[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 80 (Wednesday, April 25, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24678-24683]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9997]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service


Announcement of Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant 
(SSDPG) Application Deadlines in Fiscal Year 2012

AGENCY: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.

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SUMMARY: The Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the 
availability of approximately $3 million in competitive grant funds for 
the FY 2012 SSDPG program. See the Consolidated and Further Continuing 
Appropriations Act, 2012 (2012 Appropriations Act) (Pub. L. 112-55). We 
request proposals from applicants that will provide technical 
assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in 
rural areas. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of 
Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers. The maximum award 
per grant is $175,000.

DATES: Completed applications for grants must be submitted on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
    Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than July 24, 2012 to be eligible for FY 2012 grant 
funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2012 grant funding.
    Electronic copies must be received by April 25, 2012, to be 
eligible for FY 2012 grant funding. Late applications will not be 
eligible for FY 2012 grant funding.

ADDRESSES: Application materials for the SSDPG program may be obtained 
at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html or by contacting your 
USDA Rural Development State Office. Contact information for State 
Offices can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html
    Paper applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development 
State Office in the State where your organization's main office is 
located. Electronic applications must be submitted through the 
Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov. Please read the 
instructions found on the Grants.gov Web site and follow them 
carefully.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Visit the program Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html for application assistance or 
contact your USDA Rural Development State Office. You are strongly 
encouraged to contact your State Office well in advance of the deadline 
to discuss your Project and ask any questions about the application 
process.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    Federal Agency Name: USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer 
Grant.
    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.77.1

[[Page 24679]]

    Dates: Application Deadline: Completed applications for grants may 
be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following 
deadlines:
    Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than July 24, 2012 to be eligible for FY 2012 grant 
funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2012 grant funding.
    Complete electronic copies must be received by July 24, 2012, to be 
eligible for FY 2012 grant funding. Late applications are not eligible 
for FY 2012 grant funding.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    The 2012 Appropriations Act authorized up to $3 million for grants 
for Cooperative Development Centers, individual Cooperatives, or Groups 
of Cooperatives that serve socially-disadvantaged groups and where a 
majority of their governing board is comprised of members of socially-
disadvantaged groups or at least 75 percent of their membership is 
comprised of socially-disadvantaged producers. The SSDPG Program is 
authorized by 310B (e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development 
Act (7 U.S.C. 1932). The primary objective of the SSDPG program is to 
provide Technical Assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged 
Agricultural Producers. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The 
maximum award amount per grant is $175,000.

