives of the Executive order are to
foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism
by relying on State and local processes for the State and local
government coordination and review of proposed Federal financial
assistance and direct Federal development. This rule will not directly
affect State or local governments, and, for this reason, it is excluded
from the scope of Executive Order 12372.
Executive Order 12866 and 13563
    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting
flexibility. This final rule has been determined to be not significant
and was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in
conformance with Executive Order 12866.
Congressional Review Act
    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.),
the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has designated this
rule as not a major rule, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).
Executive Order 13175
    This rule has been reviewed for compliance with Executive Order
13175, ``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal
Governments.'' Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to
consult and coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis
on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations,
legislative comments, proposed legislation, and other policy statements
or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian
tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian
tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the
Federal Government and Indian tribes. FAS has assessed the impact of
this rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule does not, to
the knowledge of FAS, have tribal implications that require tribal
consultation under Executive Order 13175. If a tribe requests
[[Page 70394]]
consultation, FAS will work with USDA Office of Tribal Relations to
ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions,
and modifications identified herein are not expressly mandated by
Congress.
Executive Order 13771
    Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to reduce regulation and
control regulatory costs and provides that for every new regulation
issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination,
and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and
controlled through a budgeting process. This rule is not an Executive
Order 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant
under Executive Order 12866.
List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1487
    Agricultural commodities, Exports.
0
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, 7 CFR part 1487 is revised
to read as follows:
PART 1487--TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS
Sec.
1487.1 General purpose and scope.
1487.2 Definitions.
1487.3 Program eligibility.
1487.4 Limits on the scope of proposals.
1487.5 Application process.
1487.6 Application review and formation of agreements.
1487.7 Applicant notification.
1487.8 Reimbursements and advances.
1487.9 Reporting.
1487.10 Notification of international travel.
1487.11 Evaluation.
1487.12 Compliance reviews and notices.
1487.13 Records retention.
1487.14 Program income.
1487.15 Subrecipients.
1487.16 Suspension and termination of agreements.
1487.17 Audit requirements.
1487.18 Disclosure of program information.
1487.19 Ethical conduct.
1487.20 Amendments.
1487.21 Noncompliance with an agreement.
1487.22 Paperwork reduction requirements.
    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 5623, 5662-5663, as amended.
Sec.  1487.1  General purpose and scope.
    (a) Under the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC)
program, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), an agency and
instrumentality of the United States within the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA), provides grant funds to eligible organizations to
implement activities that are intended to address existing or potential
sanitary, phytosanitary, or technical barriers that prohibit or
threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops that are currently
available on a commercial basis. The TASC program is intended to
benefit the represented industry rather than a specific company or
brand.
    (b) This part sets forth the general terms, conditions, and
policies governing CCC's operation of the TASC program.
    (c)(1) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance on
Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit
Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200. In 2 CFR 400.1, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted OMB's guidance in
subparts A through F of 2 CFR part 200, as supplemented by 2 CFR part
400, as USDA policies and procedures for uniform administrative
requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for Federal
awards.
    (2) The OMB guidance at 2 CFR part 200, as supplemented by 2 CFR
part 400 and this part, applies to the TASC program.
    (3) In addition to the provisions of this part, other regulations
that are generally applicable to grants and cooperative agreements of
USDA, including the applicable regulations set forth in 2 CFR chapters
I, II, and IV, also apply to the TASC program, to the extent that these
regulations do not directly conflict with the provisions of this part.
The provisions of the CCC Charter Act (15 U.S.C. 714 et seq.) and any
other statutory provisions or regulatory provisions that are generally
applicable to CCC also apply to the TASC program.
    (d) The TASC program generally operates on a reimbursement basis.
The program is administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS),
acting on behalf of CCC.
Sec.  1487.2  Definitions.
    For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:
    Activity means a discrete undertaking within a project to be
carried out by a Participant, directly or through a subrecipient or
contractor, that is specified in an agreement and is intended to
fulfill a specific objective of the agreement.
