[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 66 (Friday, April 5, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20411-20422]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07602]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2013 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 20411]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food and Nutrition Service

7 CFR Part 272

RIN 0584-AE07


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Nutrition Education 
and Obesity Prevention Grant Program

AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This rule amends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
(SNAP) regulations to implement Section 28 of the Food and Nutrition 
Act (``FNA'' or the ``Act'') of 2008, as added by Section 241 of the 
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids (HHFK) Act of 2010, to award grants to States 
for provision of nutrition education and obesity prevention programs. 
These programs will provide services for eligible individuals that 
promote healthy food choices consistent with the current Dietary 
Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). This rule provides State agencies with 
requirements for implementing Section 28 including the grant award 
process and describes the process for allocating the 100 percent 
Federal grant funding authorized under the Act to carry out nutrition 
education and obesity prevention services each fiscal year.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule will become effective April 5, 2013.
    Comment Date: To be considered, comments on this interim rule must 
be postmarked on or before June 4, 2013.

ADDRESSES: The Food and Nutrition Service invites interested persons to 
submit comments on this interim rule. Comments may be submitted by any 
of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Send comments to Jane Duffield, Branch Chief, State 
Administration Branch, Program Accountability and Administration 
Division, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Food and Nutrition 
Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, (703) 605-
4385.
     Web site: Go to http://www.fns.usda.gov. Follow the online 
instructions for submitting comments through the link at the 
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Web site.
     Email: Send comments to SNAP-Ed@fns.udsa.gov. Include 
Docket ID Number [FNS-2011-0017], Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 
Program: Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program 
Interim Rule in the subject line of the message.
     All comments submitted in response to this interim rule 
will be included in the record and will be made available to the 
public. Please be advised that the substance of the comments and the 
identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be 
subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the comments publicly 
available on the Internet via http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jane Duffield, (703) 605-4385, at the 
above address.

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    The HHFK Act removes the existing nutrition education program under 
section 11(f) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et 
seq.), commonly known as SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed), and adds in its 
place Section 28, the nutrition education and obesity prevention grant 
program. This rule implements the nutrition education and obesity 
prevention grant program, which FNS will continue to refer to as SNAP-
Ed, and seeks to improve its operation and effectiveness to make the 
program easier for States to administer while meeting the needs of the 
low-income population.
    The implementation of this Program provides a focus on the critical 
problem of obesity and allows coordinated services to be provided to 
participants in Federal assistance programs and other low-income 
persons. This action will broaden collaboration efforts and 
relationships in order to provide more flexibility to include a wider 
range of evidence-based intervention strategies.

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in 
Question Target Population

    The Act defines individuals eligible for SNAP-Ed services as those 
who receive SNAP or National School Lunch/School Breakfast Program free 
or reduced price benefits, individuals residing in a community with a 
significant low-income population, and other low-income individuals as 
defined by the Secretary. The Agency decided to ease administrative 
burden on States for SNAP-Ed so defined low-income individuals for the 
purposes of SNAP-Ed to include those mentioned above and low-income 
individuals eligible to receive SNAP benefits or other means-tested 
Federal assistance programs such as Medicaid or Temporary Assistance 
for Needy Families (TANF), etc. This definition more closely aligns 
SNAP-Ed with other FNS, Federal, and State-administered benefit 
programs.

Nutrition Education State Plans

    This rule requires States to submit a Nutrition Education State 
Plan in order to receive a SNAP-Ed grant, essentially the same 
procedure as before. The Plans must: identify the use of funding for 
local projects; ensure that interventions are appropriate for the 
eligible low-income population; and recognize the population's 
constrained resources and potential eligibility for Federal nutrition 
assistance. The rule allows States to propose implementing annual or 
multi-year SNAP-Ed Plans of up to three years.

Use of Funds

    The Act permits States to use funds for evidence-based allowable 
uses identified by the FNS Administrator in consultation with the 
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under 
this rule, the definitions for nutrition education and obesity 
prevention services and an evidence-based approach are provided for 
States to use in their SNAP-Ed programming. These definitions provide 
States with greater flexibility to include environmental approaches and 
policy level work in addition to nutrition education and health 
promotion. Expanding these approaches has the

[[Page 20412]]

added benefit of supporting more comprehensive anti-obesity efforts in 
addition to providing greater State flexibility in programming.
    Under this rule, States are permitted to use funds to deliver 
nutrition education and obesity prevention activities using one or more 
of these approaches: individual or group-based nutrition education, 
health promotion, and intervention strategies; comprehensive, multi-
level interventions; and community and public health approaches. To 
improve program design, States are encouraged to integrate multiple 
approaches in implementing their activities.

Coordination

    The rule encourages coordination of SNAP-Ed activities with public 
or privately funded health promotion and nutrition improvement 
strategies and requires that States describe their coordination 
activities. Since SNAP-Ed funds are capped, States are strongly 
encouraged to coordinate with other organizations to leverage financial 
resources to reach low-income individuals through varied approaches.

Funding

    This rule provides grants to States through 100 percent Federal 
funding, requires no State contribution or match, is the only source of 
Federal SNAP funds for these activities, and provides a two year period 
of performance. This rule encourages States to seek public and private 
financial contribution for SNAP-Ed activities to leverage the Federal 
SNAP investment. The rule describes the allocation process in which 
States receive funds based on their share of national SNAP-Ed 
expenditures for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009 until FFY 2014 when the 
allocation formula considers State shares of national SNAP 
participation as well. In FFY 2014, the ratio of expenditures to 
participation is 90/10 building progressively to a 50/50 ratio of 
expenditures to SNAP participation by 2018 and thereafter. The funding 
provisions of this rule stabilize SNAP-Ed funding and reduce State 
administrative burden since no State contribution is required.

III. Costs and Benefits

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Primary                    Discount
                                                         estimate    Year dollar      rate       Period  covered
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Benefits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Qualitative: Provisions in Section 28 will result in a reduction of Federal costs and will reduce administrative
 and financial burden for States, as well as improve the likelihood that low-income persons eligible for SNAP
 and other federal means-tested programs will make healthy lifestyle choices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized ($millions/year)................  ...........  ............  ............  ................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Transfers
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized ($millions/year)................        -$131          2013            7%      FFY2013-2017
                                                             -$132          2013            3%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first-year cost reduction for the Federal government is estimated at $158 million, with a total cost
 reduction of $663 million in the first five years. Impacts are already incorporated into the President's budget
 baseline.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the Federal Government to State SNAP Agencies.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Procedural Matters

Issuance of an Interim Rule and Date of Effectiveness

    USDA, under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act at 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(B), finds for good cause that use of prior notice and 
comment procedures for issuing this interim rule is impracticable. 
Section 28 of the FNA of 2008, as added by Section 241 of Public Law 
111-296, the HHFK Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296 enacted on December 
13, 2010, requires publication in the Federal Register not later than 
January 1, 2012 of a ``description of the requirements for the receipt 
of a grant under this section.'' This statutory language demonstrates 
that Congress expected the Secretary to publish in the Federal Register 
a description of requirements that have maximum legal effect, not 
proposed requirements, by January 1, 2012 so that State agencies can 
rely on those requirements in preparing their fiscal year 2013 
Nutrition Education State plans. To have maximum legal effect, USDA 
believes that such requirements must be in the form of an effective 
rule published in the Federal Register, not merely Agency guidance 
materials. Furthermore, in Section 28 of the Act Congress mandated that 
the Secretary consult with the Director of the CDC and outside 
stakeholders and experts prior to identifying allowable uses of the 
grant funds. Through USDA's diligent efforts to meet this Congressional 
mandate, the Agency conducted nearly 25 consultative sessions with the 
CDC and outside stakeholders and experts over a 6 month period. USDA 
concludes that there was insufficient time to meet this Congressional 
mandate and issue both a proposed rule and final rule prior to the 
statutory deadline. As a result, this interim rule is necessary to 
comply fully with the requirements of Section 28 of the FNA to ensure 
that State agencies implement its provisions.
    For the same reason of impracticability due to the statutory 
implementation deadline, under the provisions of the Congressional 
Review Act at 5 U.S.C. 808(2), USDA for good cause is issuing this rule 
to be effective upon publication. This date is less than the latest of 
the 60-day delay in effective date prior to, either the submission of a 
report to Congress, or after publication of the rule in the Federal 
Register, as required under section 801(a)(3)(A) of the Congressional 
Review Act.
    FNS invites public comment on this interim rule. FNS will consider 
amendments to the rule based on comments submitted during the 60-day 
comment period. The agency will address comments and affirm or amend 
the interim rule in a final rule.