Definitions

    Agency--Rural Business-Cooperative Service, an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development or a 
successor agency.
    Agricultural Commodity--An unprocessed product of farms, ranches, 
nurseries, and forests. Agricultural commodities include: livestock, 
poultry, and fish; fruits and vegetables; grains, such as wheat, 
barley, oats, rye, triticale, rice, corn, and sorghum; legumes, such as 
field beans and peas; animal feed and forage crops; seed crops; fiber 
crops, such as cotton; oil crops, such as safflower, sunflower, corn, 
and cottonseed; trees grown for lumber and wood products; nursery stock 
grown commercially; Christmas trees; ornamentals and cut flowers; and 
turf grown commercially for sod. Agricultural commodities do not 
include horses or animals raised as pets, such as cats, dogs, and 
ferrets.
    Conflict of Interest--A situation in which the ability of a person 
or entity to act impartially would be questionable due to competing 
professional or personal interests. An example of conflict of interest 
occurs when the grantee's employees, board of directors, including 
their immediate family, have a legal or personal financial interest in 
the recipients receiving the benefits or services of the grant.
    Cooperative--A farmer- or rancher-owned and -controlled business, 
organized and chartered as a cooperative, from which benefits are 
derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use by each of the 
farmer or rancher owners whose primary focus is to provide assistance 
to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and where a 
majority of their governing board is comprised of individuals who are 
members of socially-disadvantaged groups or at least 75 percent of 
their membership is comprised of socially-disadvantaged producers.
    Cooperative Development Center--A nonprofit corporation or 
accredited institution of higher education that is established or 
operated by the grantee for rural cooperative development. It may or 
may not be an independent legal entity separate from the grantee. The 
Center's main objective is to assist Cooperatives with their startup, 
expansion or operational improvement in order to promote development in 
rural areas of services and products, processes that can be used in the 
marketing of products, or enterprises that create Value-Added to farm 
products through processing or marketing activities. Cooperative 
development activities may include, but are not limited to, Technical 
Assistance, research services, educational services and advisory 
services. Operational improvement includes making the Cooperative more 
efficient or better managed.
    Cooperative Programs--The office within Rural Business-Cooperative 
Service, and any successor organization, that administers programs 
authorized by the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 (7 U.S.C. 451 et 
seq.) and such other programs identified in USDA regulations.
    Economic Development--The economic growth of an area as evidenced 
by increase in total income, employment opportunities, decreased out-
migration of population, value of production, increased diversification 
of industry, higher labor force participation rates, increased duration 
of employment, higher wage levels, or gains in other measurements of 
economic activity, such as land values.
    Feasibility Study--An analysis of the economic, market, technical, 
financial, and management feasibility of a proposed Project.
    Group of Cooperatives--A group of Cooperatives whose primary focus 
is to provide assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural 
Producers and where a majority of their governing board is comprised of 
individuals who are members of socially-disadvantaged groups or at 
least 75 percent of their membership is comprised of socially-
disadvantaged producers.
    Operating Cost--The day-to-day expenses of running a business; for 
example: utilities, rent, salaries, depreciation, product production 
costs, marketing and advertising, and other basic overhead items.
    Project--Includes all activities to be funded by the Small 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant.
    Rural and Rural Area--Any area of a State:
    (1) Not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 
inhabitants, according to the latest decennial census of the United 
States; and
    (2) The contiguous and adjacent urbanized area,
    (3) Urbanized areas that are rural in character as defined by 7 
U.S.C. 1991 (a) (13), as amended by Section 6018 of the Food, 
Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246 (June 18, 
2008).
    (4) For the purposes of this definition, cities and towns are 
incorporated population centers with definite boundaries, local self-
government, and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the 
State. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph, within 
the areas of the County of Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, the Secretary may designate any part of the areas as a 
rural area if the Secretary determines that the part is not urban in 
character, other than any area included in the Honolulu census 
designated place (CDP) or the San Juan CDP.
    Rural Development--A mission area within USDA consisting of the 
Office of Under Secretary for Rural Development, Rural Development 
Business and Cooperative Programs, Rural Development Housing Programs, 
and Rural Development Utilities Programs and any successors.
    Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer--Socially-Disadvantaged 
persons or at least 75 percent Socially-Disadvantaged Producer-owned 
entities including farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters, 
and fishermen, that have averaged $250,000 or less in annual gross 
sales of agricultural products in the last 3 years.
    Socially-Disadvantaged Producer--Individual agricultural producer 
who is

[[Page 24680]]

a member of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic 
or gender prejudice, without regard for their individual qualities.
    State--Includes each of the several states, the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, American 
Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and, as may be 
determined by the Secretary to be feasible, appropriate and lawful, the 
Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands 
and the Republic of Palau.
    Technical Assistance--An advisory service performed for the benefit 
of a Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer such as market research; 
product and/or service improvement; legal advice and assistance; 
Feasibility Study, business plan, and marketing plan development; and 
training. Technical Assistance does not include the Operating Costs of 
a cooperative being assisted.
    Value-Added--The incremental value that is realized by the producer 
from an agricultural commodity or product as the result of a change in 
its physical state, differentiated production or marketing, as 
demonstrated in a business plan, or product segregation. Incremental 
value may be realized by the producer as a result of either an increase 
in value to buyers or the expansion of the overall market for the 
product. Examples include milling wheat into flour, slaughtering 
livestock or poultry, making strawberries into jam, and marketing of 
organic products.

II. Award Information

    A. Type of Award: Grant.
    B. Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2012.
    C. Approximate Total Funding: $3 million.
    D. Approximate Number of Awards: 17.
    E. Floor of Award Range: None.
    F. Ceiling of Award Range: $175,000.
    G. Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2012.
    H. Budget Period Length: 12 months.
    I. Project Period Length: 12 months.

