[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 124 (Tuesday, June 28, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37774-37779]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16121]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service


Announcement of Value-Added Producer Grant Application Deadlines

AGENCY: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to 7 CFR part 4284, subpart J, the Rural Business-
Cooperative Service (RBS) announces the availability of approximately 
$37 million in competitive grant funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 to 
help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added 
activities. This Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) announces $19.3 
million provided under the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and 
Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010 
(Pub. L. 111-80), and $17.9 million from the Department of Defense and 
Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (Pub. L.112-20).
    Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital 
expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning 
grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital 
grant is $300,000. Rural Development is encouraging applications that 
will support communities in urban or rural areas, with limited access 
to healthy foods and with a high poverty and hunger rate.
    Ten percent of available funds are reserved to fund applications 
submitted by Beginning Farmers or Ranchers and Socially Disadvantaged 
Farmers or Ranchers as defined at 7 CFR 4284.902. An additional 10 
percent of available funds are reserved to fund Mid-Tier Value Chain 
projects (both collectively referred to as ``reserved funds''). Grants 
made to Majority Controlled Producer-Based Business Ventures may not 
exceed 10 percent of the total funds obligated for the program in the 
fiscal year.

DATES: Application deadlines. Completed paper applications, for both 
unreserved funds or reserved funds, must be postmarked and mailed, 
shipped, or sent overnight no later than August 29, 2011 to be eligible 
for FY 2011 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 
2011 grant funding.
    Completed electronic applications, for both unreserved funds and 
reserved funds, must be received by Midnight Eastern Time August 29, 
2011 to be eligible for FY 2011 grant funding. Late applications are 
not eligible for FY 2011 grant funding.
    Preliminary review deadline. Applicants may seek a preliminary 
review of their application for eligibility and completeness. 
Applications submitted for preliminary review must be received 30 days 
prior to the application deadline. Any complete application received 
after 30 days prior to the application deadline will be considered a 
final application under this Notice for review, scoring, and 
consideration for selection for award.

ADDRESSES: Submit paper applications to the Rural Development State 
Office for the State in which the Project will primarily take place. 
Addresses may be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.
    Submit electronic applications at http://www.grants.gov, following 
the instructions found on this Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Applicants should visit the program 
Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html which 
contains application guidance. Applicants can also contact their USDA 
Rural Development State Office by calling 800-670-6553 and pressing 
``1.'' Applicants are encouraged to contact their State Offices well in 
advance of the deadline to discuss their projects and ask any questions 
about the application process.
    Applicants may also contact Lyn Millhiser at 202-720-1227 or Tracey 
Kennedy at 202-690-1428, or by e-mailing cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov for 
additional information.
    Applicants seeking preliminary review of their applications may 
submit drafts to their State office in accordance with the 
aforementioned ``Preliminary review deadline.'' The preliminary review 
will only assess the eligibility of the application and its 
completeness. The results of the preliminary review are not binding on 
the Agency.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the paperwork 
burden associated with this Notice has been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0570-0064.
    Producers seeking funding under this Notice have to submit 
applications that include specified information, certifications, and 
agreements. All of the forms, information, certifications, and 
agreements required to apply for grants under this Notice have been 
authorized under OMB Control Number 0570-0064.

[[Page 37775]]

Overview

    Federal Agency Name: Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Value-Added Producer Grants.
    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.352.
    Dates: Completed paper applications, for both unreserved funds or 
reserved funds, must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than August 29, 2011 to be eligible for FY 2011 
grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2011 grant 
funding.
    All completed electronic applications, for both unreserved funds or 
reserved funds, must be received by Midnight Eastern Time August 29, 
2011 to be eligible for FY 2011 grant funding. Late applications are 
not eligible for FY 2011 grant funding.
    Availability of Notice. This Notice is available on the USDA Rural 
Development Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