[[Page 20413]]

II. Background

    The purpose of SNAP-Ed is to improve the likelihood that SNAP 
participants and eligible low-income people will make healthy food 
choices within a limited budget and choose active lifestyles consistent 
with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) and USDA food 
guidance. SNAP-Ed is designed to coordinate with other Federal, State, 
and local efforts to provide nutrition education to low-income 
individuals and families.
    State SNAP agencies have the option of providing nutrition 
education to persons eligible for SNAP as part of their program 
operations. FNS staff review and approve annual Nutrition Education 
State Plans submitted by State agencies that chose to participate in 
SNAP-Ed. These plans outline the States' activities and budget for the 
following year.
    In FFY 1992, FNS approved $661,000 in Federal funds for SNAP-Ed 
efforts conducted by seven State agencies. The SNAP-Ed program has 
grown steadily such that by FFY 2010 FNS approved $380 million in 
Federal funds to provide SNAP-Ed in 52 State agencies.
    SNAP-Ed is delivered through State SNAP agencies who subcontract 
with implementing agencies for conducting local projects. Prior to the 
HHFK Act, State SNAP agencies seeking Federal reimbursement for State 
administrative costs submitted a Nutrition Education State Plan, 
commonly referred to as a ``SNAP-Ed Plan'', for FNS approval. Criteria 
for evaluating SNAP-Ed Plans included: timeliness, completeness, 
presence of a needs assessment, goals/objectives, description of 
projects, consistency with the DGAs and USDA food guidance, evaluation, 
coordination of efforts, staffing, budget, assurances, and waivers.
    Prior to the addition of Section 28 to the FNA, each year FNS 
provided SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance that assists States with preparation of 
SNAP-Ed Plans, describes reporting requirements for Plan activities, 
serves as a reference for SNAP-Ed policy, and provides a timeline for 
planning and reporting. The Guidance recommended that SNAP-Ed Plans 
include behaviorally focused, science-based nutrition education 
interventions, projects, or social marketing campaigns that fall within 
the scope of SNAP-Ed and are consistent with FNS priorities. The focus 
of SNAP-Ed has been:
    (1) Health promotion to help SNAP eligibles establish healthy 
eating habits and a physically active lifestyle and
    (2) Primary prevention of disease to help SNAP eligibles that have 
risk factors for diet-related chronic disease prevent or postpone the 
onset of disease by establishing healthier eating and more physically 
active lifestyles.

Purpose of the Rule

    The HHFK Act removes the existing nutrition education program under 
section 11(f) of the FNA of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.), known as 
SNAP-Ed, and adds in its place Section 28, the nutrition education and 
obesity prevention grant program. The rule implements the nutrition 
education and obesity prevention grant program, which FNS will continue 
to refer to as SNAP-Ed, and seeks to improve its operation and 
effectiveness to make the program easier for States to administer while 
meeting the needs of the low-income population.
    This rule provides grants to States through 100 percent Federal 
funding and requires no State contribution or match. Section 28 of the 
FNA permits State and private financial contribution to SNAP-Ed 
activities and this rule encourages States to seek these contributions 
to leverage their Federal SNAP investment.
    Implementation of this provision will provide accountability and 
transparency through SNAP-Ed Plans and ensure that interventions 
implemented as part of these Plans recognize the constrained resources 
of the low-income population and are provided at no cost to recipients. 
It also encourages greater coordination of projects with other public 
or privately funded health promotion and nutrition improvement 
strategies.
    The implementation of this Program will continue SNAP's commitment 
to serving low-income populations while focusing on the critical 
problem of obesity, a major health concern. Implementation of the 
nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program allows 
coordinated services to be provided to participants in Federal 
assistance programs and other low-income persons. This action will 
broaden coordination and collaboration efforts and relationships in 
order to provide more flexibility to include a wider range of evidence-
based intervention strategies. It will foster a more effective and 
comprehensive program to address the critical problem of obesity, 
especially its effects on low-income Americans.

Consultations

    Section 28 of the FNA required FNS to consult with the Director of 
the CDC and a wide range of stakeholders and experts to identify 
allowable uses of funds and to strengthen the delivery, oversight, and 
evaluation of nutrition education and obesity prevention services in 
the development of this rule. These stakeholders and experts included 
representatives of advocacy groups, academic and research communities, 
nutrition and health promotion associations, representatives of 
Federal, State and local governments, and community service providers.
    To assist in the formulation of this rule while meeting the 
requirements of the Act, FNS conducted an aggressive outreach effort to 
engage its partners, stakeholders, and experts in consultation on all 
aspects of the provision. FNS conducted nearly 25 consultative sessions 
over a 6 month period. These sessions included national stakeholder 
meetings, listening sessions, webinars, meetings and conference calls 
with State and local staff, Cooperative Extension Service staff/
administrators, nutrition network administrators, Indian Tribal 
Leaders, nutrition practitioners, researchers, and representatives of 
community-based organizations that serve low-income and minority 
populations. Additional meetings and planning sessions were conducted 
with Federal partners such as the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical 
Activity, and Obesity and representatives from various USDA agencies. 
To broaden opportunities for public input, SNAP established an Internet 
mailbox as a vehicle to receive informal written comments from 
stakeholders and the public. These efforts resulted in over 150 
stakeholder groups and individuals providing comments and suggestions 
to FNS through meetings, webinars, listening sessions, and email for 
re-shaping SNAP-Ed as a more robust program with demonstrated impact.

Nutrition Education State Plans

    Prior regulation required that SNAP-Ed Plans include information on 
the number and positions of staff providing services, a description of 
nutrition education activities, and assurance that activities benefit 
SNAP participants and others eligible to receive SNAP. The time frames 
for Plan submission and approval were also stipulated in prior 
regulation. Under prior law, State agencies received Federal 
reimbursement for 50 percent of their allowable administrative costs 
for approved nutrition education activities. States described these 
activities in their Plans and the methods they would use to provide 
their State contribution or match to the Federal reimbursement.