III. Eligibility Information

    A. Eligible Applicants. Grants may be made to Cooperatives, Groups 
of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers. You must be able 
to verify your legal structure in the State in which you are 
incorporated. Grants may not be made to public bodies or to 
individuals.
    B. Cost Sharing or Matching. No matching funds are required.
    C. Other Eligibility Requirements
    Use of Funds: Funds may only be used for Technical Assistance 
Projects as defined in this Notice.
    Project Area Eligibility: The proposed Project must take place in a 
Rural Area as defined in this Notice.
    Grant Period Eligibility: If awarded, grant funds must be used 
within 12 months. Applications must have a time frame of one year or 
less. Your proposed time frame should begin no earlier than the grant 
award date and end no later than December 31, 2013. However, you should 
note that the anticipated award date is September 1 so your proposed 
start date should be after September 1, 2012. Projects must be 
completed within the 12-month time frame. The Agency has the option to 
approve requests to extend the grant period for up to 12 months. 
However, if you receive another SSDPG grant during the next grant 
cycle, the first grant must be closed before funds can be obligated for 
the new grant. Applications that request funds for a time period ending 
after December 31, 2013, will not be considered for funding.
    Completeness Eligibility: Your application must provide all of the 
information requested in Section IV (B) of this Notice. Applications 
lacking sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring 
will be considered ineligible.
    Multiple Grant Eligibility: You may only submit one SSDPG grant 
application each funding cycle.
    Activity Eligibility: Your application must propose Technical 
Assistance that will benefit Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producers in 
Rural Areas. Please review section IV (G) of this Notice, ``Funding 
Restrictions,'' carefully. Your application will be ineligible for 
funding if it includes ineligible costs that equal more than 10 percent 
of total Project costs. If your application contains ineligible costs 
that equal or are less than 10 percent of total Project costs, it may 
still be considered for funding. You must remove the ineligible costs 
from the budget if your application is selected for funding. You can 
replace the ineligible costs with eligible activities or reduce the 
grant award by the amount of ineligible costs. Applications that 
duplicate current activities or activities paid for by other grant 
programs will not be funded.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    A. Address to Request Application Package. The application package 
for applying on paper for this funding opportunity is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html. You may also contact your USDA 
Rural Development State Office for more information. Contact 
information for State Offices is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.
    B. Content and Form of Submission. Applications must be submitted 
on paper or electronically. Applications may not be submitted by 
electronic mail or facsimile. An application guide may be viewed at 
http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html. We recommend that you use 
the application template provided on the Web site. The template can be 
filled out electronically and printed out for submission with the 
required forms for paper submission or it can be filled out 
electronically and submitted as an attachment through http://www.grants.gov.
    Please visit Grants.gov well in advance of the application deadline 
if you plan to apply electronically to make sure you have enough time 
to get the proper authentication and have sufficient computer resources 
to complete the application process.
    You must prepare and submit the following information to complete 
your application. Information submitted as part of the application will 
be protected to the extent permitted by law.
    1. Form SF-424, ``Application for Federal Assistance,'' must be 
completed, signed, and include a Dunn and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number. You must also maintain registration in 
the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. See 2 CFR Sec.  
25.200(b). The DUNS number is a nine-digit identification number which 
uniquely identifies business entities. There is no charge. To obtain a 
DUNS number, access http://www.dnb.com/us/ or call 866-705-5711. 
Similarly, applicants may register for the CCR at http://www.ccr.gov. 
Assistance with CCR registration is available by calling 1-866-606-
8220. The CCR CAGE Code and expiration date may be handwritten on the 
SF-424. For more information, see the SSDPG web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html or contact the USDA Rural 
Development State Office at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.
    2. Form SF-424A, ``Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs.'' 
This form must be completed and submitted as part of the application 
package.
    3. Form SF-424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.'' This 
form must be completed, signed, and submitted as part of the 
application package.
    4. Table of Contents. Your application must contain a detailed 
Table of Contents (TOC) immediately following the SF-424B. The TOC must 
include page numbers for each part of the