A. Purpose of the Program

    The primary objective of this grant program is to help Independent 
Producers of Agricultural Commodities, Agriculture Producer Groups, 
Farmer and Rancher Cooperatives, and Majority-Controlled Producer-Based 
Business Ventures develop strategies to create marketing opportunities 
and to help develop Business Plans for viable marketing opportunities 
regarding production of bio-based products from agricultural 
commodities. Cooperative Programs will competitively award funds for 
Planning Grants and Working Capital Grants directly related to the 
processing and/or marketing of value-added products. In order to 
provide program benefits to as many eligible applicants as possible, 
applicants may apply only for a Planning Grant or for a Working Capital 
Grant, but not both. Grants will only be awarded if Projects are 
determined to be economically viable and sustainable.
    As with all value-added efforts, generating new products, creating 
expanded marketing opportunities and increasing producer income are the 
end goals.
    Please note that businesses of all sizes may apply, but priority 
will be given to Operators of Small and Medium-Sized Farms or Ranches 
that are structured as Family Farms, Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, 
Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, Mid-Tier Value Chain 
projects, and Farmer or Rancher Cooperatives. There is no restriction 
on the minimum grant size that will be awarded. In FY 2010, 41 percent 
of awards were $50,000 or less.

B. Statutory Authority

    This solicitation is issued pursuant to section 231 of the 
Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-224) as amended by 
section 6202 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 
110-246) (see 7 U.S.C. 1621 note)) authorizing the establishment of the 
Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development grants, also known 
as Value-Added Producer Grants. The regulations are contained in 7 CFR 
part 4284, subpart J and are incorporated by reference in this notice. 
The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the program's administration 
to USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs.

C. Definition of Terms

    The definitions applicable to this Notice are published at 7 CFR 
4284.902. If a term is defined differently in the Departmental 
Regulations (7 CFR series 3000-3099), 2 CFR part 230, 48 CFR 31.2, or 2 
CFR parts 25, 170 or 417, than in this subpart, such term shall have 
the meaning as found in 7 CFR 4284.902.

II. Award Information

    A. Available funds. In FY 2011, approximately $37 million is being 
announced from appropriations provided in 2010 and 2011 . Funding made 
available under this NOFA is funding that was provided under the 
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-80) and under 
the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 
2011 (Pub. L.112-20).
    B. Type of instrument. Grant.
    C. Approximate number of awards. 250.
    D. Approximate Average Award. $116,000.
    E. Range of Awards. There is no minimum award. The maximum amount 
of grant funds provided to a grant recipient under this Notice is 
$100,000 for planning grants and $300,000 for Working Capital grants.
    F. Anticipated Award Date. November 30, 2011.
    G. Project Period Length: The maximum term of a grant project 
period is 3 years from date of award. Grant project periods should be 
scaled to the complexity of the objectives of the project.

 III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    To be eligible for this program, an applicant must meet the 
eligibility requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.920. Applicants will 
be ineligible according to he requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.921.

B. Project Eligibility

    To be eligible for this program, a project must meet the product 
and purpose eligibility requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.922, 
including Agency concurrence in the financial feasibility of the 
project or business to achieve the income, credit, and cash flows to 
financially sustain the venture over the long term, based upon the 
adequacy of the feasibility study and/or business plan submitted with 
the application that is required for working capital projects; or the 
quality of the evidence for project success provided in applications 
that qualify for a waiver of the feasibility study and/or business plan 
submission. If the applicant elects to compete for reserved funds, the 
requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.922(c) also apply. It is the 
Agency's position that harvester operations do not meet the definition 
requirements for a Farm or Ranch and are not eligible to receive 
Reserved Funds for a Beginning Farmer or Rancher or a Socially 
Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher. Harvester operations may compete for 
Reserved Funds for a Mid-Tier Value Chain project, as applicable. 
Applications that propose ineligible expenses in excess of 10 percent 
of total project costs will be deemed ineligible to compete for funds. 
Eligible applications containing ineligible expenses of less than 10 
percent of total project costs that are selected for award must 
eliminate those ineligible expenses from the project budget.