[[Page 20414]]

    Consistent with prior law, Section 28 of the FNA requires State 
agency submission of a Nutrition Education State Plan in order to 
receive a grant for the provision of nutrition education and obesity 
prevention services. FNS will continue to refer to these Plans as SNAP-
Ed Plans. Previous SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance required and Section 28 of the 
Act mandated that SNAP-Ed Plans:
     Identify the use of funding for local projects;
     Ensure that interventions are appropriate for the eligible 
low-income population; and
     Recognize the population's constrained resources and 
potential eligibility for Federal nutrition assistance.
    The law calls for a two-year transition period, FFYs 2011 and 2012, 
during which SNAP-Ed Plans remain consistent with requirements in 
effect prior to passage of the law, with the exception of the new 
funding procedures proscribed, i.e., no State match required. Section 
28 of the Act further requires that Plans conform to Agency standards 
set through guidance, grant award documents, or regulation.
    Prior to this rule, FNS conveyed policy about the operation of 
SNAP-Ed to States primarily through annual SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance. 
During the transition period, SNAP-Ed Plan requirements for SNAP-Ed 
remained relatively static. This allowed States to adjust to the new 
funding structure called for in the HHFK Act during the two-year 
transition period.
    FNS received input about SNAP-Ed Plan requirements for FFY 2013 and 
beyond from stakeholders through its numerous consultations, listening 
sessions, and email responses. Some stakeholders expressed interest in 
FNS allowing States the flexibility to submit either annual Plans or 
multi-year Plans that describe SNAP-Ed activities over more than one 
fiscal year. FNS has permitted multi-year Plans for SNAP-Ed on a 
limited basis for several years. FNS has determined that States may 
propose to implement annual or multi-year SNAP-Ed Plans that cover a 
timeframe of up to three years.
    SNAP-Ed Plans must be submitted by August 15th for FNS approval to 
receive a grant for provision of nutrition education and obesity 
prevention services. Approved Plans become effective for the following 
FFY (October 1st--September 30th). The SNAP-Ed Plans must address the 
requirements specified by law and meet standards established in this 
rule, SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance, and other FNS policy. The SNAP-Ed Annual 
Report that examines project activities and budget for the prior year 
must be submitted by November 30th of each year.

Target Population

    Section 28 of the Act defines individuals eligible for SNAP-Ed 
services as those who receive SNAP or National School Lunch/School 
Breakfast Program free or reduced price benefits, individuals residing 
in a community with a significant low-income population, and other low-
income individuals as defined by the Secretary. Under Section 28, State 
agencies may deliver services either directly to eligible individuals 
or through agreements with other State or local agencies or community 
organizations.
    Current SNAP-Ed guidance places a priority on nutrition education 
for SNAP participants and persons eligible to receive SNAP. States can 
also use SNAP-Ed funds to reach persons in locations where at least 
half of the population has gross incomes equal to or less than 185 
percent of the poverty threshold. For example, SNAP funds may be used 
to serve persons residing, attending school, or in some circumstances 
shopping for food in low-income areas.
    Through consultations, some stakeholders recommended that FNS 
expand the current definition of SNAP-Ed eligible. Considering its goal 
to focus limited SNAP-Ed resources to reach as many of the SNAP-
eligible, low-income population as possible, the Agency decided, as 
permitted by Section 28 of the Act, to define low-income individual to 
ease administrative burden on States to target eligible populations. 
The Secretary's definition for low-income persons for SNAP-Ed under 
this rule is SNAP participants and low-income individuals eligible to 
receive SNAP benefits or other means-tested Federal assistance programs 
such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the 
free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program 
(NSLP), etc. This definition of low-income more closely aligns SNAP-Ed 
with other FNS, Federal, and State-administered benefit programs, 
allowing the focus to remain on low-income populations while permitting 
a greater reach to persons residing in communities with a significant 
low-income population.
    SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance prior to implementation of the HHFK Act 
provisions defined the target audience for services as SNAP 
participants and eligibles and included multiple strategies and data 
sources to assist agencies in identifying their target populations. 
Commenters stated that the strategies and data sources described in 
this previous SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance did not entirely address the 
challenges experienced by some agencies to identify and reach their 
target audience. They described the challenges some face in 
implementing interventions such as social marketing campaigns where, in 
focusing efforts on the low-income population, they inevitably reach 
ineligible persons. These stakeholders indicated that implementing 
SNAP-Ed activities should not exclude strategies States may develop 
that might include ineligible individuals while reaching significant 
numbers of low-income persons.
    The Agency understands that States want greater flexibility in the 
methods and data sources they use to identify their low-income SNAP-Ed 
population to improve service delivery. FNS has determined that States 
may propose alternative targeting methodologies such as defined areas 
around a qualifying school, SNAP office, etc. that use relevant 
supporting data sources beyond those included in prior SNAP-Ed Plan 
Guidance to identify their target audience. States may propose how they 
will identify their target audience as that audience is defined in 
Section 28 of the Act and Sec.  272.2(d)(2)(iii) of this rule. FNS will 
consider these State targeting proposals in SNAP-Ed Plans submitted for 
approval.

Use of Funds

    FNS received a significant number of comments from stakeholders, 
including Federal partners, on the definition of nutrition education 
and obesity prevention services in SNAP-Ed under this rule. SNAP-Ed 
Plan Guidance prior to implementation of the HHFK Act provisions 
defined nutrition education in SNAP-Ed as follows.
    Nutrition education is a set of learning experiences designed to 
facilitate the early adoption of eating and other nutrition-related 
behaviors conducive to health and well-being for those on a limited 
budget.
    This definition addresses primarily the nutrition-related behavior 
of SNAP recipients who, by definition, have limited resources. Many 
stakeholders recommended revising this definition to address additional 
factors that impact individual health and well-being such as 
environmental, community, and policy factors that invariably impact 
food choices. A majority of stakeholders recommended using the 
following definition as the foundation for nutrition activities in 
SNAP:
    Nutrition education is any combination of educational strategies, 
accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate

[[Page 20415]]

