[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 100 (Thursday, May 23, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30848-30854]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-12329]


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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business--Cooperative Service


Inviting Applications for Rural Cooperative Development Grants

AGENCY: Rural Business--Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

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

SUMMARY: USDA announces the availability of grants through the Rural 
Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. 
Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education may apply. 
Approximately $6.5 million is available. Applications are limited to 
one per applicant for a maximum of $200,000 and matching funds are 
required. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe.

DATES: Complete applications must be submitted on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
    Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than July 15, 2013, to be eligible for FY 2013 grant 
funding. You may also hand carry your application to one of our field 
offices, but it must be received by close of business on the deadline 
date. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2013 grant funding.
    Electronic copies must be received by http://www.grants.gov no 
later than midnight eastern time July 10, 2013, to be eligible for FY 
2013 grant funding. Please review the Grants.gov Web site at http://grants.gov/applicants/organization_registration.jsp for instructions 
on the process of registering your organization as soon as possible to 
ensure you are able to meet the electronic application deadline.
    If you do not meet the deadline for submitting an electronic 
application, you may hand carry or submit a paper application by the 
deadline as discussed above. Late applications will not be eligible for 
FY 2013 grant funding.

ADDRESSES: You should contact a USDA Rural Development State Office 
(State Office) if you have questions. You are encouraged to contact 
your State Office well in advance of the application deadline to 
discuss your project and ask any questions about the application 
process. Program guidance as well as application and matching funds 
templates may be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/bcp_rcdg.html. 
If you want to submit an electronic application, follow the 
instructions for the RCDG funding announcement located at http://www.grants.gov. If you want to submit a paper application, send it to 
the State Office located in the State where you are headquartered. If 
you are headquartered in Washington, DC please contact the Office of 
the Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Programs, Rural Business-
Cooperative Service, at (202) 720-7558 for guidance on where to submit 
your application. Contact information for State Offices can be found at 
http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Office of the Deputy Administrator, 
Cooperative Programs, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, United States 
Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mail Stop-
3250, Room 4016--South, Washington, DC 20250-3250, (202) 720-7558.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Cooperative Development Grants.
    Announcement Type: Initial funding request.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.771.

    Date: Application Deadline. You must submit your complete 
application by July 15, 2013, or it will not be considered for FY 2013 
grant funding.

[[Page 30849]]

I. Funding Opportunity Description

    The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the 
economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. 
Grant funds may be used to pay for 75 percent of the cost of 
establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development. 
Grant funds may be used to pay for 95 percent of the cost of 
establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development, 
when the applicant is a 1994 Institution as defined by 7 U.S.C. Sec.  
301. 1994 Institutions are commonly known as Tribal Land Grant 
Institutions. Centers may have the expertise on staff or they can 
contract out for the expertise, to assist individuals or entities in 
the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural businesses, 
especially cooperative or mutually-owned businesses. The RCDG program 
is authorized under section 310B(e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1932(e)). You should become familiar 
with the regulations for this program published at 7 CFR part 4284, 
subparts A and F, which are incorporated by reference in this Notice.

Definitions

    The terms you need to understand are defined and published at 7 CFR 
4284.3 and 7 CFR 4284.504. In addition, the terms ``rural'' and ``rural 
area,'' defined at section 343(a)(13) of the CONACT (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)), 
are incorporated by reference, and will be used for this program 
instead of those terms currently published at 7 CFR 4284.3. The term 
``you'' referenced throughout this Notice should be understood to mean 
``you'' the applicant. Finally, there has been some confusion on the 
Agency's meaning of the terms ``conflict of interest,'' and ``mutually-
owned business,'' because they are not defined in the CONACT or in the 
regulations used for the program. Therefore, the terms are clarified 
and should be understood as follows.
    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, or the 
immediate family of either, have the appearance of a professional or 
personal financial interest in the recipients receiving the benefits or 
services of the grant.
    Mutually-owned business--An organization owned and governed by 
members who either are its consumers, producers, employees, or 
suppliers.