[[Page 24681]]

application. Page numbers should begin immediately following the TOC.
    5. Executive Summary. A summary of the proposal, not to exceed one 
page, must briefly describe the Project, tasks to be completed, and 
other relevant information that provides a general overview of the 
Project.
    6. Eligibility Discussion. A detailed discussion, not to exceed 
four pages, must describe how you meet the following requirements:
    (i) Applicant Eligibility. You must describe how you meet the 
definition of a Cooperative, Group of Cooperatives, or Cooperative 
Development Center. If applying as a Cooperative or a Group of 
Cooperatives, you must verify your incorporation in the State that you 
have applied by providing the State's Certificate of Good Standing, and 
your Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. If applying as a 
Cooperative Development Center, you must provide evidence of your 
status as a nonprofit corporation or an accredited institution of 
higher education and a copy of your mission statement. You must apply 
as only one type of applicant.
    (ii) Use of Funds. You must provide a detailed discussion on how 
the proposed Project activities meet the definition of Technical 
Assistance.
    (iii) Project Area. You must provide specific information that 
details the location of the Project area and explain how the area meets 
the definition of ``Rural Area.''
    (iv) Grant Period. You must provide a time frame for the proposed 
Project and discuss how the Project will be completed within that time 
frame.
    7. Budget/Work plan. You must describe, in detail not to exceed 
four pages, the purpose of the grant, what type of assistance will be 
provided, and the total amount of funds needed for the Project. The 
budget must also present a breakdown of estimated costs associated with 
each task/activity for each Project. The amount of grant funds 
requested will be reduced if the applicant does not have justification 
for all costs.
    8. Evaluation Criteria. Each of the evaluation criteria in this 
Notice must be addressed in narrative form, with a maximum of two pages 
for each individual evaluation criteria. Failure to address each 
evaluation criteria will result in the application being determined 
ineligible.
    C. Submission Dates and Times
    Application Deadline Date: July 24, 2012.
    Explanation of Deadlines: Paper applications must be POSTMARKED and 
mailed, shipped, or sent overnight by the deadline date. Electronic 
applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov by the deadline 
date. If your application does not meet the deadline, it will not be 
considered for funding. You will be notified if your application did 
not meet the submission deadline.
    D. National Environmental Policy Act. We have determined that the 
activities proposed under the SSDPG program do not have a significant 
effect on the quality of the environment. You do NOT have to submit an 
Environmental Impact Statement. See 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G.
    E. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements. All grants made under this 
Notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as 
required by the USDA (7 CFR part 15, subpart A) and Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
    F. Intergovernmental Review of Applications. Executive Order (EO) 
12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to this 
program. This EO requires that Federal agencies provide opportunities 
for consultation on proposed assistance with State and local 
governments. Many States have established a Single Point of Contact 
(SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of States that maintain 
a SPOC may be obtained at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. 
If your State has a SPOC, you may submit your application directly for 
review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to 
Rural Development for consideration as part of your application. If 
your State has not established a SPOC or you do not want to submit your 
application to the SPOC, Rural Development will submit your application 
to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies.
    You are also encouraged to contact Cooperative Programs at 202-720-
8460 or cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov if you have questions about this process.
    G. Federal Funding and Transparency Act Requirements. Please note 
that you must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering 
System (DUNS) number and register in the Central Contractor 
Registration (CCR) prior to submitting a pre-application. See 2 CFR 
25.200(b). In addition, you must maintain registration in the CCR 
database at all times during which you have an active Federal award or 
an application. All recipients of Federal financial assistance are 
required to report information about first-tier sub awards and 
executive compensation. See 2 CFR part 170. Finally, an applicant must 
have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the 
reporting requirements in 2 CFR 170.200(b), as long as it is not 
exempted from reporting. Exemptions are identified at 2 CFR 170.110(b).
    H. Funding Restrictions. Grant funds must be used for Technical 
Assistance. No funds made available under this solicitation shall be 
used to:
    1. Plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct a building or 
facility, including a processing facility;
    2. Purchase, rent, or install fixed equipment, including processing 
equipment;
    3. Purchase vehicles, including boats;
    4. Pay for the preparation of the grant application;
    5. Pay expenses not directly related to the funded Project;
    6. Fund political or lobbying activities;
    7. Fund any activities prohibited by 7 CFR parts 3015 or 3019;
    8. Fund architectural or engineering design work for a specific 
physical facility;
    9. Fund any direct expenses for the production of any commodity or 
product to which value will be added, including seed, rootstock, labor 
for harvesting the crop, and delivery of the commodity to a processing 
facility;
    10. Fund research and development;
    11. Purchase land;
    12. Duplicate current activities or activities paid for by other 
funded grant programs.
    13. Pay costs of the Project incurred prior to the date of grant 
approval;
    14. Pay for assistance to any private business enterprise that does 
not have at least 51 percent ownership by those who are either citizens 
of the United States or reside in the United States after being legally 
admitted for permanent residence;
    15. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States;
    16. Pay the Operating Costs of the Cooperative, Group of 
Cooperatives, or Cooperative Development Center;
    17. Pay expenses for applicant employee training; or
    18. Pay for any goods or services from a person who has a Conflict 
of Interest with the grantee.