voluntary adoption of food choices and other nutrition-related 
behaviors conducive to health and well-being; nutrition education is 
delivered through multiple venues and involves activities at the 
individual, community and policy levels. (Isobel R. Contento, Ph.D., 
Nutrition Education, Linking Research, Theory, and Practice, Jones and 
Bartlett Publishers, 2011)
    The Agency also sought to describe obesity prevention services as 
these are called for under Section 28 of the Act. CDC uses in its 
programming this definition for obesity prevention services: 
``interventions that address one or multiple levels of the socio-
ecologic model (SEM) related to nutrition, physical activity, or select 
lifestyle behaviors that have been shown to impact obesity, and address 
that level through policy, system, and environmental supports''. In 
addition to CDC's definition, FNS considered some of the Institute of 
Medicine's key messages about obesity prevention to describe obesity 
prevention services in future SNAP-Ed programming such as ``The most 
promising approaches for obesity prevention are population-based and 
multilevel, focus on environmental and policy change, and require 
participation from actors in multiple sectors'' and ``The strategies 
and actions undertaken to prevent obesity and their resulting outcomes 
vary according to the different environments in which they are 
undertaken''. (Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A 
Framework to Inform Decision Making, Institute of Medicine, Food and 
Nutrition Board, April, 2010)
    Section 28 of the FNA states that the nutrition education and 
obesity prevention grant program activities may include comprehensive 
multilevel interventions at multiple complementary organizational and 
institutional levels with opportunity for community and public health 
approaches. FNS decided to develop a definition for nutrition education 
and obesity prevention services for use in SNAP-Ed programming to 
include factors illuminated by Contento and others, described in the 
HHFK Act, and implemented by other Federal agencies and SNAP-Ed 
partners and stakeholders. The updated definition considers the 
resources available for nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services, the mission of FNS: ``To provide children and needy families 
better access to food and a more healthful diet through its food 
assistance programs and comprehensive nutrition education efforts;'' 
and the goal of SNAP-Ed: ``To improve the likelihood that persons 
eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited 
budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the 
current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA food guidance.''
    The definition of nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services that will become the basis for SNAP-Ed programming under this 
rule and SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance implementing the HHFK Act provisions 
follows:
    SNAP nutrition education and obesity prevention services are any 
combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental 
supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food and 
physical activity choices and other nutrition-related behaviors 
conducive to the health and well-being of SNAP participants and low-
income individuals eligible to participate in SNAP and other means-
tested Federal assistance programs. Nutrition education and obesity 
prevention services are delivered through multiple venues and involve 
activities at the individual, community, and appropriate policy levels. 
Acceptable policy level interventions are activities that encourage 
healthier choices based on the current Dietary Guidelines for 
Americans.
    Section 28 of the FNA also stipulated that allowable nutrition 
education and obesity prevention strategies be evidence-based. 
Commenters provided feedback to the Agency on what evidence-based 
approaches they thought would move SNAP-Ed into closer alignment with 
other governmental, institutional, community-based, and public health 
organizations. Stakeholders also encouraged FNS to approve and promote 
nutrition education and obesity prevention activities that showed 
promise that could be instrumental in demonstrating the effectiveness 
of a wide range of approaches in providing these activities.
    FNS sought to formulate a definition for evidence-based to describe 
the types of activities that would be funded in order to have the 
greatest impact. The Agency reviewed definitions used by the Institute 
of Medicine and CDC when developing the following definition for 
evidence-based that will be used to describe nutrition education and 
obesity prevention activities in SNAP-Ed.
    An evidence-based approach for nutrition education and obesity 
prevention is defined as the integration of the best research evidence 
with best available practice-based evidence. The best research evidence 
refers to relevant rigorous nutrition and public health nutrition 
research including systematically reviewed scientific evidence. 
Practice-based evidence refers to case studies, pilot studies, and 
evidence from the field on nutrition education interventions that 
demonstrate obesity prevention potential.
    Evidence may be related to obesity prevention target areas, 
intervention strategies, and/or specific interventions. The target 
areas are identified in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 
Intervention strategies are broad approaches to intervening on specific 
target areas. Interventions are a specific set of evidence-based, 
behaviorally-focused activities and/or actions to promote healthy 
eating and active lifestyles. Evidence-based allowable use of funds for 
SNAP-Ed include conducting and evaluating intervention programs, and 
implementing and measuring policy, systems, and environmental changes 
in accordance with SNAP-Ed Guidance.
    Section 28 further stipulates that funds may be used for evidence-
based activities using these approaches:
    (1) Individual or group-based nutrition education, health 
promotion, and intervention strategies;
    (2) Comprehensive, multi-level interventions at multiple 
complementary organizational and institutional levels;
    (3) Community and public health approaches to improve nutrition.
    The first approach, individual or group-based nutrition education 
efforts, has been the hallmark of most nutrition efforts conducted by 
FNS programs, including SNAP. Commenters acknowledged the importance of 
providing nutrition education, health promotion, and other intervention 
strategies to individuals and groups.
    A significant number of commenters urged FNS to allow States to 
implement strategies that would address the second approach, 
comprehensive, multi-level interventions at multiple complementary 
organizational and institutional levels, included in Section 28 of the 
FNA. An example of this approach could include collaborating with 
schools and other organizations to improve the school nutrition 
environment including providing nutrition education classes and serving 
on school wellness committees. Commenters generally suggested that FNS 
consider the socio-ecological model (SEM) to address interventions. The 
majority of these commenters requested that FNS allow nutrition 
education and obesity prevention activities to emanate from all levels 
of the SEM. The SEM, as described in the 2010 DGAs, provides a 
framework that illustrates how spheres of influence including 
individual factors,

[[Page 20416]]

environmental settings, sectors of influence (government, public health 
and health care systems, agriculture, industry, and media), and social 
and cultural norms affect individual and family eating and physical 
activity choices.
    Commenters indicated that using the SEM to provide nutrition 
education and obesity prevention activities will address the 
relationship between individuals, families, their environmental 
setting, and the various sectors of influence in addition to the impact 
of social and cultural norms and values. Commenters stated that using a 
comprehensive approach such as the SEM could further SNAP-Ed's 
collaborative efforts and that doing so would make SNAP-Ed's strategies 
more consistent with current public and private organizational 
recommendations for providing nutrition education and obesity/chronic 
disease prevention strategies.
    The third approach for the use of nutrition education and obesity 
prevention grant funds is community and public health approaches to 
improve nutrition. Community and public health approaches, based on a 
definition used by CDC, are efforts that impact a large segment of the 
population rather than targeting the individual. Public health 
approaches can be targeted to low-income populations by focusing the 
interventions on settings with large proportions of low-income people 
such as schools, worksites, or other settings with a majority low-
income population. Community-based approaches can take place in 
community centers, places of worship, community gardens, schools, 
farmers markets, food retail venues, etc. Community and public health 
programs, environmental strategies, and policies can impact larger 
numbers of people as opposed to individual and group-based nutrition 
education interventions alone which may impact a small number of 
people.
    Stakeholders encouraged greater implementation of multilevel 
interventions and community and public health approaches into SNAP-Ed 
activities. They added that SNAP-Ed funds could be leveraged with other 
Federal and State funds for nutrition education and obesity prevention 
efforts to increase effectiveness and efficiency.
    States may implement one or more of the approaches described in 
Section 28 of the FNA to deliver evidence-based nutrition education and 
obesity prevention activities in their SNAP-Ed programs. To improve 
program design, FNS encourages State agencies to integrate multiple 
approaches in implementing these activities. SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance will 
further describe how nutrition education and obesity prevention 
activities can be implemented in SNAP-Ed utilizing the approaches 
called for in Section 28 of the Act.

Coordination

    Section 28 of the FNA stipulates that nutrition education and 
obesity prevention grant program projects may be coordinated with other 
public or privately funded health promotion or nutrition improvement 
strategies as long as the State agency retains administrative control 
of the projects. While FNS currently encourages States to connect 
nutrition education across programs and to collaborate and develop more 
integrated nutrition education approaches, commenters advised FNS to 
more strongly encourage or mandate that State agencies coordinate their 
SNAP-Ed activities with other projects in their State to the maximum 
extent possible. Commenters recommended that States coordinate these 
services with other State-administered Federal programs, State and 
Federal nutrition education and obesity prevention strategies, and 
community-based efforts as examples.
    FNS recognizes the potential synergy of coordinating nutrition 
education and obesity prevention activities with public and private 
interventions aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles for the low-
income population. It also recognizes the potential impact of 
leveraging SNAP-Ed financial resources with that of other organizations 
to reach eligible individuals through multiple channels and varied 
approaches. FNS continues to encourage States to coordinate SNAP-Ed 
activities with other national, State, and local nutrition education 
and health promotion initiatives and interventions including those 
implemented by other FNS nutrition assistance programs. FNS has 
determined that States shall describe their coordination efforts in 
their SNAP-Ed Plans. States are strongly encouraged to coordinate 
activities and collaborate with community nutrition education and 
obesity prevention activities such as State Departments of Health and 
Education implementation of related State and Federally-funded 
programs. Such collaboration provides the capacity to implement 
activities through multiple spheres of the SEM. In accordance with 
Section 28 of the FNA, States shall continue to show in their Plans 
that the funding received from SNAP will remain under the 
administrative control of the State agency as they coordinate their 
activities with other organizations.