II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Grant.
    Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2013.
    Total Funding: Approximately $6.5 million.
    Maximum Award: $200,000.
    Anticipated Award Date: September 30, 2013.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    You must be a nonprofit corporation or an institution of higher 
education to apply for this program. Public bodies and individuals 
cannot apply for this program. See 7 CFR 4284.507.
    An applicant must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number and register in the System for Awards 
Management (SAM, formally managed by the Central Contractor Registry 
(CCR)) prior to submitting an application. (See 2 CFR 25.200(b)). An 
applicant must provide their DUNS number in the application. In 
addition, an applicant must maintain its registration in SAM during the 
time its application is active. 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).

B. Cost Sharing or Matching

    Your matching funds requirement is 25 percent of the total project 
cost (5 percent for 1994 Institutions). See 7 CFR 4284.508. When you 
calculate your matching funds requirement, please round up or down to 
whole dollars as appropriate. An example of how to calculate your 
matching funds is as follows:
    1. Take the amount of grant funds you are requesting and divide it 
by .75. This will give you your total project cost.

    Example:  $175,000 (grant amount)/.75 (percentage for use of 
grant funds) = $233,333 (total project cost)

    2. Subtract the amount of grant funds you are requesting from your 
total project cost. This will give you your matching funds requirement.

    Example:  $233,333 (total project cost) - $175,000 (grant 
amount) = $58,333 (matching funds requirement).

    3. A quick way to double check that you have the correct amount of 
matching funds is to take your total project cost and multiply it by 
.25.

    Example:  $233,333 (total project cost) x .25 (maximum 
percentage of matching funds requirement) = $58,333 (matching funds 
requirement)

    You must verify that all matching funds are available during the 
grant period and provide this documentation with your application. If 
you are awarded a grant, additional verification documentation may be 
required to confirm the availability of matching funds.
    Other guidelines for matching funds that you must follow are below.
     They must be spent on eligible expenses during the grant 
period.
     They must be from eligible sources.
     They must be spent in advance or as a pro-rata portion of 
grant funds being spent.
     They must be provided by either the applicant or a third 
party in the form of cash or an in-kind contribution.
     They cannot include board/advisory council members' time.
     They cannot include other Federal grants unless provided 
by authorizing legislation.
     They cannot include cash or in-kind contributions donated 
outside the grant period.
     They cannot include over-valued, in-kind contributions.
     They cannot include any project costs that are ineligible 
under the RCDG program.
     They can include loan funds from a Federal source.
     They can include travel and incidentals for board/advisory 
council members if you have established written policies explaining how 
these costs are normally reimbursed, including rates. You must include 
an explanation of this policy in your application or the contributions 
will not be considered as eligible matching funds.
     You must be able to document and verify the number of 
hours worked and the value associated with any in-kind contribution 
being used to meet a matching funds requirement.
     In-kind contributions provided by individuals, businesses, 
or cooperatives which are being assisted by you cannot be provided for 
the direct benefit of their own projects as USDA Rural Development 
considers this to be a conflict of interest or the appearance of a 
conflict of interest.

C. Other Eligibility Requirements

    Your application will not be considered for funding if it does not 
propose the establishment or continuation of a cooperative development 
center concept. You must use project funds, including grant and 
matching funds for eligible purposes (See 7 CFR 4284.508). In addition, 
project funds may be used for programs

[[Page 30850]]

providing for the coordination of services and sharing of information 
among the Centers (See 7 U.S.C. 1932(e)(4)(C)(vi)). All project 
activities must be for the benefit of a rural area. Only one 
application can be submitted per applicant. If two applications are 
submitted (regardless of the applicant name) that include the same 
Executive Director and/or advisory boards or committees of an existing 
Center, both applications will be determined not eligible for FY 2013 
funding.
    Project funds, including grant and matching funds, cannot be used 
for ineligible grant purposes (See 7 CFR 4284.10). Also, you may not 
use project funds for the following:
    1. To purchase, rent, or install laboratory equipment or processing 
machinery;
    2. To pay for the operating costs of any entity receiving 
assistance from the Center;
    3. To pay costs of the project where a conflict of interest exists; 
or
    4. To fund any activities prohibited by 7 CFR parts 3015 or 3019.
    In addition, your application will not be considered for funding if 
it does any of the following:
     Focuses assistance on only one cooperative or mutually-
owned business;
     Requests more than the maximum grant amount; or
     Proposes ineligible costs that equal more than 10 percent 
of total project costs.
    We will consider your application for funding if it includes 
ineligible costs of 10 percent or less of total project costs, as long 
as the remaining costs are determined eligible otherwise. However, if 
your application is successful, those ineligible costs must be removed 
and replaced with eligible costs, before the Agency will make the grant 
award, or the amount of the grant award will be reduced accordingly. If 
we cannot determine the percentage of ineligible costs, your 
application will not be considered for funding.