    Agreement means a legally binding grant entered into between CCC
and a TASC applicant setting forth the terms and conditions to
implement an approved project under the TASC program, including any
subsequent amendments to such agreement.
    Approval letter means a document by which CCC informs an applicant
that its TASC proposal has been approved for funding. This letter may
also approve specific activities and contain terms and conditions in
addition to the agreement.
    Attach[eacute]/Counselor means the FAS employee representing United
States Department of Agriculture interests in a foreign country.
    Eligible organization means any U.S. organization that demonstrates
a role or interest in the exports of specialty crops, including, but
not limited to: U.S. Government agencies, State government agencies,
non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives,
and private companies.
    Participant means an entity that has entered into a TASC agreement
with CCC.
    Specialty crop means most cultivated plants produced in the United
States, or the products thereof, except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds,
cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar, and tobacco.
    Unified Export Strategy (UES) system means the online internet
system maintained by FAS through which applicants currently may apply
to TASC and the other FAS market development programs. The system is
currently accessible at https://apps.fas.usda.gov/ues/webapp/. FAS may
prescribe a different system through which applicants may apply to TASC
and will announce such system in the applicable Notice of Funding
Opportunity (NOFO).
    United States means each of the States, the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, and the territories and possessions of the United States.
Sec.  1487.3  Program eligibility.
    (a) An eligible organization can submit an application under this
part to become a Participant under the TASC Program. FAS will set forth
specific eligibility information, including any factors or priorities
that will affect the eligibility of an applicant or application for
selection, in the full text of the applicable NOFO posted on the U.S.
Government website for grant opportunities.
    (b) In order to be eligible for funding under the TASC program,
activities must address existing or potential sanitary, phytosanitary,
or technical barriers to the export of U.S. specialty crops. Examples
of expenses that CCC may agree to cover under the TASC program include
but are not limited to expenses associated with: Initial pre-clearance
programs, export protocol and work plan support, seminars and
workshops, study tours, field surveys, development of pest lists, pest
and disease research, database development, reasonable logistical and
administrative support, and travel and per diem expenses.
[[Page 70395]]
    (c) Eligible projects may take place in the United States or
abroad.
    (d) Proposals from research and consulting entities will be
considered for funding assistance only with evidence of substantial
participation in and financial support to the proposed project by U.S.
industry. Such support is most credibly demonstrated through actual
monetary contributions to the cost of the project.
    (e) Foreign organizations, whether government or private, may
participate as third parties in activities carried out by U.S.
entities, but are not eligible for funding assistance from the program.
Sec.  1487.4  Limits on the scope of proposals.
    (a) Funding cap. Proposals that request more than $500,000 of CCC
funding in a given year will not be considered.
    (b) Length of activities. Awards will generally be granted for a
project period not exceeding five calendar years. However, FAS will
entertain requests to extend agreements beyond five years when valid
justifications are submitted. Participants must submit in writing a
valid justification for why an extension is necessary no later than 60
days before the end of the period of performance. Extensions generally
will be granted in one-year increments, if warranted. A Participant
must wait for written approval from FAS before proceeding with the
project.
    (c) Target countries. Proposals may target barriers in any eligible
export market, including single countries or reasonable regional
groupings of countries.
    (d) Multiple proposals. Applicants may submit multiple proposals,
but no Participant may have more than five approved projects underway
at any given time.
    (e) Program funds only for specific uses. Participants shall not
use program funds to supplement the costs of normal day-to-day
operations or to promote their own products or services beyond specific
uses approved in a given project.
Sec.  1487.5  Application process.
    (a) Announcement for TASC program participant. CCC will
periodically announce that it is accepting applications for
participation in the TASC program. All relevant information, including
application deadlines and proposal content, will be noted in the
announcement, and proposals must be submitted in accordance with the
terms and conditions, as well as other requirements specified in the
announcement and in this part. Currently, applicants are encouraged to
submit applications through the UES system, but are not required to use
the UES system. CCC may request any additional information it deems
necessary from any applicant in order to properly evaluate any proposal
    (b) Universal identifier and System for Award Management (SAM). In
accordance with 2 CFR part 25, each entity that applies to the TASC
program and does not qualify for an exemption under 2 CFR 25.110 must:
    (1) Be registered in the SAM prior to submitting an application or
plan;
    (2) Maintain an active SAM 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
    (3) Provide its DUNS number, or a unique identifier designated as a
DUNS replacement, in each application or plan it submits to CCC.