Funding

    Section 28 of the FNA altered the manner in which funding is 
provided to States for nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services. When the statute was enacted, for fiscal year 2011 and 
thereafter, States receive 100 percent Federal funding through grants 
with no requirement for a State contribution or match.
    FNS staff held several listening sessions with State SNAP directors 
and local project staff and an additional session that was coordinated 
through the American Public Human Services Association to hear their 
concerns about the SNAP provisions of the HHFK Act. The majority of 
State and local concerns focused on State allocations and how those 
allocations may have differed from the level of funding requested in 
approved FFY 2011 SNAP-Ed Plans, as well as other funding issues. Most 
of the comments came from States whose allocation was significantly 
less than the amount earlier approved in their FFY 2011 State plans. 
Additionally States:
     Questioned whether reallocation of funds from States that 
would not use their full allocation was feasible;
     Requested further explanation of the funding formula that 
would be used from FFY 2012 onward; and
     Inquired as to whether States could borrow against future 
allocations to help meet shortfalls.
    Under Section 28 of the FNA, FNS has no discretion in how the funds 
are allocated as the language in the Act is prescriptive. Based on the 
funding formula used to determine allocations under Section 28, some 
States received a lower allocation than the level approved in their FFY 
2011 SNAP-Ed Plan and considered this a cut in funding. Other States 
received a higher allocation than the amount approved previously for 
FFY 2011.
    States inquired as to whether there would be a reallocation of 
funds as allowed in the statute, should some States surrender funds 
they could not use. FNS encouraged States to expend all available funds 
and does not anticipate a need for reallocation. States surrendering 
funds would be negatively impacted since their base allocation for the 
following fiscal year would be reduced by the amount of funds 
surrendered. The base allocation for States receiving funds would be 
increased by the same amount. No funds were surrendered or reallocated 
in FFY 2011 and some States had to decrease planned services due to 
funding limitations.

[[Page 20417]]

    Based on the Act, FNS cannot allow States to borrow against future 
allocations as some States requested. The Agency provided financial 
technical guidance to States to address their other funding-related 
concerns through implementing memoranda and responses to questions.
    FNS considered the impact on State and local agencies as a result 
of the funding changes. The overall effect is to lessen administrative 
burden by eliminating the requirement that States provide a 50 percent 
contribution or match and the associated documentation. Furthermore, by 
making the grant period of performance a two-year period rather than 
the previous one-year period, the FNS provides greater flexibility to 
State agencies and allows them to expend effectively and more fully the 
Federal funds available to them.
    This rule implements financial changes retroactive to the beginning 
of FFY 2011 as required by law. Based on the statute, FNS allocated 
$375,000,000 in grant funding for FFY 2011 for nutrition education and 
obesity prevention services to the 52 State agencies that provided 
SNAP-Ed services based on an approved FFY 2009 SNAP-Ed Plan. From 
October 1, 2011, and thereafter, each State agency that submits an 
approved SNAP-Ed Plan will receive a Federal nutrition education and 
obesity prevention grant consisting of a base amount that reflects its 
share of national SNAP-Ed expenditure for FFY 2009 as reported in 
February 2010. The grants are the only source of Federal funds 
available from SNAP for nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services to States. Costs in excess of the grants are not eligible for 
Federal SNAP reimbursement.
    For FFY 2012 and thereafter the funds are indexed for inflation and 
are adjusted to reflect any increases for the 12-month period ending 
the preceding June 30 in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban 
Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department 
of Labor. FNS will make every effort to provide estimates to States of 
any increases in the CPI earlier than June 30th. These estimates will 
be based on projections contained in the annual President's Budget 
submission to Congress. The funding formula from FFY 2014 and 
thereafter factors in State shares of national SNAP participation in 
conjunction with State shares of the base 2009 national expenditures, 
building progressively to a 50/50 weighting in FFY 2018 and beyond. The 
allocations to States for nutrition education and obesity prevention 
grant program services are summarized as follows:
     For FFY 2011, 2012, 2013, funds allocated to States are in 
direct proportion to State expenditures for FFY 2009, as reported in 
February 2010;
     For 2014, 90 percent based on expenditures, plus 10 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013;
     For 2015, 80 percent based on expenditures, plus 20 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014;
     For 2016, 70 percent based on expenditures, plus 30 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015;
     For 2017, 60 percent based on expenditures, plus 40 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016; and,
     For 2018 and thereafter, 50 percent based on expenditures, 
plus 50 percent based on the State's share of national SNAP 
participants for the previous 12-month period ending January 31st.
    FNS reserves its authority to reallocate funds as described in 
Section 28 of the Act. If the Agency determines that a State agency 
will not expend all of its funds or if a State elects to not receive 
its entire grant amount, FNS may reallocate the unexpended funds during 
the period for which the funding is available for new obligations at 
the Federal level to other States that have approved SNAP-Ed Plans, as 
appropriate, based upon criteria that the Agency may establish for such 
purposes. Reallocated funds received by a State will be considered part 
of its base 2009 allocation for the next fiscal year for the purpose of 
determining allocation; funds surrendered by a State shall not be 
considered part of its base 2009 allocation for the next fiscal year 
for the purpose of determining allocation.
    If a State proposes during the SNAP-Ed planning process to 
surrender funds that they have no plans to obligate during the two year 
period of performance for the grants, FNS could potentially re-direct 
those surrendered funds to other States. At this time, FNS anticipates 
that no State would surrender funds due to the potential for negative 
impact on the State's allocation for the following year. No States 
surrendered funds during fiscal year 2011 and no reallocation criteria 
were needed.
    States expressed an interest in exercising greater oversight over 
administration of their SNAP-Ed grants, especially in light of adoption 
of community and public health approaches and the requirement for 
greater coordination and collaboration with public and private 
partners. Some States and other stakeholders expressed interest in 
using SNAP-Ed funds to employ State staff to oversee administration and 
monitoring of the funds. Some States inquired about incorporating more 
competition in selection of sub grantees to implement nutrition 
education and obesity prevention services. For these and other reasons, 
States requested FNS provide further guidance on State-level 
administration of nutrition education and obesity prevention grants. 
FNS' role in the State administration of approved grant funds is 
limited to what is required by Federal law. FNS did clarify to States 
that they have discretion to choose to use any part of their SNAP-Ed 
grant funds or other State administrative funds to retain staff, such 
as a Registered Dietitian or credentialed nutrition service provider, 
to administer SNAP-Ed grant funding. States additionally have the 
authority to award funds to sub grantees, competitively or otherwise, 
according to State financial guidance. However, funds shall remain 
under the administrative control of the State agency.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 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 interim rule has been designated an ``economically significant 
regulatory action'' under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. 
Accordingly, the rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    As required for all rules that have been designated as economically 
significant by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a Regulatory 
Impact Analysis (RIA) was developed for this interim rule. The 
following summarizes

[[Page 20418]]

the conclusions of the regulatory impact analysis:
    Need for Action: The interim rulemaking is necessary to amend SNAP 
regulations to implement Section 28 of the FNA of 2008, as added by 
Section 241 of Public Law 111-296, the HHFK Act of 2010 signed on 
December 13, 2010, to award grants to States for the provision of 
nutrition education and obesity prevention programs.
    Benefits: There are several benefits to the rule. In the past, the 
funding for SNAP-Ed was highly variable between years. With this rule, 
the funding will grow by the CPI-U, smoothing out the variation to a 
regular growth pattern. Secondly, the cost-sharing burden on States 
will decrease because they will no longer have a required funding match 
and may result in improved targeting of services and greater 
efficiencies since States will no longer have to seek matching funds in 
order to provide those services. The rule has an added benefit of 
supporting more comprehensive anti-obesity efforts as the use of 
funding has been expanded to include environmental approaches and 
policy level work in addition to nutrition education and health 
promotion. States will have the opportunity to implement comprehensive, 
multilevel interventions and use community-based and public health 
approaches to extend their efforts. Federal Cost Reduction: The new 
rule is expected to reduce Federal costs by $158 million in FY 2013 and 
$663 million in the five-year period between FY 2013 and FY 2017. When 
annualized at a discount rate of 7 percent, this yields an expected 
Federal cost reduction of $131 million per year.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires agencies 
to analyze the impact of rulemaking on small entities and consider 
alternatives that would minimize any significant impacts on a 
substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to that review, it has 
been certified that this rule will not have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Currently, 52 State agencies 
implement SNAP-Ed programs, and this rule institutes policy oversight 
and cost reductions required by statute.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public 
Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the 
effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal 
governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the 
Department generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost 
benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with ``Federal 
mandates'' that may result in expenditures by State, local, or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector, of $100 million 
or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, 
Section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the Department to identify 
and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt 
the most cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves 
the objectives of the rule.
    This interim rule contains no Federal mandates (under the 
regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local and 
tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any 
one year. Thus, the rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 and 205 of the UMRA.