D. Grant Period

    Your application must include a one-year grant period or it will 
not be considered for funding. The grant period should begin no earlier 
than October 1, 2013 and no later than January 1, 2014. Prior approval 
is needed from the Agency if you are awarded a grant and desire the 
grant period to begin earlier or later than previously discussed. 
Projects must be completed within a one-year timeframe. The Agency may 
approve requests to extend the grant period for up to an additional 12 
months at its discretion. Further guidance on grant period extensions 
will be provided in the award document.
    If you have an existing RCDG award, you must discuss the status of 
your existing RCDG award at application time under the Eligibility 
Discussion. You must be performing satisfactorily to be considered 
eligible for a new award. Satisfactory performance includes being up-
to-date on all financial and performance reports and being current on 
all tasks as approved in the work plan. The Agency will use its 
discretion to make this determination.

E. Completeness

    Your application will not be considered for funding if it does not 
provide sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring. In 
particular, you must include all of the forms and proposal elements as 
discussed in the regulation and as clarified further in this Notice. 
For more information on what is required for an application, see 7 CFR 
4284.510.

IV. Application and Submission Information

A. Address To Request Application Package

    For further information, you should contact your State Office 
identified in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice. Program materials 
may also be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/bcp_rcdg.html.

B. Form of Submission

     You may submit your application in paper form or 
electronically. If you submit in paper form, any forms requiring 
signatures must include an original signature. To submit an application 
electronically, you must use the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov. You may not submit an application electronically in any 
way other than through Grants.gov.
     When you enter the Grants.gov Web site, you will find 
information about submitting an application electronically through the 
site, as well as the hours of operation.
     To use Grants.gov, you must have a DUNS number, which can 
be obtained at no cost via a toll-free request line at (866) 705-5711. 
Please note that obtaining the DUNS number is required prior to 
submitting an application. You must also maintain registration in SAM 
(formerly the CCR database). (See 2 CFR part 25.) You may register for 
SAM at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. You must submit all of 
your application documents electronically through Grants.gov.
     After electronically submitting an application through 
Grants.gov, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from 
Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number.
     You may be required to provide original signatures on 
forms at a later date.
     You can locate the Grants.gov downloadable application 
package for this program by using a keyword, the program name, the 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number, or the Funding 
Opportunity Number.

C. Application Contents

    Your application must contain all of the required forms and 
proposal elements described in 7 CFR 4284.510 and as otherwise 
clarified in this Notice. Specifically, your application must include 
(1) the required forms as described in 7 CFR 4284.510(b) and (2) the 
required proposal elements as described in 7 CFR 4284.510(c). Further 
clarification of application requirements is as follows:
1. Clarifications on Forms
    a. Your DUNS number should be identified in the ``Organizational 
DUNS'' field on Standard Form (SF) 424, ``Application for Federal 
Assistance.'' Since there are no specific fields for a Commercial and 
Government Entity (CAGE) code and expiration date, you may identify 
them anywhere you want to on Form SF 424. In addition, you should 
provide the DUNS number and the CAGE code and expiration date under the 
applicant eligibility discussion in your proposal narrative. If you do 
not include the CAGE code and expiration date and the DUNS number in 
your application, it will not be considered for funding.
    b. You must complete Form AD-3030, ``Representations Regarding 
Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants,'' 
if you are a corporation. A corporation is any entity that has filed 
articles of incorporation in one of the 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, or the various territories of the United States including 
American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Midway Islands, 
Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Republic of Palau, Republic of 
the Marshall Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Corporations include 
both for profit and non-profit entities.
    c. You can voluntarily fill out and submit the ``Survey on Ensuring 
Equal Opportunity for Applicants,'' as part of your application if you 
are a nonprofit organization.
    2. Clarifications on Proposal Elements