    (c) Reporting subaward and executive compensation information. In
accordance with 2 CFR part 170, each entity that applies to the TASC
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 TASC funding.
Sec.  1487.6  Application review and formation of agreements.
    (a) General. Proposals received in accordance with the announcement
and this part will undergo a multi-phase review by CCC to determine
eligibility for the program, the qualifications, quality, and
appropriateness of proposed projects, and the reasonableness of
proposed project budgets.
    (b) Evaluation criteria. CCC will review all proposals for
eligibility and completeness. CCC will evaluate and score each proposal
against the factors described in the NOFO. The purpose of this review
is to identify meritorious proposals, recommend an appropriate funding
level for each proposal, and submit the proposals and funding
recommendations to appropriate officials for decision. CCC may, when
appropriate to the subject matter of the proposal, request the
assistance of other U.S. Government experts in evaluating the merits of
a proposal. Demonstration of substantial U.S. industry participation in
or financial or other support of a proposal will be a positive factor
in the consideration of proposals. All reviewers will be required to
sign a conflict of interest form, and when conflicts of interests are
identified the reviewer will be recused from the objective review
process.
    (c) Approval decision. CCC will approve those applications that it
determines best satisfy the criteria and factors specified in the
announcement and this part. All decisions regarding the disposition of
an application are final.
Sec.  1487.7  Applicant notification.
    (a) CCC will notify each applicant in writing of the final decision
on its application. CCC will send an agreement and an approval letter
to each approved applicant. An applicant that accepts the terms and
conditions contained in the agreement and approval letter must so
indicate by having the appropriate authorizing official sign the
agreement and submit it to CCC. The applicant may not begin to
implement approved activities until the applicant's authorizing
official and CCC have signed the agreement. The applicant is authorized
to begin implementation of the project as of the date specified in the
approval letter, unless otherwise indicated.
    (b) The approval letter and agreement will outline the activities
and budgets that are approved and will specify the terms and conditions
applicable to the project, including the levels of TASC funding and
cost share requirements.
Sec.  1487.8  Reimbursements and advances.
    (a) Reimbursement procedures. (1) Following the implementation of a
project for which CCC has agreed to provide funding, a Participant may
submit claims for reimbursement of eligible expenses incurred in
implementing a TASC project, to the extent that CCC has agreed to pay
such expenses. Any changes to approved activities must be approved in
writing by CCC before any reimbursable expenses associated with the
change can be incurred. A Participant will be reimbursed after CCC
reviews the claim and determines that it is complete.
    (2) CCC will make all payments to the Participants in U.S. dollars.
FAS will initiate payment within 30 days after receipt of the billing,
unless the billing is improper.
    (3) Participants will be authorized to submit requests for
reimbursements or advances at least monthly when electronic fund
transfers (EFTs) are not used, and as frequently as desired when
electronic transfers are used, in accordance with the provisions of the
Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. 1693-1693r).
    (4) Participants may submit claims for reimbursement of the
expenses incurred in implementing TASC projects, to the
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extent CCC has agreed to pay for such costs, limited initially to 85
percent of the total amount specified in the agreement. The Participant
may be reimbursed for the remaining 15 percent of the funds only after
the final performance report containing the information required by the
agreement is submitted to and approved by FAS.
    (5) Final claims for reimbursement must be received no later than
90 calendar days after the completion date of the project or following
the expiration or termination date of the agreement, whichever is
sooner, and are subject to FAS approval of the Participant's final
performance report. Participants are required to use a prescribed
system to submit their claims. This system will be clearly stated in
the NOFO. Currently the CCC's internet-based UES system is being used
to request reimbursement for eligible TASC program expenses.