V. Application Scoring Criteria Review Information

    A. Criteria. All eligible and complete applications will be 
evaluated based on the following criteria. Failure to address any one 
of the following criteria by the application deadline will result in 
the application being determined ineligible and the application will 
not be considered for funding. The total points possible for the 
criteria are 60. Any application receiving less than 35 total points 
will not be funded.

[[Page 24682]]

    1. Technical Assistance (0-15 points). We will evaluate your 
application to determine your ability to assess the needs of Small 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producers, plan and conduct appropriate and 
effective Technical Assistance, and identify the expected outcomes of 
that assistance.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion.
    (ii) 5 points are awarded if you show weakness in addressing this 
criterion.
    (iii) 10 points are awarded if you show you meet part but not all 
of the criterion.
    (iv) 15 points are awarded if you identify specific needs of the 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producers to be assisted; clearly explain a 
logical and detailed plan of assistance for addressing those needs; and 
discuss realistic outcomes of planned assistance.
    2. Experience (0-15 points). Points are awarded based upon length 
of experience of identified staff or consultants in providing Technical 
Assistance, as defined in this Notice. You must describe the specific 
type of Technical Assistance experience for each identified staff 
member or consultant, as well as years of experience in providing that 
assistance. In addition, resumes for each individual staff member or 
consultant must be included as an attachment, listing their experience 
for the type of Technical Assistance proposed. The attachments will not 
count toward the maximum page total. We will compare the described 
experience to the work plan to determine relevance of the experience.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if the staff or consultants demonstrate no 
relevant experience in providing Technical Assistance.
    (ii) 5 points are awarded if at least one of the identified staff 
or consultants demonstrates more than two years of experience in 
providing relevant Technical Assistance.
    (iii) 10 points are awarded if at least one of the identified staff 
or consultants demonstrates 5 or more years of experience in providing 
relevant Technical Assistance.
    (iv) 15 points are awarded if all of the identified staff or 
consultants demonstrate 5 or more years of experience in providing 
relevant Technical Assistance.
    3. Commitment (0-15 points). We will evaluate your commitment to 
providing Technical Assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged 
Producers in Rural Areas. Points are awarded based upon the number of 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producers being assisted. You must list the 
number and location of Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers that 
will directly benefit from the assistance provided.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion.
    (ii) 5 points are awarded if the proposed Project will benefit 1-10 
Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers.
    (iii) 10 points are awarded if the proposed Project will benefit 
11-50 Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers.
    (iv) 15 points are awarded if the proposed Project will benefit 
more than 50 Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers.
    4. Work Plan/Budget (0-10 points). The work plan will be reviewed 
for detailed actions and a timetable for implementing the proposal. 
Clear, logical, and realistic plans will result in a higher score. 
Budgets will be reviewed for completeness.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion.
    (ii) 5 points are awarded if you provide a work plan and budget 
with a cost breakdown but show weakness in addressing this criterion.
    (iii) 10 points are awarded if you provide a detailed work plan 
that is clear and logical and a budget with a breakdown of estimated 
costs associated with proposed tasks.
    4. Local support (0-5 points). Applications are reviewed for local 
support of the Technical Assistance activities. Applicants that 
demonstrate strong support from potential beneficiaries and other 
developmental organizations will receive more points than those not 
showing such support.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion.
    (ii) 1 point is awarded if you provide 2-3 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (iii) 2 points are awarded if you provide 4 -5 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (iv) 3 points are awarded if you provide 6-7 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (v) 4 points are awarded if you provide 8-9 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (vi) 5 points are awarded if you provide 10 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    You may submit a maximum of 10 letters of support. These letters 
should be included as an attachment to the application and will not 
count against the maximum page total. Additional letters from industry 
groups, commodity groups, local and State government, and similar 
organizations should be referenced, but not included in the application 
package. When referencing these letters, provide the name of the 
organization, date of the letter, the nature of the support, and the 
name and title of the person signing the letter.
    B. Review and Selection Process. We will screen all proposals to 
determine whether the application is eligible and responsive to the 
requirements in this Notice. Eligible applications will be scored by 
the applicable State Office and then submitted to the National Office 
for review and ranking. The National Office will review the scores 
based upon the point allocation specified in this Notice. Applications 
are funded in scoring rank order and submitted to the Administrator in 
rank order with funding level recommendations. The Administrator will 
break scoring ties based on Agency priorities for geographic 
distribution of grants, and serving underserved groups and underserved 
areas.
    C. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates. The announcement of 
award selections is expected to occur on or about September 1, 2012, 
subject to funding.