[[Page 30851]]

    a. You must include the title of the project as well as any other 
relevant identifying information on the Title Page.
    b. You must include page numbers on the Table of Contents for each 
component of the application to facilitate review.
    c. Your Executive Summary must include the items in 7 CFR 4284.510 
(c)(3), and also discuss the percentage of work that will be performed 
among organizational staff, consultants, or other contractors. It 
should not exceed two pages.
    d. Your Eligibility Discussion must not exceed two pages and cover 
how you meet the eligibility requirements for applicant, matching 
funds, other eligibility requirements and grant period.
    e. Your Proposal Narrative must not exceed 40 pages and should 
describe the essential aspects of the project.
    (i) You are only required to have one title page for the proposal.
    (ii) If you list the evaluation criteria on the Table of Contents 
and specifically and individually addressed each criterion in narrative 
form, then it is not necessary for you to include an Information Sheet. 
Otherwise the Information Sheet is required under 7 CFR 
4284.510(c)(ii).
    (iii) You should include the following under Goals of the Project.
    (A) A statement that substantiates that the Center will effectively 
serve rural areas in the United States;
    (B) A statement that the primary objective of the Center will be to 
improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative 
development;
    (C) A description of the contributions that the proposed activities 
are likely to make to the improvement of the economic conditions of the 
rural areas for which the Center will provide services. Expected 
economic impacts should be tied to tasks included in the work plan and 
budget; and
    (D) A statement that the Center, in carrying out its activities, 
will seek, where appropriate, the advice, participation, expertise, and 
assistance of representatives of business, industry, educational 
institutions, the Federal government, and State and local governments.
    (iv) The Agency has established annual performance evaluation 
measures to evaluate the RCDG program. You must provide estimates on 
the following performance evaluation measures.
     Number of groups who are not legal entities assisted.
     Number of businesses that are not cooperatives assisted.
     Number of cooperatives assisted.
     Number of businesses incorporated that are not 
cooperatives.
     Number of cooperatives incorporated.
     Total number of jobs created as a result of assistance.
     Total number of jobs saved as a result of assistance.
     Number of jobs created for the Center as a result of RCDG 
funding.
     Number of jobs saved for the Center as a result of RCDG 
funding.
    It is permissible to have a zero in a performance element. When you 
calculate jobs created, estimates should be based upon actual jobs to 
be created by your organization as a result of the RCDG funding or 
actual jobs to be created by cooperative businesses or other businesses 
as a result of assistance from your organization. When you calculate 
jobs saved, estimates should be based only on actual jobs that have 
been lost if your organization did not receive RCDG funding or actual 
jobs that would have been lost without assistance from your 
organization.
    (v) You can also suggest additional performance elements for 
example where job creation or jobs saved may not be a relevant 
indicator (e.g. housing). These additional criteria should be specific, 
measurable performance elements that could be included in an award 
document.
    (vi) You must describe in the application how you will undertake to 
do each of the following. We would prefer if you described these 
undertakings within proposal evaluation criteria to reduce duplication 
in your application. The specific proposal evaluation criterion where 
you should address each undertaking is noted below.
    (A) Take all practicable steps to develop continuing sources of 
financial support for the Center, particularly from sources in the 
private sectors (should be presented under proposal evaluation 
criterion number 10, utilizing the specific requirements of Section 
V.B.10);
    (B) Make arrangements for the Center's activities to be monitored 
and evaluated (should be addressed under proposal evaluation criterion 
number 8 utilizing the specific requirements of Section V.B.8); and
    (C) Provide an accounting for the money received by the grantee in 
accordance with 7 CFR part 4284, subpart F. This should be addressed 
under proposal evaluation criterion number 1, utilizing the specific 
requirements of Section V.B.1.
    (vii) You should present the Work Plan and Budget proposal element 
under proposal evaluation criterion number 8, utilizing the specific 
requirements of Section V.B.8 of this Notice to reduce duplication in 
your application.
    (viii) You should present the Delivery of Cooperative development 
assistance proposal element under proposal evaluation criterion number 
2, utilizing the specific requirements of Section V.B.2 of this Notice.
    (ix) You should present the Qualifications of Personnel proposal 
element under proposal evaluation criterion number 9, utilizing the 
specific requirements of Section V.B.9 of this Notice.
    (x) You should present the Local Support and Future Support 
proposal elements under proposal evaluation criterion number 10, 
utilizing the requirements of Section V.B.10 of this Notice.
    (xi) Your application will not be considered for funding if you do 
not address all of the proposal evaluation criteria. See Section V.B. 
of this Notice for a description of the proposal evaluation criteria.
    (xii) Only appendices A-C will be considered when evaluating your 
application. You must not include resumes of staff or consultants in 
the application.
    f. You must certify that there are no current outstanding Federal 
judgments against your property and that you will not use grant funds 
to pay for any judgment obtained by the United States. To satisfy the 
Certification requirement, you should include this statement in your 
application: ``[INSERT NAME OF APPLICANT] certifies that the United 
States has not obtained an unsatisfied judgment against its property 
and will not use grant funds to pay any judgments obtained by the 
United States.'' A separate signature is not required.
    g. You must certify that matching funds will be available at the 
same time grant funds are anticipated to be spent and that expenditures 
of matching funds are pro-rated or spent in advance of grant funding, 
such that for every dollar of the total project cost, not less than the 
required amount of matching funds will be expended. Please note that 
this Certification is a separate requirement from the Verification of 
Matching Funds requirement. To satisfy the Certification requirement, 
you should include this statement in your application: ``[INSERT NAME 
OF APPLICANT] certifies that matching funds will be available at the 
same time grant funds are anticipated to be spent and that expenditures 
of matching funds shall be pro-rated or spent in advance of grant 
funding, such