    (6) Participants shall maintain complete records of all program
expenditures, identified by TASC agreement number, program year,
country or region, activity number, and cost category. Such records
shall be accompanied by documentation that supports the expenditure and
shall be made available to CCC upon request. CCC may deny a claim for
reimbursement if the claim is not supported by acceptable
documentation.
    (7) In the event that a reimbursement claim is overpaid or is
disallowed after payment already has been made, the Participant shall
repay CCC within 30 calendar days of such overpayment or disallowance
the amount overpaid or disallowed either by submitting a check payable
to CCC and referencing the applicable project, or by offsetting its
next reimbursement claim. The Participant shall make such payment in
U.S. dollars, unless otherwise approved in advance by CCC.
    (8) The Participant shall report any actions that may have a
bearing on the propriety of any claims for reimbursement in writing to
the appropriate Attach[eacute]/Counselor and FAS Division Director.
    (b) Advances--(1) Policy. In general, CCC operates the TASC program
on a cost reimbursable basis.
    (2) Exception. Upon request, CCC may make advance payments to a
Participant against an approved project budget. Participants may
request an advance of up to 85 percent of the funding approved in any
given program year. Advances should be limited to the minimum amounts
needed and requested as close as is administratively feasible to the
actual time of disbursement by the Participant. Reimbursement claims
will be used to offset advances. Participants shall deposit and
maintain advances in insured, interest-bearing accounts, unless the
exceptions in 2 CFR part 200 apply. Interest earned by the Participant
on funds advanced by CCC is not program income. Up to $500 of interest
earned per year may be retained by the Participant for administrative
expenses. Any additional interest earned on Federal advance payments
shall be remitted annually to the appropriate entity as required in 2
CFR part 200.
    (3) Refunds due CCC. A Participant shall fully expend all advances
on approved activities within 90 calendar days after the date of
disbursement by CCC. By the end of 90 calendar days, the Participant
must submit reimbursement claims to offset the advance and submit a
check made payable to CCC for any unexpended balance. The Participant
shall make such payment in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise approved in
advance by CCC.
Sec.  1487.9  Reporting.
    (a) Participants are required to submit regular financial and
performance reports in accordance with their agreement. Reporting
requirements and formats for both annual financial and performance
reports and final financial and performance reports will be specified
in the agreement between CCC and the Participant.
    (b)(1) In addition to the information required in 2 CFR
200.328(b)(2), a Participant's performance reports must include
pertinent information regarding the Participant's progress, measured
against established indicators, baselines, and targets, towards
achieving the expected results specified in the agreement. This
reporting must include, for each performance indicator, a comparison of
actual accomplishments with the baseline and the targets established
for the period. When actual accomplishments deviate significantly from
targeted goals, the Participant must provide an explanation in the
report.
    (2) A Participant must ensure the accuracy and reliability of the
performance data submitted to FAS in performance reports. At any time
during the period of performance of the agreement, FAS may review the
Participant's performance data to determine whether it is accurate and
reliable. The Participant must comply with all requests made by FAS or
an entity designated by FAS in relation to such reviews.
    (c) All final performance reports will be made available to the
public.
    (d) If requested by FAS, a Participant must provide to FAS
additional information or reports relating to the agreement.
    (e) If a Participant requires an extension of a reporting deadline,
it must ensure that FAS receives an extension request at least five
business days prior to the reporting deadline. FAS may decline to
consider a request for an extension that it receives after this time
period. FAS will consider requests for reporting deadline extensions on
a case by case basis and will make a decision based on the merits of
each request. FAS will consider factors such as unforeseen or
extenuating circumstances and past performance history when evaluating
requests for extensions.
Sec.  1487.10  Notification of international travel.
    The Participant shall notify the Attach[eacute]/Counselor in the
destination countries in writing in advance of any proposed travel by
the Participant or its consultants or other participants. The timing of
such notice should be far enough in advance to enable the
Attach[eacute]/Counselor to schedule appointments, make preparations,
or otherwise provide any assistance being requested. Failure to provide
advance notification of travel generally will result in disallowance of
the expenses related to the travel, unless CCC determines it was
impractical to provide such notification.