C. Other Eligibility Requirements

    Applicants must comply with all other eligibility requirements 
found in 7 CFR part 4284, subpart J.
    Active VAPG grant. If an applicant has an active value-added grant 
and seeks to submit an application under this Notice, the currently 
active grant must be closed out no later than 90 days after submission 
deadline.
    Multiple VAPG grants. In accord with 7 CFR 4284.920(e), applicants 
may not submit multiple grant requests, including separate entities 
with identical or greater than 75 percent common ownership, and in 
cases where an applicant is requesting an additional planning or 
working capital grant for a

[[Page 37776]]

project that has already received a planning or working capital grant. 
If multiple grants are submitted, all such applications will be deemed 
ineligible to compete for Federal grant funds.
    Grant Period Eligibility: Applicants may propose a timeframe for 
the grant project up to a maximum 36 months in length from the grant 
period date of award. The grant period will begin on the date of award 
and projects must begin within 90 days of award date. However, awards 
are not expected to be made until November 30, 2011, so applicants 
should propose a date after November 30, 2011 to begin their projects. 
Projects should end not later than 36 months from the grant period date 
of award . Applications that request funds for a time period beginning 
prior to November 30, 2011 and/or ending later than 36 months from the 
grant period date of award will be considered ineligible. The Agency 
will consider requests for an extension on a case-by-case basis if 
extenuating circumstances prevent a grantee from completing an award 
within the approved grant period, but no extensions can be approved to 
extend the grant period beyond a total of three years from the grant 
period date of award.
    Priority. An applicant may apply for priority points if they 
propose a project that contributes to increasing opportunities for 
beginning farmers or ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmer or 
ranchers, or if they are an Operator of a small- or medium-sized farm 
or ranch that is structured as a family farm, or are a farmer or 
rancher Cooperative, or if they propose a Mid-Tier value chain project. 
To be eligible for these priority points, the requirements specified in 
7 CFR 4284.922(d) must be met, as applicable. It is the Agency's 
position that harvester operations do not meet the definition 
requirements for a Farm or Ranch and are not eligible to receive 
priority points for a Beginning Farmer or Rancher, a Socially 
Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher, an Operator of a small- or medium-
sized farm or ranch that is structured as a Family Farm, or a Farmer or 
Rancher Cooperative. Harvester operations may request priority points 
for a Mid-Tier Value Chain project, as applicable.

IV. Fiscal Year 2011 Application and Submission Information

A. Address to Request Applications

    The application package, including an application guide and other 
materials for applying on paper for this funding opportunity, can be 
obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html. 
Alternatively, applicants can contact their USDA Rural Development 
State Office by calling 800-670-6553 and pressing ``1.''
    To obtain electronic applications, applicants must visit http://www.grants.gov and follow the instructions.

B. Content and Form of Submission

    All applications must contain the information specified in 7 CFR 
4284.931.
    Applications may be submitted in paper copy, or electronically only 
via grants.gov. If submitted as a paper copy, only one original copy 
should be submitted. An application submission must contain all 
required components in their entirety. E-mailed or faxed submissions 
will not be acknowledged, accepted or processed by the Agency.
    In accordance with 2 CFR part 25, to apply for Federal grant 
funding, all applicants must have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number, which can be obtained at no cost via a 
toll-free request line at 1-866-705-5711 or online at http://www.dnb.com/us. Similarly, 2 CFR part 25 requires that all applicants 
maintain registration in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) 
database. Applicants must register for the CCR at http://www.ccr.gov, 
and may call the toll-free technical assistance line at 1-866-606-8220 
and press ``1'' for CCR.
    All recipients of Federal financial assistance are required to 
report information about first-tier subawards and executive 
compensation in accordance with 2 CFR part 170.

