[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 98 (Friday, May 22, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23992-23994]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-12094]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

[Doc. No. AMS-FV-08-0109; FV 09-376]


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the 
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program-Farm Bill (SCBGP-FB)

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the 
availability of approximately $49,000,000 in grant funds, less USDA 
administrative costs, to enhance the competitiveness of specialty 
crops. SCBGP-FB funds are authorized by the Food, Conservation, and 
Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill). State departments of agriculture 
are encouraged to develop their grant applications promptly. The Farm 
Bill requires USDA to obligate the grant funds under this program by 
the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2009, which necessitates a 
short application period. State departments of agriculture interested 
in obtaining grant program funds are invited to submit applications to 
USDA. State departments of agriculture, meaning agencies, commissions, 
or departments of a State government responsible for agriculture within 
the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply.

DATES: Applications must be received between May 22, 2009 and not later 
than August 26, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Applications may be sent to: SCBGP, Agricultural Marketing 
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., 
Stop 0235, Room 2077 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-0235.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Trista Etzig, Phone: (202) 690-4942, 
e-mail: trista.etzig@usda.gov or your State department of agriculture 
listed on the SCBGP and SCBGP-FB Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SCBGP-FB is authorized under Section 101 of 
the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note) 
and amended under Section 10109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy 
Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246 (the Farm Bill). SCBGP-FB is currently 
implemented under 7 CFR part 1291 (published March 27, 2009; 74 FR 
13313).
    The SCBGP-FB assists State departments of agriculture in solely 
enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. specialty crops. Specialty crops 
are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, 
horticulture, nursery crops (including floriculture). AMS encourages 
States to develop projects solely to enhance the competitiveness of 
specialty crops pertaining to the following issues affecting the 
specialty crop industry: Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge 
and consumption of specialty crops; participation of industry 
representatives at meetings of international standard setting bodies in 
which the U.S. government participates; improving efficiency and 
reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the 
specialty crop distribution chain in developing ``Good Agricultural 
Practices'', ``Good Handling Practices'', ``Good Manufacturing 
Practices'', and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such

[[Page 23993]]