Sec.  1487.11  Evaluation.
    Project evaluations may be carried out by CCC at its option with or
without Participants. CCC may also seek outside expertise to conduct or
participate in evaluations.
Sec.  1487.12  Compliance reviews and notices
    (a) Compliance review process. (1) USDA staff may conduct
compliance reviews of Participant's activities under the TASC program
to ensure compliance with this part, applicable Federal laws and
regulations, and the terms of the agreements and approval letters.
Participants shall cooperate fully with relevant USDA staff conducting
compliance reviews and shall comply with all requests from USDA staff
to facilitate the conduct of such reviews. Program funds spent
inappropriately or on unapproved activities must be returned to CCC.
    (2) Any project or activity funded under the program is subject to
review or audit at any time during the course of implementation or
after the completion of the project.
    (3) Upon conclusion of the compliance review, USDA staff will
provide a written compliance report to
[[Page 70397]]
the Participant. The compliance report will detail any instances where
it appears that the Participant is not complying with any of the terms
or conditions of the agreement, approval letter, or the applicable laws
and regulations. The report will also specify if it appears that CCC
may be entitled to recover funds from the Participant and will explain
the basis for any recovery of funds from the Participant. If, as a
result of a compliance review, CCC determines that further review is
needed in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the TASC
program, CCC may require the Participant to contract for an independent
audit.
    (4) In addition, CCC may notify a Participant in writing at any
time if CCC determines that CCC may be entitled to recover funds from
the Participant. CCC will explain the basis for any recovery of funds
from the Participant in the written notice. The Participant shall,
within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice, repay CCC the amount
owed either by submitting a check payable to CCC or by offsetting its
next reimbursement claim. The Participant shall make such payment in
U.S. dollars, unless otherwise approved in advance by CCC. If, however,
a Participant notifies CCC within 30 calendar days of the date of the
written notice that the Participant intends to file an appeal pursuant
to the provisions of this part, the amount owed to CCC by the
Participant is not due until the appeal procedures are concluded and
CCC has made a final determination as to the amount owed.
    (5) The fact that a compliance review has been conducted by USDA
staff does not signify that a Participant is in full compliance with
its agreement, approval letter, and/or applicable laws and regulations.
    (b) Participant response to compliance report. (1) A Participant
shall, within 60 calendar days of the date of the issuance of a
compliance report, submit a written response to CCC. The response may
include additional documentation for consideration or a request for
reconsideration of any finding along with supporting justification. If
the Participant does not wish to contest the compliance report, the
response shall include any money owed to CCC, which may be returned by
submitting a check payable to CCC or by offsetting a reimbursement
claim. The Participant shall make any payments in U.S. dollars, unless
otherwise approved in advance by CCC. CCC, at its discretion, may
extend the period for response.
    (2) After reviewing the response, CCC shall determine whether the
Participant owes any funds to CCC and will inform the Participant in
writing of the basis for the determination. CCC may initiate action to
collect such amount by providing the Participant a written demand for
payment of the debt pursuant to the debt settlement policies and
procedures in 7 CFR part 1403.
    (c) Participant appeals of CCC determinations. (1) Within 30
calendar days of the date of the issuance of a determination, the
Participant may appeal the determination by making a request in writing
that includes the basis for such reconsideration. The Participant may
also request a hearing.
    (2) If the Participant requests a hearing, CCC will set a date and
time for the hearing. The hearing will be an informal proceeding. A
transcript will not ordinarily be prepared unless the Participant bears
the cost of a transcript; however, CCC may, at its discretion, have a
transcript prepared at CCC's expense.
    (3) CCC will base its final determination upon information
contained in the administrative record. The Participant must exhaust
all administrative remedies contained in this section before pursuing
judicial review of a determination by CCC.
Sec.  1487.13  Records retention.
    All records related to the project, including records pertaining to
subawards, shall be made available upon request to authorized officials
of the U.S. Government.
Sec.  1487.14  Program income.