C. Simplified Applications

    All four applicant types requesting less than $50,000 working 
capital grant funds may submit a simplified application in accordance 
with 7 CFR 4284.932. These applicants are not required to provide 
feasibility studies or business plans, but must provide information to 
demonstrate the expected increases in customer base and revenues 
resulting from the project that will benefit the producer applicants 
supplying the majority of the agricultural commodity for the project. 
See 7 CFR 4284.922(b)(6)(ii).
    In addition, Independent Producer applicants seeking working 
capital grants of $50,000 or more, who can demonstrate that they are 
proposing market expansion for an existing value-added product(s) that 
they currently own and produce from at least 50 percent of their own 
agricultural commodity and that they have produced and marketed for at 
least 2 years at time of application submission, may submit a business 
or marketing plan for the value-added project in lieu of a feasibility 
study. These simplified applications must still document for increased 
customer base and increased revenues returning to the applicant 
producers as a result of the project. See 7 CFR 4284.922(b)(6)(i).

D. Submission Dates and Times

    Complete paper applications, for both unreserved funds or reserved 
funds, must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no 
later than August 29, 2011 to be eligible for FY 2011 grant funding. 
Late applications are not eligible for FY 2011 grant funding.
    All complete electronic applications, for both unreserved funds and 
reserved funds, must be received by Midnight Eastern Time August 29, 
2011 to be eligible for FY 2011 grant funding. Late applications are 
not eligible for FY 2011 grant funding.

E. Incomplete Applications

    Incomplete applications will be rejected. The Agency will notify 
applicants as to the elements that made the application incomplete. If 
the Agency receives a resubmitted electronic application by Midnight 
Eastern Time August 29, 2011, the Agency will reconsider the 
application. If the Agency receives a paper application that is 
delivered or postmarked by August 29, 2011, the Agency will reconsider 
the application.

F. Funding Restrictions

    Funding limitations and reservations will apply in accordance with 
7 CFR 4284.925
    Matching funds. Grant funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent of 
the total eligible project costs, subject to the limitations 
established for maximum total grant amount. Applicants must certify the 
availability and source-verify all matching funds at time of 
application submission. The source and use of both grant and matching 
funds may not include a Conflict of Interest, as defined in 7 CFR 
4284.902, except as provided for in the limited exceptions found at 7 
CFR 4284.923.
    Majority controlled producer-based business. The aggregate amount 
of awards to majority controlled producer-based businesses for FY 2011 
shall not exceed 10 percent of the total funds obligated for the 
program during the fiscal year.
    Reserved funds. For FY 2011, 10 percent of total funding available 
will be used to fund projects that benefit beginning farmers or 
ranchers, or socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. In addition, 
10 percent of total

[[Page 37777]]

funding available will also be used to fund projects that propose 
development of mid-tier value chains.
    Disposition of Reserved funds not obligated. Any FY 2011 Reserved 
funds that have not been obligated by June 30, 2011, shall be available 
to the Secretary to make VAPG grants, subject to this notice, to 
eligible entities, as determined by the Secretary. For FY 2011, the 
Secretary has determined that for reserved funds not obligated by June 
30, 2011, reservation of funds for categories addressed at 7 CFR 
4284.922 (c) will continue.
    Use of grant and matching funds. Grant and matching funds may be 
used for the eligible uses specified in 7 CFR 4284.923 but may not be 
used for ineligible purposes, as provided in 7 CFR 4284.924.

G. Intergovernmental Review

    If State or local governments raise objections to a proposed 
project under the intergovernmental review process that are not 
resolved within 90 days of the Agency's award announcement date, the 
Agency will rescind the award and will provide the applicant with a 
written notice to that effect. The Agency, in its sole discretion, may 
extend the 90-day period if it appears resolution is imminent.

V. Application Review, Award, and Administration Information

A. Preliminary Review

    Applicants may submit drafts of their applications to their State 
Offices for a preliminary review no later than 30 days prior to the 
application deadline. The preliminary review is an informal assessment 
of the eligibility of the application and its completeness. The result 
of the preliminary review is not binding on the Agency.

B. Processing Applications

    Applications will be reviewed and processed in accordance with 7 
CFR 4284.940.