Executive Order 12372

    SNAP is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under 
10.561. For the reasons set forth in the final rule at 7 CFR part 3015, 
subpart V and related Notice (48 FR 29115, June 24, 1983), SNAP is 
excluded from the scope of Executive Order 12372 which requires 
intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials.

Federalism Summary Impact Statement

    Executive Order 13132 requires Federal agencies to consider the 
impact of their regulatory actions on State and local governments. 
Where such actions have federalism implications, agencies are directed 
to provide a statement for inclusion in the preamble to the regulations 
in accordance with Section (6)(b)(2)(B) of Executive Order 13132. This 
interim rulemaking is necessary to amend SNAP regulations to implement 
Section 28 of the FNA of 2008, as added by Section 241 of Public Law 
111-296, the HHFK Act of 2010. USDA has considered the impact of this 
rule on State and local governments and has determined that this rule 
does not have federalism implication and does not impose substantial or 
direct compliance costs on State and local governments. Therefore, 
under Section 6(b) of the Executive Order, a federalism summary impact 
statement is not required.

Executive Order 12988

    This interim rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This interim rule is intended to have preemptive 
effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations, or 
policies which conflict with its provisions or which would otherwise 
impede its full and timely implementation. This rule is not intended to 
have retroactive effect unless so specified in the Effective Dates 
section of the final rule. Prior to any judicial challenge to the 
provisions of the final rule, all applicable administrative procedures 
must be exhausted.

Civil Rights Impact Analysis

    FNS reviewed this interim rule in accordance with the Department 
Regulation 4300-4, ``Civil Rights Impact Analysis,'' to identify and 
address any major civil rights impacts the rule might have on 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities, elderly, homeless, 
and persons with Limited English proficiency.

Executive Order 13175

    E.O. 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 or 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. In late 2010 and the first half of 2011, 
USDA engaged in a series of consultative sessions to obtain input by 
Tribal officials or their designees concerning the impact of this rule 
on the tribe or Indian Tribal governments, or whether this rule may 
preempt Tribal law. Reports from these consultations will be made part 
of the USDA annual reporting on Tribal Consultation and Collaboration. 
USDA will respond in a timely and meaningful manner to all Tribal 
government requests for consultation concerning this rule and will 
provide additional venues, such as webinars and teleconferences, to 
periodically host collaborative conversations with Tribal officials or 
their designees concerning ways to improve this rule in Indian country.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chap. 35; see 5 CFR 
part 1320) requires OMB approve all collections of information by a 
Federal agency before they can be implemented. Respondents are not 
required to respond to any collection of information unless it displays 
a current valid OMB control number.
    Information Collection for SNAP-Ed requirements will not change 
under this rule. This interim rule does not increase burden hours for 
State agencies in the

[[Page 20419]]

preparation of Nutrition Education Plans. Nutrition Education State 
Plan requirements are included in the State Plan of Operations, OMB 
0584-0083, Program and Budget Summary Statement, and will not change 
with this rule.
    Additionally, State requirements to report on the Education and 
Administration Reporting System (EARS) information collection form, OMB 
0584-0542, will not change under this rule. FNS may determine that 
future revisions are needed. States will report FY 2013 EARS data by 
December 31, 2013 thereby negating the necessity for an Information 
Collection Request as part of this rule.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Food and Nutrition Service is committed to complying with the 
E-Government Act, to promote the use of the Internet and other 
information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen 
access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    7 CFR part 272: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
Provisions of Title II of Public Law 111-296

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Nutrition Education and 
Obesity Prevention Grant Program Interim Rule

I. Statement of Need

    The interim rulemaking is necessary to amend Supplemental Nutrition 
Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations to implement Section 28 of the 
Food and Nutrition Act (``FNA'' or the ``Act'') of 2008, as added by 
Section 241 of Public Law 111-296, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 
2010 (HHFK Act), signed on December 13, 2010, to award grants to States 
for the provision of nutrition education and obesity prevention 
programs. The HHFK Act removes the existing nutrition education program 
under section 11(f) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 
2011 et seq.), commonly known as SNAP-Ed, and replaces it with the 
nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program, which will 
still be referred to as SNAP-Ed. The interim rule seeks to improve 
program operation and effectiveness by making it easier for States to 
administer while meeting the needs of the eligible low-income 
population. The interim rule provides State agencies with requirements 
for implementing Section 28 of the FNA including the grant award 
process and the formula for allocating the 100 percent Federal grant 
funding authorized under the Act to carry out nutrition education and 
obesity prevention services each fiscal year.

II. Summary of Impacts

    The Department has estimated that the SNAP-Ed program provision of 
Section 28 of the FNA implemented in the interim rule will result in a 
reduction of Federal costs of $158 million in Federal fiscal year (FFY) 
2013 and $663 million over the 5 years, FFY 2013 through FFY 2017. The 
Federal budget impacts are summarized below in Table 1; these estimates 
are categorized as transfers in the accounting statement that follows.

                                                       Table 1--Summary of Federal Budget Impacts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      In millions of dollars                         FFY 2013     FFY 2014      FFY 2015      FFY 2016      FFY 2017          Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program--Section        -$158          -$77         -$109         -$142         -$177             -$663
 28 of the FNA...................................................
                                                                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Cost...................................................        -$158          -$77         -$109         -$142         -$177             -$663
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As required by OMB Circular A-4, in Table 2 below, we have prepared 
an accounting statement showing the annualized estimates of benefits, 
costs, and transfers associated with the provisions of this interim 
rule.

                                          Table 2--Accounting Statement
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Primary                    Discount
                                                         estimate    Year dollar      rate       Period  covered
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Benefits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Qualitative: Provisions in Section 28 will result in a reduction of Federal costs and will reduce administrative
 and financial burden for States, as well as improve the likelihood that low-income persons eligible for SNAP
 and other federal means-tested programs will make healthy lifestyle choices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized ($millions/year)................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Transfers
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Monetized ($millions/year)................        -$131          2013            7%      FFY2013-2017
                                                             -$132          2013            3%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first-year cost reduction for the Federal government is estimated at $158 million, with a total cost
 reduction of $663 million in the first five years. Impacts are already incorporated into the President's budget
 baseline.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the Federal Government to State SNAP Agencies.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 20420]]

 Analysis of Impacts

    The cost estimates rely on assumptions about the future growth of 
SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) approved \1\ Federal funding in absence of the 
change contained in Section 28 of the Food and Nutrition Act. Between 
FFY 2009 and FFY 2010, the approved Federal funding for SNAP-Ed grew 
from $350.3 million to $379.6 million, an increase of 8 percent. The 
cost estimate assumes the same annual growth rate in future years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Actual expenditures were often less than approved Federal 
funds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The estimates of the cost of the SNAP-Ed program in future years 
are based on economic assumptions from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) of the June value of the Not Seasonally Adjusted Consumer 
Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant Program--Section 241