    Program income means gross income earned by the Participant that is
directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the
Federal award during the period of performance. Any such income
generated from an activity, the expenditures for which have been wholly
or partially reimbursed with TASC funds, shall be used by the
Participant in furtherance of its approved activities in the program
period during which the TASC funds are available for obligation by the
Participant, or must be returned to CCC. The use of such income shall
be governed by this part. Reasonable activity fees or registration
fees, if identified as such in a project budget, may be charged for
projects approved for program funding. The intent to charge a fee must
be part of the original proposal, along with an explanation of how such
fees are to be used. Any activity fees charged must be used to offset
activity expenses or returned to CCC. Such fees may not be used as
profit or counted as cost share.
Sec.  1487.15  Subrecipients.
    (a) A Participant may utilize the services of a subrecipient to
implement activities under the agreement if this is provided for in the
agreement. The subrecipient may receive CCC-provided funds, program
income, or other resources from the Participant for this purpose. The
Participant must enter in to a written subaward with the subrecipient
and comply with the applicable provisions of 2 CFR 200.331 and/or the
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), if applicable. If required by the
agreement, the Participant must provide a copy of such subaward to FAS,
in the manner set forth in the agreement, prior to the transfer of CCC-
provided funds or program income to the subrecipient.
    (b) A Participant must include the following requirements in a
subaward:
    (1) The subrecipient is required to comply with the applicable
provisions of this part and 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 and/or the FAR, if
applicable. The applicable provisions are those that relate
specifically to subrecipients, as well as those relating to non-Federal
entities that impose requirements that would be reasonable to pass
through to a subrecipient because they directly concern the
implementation by the subrecipient of one or more activities under the
agreement. If there is a question about whether a particular provision
is applicable, FAS will make the determination.
    (2) The subrecipient must pay to the Participant the value of CCC-
provided funds, interest, or program income that are not used in
accordance with the subaward, or that are lost, damaged, or misused as
a result of the subrecipient's failure to exercise reasonable care.
    (3) In accordance with 2 CFR 200.501(h), subawards must include a
description of the applicable compliance requirements and the
subrecipient's compliance responsibility. Methods to ensure compliance
may include pre-award audits, monitoring during the agreement, and
post-award audits.
    (c) A Participant must monitor the actions of a subrecipient as
necessary to ensure that CCC-provided funds and program income provided
to the subrecipient are used for authorized purposes in compliance with
applicable U.S. Federal laws and regulations and the subaward and that
performance indicator targets are achieved for both activities and
results under the agreement.
    (d) Participants have full and sole responsibility for the legal
sufficiency of all subawards they may enter into with one or more
subrecipients in order to
[[Page 70398]]
carry out an approved project and shall assume financial liability for
any costs or claims resulting from suits, challenges, or other disputes
based on subawards entered into by the Participant. Neither CCC nor any
other agency of the United States Government nor any official or
employee of CCC, FAS, USDA, or the United States Government has any
obligation or responsibility with respect to Participant subawards with
third parties.
    (e) Participants are responsible for ensuring to the greatest
extent possible that the terms, conditions, and costs of subawards
constitute the most economical and effective use of project funds.
    (f) All fees for professional and technical services paid to
subrecipients in any part with project funds must be covered by written
subawards.
    (g) A Participant shall:
    (1) Ensure that all expenditures for goods and services in excess
of $25 reimbursed by CCC are documented by a purchase order or invoice;
    (2) Ensure that no employee, officer, board member, agent, or the
employee's, officer's, board member's, or agent's family, partners, or
an organization that employs or is about to employ any of the parties
indicated herein, participates in the review, selection, award or
administration of a subaward in which such entities or their affiliates
have a financial or other interest;
    (3) Conduct all contracting in an openly competitive manner.