C. Application Ineligibility and Withdrawal

    If the Agency determines that an application is ineligible at any 
time, the Agency will notify the applicant in writing of its 
determination and any review or appeal rights. If, during the period 
between the submission of an application and the execution of award 
documents, the project is no longer viable or the applicant no longer 
is requesting financial assistance for the project, the applicant must 
notify the Agency in writing. Upon receipt of such notification, the 
Agency will rescind the selection or withdraw the application, as 
applicable.

D. Application Scoring

    The Agency will score applications according to the procedures and 
criteria specified in 7 CFR 4284.942, and as specified below.
    For each criterion, applicants must demonstrate how the project has 
merit, and provide rationale for the likelihood of project success. 
Responses that do not address all aspects of the criterion, or that do 
not comprehensively convey pertinent project information will receive 
lower scores. The maximum number of points that will be awarded to an 
application is 100. Any application receiving less than 45 points will 
not be funded. The Agency application package will provide additional 
instruction to assist applicants when responding to the criteria below.
    1. Nature of the Proposed Venture (graduated score 0-30 points). 
Working capital applicants should demonstrate the technological 
feasibility of the project, as well as the operational efficiency, 
profitability, and overall economic sustainability resulting from the 
project. Planning grant applicants should address this criterion by 
describing the expected outcomes as indicated above, and the rationale 
supporting those expectations. Applicants should reference third-party 
information that specifically supports the value-added project; discuss 
the value-added process proposed, potential markets and distribution 
channels; value to be added to the raw commodity through the value-
added process; potential increase in customer base and increased 
revenue returning to producers; cost and availability of inputs, 
experience of the applicant in marketing the proposed or similar 
product; and any other relevant information that supports the viability 
of the project. Points will be awarded as follows.
    i. 0 points will be awarded if the application does not 
substantively address this criterion.
    ii. 10 points will be awarded if the applicant demonstrates 
weakness in addressing this criterion.
    iii. 20 points will be awarded if the applicant partially addresses 
this criterion.
    iv. 30 points will be awarded if the applicant clearly articulates 
the rationale for the project and demonstrates a high likelihood of 
success based on technological feasibility and economic sustainability.
    2. Qualifications of Project Personnel (graduated score 0-20 
points). Applicants should identify and describe the qualifications of 
individuals responsible for leading or managing the total project, as 
well as those individuals responsible for actually conducting the 
individual tasks in the work plan. Applications should discuss the 
credentials, education, capabilities, experience, availability and 
commitment of project personnel. If staff or consultants have not been 
selected at the time of application, provide specific descriptions of 
the qualifications required for the positions to be filled. Points will 
be awarded as follows:
    i. 0 points will be awarded if this criterion is not substantively 
addressed;
    ii. 10 points will be awarded if at least one of the identified 
staff or consultants demonstrates 5 or more years of relevant 
experience; or, if no project personnel have been identified but 
necessary qualifications for the positions to be filled are clearly 
described;
    iii. 20 points will be awarded if all of the identified staff 
demonstrates relevant qualifications and experience.
    3. Commitments and Support (graduated score 0-10 points). 
Applications must demonstrate the project has strong direct financial, 
technical and logistical support from agricultural producers, end-
users, and other third party contributors necessary to successfully 
complete the project. Producer commitment may be demonstrated by 
describing cash or in-kind contributions to the project. End-user 
commitments include contracts or letters of intent or interest in 
purchasing the value-added product. Third-party commitments may include 
evidence of critical partnerships, logistical, or technical support 
necessary for the project to succeed. Points will be awarded as 
follows:
    i. 0 points will be awarded if the applicant does not demonstrate 
tangible, relevant commitments or support from producers, end-users or 
other critical third party contributors.
    ii. 5 points will be awarded if the applicant partially 
demonstrates tangible, high quality direct support or commitments from 
at least one producer, end users, or other third party contributor.
    iii. 10 points will be awarded if the applicant demonstrates 
tangible, high quality direct support or commitments from multiple 
producers, end-users and critical third-party contributors.
    4. Work Plan and Budget (graduated score 0-20 points). In accord 
with 7 CFR 4284.922(b)(5), applicants must submit a comprehensive work 
plan and budget. The work plan must provide specific and detailed 
narrative descriptions of