[[Page 30852]]

that for every dollar of the total project cost, at least 25 cents (5 
cents for 1994 Institutions) of matching funds will be expended.'' A 
separate signature is not required.
    h. You must provide documentation in your application to verify all 
of your proposed matching funds. The documentation must be included in 
Appendix A of your application and will not count towards the 40-page 
limitation. Template letters are available for each type of matching 
funds contribution at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/bcp_rcdg.html.
    (i) If matching funds are to be provided in cash, you must meet the 
following requirements.
     You: The application must include a statement verifying 
(1) the amount of the cash and (2) the source of the cash. You may also 
provide a bank statement dated 30 days or less from the application 
deadline date to verify your cash match.
     Third-party: The application must include a signed letter 
from the third party verifying (1) how much cash will be donated and 
(2) that it will be available corresponding to the proposed grant 
period or donated on a specific date within the grant period.
    (ii) If matching funds are to be provided by an in-kind donation, 
you must meet the following requirements.
     You: The application must include a signed letter from you 
or your authorized representative verifying (1) the nature of the goods 
and/or services to be donated and how they will be used, (2) when the 
goods and/or services will be donated (i.e., corresponding to the 
proposed grant period or to specific dates within the grant period), 
and (3) the value of the goods and/or services.
     Third-Party: The application must include a signed letter 
from the third party verifying (1) the nature of the goods and/or 
services to be donated and how they will be used, (2) when the goods 
and/or services will be donated (i.e., corresponding to the proposed 
grant period or to specific dates within the grant period), and (3) the 
value of the goods and/or services.
    To ensure that you are identifying and verifying your matching 
funds appropriately, please note the following:
     If you are paying for goods and/or services as part of the 
matching funds requirement, the expenditure is considered a cash match, 
and you must verify it as such. Universities should verify the goods 
and services they are providing to the project as a cash match and the 
verification must be approved by the appropriate approval official 
(i.e. sponsored programs office or equivalent).
     If you have already received cash from a third-party (i.e. 
Foundation) before the start of your proposed grant period, you must 
verify this as your own cash match and not as a third-party cash match. 
If you are receiving cash from a third-party during the grant period, 
than you must be verifying the cash as a third-party cash match.
     Board resolutions for a cash match must be approved at the 
time of application.
     You can only consider goods or services for which no 
expenditure is made as an in-kind contribution.
     If a non-profit or another organization contributes the 
services of affiliated volunteers, they must follow the third-party, 
in-kind donation verification requirement for each individual 
volunteer.
     Expected program income may not be used to fulfill your 
matching funds requirement at the time you submit your application. 
However, if you have a contract to provide services in place at the 
time you submit your application, you can verify the amount of the 
contract as a cash match.
     The valuation process you use for in-kind contributions 
does not need to be included in your application, but you must be able 
to demonstrate how the valuation was derived if you are awarded a 
grant. The grant award may be withdrawn or the amount of the grant 
reduced if you cannot demonstrate how the valuation was derived.
     Your negotiated indirect cost rate agreement does not need 
to be included in your application, but you will be required to provide 
it if a grant is awarded.
     Approval for indirect costs that are requested in an 
application without an approved indirect cost rate agreement is at the 
discretion of the Agency.