Individuals who develop or draft specifications, requirements,
statements of work, invitations for bids, or requests for proposals for
procurement of any goods or services, and such individuals' families or
partners, or an organization that employs or is about to employ any of
the aforementioned shall be excluded from competition for such
procurement;
    (4) Conduct all awarding of grants and agreements in an openly
competitive manner, except under the following conditions:
    (i) Non-monetary awards of property or services;
    (ii) Awards of less than $75,000;
    (iii) Awards to fund continuing work already started under a
previous award;
    (iv) Awards that cannot be delayed due to an emergency or a
substantial danger to health or safety;
    (v) Awards when it is impracticable to secure competition; or
    (vi) Awards to fund unique and innovative unsolicited applications;
    (5) Base each solicitation for professional or technical services
on a clear and accurate description of and requirements related to the
services to be procured;
    (6) Perform and document some form of fee, price, or cost analysis,
such as a comparison of price quotations to market prices or other
price indicia, to determine the reasonableness of the offered fees or
prices for procurements in excess of the simplified acquisition
threshold defined at 2 CFR 200.88; and
    (7) Document the decision-making process.
Sec.  1487.16  Suspension and termination of agreements.
    (a) An agreement or subaward may be suspended or terminated in
accordance with 2 CFR 200.338 or 200.339. FAS may suspend or terminate
an agreement if it determines that:
    (1) One of the bases in 2 CFR 200.338 or 200.339 for termination or
suspension by FAS has been satisfied; or
    (2) The continuation of the assistance provided under the agreement
is no longer necessary or desirable.
    (b) If an agreement is terminated, the Participant:
    (1) Is responsible for using or returning any CCC-provided funds,
interest, or program income that have not been disbursed, as agreed to
by FAS; and
    (2) Must comply with any closeout and post-closeout procedures
specified in the agreement and 2 CFR 200.343 and 200.344.
Sec.  1487.17  Audit requirements.
    (a) Subpart F of 2 CFR part 200 applies to all Participants and
subrecipients under this part other than those that are for-profit
entities, foreign public entities, or foreign organizations.
    (b) A Participant or subrecipient that is a for-profit entity or a
subrecipient that is a foreign organization and that expends, during
its fiscal year, a total of at least the audit requirement threshold in
2 CFR 200.501 in Federal awards, is required to obtain an audit. Such a
Participant or subrecipient has the following two options to satisfy
the requirement in this paragraph (b):
    (1)(i) A financial audit of the agreement or subaward, in
accordance with the Government Auditing Standards issued by the United
States Government Accountability Office (GAO), if the Participant or
subrecipient expends Federal awards under only one FAS program during
such fiscal year; or
    (ii) A financial audit of all Federal awards from FAS, in
accordance with GAO's Government Auditing Standards, if the Participant
or subrecipient expends Federal awards under multiple FAS programs
during such fiscal year; or
    (2) An audit that meets the requirements contained in subpart F of
2 CFR part 200.
    (c) A Participant or subrecipient that is a for-profit entity or a
subrecipient that is a foreign organization and that expends, during
its fiscal year, a total that is less than the audit requirement
threshold in 2 CFR 200.501 in Federal awards, is exempt from
requirements under this section for an audit for that year, except as
provided in paragraphs (d) and (f) of this section, but it must make
records available for review by appropriate officials of Federal
agencies.
    (d) FAS may require an annual financial audit of an agreement or
subaward when the audit requirement threshold in 2 CFR 200.501 is not
met. In that case, FAS must provide funds under the agreement for this
purpose, and the Participant or subrecipient, as applicable, must
arrange for such audit and submit it to FAS.
    (e) When a Participant or subrecipient that is a for-profit entity
or a subrecipient that is a foreign organization is required to obtain
a financial audit under this section, it must provide a copy of the
audit to FAS within 60 days after the end of its fiscal year.
    (f) FAS, the USDA Office of Inspector General, or GAO may conduct
or arrange for additional audits of any Participants or subrecipients,
including for-profit entities and foreign organizations. Participants
and subrecipients must promptly comply with all requests related to
such audits. If FAS conducts or arranges for an additional audit, such
as an audit with respect to a particular agreement, FAS will fund the
full cost of such an audit, in accordance with 2 CFR 200.503(d).
Sec.  1487.18  Disclosure of program information.