systems for small farmers, packers and processors; investing in 
specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on 
conservation and environmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; 
developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest 
and disease control; and sustainability. Projects that support biobased 
products and bioenergy and energy programs, including biofuels and 
other alternative uses for agricultural and forestry commodities 
(development of biobased products) should see the USDA energy Web site 
at: http://www.usda.gov/rus/index2/0208/EnergyPrograms.htm for 
information on how to submit those projects for consideration to the 
energy programs supported by USDA. Also, agricultural cooperatives, 
producer networks, producer associations, local governments, nonprofit 
corporations, public health corporations, economic development 
corporations, regional farmers' market authorities and tribal 
governments that are interested in submitting projects that support 
farmers' markets that do not solely enhance the competitiveness of 
eligible specialty crops should visit the Farmers' Market Promotion 
Program (FMPP) Web site at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/fmpp for 
information on how to submit those projects for consideration to FMPP. 
Each interested State department of agriculture must submit an 
application for SCBGP-FB grant funds anytime between May 22, 2009 and 
on or before August 26, 2009, to the USDA contact noted in the For 
Further Information section. AMS will work with each State department 
of agriculture and provide assistance as necessary.
    Other organizations interested in participating in this program 
should contact their local State department of agriculture. State 
departments of agriculture specifically named under the authorizing 
legislation should assume the lead role in SCBGP-FB projects, and use 
cooperative or contractual linkages with other agencies, universities, 
institutions, and producer, industry or community-based organizations 
as appropriate.
    Additional details about the SCBGP-FB application process for all 
applicants are available at the SCBGP-FB Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/.
    To be eligible for a grant, each State department of agriculture's 
application shall be clear and succinct and include the following 
documentation satisfactory to AMS:
    (a) One SF-424 ``Application for Federal Assistance''.
    (b) SF-424A ``Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs'' 
showing the budget for each project.
    (c) One SF-424B ``Assurances--Non-Construction Program''
    (d) Completed applications must also include one State plan to show 
how grant funds will be utilized solely to enhance the competitiveness 
of specialty crops. The State plan shall include the following:
    (1) Cover page and granting processes. Include the point of contact 
and lead agency for administering the plan. Provide a description of 
the affirmative steps taken to conduct outreach to socially 
disadvantaged farmers and beginning farmers. Describe how these groups 
were identified and the methods used to reach out to them. Identify if 
an award was made to either a socially disadvantaged farmer or a 
beginning farmer. If steps were not taken to conduct outreach to these 
groups, provide a justification for why not. Provide a description of 
the affirmative steps taken to conduct a competitive grant process. 
Include the steps taken to conduct outreach to specialty crop 
stakeholders to receive and consider public comment to identify their 
priority needs in enhancing the competiveness of specialty crops. 
Identify the methods used to solicit proposals that meet specialty crop 
stakeholders' needs, including any focus on multi-state projects. 
Include a description of the process used to review proposals in a fair 
and equitable manner. State departments of agriculture may also provide 
a copy of the issued request for proposals. If a competitive grant 
process was not used, provide a justification why not.
    (2) Project title and abstract. Include the title of the project 
and an abstract of 200 or fewer words for each project.
    (3) Project purpose. For each project, clearly state the purpose of 
the project. Describe the specific issue, problem, interest, or need to 
be addressed. Explain why the project is important and timely. If 
funding is being directed at a State marketing program, describe how 
the State will ensure that funding is being used solely to enhance the 
competitiveness of specialty crops as defined in 7 CFR 1291.2(n). If a 
project builds on a previous Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) 
or SCBGP-FB project, indicate clearly how the new project compliments 
previous work. For each project, indicate if the project will be or has 
been submitted to or funded by another Federal or State grant program.
    (4) Potential impact. Discuss the number of people or operations 
affected, the intended beneficiaries of each project, and/or potential 
economic impact if such data are available and relevant to the project.
    (5) Expected Measurable Outcomes. For each project, describe at 
least one distinct, quantifiable, and measurable outcome-oriented 
objective that directly and meaningfully supports the project's 
purpose. The measurable outcome-oriented objective must define an event 
or condition that is external to the project and that is of direct 
importance to the intended beneficiaries and/or the public. Outcome 
measures may be long term that exceed the grant period. Describe how 
performance toward meeting outcomes will be monitored. For each 
project, include a performance-monitoring plan to describe the process 
of collecting and analyzing data to meet the outcome-oriented 
objectives.
    (6) Work Plan. For each project, explain briefly the activities 
that will be performed to accomplish the objectives of the project. Be 
clear about who will do the work. Include appropriate time lines.
    (7) Budget Narrative. Provide in sufficient detail information 
about the budget categories listed on SF-424A for each project to 
demonstrate that grant funds are being expended on eligible grant 
activities that meet the purpose of the program. Indirect costs for 
this grant period should not exceed 10 percent of any proposed budget. 
Provide a justification if administrative costs are higher than 10 
percent.
    (8) Project Oversight. Describe the oversight practices that 
provide sufficient knowledge of grant activities to ensure proper and 
efficient administration for each project.
    (9) Project Commitment. Describe how all grant partners commit to 
and work toward the goals and outcome measures of each proposed 
project(s).
    (10) Multi-State Projects. If the project is a multi-state project, 
describe how the States are going to collaborate effectively with 
related projects with one State assuming the coordinating role. 
Indicate the percent of the budget covered by each State.
    Each State department of agriculture that submits an application 
that is reviewed and approved by AMS is to receive a base grant of 
$162,240.00 to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. In 
addition, AMS will allocate the remainder of the grant funds based on 
the proportion of the value of specialty crop production in the State 
in relation to the national value of specialty crop production using 
the latest available (2007 National Agricultural Statistics Service 
(NASS) cash receipt data for the 50 States, 2006-2007 ``Gross Income 
from Puerto

[[Page 23994]]

Rico's Agricultural Products'' statement for the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico, 2002 Census of Agriculture cash receipts for Guam, the U.S. 
Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) 
specialty crop production data in all States whose applications are 
accepted.
    The amount of the base grant plus value of production available to 
each State department of agriculture shall be:

 (1) Alabama...........................................      $440,780.61
 (2) Alaska............................................       176,642.72
 (3) American Samoa....................................       195,567.84
 (4) Arizona...........................................     1,106,440.85
 (5) Arkansas..........................................       219,606.24
 (6) California........................................    16,188,340.37
 (7) Colorado..........................................       625,770.15
 (8) Connecticut.......................................       376,123.29
 (9) Delaware..........................................       225,990.32
(10) District of Columbia..............................       162,240.00
(11) Florida...........................................     4,069,642.85
(12) Georgia...........................................     1,010,640.49
(13) Guam..............................................       164,691.85
(14) Hawaii............................................       377,026.79
(15) Idaho.............................................       876,435.46
(16) Illinois..........................................       435,142.33
(17) Indiana...........................................       380,572.10
(18) Iowa..............................................       242,767.08
(19) Kansas............................................       213,648.34
(20) Kentucky..........................................       236,997.73
(21) Louisiana.........................................       337,593.15
(22) Maine.............................................       380,710.88
(23) Maryland..........................................       500,623.24
(24) Massachusetts.....................................       388,680.46
(25) Michigan..........................................     1,222,034.08
(26) Minnesota.........................................       574,739.62
(27) Mississippi.......................................       267,542.17
(28) Missouri..........................................       268,886.55
(29) Montana...........................................       248,694.85
(30) Nebraska..........................................       284,484.36
(31) Nevada............................................       201,307.05
(32) New Hampshire.....................................       228,792.64
(33) New Jersey........................................       652,724.43
(34) New Mexico........................................       378,865.33
(35) New York..........................................     1,091,447.25
(36) North Carolina....................................     1,085,174.62
(37) North Dakota......................................       520,675.46
(38) Northern Mariana Islands..........................       163,404.95
(39) Ohio..............................................       804,113.47
(40) Oklahoma..........................................       332,160.94
(41) Oregon............................................     1,661,822.32
(42) Pennsylvania......................................       932,679.52
(43) Puerto Rico.......................................       362,375.24
(44) Rhode Island......................................       202,474.10
(45) South Carolina....................................       400,573.84
(46) South Dakota......................................       185,625.84
(47) Tennessee.........................................       453,315.35
(48) Texas.............................................     1,753,538.35
(49) Utah..............................................       236,132.78
(50) Vermont...........................................       203,959.37
(51) Virgin Islands....................................       163,162.42
(52) Virginia..........................................       453,639.88
(53) Washington........................................     2,899,167.66
(54) West Virginia.....................................       184,486.83
(55) Wisconsin.........................................       740,776.70
(56) Wyoming...........................................       180,546.90
 

    Funds not obligated will be allocated pro rata to the remaining 
States which applied during the specified grant application period to 
be solely expended on projects previously approved in their State plan. 
In such event, a revised application shall be submitted, by a date 
before the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2009, determined by 
AMS, showing how the additional funds will be utilized to enhance the 
competitiveness of specialty crops.
    AMS encourages applicants to submit SCBGP-FB applications 
electronically through the central Federal grants Web site, http://www.grants.gov instead of mailing hard copy documents. Original 
signatures are not needed on the SF-424 and SF-424B when applying 
through http://www.grants.gov and applicants are not required to submit 
any paper documents to AMS. Applicants considering the electronic 
application option are strongly urged to familiarize themselves with 
the Federal grants Web site and begin the application process well 
before the application deadline. For information on how to apply 
electronically, please consult http://www.grants.gov/GetRegistered.
    Applicants submitting hard copy applications should submit one copy 
of the application package. The SF-424 must be signed (with an original 
signature) by an official who has authority to apply for Federal 
assistance. Hard copy applications should be sent only via express mail 
to AMS at the address noted at the beginning of this notice because 
USPS mail sent to Washington, DC headquarters is sanitized, resulting 
in possible delays, loss, and physical damage to enclosures. AMS will 
send an email confirmation when applications arrive at the AMS office.
    Applicants who submit hard copy applications are also encouraged to 
submit electronic versions of their application directly to AMS via 
email addressed to scblockgrants@usda.gov in one of the following 
formats: Word (*.doc); or Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf). Alternatively, a 
standard 3.5'' HD diskette or a CD may be enclosed with the hard copy 
application.
    SCBGP-FB is listed in the ``Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance'' under number 10.170 and subject agencies must adhere to 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination in 
all Federally assisted programs.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621 note.

    Dated: May 20, 2009.
Robert C. Keeney,
Acting Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. E9-12094 Filed 5-20-09; 4:15 pm]
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