D. Submission Dates and Times

    Application Deadline Date: July 15, 2013.
    Explanation of Deadlines: Complete applications must be submitted 
on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:
    Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than July 15, 2013, to be eligible for FY 2013 grant 
funding. You may also hand carry your application to one of our field 
offices, but it must be received by close of business on the deadline 
date. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2013 grant funding.
    Electronic copies must be received by http://www.grants.gov no 
later than midnight eastern time July 10, 2013, to be eligible for FY 
2013 grant funding. Please review the Grants.gov Web site at http://grants.gov/applicants/organization_registration.jsp for instructions 
on the process of registering your organization as soon as possible to 
ensure you are able to meet the electronic application deadline.
    If you do not meet the deadline for submitting an electronic 
application, you may hand carry or submit a paper application by the 
deadline as discussed above. Late applications will not be eligible for 
FY 2013 grant funding.

E. 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. For a list of 
States that maintain a SPOC, please see the White House Web site: 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. If your State has a SPOC, 
you may submit a copy of the application directly for review. Any 
comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to your State 
Office for consideration as part of your application. If your State has 
not established a SPOC, or if you do not want to submit a copy of the 
application, our State Offices will submit your application to the SPOC 
or other appropriate agency or agencies.

F. Environmental Review

    Applications for financial assistance are subject to an 
environmental review. However, if your application is for technical 
assistance or planning purposes, it is generally excluded from the 
environmental review process (See 7 CFR 1940.310(e)(1)). We will ensure 
that any required environmental review is completed prior to approval 
of an application or obligation of funds.

V. Application Review Information

A. Application and Scoring Process

    The State Offices will review applications to determine if they are 
eligible for assistance based on requirements in 7 CFR part 4284, 
subparts A and F, this Notice, and other applicable Federal 
regulations. If determined eligible, your application will be scored by 
a panel of USDA employees in accordance with the point allocation 
specified in this Notice. A recommendation will be submitted to

[[Page 30853]]

the Administrator to fund applications in highest ranking order. 
Applications that cannot be fully funded may be offered partial funding 
at the Agency's discretion.