    Discussion: Section 28 of the FNA changed the funding for SNAP-Ed. 
In the past, the Department would match all State funding designated 
for SNAP-Ed in their SNAP nutrition education state plan. As a result, 
the approved Federal funding varied substantially from year-to-year, 
from a low of $99 million in FFY 2000 to nearly $380 million in FFY 
2010. The year-to-year percentage changes during that time had a range 
from a decline of 1 percent to an increase of 45 percent.
    This interim rule provides grants to States through 100 percent 
Federal SNAP funding and requires no State contribution or match. 
Section 28 of the FNA permits financial contributions from State and 
private, as well as from other Federal programs when multi-level/
organizational activities are covered, for nutrition education and 
obesity prevention program activities and FNS encourages States to seek 
these contributions to leverage their Federal SNAP investment.
    Effect on Low-Income Families: The Department determined that the 
definition of eligible individuals under Section 28 of the FNA does not 
significantly change the population eligible for the previous SNAP-Ed 
programs. The implementation of the new SNAP-Ed program will continue 
SNAP's commitment to serving low-income populations while focusing on 
the critical problem of obesity, a major health concern. Implementation 
of the SNAP-Ed program allows coordinated services to be provided to 
participants in Federal assistance programs and other low-income 
persons. This action will broaden coordination and collaboration 
efforts and relationships in order to provide more flexibility to 
include a wider range of evidence-based intervention strategies. It 
will foster a more effective and comprehensive program to address the 
critical problem of obesity, especially its effects on low-income 
Americans. The goal of the SNAP-Ed Program is to improve the likelihood 
that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a 
limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with 
the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).
    Federal Savings Impact: The new legislation intends to improve 
program funding and operations by creating a specific formula with a 
set growth pattern for a steady year-to-year increase. The HHFK Act 
specified that total funding for FFY 2011 would be $375,000,000 and 
that total funding for subsequent fiscal years is adjusted to reflect 
any increases for the 12-month period ending the preceding June 30 in 
the Not Seasonally Adjusted CPI-U published by the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics (BLS) of the Department of Labor. Subsequent to the HHFK 
Act, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), signed into law 
on January 2, 2013, authorized the total amount of SNAP-Ed funding that 
would be available for FFY 2012 through FFY 2015 and then subsequent 
fiscal years would be adjusted by the CPI-U as in the HHFK Act. The 
following cost analysis uses the funding authorized in ATRA for FFY 
2013 to FFY 2015 and estimates of the CPI-U in future years from OMB to 
estimate funding in FFY 2016 and FFY 2017.
    ATRA authorized $285,000,000 for SNAP-Ed in FY 2013. We estimate 
the approved Federal funding for SNAP-Ed in the absence of Section 28 
of the FNA and ATRA for FFY 2013 at $442,768,187. We calculate this by 
taking the approved Federal funding amount for FFY 2011 ($379,602,355) 
and multiplying it by an estimated increase of 8 percent to get the FFY 
2012 funding. The amount of $379,602,355 multiplied by 1.08 is 
$409,970,543, which is the FFY 2012 funding. The FFY 2013 funding is 
calculated the same way. We multiply the FFY 2012 funding of 
$409,970,543 by 8 percent for a FFY 2013 funding total of $442,768,187.
    To estimate the savings from implementing the new SNAP-Ed program 
funding formula, we subtract the SNAP-Ed program funding for FFY 2013 
of $285,000,000 from the projected approved Federal funding for SNAP-Ed 
in absence of Section 28 of the Act and ATRA of $442,768,187. When we 
subtract $285,000,000 from $442,768,187, it results in a savings of 
$157,768,187 in FFY 2013.
    The same methodology was used for FFY 2014 and FFY 2015. We 
calculated the funding for SNAP-Ed in absence of Section 28 of the FNA 
by multiplying the prior year's funding by 8 percent. The SNAP-Ed 
funding authorized in ATRA is $401,000,000 in FFY 2014 and $407,000,000 
in FFY 2015. The difference between the two projected funding estimates 
is the savings in each fiscal year. This results in a savings of 
$77,189,642 in FFY 2014 and $109,444,813 in FFY 2015.
    For FFY 2016, the SNAP-Ed funding authorized by ATRA is the prior 
year funding amount indexed by the change in the June value of the CPI-
U. The OMB estimate of the unadjusted index is 240.229 for June 2014 
and 245.513 for June 2015. To calculate the June-to-June change, we 
divide 245.513 by 240.229, which is 1.022. We then multiply the FFY 
2015 funding amount of $407,000,000 by the June-to-June change in the 
CPI-U, or 1.022, which results in the FFY 2016 funding for SNAP-Ed of 
$415,952,241. When we subtracted this value from the projected funding 
for SNAP-Ed in absence of the HHFK Act for FFY 2016 of $557,760,398, 
the result is a savings of $141,808,157.
    For FFY 2017 the SNAP-Ed funding for FFY 2016 is indexed by the 
change in the June value of the CPI-U. The OMB estimate of the 
unadjusted index is 250.915 for June 2016. To calculate the June-to-
June change, we divide 250.915 by 245.513, which is 1.022. We then 
multiply the FFY 2016 funding amount of $415,952,241 by the June-to-
June change in the CPI-U, or 1.022, which results in the FFY 2017 
funding of $425,104,400. When we subtracted this value from the 
projected funding for SNAP-Ed in absence of the HHFK Act and ATRA for 
FFY 2016 of $602,381,230, the result is a savings of $177,276,830.
    We anticipate that stabilizing the funding structure for SNAP 
nutrition education will save the Government $158 million in FFY 2013, 
and $663 million in the five-year period from FFY 2013 to FFY 2017.
    Participant Impacts: We do not anticipate any changes in SNAP 
participation resulting from the SNAP-Ed Programs.

III. Alternatives Considered

    Under Section 28 of the Food and Nutrition Act, the Department has 
no discretion in the total funding for SNAP-Ed programs or how the 
funds are allocated to the States as the language in the Act is 
prescriptive.

[[Page 20421]]

    Section 28 of the Food and Nutrition Act makes no significant 
change to the eligible population for SNAP-Ed programs.
    We considered a number of alternatives for estimating future SNAP-
Ed funding in absence of Section 28 of the FNA to determine the savings 
from the implementation of the SNAP-Ed programs. Because approved 
Federal funding for SNAP-Ed from year to year between FFY 2000 and FFY 
2010 varied considerably, we could have used the average year-to-year 
change in funding based on actual dollar amounts, or we could have used 
an average year-to-year change in funding based on the percentage 
change. Another alternative we considered was using the compound annual 
growth rate in approved Federal funding. However, because the year-to-
year funding amount changed considerably during that period, and 
because the amounts were decreasing over time, we chose to use only the 
change of 8 percent between the most recent two fiscal years, FFY 2009 
and FFY 2010, which reflects a conservative estimate of future growth 
in SNAP-Ed funding in the absence of Section 28 of the FNA.

IV. References

Approved Federal Funds for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
Education by Fiscal Year at http://www.nal.usda.gov/foodstamp/pdf/Historical%20FSNE%20Funding.pdf and http://www.nal.usda.gov/foodstamp/pdf/Historical%20FSNE%20Funding.pdf.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index page at http://www.bls.gov/cpi/.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 272

    Alaska, Civil rights, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 
Grant programs-social programs, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Unemployment compensation, Wages.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 272 is 
amended as follows:

PART 272--REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING STATE AGENCIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 7 CFR part 272 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 2011-2036.