[[Page 37778]]

the tasks and the key project personnel that will accomplish the 
project's goals. The budget must present a detailed breakdown of all 
estimated costs associated with the activities and allocate those costs 
among the listed tasks. The source and use of both grant and matching 
funds must be specified for all tasks. An eligible start and end date 
for the project itself and for individual project tasks must be clearly 
indicated and may not exceed Agency specified timeframes for the grant 
period.
    i. 0 points will be awarded if the applicant does not substantively 
address this criterion.
    ii. 10 points will be awarded if the applicant partially addresses 
this criterion.
    iii. 20 points will be awarded if the applicant provides a 
detailed, comprehensive work plan and budget.
    5. Priority Points (lump sum score 0 or 10 points). Priority points 
may be awarded in both the General Funds competition, as well as the 
Reserved Funds competitions. Qualifying applicants may request priority 
points if they meet the requirements for one of the following 
categories and provide the documentation specified in 7 CFR 
4284.922(d), as applicable. Priority categories include: Beginning 
Farmer or Rancher, Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher, Operator 
of a Small or Medium-sized farm or ranch that is structured as a Family 
Farm, Mid Tier Value Chain proposals, and Farmer or Rancher 
Cooperative. It is recommended that applicants utilize the Agency 
application package when documenting for priority points and refer to 
the documentation requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.922(d). It is 
the Agency's position that harvester operations do not meet the 
definition requirements for a Farm or Ranch and are not eligible to 
receive Priority Points for a Beginning Farmer or Rancher, a Socially 
Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher, an Operator of a small- or medium-
sized farm or ranch that is structured as a Family Farm, or a Farmer or 
Rancher Cooperative. Harvesters may request Priority Points for a Mid-
Tier Value Chain project, as applicable. All qualifying applicants in 
this category will receive 10 points. Applicants that do not provide 
sufficient documentation will receive 0 points.
    6. Administrator Priority Categories (graduated score 0-10 points). 
The Administrator of USDA Rural Development Business and Cooperative 
Programs has discretion to award up to 10 points to an application to 
improve the geographic diversity of awardees in a fiscal year.

E. Selection of Applications

    The Agency will select applications for award under this Notice in 
accordance with the provisions specified in 7 CFR 4284.950(a).
    The Agency will conduct an initial screening of all applications 
for eligibility and to determine whether the application is complete 
and sufficiently responsive to the requirements set forth in this 
notice to allow for an informed review.
    All eligible and complete proposals will be evaluated by two 
reviewers based on criteria specified in Section V.D. One of these 
reviewers will be a Rural Development employee from the servicing State 
Office and the other reviewer will be a non-Federal individual. The 
State Office may enlist the support of technical experts qualified as 
described below and approved by the State Director, to assist the State 
Office scoring process. All reviewers must meet the following 
qualifications. Reviewers must have obtained at least a bachelors 
degree in one or more of the following fields: agri-business, business, 
economics, finance, or marketing. They must also have a minimum of 
three years of experience in an agriculture-related field (e.g. 
farming, marketing, consulting, university professor, research, officer 
for trade association, government employee for an agricultural 
program). If the reviewer does not have a degree in one of those 
fields, he/she must possess at least five years of working experience 
in an agriculture-related field.
    Both reviewers will score criteria one through four and the totals 
for each reviewer will be added together and averaged. The Rural 
Development Reviewer will also assign priority points based on 
criterion 5 in Section V.D. These will be added to the average score. 
The sum of these scores will be ranked high to low and this will 
comprise the initial ranking.
    The Administrator of RBS may, at their discretion, award up to 10 
Administrator priority points based on criterion 6 in Section V.D. 
These points will be added to the cumulative score for a total possible 
score of 100. A minimum score of 45 points is required for funding.
    A final ranking will be obtained based solely on the scores 
received for criteria 1 through 6 in Section V.D. Applications for 
reserved funding will be funded in rank order until funds are depleted. 
Unfunded reserve category applications will be returned to the general 
fund category where applications will be funded in rank order until the 
funds are depleted or until the minimum required score has been 
surpassed. Funding for Majority Controlled Producer-Based Business 
Ventures (MAJ) is limited to 10 percent of total grant funds obligated. 
MAJ applications will be funded in rank order until the funding 
limitation has been reached. Grants to MAJ applicants from reserved 
funds will count against the funding limitation.
    An application that is ranked under this Notice, but is not funded, 
will not be carried forward into FY 2012. The Agency will notify the 
applicants of all such applications in writing. Despite the Agency not 
carrying applications forward in FY 2012, the applicant is permitted to 
submit the same application, updated for FY 2012, for consideration.