    (a) Documents submitted to CCC by Participants are subject to the
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, and
7 CFR part 1, subpart A, including, specifically, 7 CFR 1.11.
    (b) Any research conducted by a Participant pursuant to an
agreement and/or approval letter shall be subject to the provisions
relating to intangible property in 2 CFR part 200.
Sec.  1487.19  Ethical conduct.
    (a) The Participant shall maintain written standards of conduct
governing the performance of its employees engaged in the award and
administration of contracts.
    (b) A Participant shall conduct its business in accordance with the
laws and regulations of the country(s) in
[[Page 70399]]
which each activity is carried out and in accordance with applicable
U.S. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations. A Participant
shall conduct its business in the United States in accordance with
applicable Federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
    (c) Neither a Participant nor its affiliates shall make export
sales of U.S. agricultural commodities covered under the terms of an
agreement. Neither a Participant nor its affiliates shall charge a fee
for facilitating an export sale. A Participant may collect check-off
funds and membership fees that are required for membership in the
Participant's organization.
    (d) The Participant shall not use program activities or project
funds to promote private self-interests or conduct private business.
    (e) A Participant shall not limit participation in its TASC
activities to members of its organization. Participants shall ensure
that their TASC-funded programs and activities are open to all
otherwise qualified individuals and entities on an equal basis and
without regard to any non-merit factors.
    (f) A Participant shall select U.S. agricultural industry
representatives to participate in activities based on criteria that
ensure participation on an equitable basis by a broad cross section of
the U.S. industry. If requested by CCC, a Participant shall submit such
selection criteria to CCC for approval.
    (g) The Participant must report any actions or circumstances that
may have a bearing on the propriety of program activities to the
appropriate Attach[eacute]/Counselor, and the Participant's U.S. office
shall report such actions or circumstances in writing to CCC.
    (h) The officers, employees, board members, and agents of the
Participant shall neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or
anything of monetary value from contractors, sub-contractors, or
parties to sub-agreements. However, Participants may set standards for
situations in which the financial interest is not substantial, or the
gift is an unsolicited item of nominal value. The standards of conduct
shall provide for disciplinary actions to be applied for violations of
such standards by officers, employees, board members, or agents of the
Participant.
Sec.  1487.20  Amendments.
    (a) Participants may request to modify approved projects if
circumstances change in such a way that they would likely affect the
progress and ultimate success of a project. Such modification must be
made through a written amendment to the agreement. All requests for
project modifications must be made in writing to CCC and must include:
    (1) A justification as to why changes to the project as originally
designed are needed;
    (2) An explanation of the necessary adjustments in approach or
strategy; and
    (3) A description of necessary changes in the project's time
line(s) and/or budget (e.g., shifting of budgetary resources from one-
line item to another in order to accommodate the changes).
    (b) All requests for project modifications must be reviewed and
approved by CCC. Upon approval, CCC will issue an amendment to the
agreement, which must be signed by CCC and the Participant.
Sec.  1487.21  Noncompliance with an agreement.
    (a) If a Participant fails to comply with any term in its project
agreement, approval letter, or this part, CCC may take one or more of
the enforcement actions in 2 CFR part 200 and, if appropriate, initiate
a claim against the Participant, following the procedures set forth in
this part. CCC may also initiate a claim against a Participant if
program income or CCC-provided funds are lost due to an action or
omission of the Participant. If any Participant has engaged in fraud
with respect to the TASC program, or has otherwise violated program
requirements under this part, CCC may:
    (1) Hold such Participant liable for any and all losses to CCC
resulting from such fraud or violation;
    (2) Require a refund of any assistance provided to such Participant
plus interest as determined by FAS; and
    (3) Collect liquidated damages from such Participant in an amount
determined appropriate by FAS.
    (b) The provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to
any other remedy that is available under any other provision of law.
Sec.  1487.22  Paperwork reduction requirements.
    The paperwork and recordkeeping requirements imposed by this part
have been approved by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.
OMB has assigned control number 0551-0038 for this information
collection.
     Dated: November 27, 2019.
Margo Erny,
Acting Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    In concurrence with:
    Dated: November 26, 2019.
Ken Isley,
Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-27248 Filed 12-20-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-10-P