0
2. In Sec.  272.2, paragraphs (d)(1)(iii), (d)(2), (d)(6) are revised 
to read as follows:


Sec.  272.2  Plan of operation.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) Nutrition Education Plan if the State agency elects to 
request Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education 
(SNAP-Ed) grant funds to conduct nutrition education and obesity 
prevention services as discussed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
* * * * *
    (2) Nutrition Education Plan. If submitted, the Supplemental 
Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Plan shall:
    (i) Conform to standards established in this regulation, SNAP-Ed 
Plan Guidance, and other FNS policy. A State agency may propose to 
implement an annual or multiyear Plan of up to three years;
    (ii) Identify the methods the State will use to notify applicants, 
participants, and eligible individuals to the maximum extent possible 
of the availability of SNAP-Ed activities in local communities;
    (iii) Describe the nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services that the State will provide in SNAP-Ed and how the State will 
deliver those services, either directly or through agreements with 
other State or local agencies or community organizations;
    (iv) Ensure interventions are appropriate for the low-income 
population defined as SNAP participants and low-income individuals 
eligible to receive SNAP benefits or other means-tested Federal 
assistance programs. The interventions must recognize the population's 
constrained resources and potential eligibility for Federal food 
assistance;
    (v) Describe methods the State agency will use to identify its 
target audience. FNS will consider for approval targeting strategies 
and supporting data sources included in SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance and 
alternate targeting strategies and supporting data sources proposed by 
State agencies;
    (vi) Use of Funds. (A) A State agency must use the SNAP-Ed 
nutrition education and obesity prevention grant to fund the 
administrative costs of planning, implementing, and operating its SNAP-
Ed program in accordance with its approved SNAP-Ed Plan;
    (B) Definitions. SNAP nutrition education and obesity prevention 
services are defined as any combination of educational strategies, 
accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary 
adoption of food and physical activity choices and other nutrition-
related behaviors conducive to the health and well-being of SNAP 
participants and low-income individuals eligible to participate in SNAP 
and other means-tested Federal assistance programs. Nutrition education 
and obesity prevention services are delivered through multiple venues 
and involve activities at the individual, community, and appropriate 
policy levels. Acceptable policy level interventions are activities 
that encourage healthier choices based on the current Dietary 
Guidelines for Americans; SNAP-Ed nutrition education and obesity 
prevention activities must be evidence-based. An evidence-based 
approach for nutrition education and obesity prevention is defined as 
the integration of the best research evidence with best available 
practice-based evidence. The best research evidence refers to relevant 
rigorous nutrition and public health nutrition research including 
systematically reviewed scientific evidence. Practice-based evidence 
refers to case studies, pilot studies, and evidence from the field on 
nutrition education interventions that demonstrate obesity prevention 
potential. Evidence may be related to obesity prevention target areas, 
intervention strategies, and/or specific interventions. The target 
areas are identified in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 
Intervention strategies are broad approaches to intervening on specific 
target areas. Interventions are a specific set of evidence-based, 
behaviorally-focused activities and/or actions to promote healthy 
eating and active lifestyles. Evidence-based allowable uses of funds 
for SNAP-Ed include conducting and evaluating intervention programs, 
and implementing and measuring policy, systems, and environmental 
changes in accordance with SNAP-Ed Guidance;
    (C) SNAP-Ed activities must promote healthy food and physical 
activity choices based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for 
Americans.
    (D) SNAP-Ed activities must include evidence-based activities using 
one or more of these approaches: individual or group-based nutrition 
education, health promotion, and intervention strategies; 
comprehensive, multi-level interventions at multiple complementary 
organizational and institutional levels; community and public health 
approaches to improve nutrition;
    (vii) Include a description of the State's efforts to coordinate 
activities with national, State, and local nutrition education and 
health promotion initiatives and interventions, whether public or 
privately funded. The relationship between the State agency

[[Page 20422]]

and other organizations it plans to coordinate with for the provision 
of services, including statewide organizations must be described. 
Copies of contracts and Memoranda of Agreement must be available for 
inspection upon request;
    (viii) Include an operating budget for the Federal fiscal year with 
an estimate of the cost of operation for one or more years, according 
to the State's approved SNAP-Ed Plan;
    (ix) Federal financial participation and allocation of grants. (A) 
Each State agency that submitted an approved fiscal year 2009 SNAP-Ed 
Plan will receive a 100 percent Federal grant each fiscal year to 
operate SNAP-Ed based on the State's share of national SNAP-Ed 
expenditures for fiscal year 2009 as reported in February 2010. The 
grant requires no State contribution or match. The grant period of 
performance is two years and these funds are the only source of Federal 
funds available under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, 
for SNAP nutrition education and obesity prevention services to States. 
Funds in excess of the grants are not eligible for SNAP Federal 
reimbursement;
    (B) A State agency's receipt of its 100 percent Federal SNAP-Ed 
grant is contingent on FNS' approval of the State agency's SNAP-Ed 
Plan. If an adequate Plan is not submitted, FNS may reallocate a State 
agency's grant among other State agencies with approved Plans;
    (C) States shall identify the uses of funding for local projects 
and show that the funding received shall remain under the 
administrative control of the State agency;
    (D) Annually, FNS will determine each State's share of the funding 
provided for each fiscal year. The amount of funding provided in fiscal 
year 2011 was $375,000,000, and the amount of funding provided in each 
subsequent year is determined by adjusting the previous fiscal year's 
amount to reflect any increases for the 12-month period ending the 
preceding June 30th in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers 
published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor;
    (E) FNS will allocate the funding available each fiscal year for 
SNAP-Ed grants using the formula proscribed by law that factors in 
State shares of the base 2009 Federal expenditures, building 
progressively to a 50/50 weighting of expenditures to participation 
from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2018 and beyond. The allocations 
to a State for SNAP-Ed grants will be:
    (1) For fiscal year 2013, in direct proportion to State 
expenditures for FFY 2009, as reported in February 2010;
    (2) For fiscal year 2014, 90 percent based on expenditures, plus 10 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013;
    (3) For fiscal year 2015, 80 percent based on expenditures, plus 20 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014;
    (4) For fiscal year 2016, 70 percent based on expenditures, plus 30 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015;
    (5) For fiscal year 2017, 60 percent based on expenditures, plus 40 
percent based on the State's share of national SNAP participants for 
the 12-month period February 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016; and,
    (6) For fiscal year 2018 and thereafter, 50 percent based on 
expenditures, plus 50 percent based on the State's share of national 
SNAP participants for the previous 12-month period ending January 31;
    (F) If a participating State agency notifies FNS that it will not 
obligate or expend all of the funds allocated to it for a fiscal year 
under this section, FNS may reallocate the unobligated, unexpended 
funds to other participating State agencies that have approved SNAP-Ed 
Plans during the period for which the funding is available for new 
obligations at the Federal level. Reallocated funds received by a State 
will be considered part of its base 2009 allocation for the next fiscal 
year for the purpose of determining allocation; funds surrendered by a 
State shall not be considered part of it base 2009 allocation for the 
next fiscal year for the purpose of determining allocation.
    (x) Fiscal recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Each 
participating State agency must meet FNS fiscal recordkeeping and 
reporting requirements. Total SNAP-Ed expenditures are reported on the 
Financial Status Report (SF-425). States are expected to continue to 
collect and report State and private contributions to their SNAP-Ed 
activities through the Education Administration and Reporting System 
FNS-759;
    (xi) Additional information may be required of the State agency, on 
an as needed basis, regarding the type of nutrition education and 
obesity prevention activities offered and the characteristics of the 
target population served, depending on the contents of the State's 
SNAP-Ed Plan, to determine whether nutrition education goals are being 
met;
    (xii) The State agency must submit a SNAP-Ed Annual Report to FNS 
by November 30th of each year. The report shall describe SNAP-Ed Plan 
project activities and budget for the prior year.
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (6) The SNAP-Ed Plan shall be signed by the head of the State 
agency and submitted prior to funding of nutrition education and 
obesity prevention activities when the State agency elects to request 
Federal grant funds to conduct these SNAP-Ed activities. The Plan shall 
be submitted for approval no later than August 15th. Approved plans 
become effective the following FFY October 1st to September 30th.
* * * * *


Sec.  272.5  [Amended]

0
4. Section 272.5(b)(1) is amended by removing paragraphs (b)(1) and 
(b)(2) and redesignating paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) as paragraphs 
(b)(1) and (b)(2).

    Dated: March 27, 2013.
Kevin Concannon,
Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-07602 Filed 4-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-30-P