F. Obligation and Awarding of Funds

    The Agency will obligate and award funds in accordance with the 
procedures and requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.951.

VI. Administrative Information

A. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    1. Review or appeal rights. A person may seek a review of an Agency 
decision or appeal to the National Appeals Division in accordance with 
7 CFR part 11 of this title as provided in 7 CFR 4284.903.
    2. Compliance with other laws and regulations. The provisions of 7 
CFR 4284.905 apply to this Notice, which includes requiring producers 
to be in compliance with other applicable Federal laws.
    3. Monitoring and reporting program performance. The provisions of 
7 CFR 4284.960 apply to this Notice.
    4. Grant servicing. All grants awarded under this Notice shall be 
serviced in accordance with 7 CFR part 1951, subparts E and O as 
applicable, and the Departmental Regulations (7 CFR parts 3000-3099), 
with the exception that delegation of the post-award servicing of the 
program does not require the prior approval of the Administrator.
    5. Transfer of obligations. Any transfer of funds obligated under 
this Notice from an applicant to a different applicant must comply with 
the requirements specified in 7 CFR 4284.962.
    6. Grant close out and related activities. The provisions of 7 CFR 
4284.963 apply to this Notice.
    7. Exception authority. The provisions of 7 CFR 4284.904 apply to 
this Notice.
    8. Departmental regulations. Unless specifically stated otherwise 
in this Notice or in 7 CFR part 4284, subpart J,

[[Page 37779]]

this Notice incorporates by reference the regulations of the Department 
of Agriculture's Office of Chief Financial Officer (or successor 
office) as codified in 7 CFR parts 3000 through 3099, including, but 
not necessarily limited to, 7 CFR parts 3015 through 3019, 7 CFR part 
3021, 2 CFR parts 25, 170 and 417, and 7 CFR part 3052; and successor 
regulations to these parts.
    9. Cost principles. This Notice incorporates by reference the cost 
principles found in 2 CFR part 230 and in 48 CFR 31.2.

B. Environmental Review

    All recipients under this Notice are subject to the requirements of 
7 CFR part 1940, subpart G and any successor regulation. However, 7 CFR 
1940.333 generally excludes applications for planning grants. 
Applicants for working capital grants must submit Form RD 1940-20, 
``Request for Environmental Information,'' as part of this application.

VII. Agency Contacts

    For general questions about this announcement and for program 
technical assistance, applicants should contact their USDA Rural 
Development State Office at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html. 
The State Office can also be reached by calling 800-670-6553 and 
pressing ``1.'' If an applicant is unable to contact their State 
Office, a nearby State Office may be contacted or the RBS National 
Office can be reached by calling Lyn Millhiser at (202) 720-1227 or 
Tracey Kennedy at 202-690-1428, or via e-mail: cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov. 
Applicants are also encouraged to visit the application Web site for 
application tools, including an application guide and templates. The 
Web address is: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html.

VIII. Nondiscrimination Statement

    USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on 
the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where 
applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, 
religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, 
reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived 
from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to 
all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means 
for communication of program information (Braille, large print, 
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 
(voice and TDD).
    To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, 
Office of Adjudication and Compliance, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-
6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and 
lender.

    Dated: June 21, 2011.
Judith A. Canales,
Administrator, Rural Business--Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-16121 Filed 6-27-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P