B. Scoring Criteria

    Scoring criteria will follow criteria published at 7 CFR 4284.513 
as supplemented below including any amendments made by the Food, 
Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which is incorporated by 
reference in this Notice. The regulatory and statutory criteria are 
clarified and supplemented below. You should also include information 
as described in Section IV.C.6 (a)-(c). Evaluators will base scores 
only on the information provided or cross-referenced by page number in 
each individual evaluation criterion. The maximum amount of points 
available is 100. Newly established or proposed Centers that do not yet 
have a track record on which to evaluate the following criteria should 
refer to the expertise and track records of staff or consultants 
expected to perform tasks related to the respective criteria. Proposed 
or newly established Centers must be organized well-enough at time of 
application to address its capabilities for meeting these criteria.
    1. Administrative capabilities (maximum score of 10 points). A 
panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated track record in 
carrying out activities in support of development assistance to 
cooperatively and mutually owned businesses. At a minimum, you must 
discuss the following administrative capabilities:
    a. Financial systems and audit controls;
    b. Personnel and program administration performance measures;
    c. Clear written rules of governance; and
    d. Experience administering Federal grant funding no later than the 
last 5 years, including but not limited to past RCDG's.
    If you discuss the Center's administrative capabilities and track 
record, versus those of umbrella or supporting institutions, such as 
universities or parent organizations, you will score higher on this 
factor.
    2. Technical assistance and other services (maximum score of 10 
points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated 
expertise no later than the last 5 years in providing technical 
assistance and accomplishing effective outcomes in rural areas to 
promote and assist the development of cooperatively and mutually owned 
businesses. You must discuss at least:
    a. Your potential for delivering effective technical assistance;
    b. The types of assistance provided;
    c. The expected effects of that assistance;
    d. The sustainability of organizations receiving the assistance; 
and
    e. The transferability of your cooperative development strategies 
and focus to other areas of the U.S.
    f. A chart or table showing the outcomes of your demonstrated 
expertise based upon the performance elements listed in Section 
IV.C.2.e.4. or as identified in your award document (vi). on previous 
RCDG awards. At a minimum, please provide information for FY 2010-FY 
2012. You do not need to address this element if you have never 
received a RCDG award.
    In addition, if you discuss the demonstrated expertise specific to 
the Center (as opposed to umbrella or supporting institutions such as 
universities or parent organizations), you will score higher on this 
factor.
    3. Economic development (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of 
USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated ability to facilitate:
    a. Establishment of cooperatives or mutually owned businesses;
    b. New cooperative approaches; and
    c. Retention of businesses, generation of employment opportunities 
or other factors, as applicable, that will otherwise improve the 
economic conditions of rural areas.
    If you provide statistics for historical and potential development 
and identify your role in economic development outcomes, you will score 
higher on this factor.
    4. Past performance (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA 
employees will evaluate your demonstrated past performance in 
establishing legal cooperative business entities and other legal 
business entities during FY 2010-FY 2012. Provide the name of the 
organization(s) established, the year of formation and your role in 
assisting with the incorporation(s) under this criterion. In addition, 
documentation verifying the establishment of legal business entities 
must be included in Appendix C of your application and will not count 
against the 40-page limit for the narrative. The documentation must 
include an organizational document from the Secretary of State's 
Office; or if the business entity is not required to register with the 
Secretary of State, a certification from the business entity that a 
legal business entity has been established and when. The establishment 
of legal cooperative businesses will score higher on this factor.
    5. Networking and regional focus (maximum score of 10 points). A 
panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated commitment to:
    a. Networking with other cooperative development centers, and other 
organizations involved in rural economic development efforts, and
    b. Developing multi-organization and multi-state approaches to 
addressing the economic development and cooperative needs of rural 
areas.
    6. Commitment (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA 
employees will evaluate your commitment to providing technical 
assistance and other services to under-served and economically 
distressed areas in rural areas of the United States. If you define and 
describe the underserved and economically distressed areas within your 
service area, provide statistics, and identify projects within or 
affecting these areas, as appropriate, you will score higher on this 
factor.
    7. Matching Funds (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA 
employees will evaluate your commitment for the 25 percent (5 percent 
for 1994 Institutions) matching funds requirement. Discussion or a 
table may be provided to describe all matching funds being committed to 
the project. However, formal documentation to verify all of the 
matching funds must be included in Appendix A of your application.
    a. If you met the 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Institutions) 
matching requirement, points will be assigned as follows:

 In-kind only--1 point
 Mix of in-kind and cash--3-4 points (based upon the amount of 
cash provided)
 Cash only--5 points

    b. If you exceeded the 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Institutions) 
matching requirement, points will be assigned as follows:

 In-kind only--2 points
 Mix of in-kind and cash--6-7 points (based upon the amount of 
cash provided)
 Cash only--10 points

    8. Work Plan/Budget (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA 
employees will evaluate your work plan for detailed actions and an 
accompanying timetable for implementing the proposal. Clear, logical, 
realistic, and efficient plans will result in a higher score. Budgets 
will be reviewed for completeness and the quality of non-Federal 
funding commitments. You must discuss at a minimum:

[[Page 30854]]

    a. Specific tasks (whether it be by type of service or specific 
project) to be completed using grant and matching funds;
    b. How customers will be identified;
    c. Key personnel; and
    d. The evaluation methods to be used to determine the success of 
specific tasks and overall objectives of Center operations.
    The budget must present a breakdown of the estimated costs 
associated with cooperative and business development activities as well 
as the operation of the Center and allocate these costs to each of the 
tasks to be undertaken. Matching funds as well as grant funds must be 
accounted for in the budget.
    9. Qualifications of those Performing the Tasks (maximum score of 
10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your application to 
determine if the personnel expected to perform key tasks have a track 
record of:
    a. Positive solutions for complex cooperative development and/or 
marketing problems; or
    b. A successful record of conducting accurate feasibility studies, 
business plans, marketing analysis, or other activities relevant to 
your success as determined by the tasks identified in the your work 
plan; and
    c. Whether the personnel expected to perform the tasks are full/
part-time employees of your organization or are contract personnel.
    If you demonstrate commitment/availability of qualified personnel 
expected to perform the tasks, you will score higher on this factor.
    10. Local and Future Support (maximum score of 10 points). A panel 
of USDA employees will evaluate your application for local and future 
support. Support should be discussed directly within the response to 
this criterion.
    a. Discussion on local support should include previous and/or 
expected local support and plans for coordinating with other 
developmental organizations in the proposed service area or with state 
and local government institutions. If you demonstrate strong support 
from potential beneficiaries and formal evidence of intent to 
coordinate with other developmental organizations, you will score 
higher on this factor. You may also submit a maximum of 10 letters of 
support or intent to coordinate with the application. These letters 
should be included in Appendix B of your application and will not count 
against the 40-page limit for the narrative.
    b. Discussion on future support will include your vision for 
funding operations in future years. You should document:
    (i) New and existing funding sources that support your goals;
    (ii) Alternative funding sources that reduce reliance on Federal, 
State, and local grants; and
    (iii) The use of in-house personnel for providing services versus 
contracting out for that expertise.
    If you demonstrate vision and likelihood of long-term 
sustainability with diversification of funding sources and building in-
house technical assistance capacity, you will score higher on this 
factor.

VI. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    If your application is successful, you will receive notification 
regarding funding from the State Office where your application is 
submitted or headquarter if you submit your application via Grants.gov. 
You must comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and notice 
requirements before the grant award will be approved. If your 
application is not successful, you will receive notification, including 
mediation and appeal rights by mail. See 7 CFR part 11 for USDA 
National Appeals Division procedures.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    Additional requirements that apply to grantees selected for this 
program can be found in 7 CFR part 4284, subparts A and F, parts 3015, 
3019, 3052 and 2 CFR parts 215 and 417. All recipients of Federal 
financial assistance are required to report information about first-
tier subawards and executive compensation (See 2 CFR part 170). You 
will be required to have the necessary processes and systems in place 
to comply with the Transparency Act reporting requirements (See 2 CFR 
170.200(b), unless you are exempt under 2 CFR 170.110(b)).
    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, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding Drug-Free 
Workplace Requirements (Grants).''
     Form AD-3031, ``Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or 
Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.''
     Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.''
     SF LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,'' if 
applicable.

VII. Agency Contacts

    If you have questions about this Notice, please contact the State 
Office as identified in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

VIII. Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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, Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil 
Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-
9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 
(TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 
(Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and 
employer.

     Dated: May 16, 2013.
Lillian Salerno,
Acting Administrator, Rural Business Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-12329 Filed 5-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P