VI. Award Administration Information

    A. Award Notices. Successful applicants will receive a notification 
of tentative selection for funding from Rural Development. Applicants 
must comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and this Notice 
before the grant award will receive final approval.
    Unsuccessful applicants will receive notification, including appeal 
rights, by mail.
    B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. 7 CFR parts 
3015 and 3019, and subparts A and F of 7 CFR part 4284 are applicable 
to grants made under this Notice. These regulations may be obtained at 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html.
    The following additional requirements apply to grantees selected 
for this program:
     Agency approved Grant Agreement.
     Letter of Conditions.
     Form RD 1940-1, ``Request for Obligation of Funds.''
     Form RD 1942-46, ``Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.''
     Form AD-1047, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters--Primary Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1048, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension,

[[Page 24683]]

Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion--Lower Tier Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding a Drug-Free 
Workplace Requirement (Grants).''
     Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.''
    Additional information on these requirements can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html.
    Fund Disbursement: We will determine, based on 7 CFR Parts 3015, 
3016 and 3019, as applicable, whether disbursement of a grant will be 
by advance or reimbursement. As needed, but not more frequently than 
once every 30 days, an original SF-270, ``Request for Advance or 
Reimbursement,'' may be submitted to Rural Development. Your request 
for advance shall not be made in excess of reasonable costs for the 
month covered.
    Reporting Requirements: Grantees must provide Rural Development 
with an original or an electronic copy that includes all required 
signatures of the following reports. The reports should be submitted to 
the Agency contact listed on the Grant Agreement and Letter of 
Conditions. Failure to submit satisfactory reports on time may result 
in suspension or termination of the grant. Grantees will submit:
    1. Form SF-425. A ``Federal Financial Report,'' listing 
expenditures according to agreed upon budget categories, on a semi-
annual basis. Reporting periods end each March 31 and September 30. 
Reports are due 30 days after the reporting period ends.
    2. Semi-annual performance reports comparing accomplishments to the 
objectives stated in the proposal, identifying all tasks completed to 
date and providing documentation supporting the reported results. If 
the original schedule provided in the work plan is not being met, the 
report should discuss the problems or delays that may affect completion 
of the Project. Objectives for the next reporting period should be 
listed. Compliance with any special condition on the use of award funds 
must be discussed. Reports are due as provided in paragraph (1) of this 
section. Supporting documentation must also be submitted for completed 
tasks. The supporting documentation for completed tasks includes, but 
is not limited to, feasibility studies, marketing plans, business 
plans, articles of incorporation, and bylaws as they relate to the 
assistance provided.
    3. Final Project performance reports comparing accomplishments to 
the objectives stated in the proposal, identifying all tasks completed, 
and providing documentation supporting the reported results. If the 
original schedule provided in the work plan was not met, the report 
must discuss the problems or delays that affected completion of the 
Project. Compliance with any special condition on the use of award 
funds must be discussed. Supporting documentation for completed tasks 
must also be submitted. The supporting documentation for completed 
tasks includes, but is not limited to, Feasibility Studies, marketing 
plans, business plans, articles of incorporation, and bylaws as they 
relate to the assistance provided. The final performance report is due 
within 90 days of the completion of the Project. The report must also 
include a summary at the end of the report with the number of Small 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producers assisted to help in documenting the 
annual performance goals of the SSDPG program for Congress.

VII. Agency Contacts

    For general questions about this announcement and for program 
Technical Assistance, please contact the appropriate State Office as 
indicated in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

VIII. Discrimination 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 and employer.

    Dated: April 13, 2012.
Judith A. Canales,
Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-9997 Filed 4-24-12; 8:45 am]
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