Inviting Applications for Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants, 24387-24393 [2014-09868]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices • Form RD 400–4, ‘‘Assurance Agreement.’’ • SF LLL, ‘‘Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,’’ if applicable. • SF–PPR ’’Performance Progress Report.’’ VII. Agency Contacts If you have questions about this Notice, please contact the State Office as identified in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice. VI. Award Administration Information VIII. Nondiscrimination Statement 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 submitted 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. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES (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. Please discuss your strategy for building in-house technical assistance capacity. You will score higher if you can demonstrate that your future support will result in long-term sustainability of the Center. Non-Discrimination Policy USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identify, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) 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 any successor regulations, 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 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109– 282) 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 ExclusionLower Tier Covered Transactions.’’ • Form AD–1049, ‘‘Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants).’’ VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 To File a Program Complaint If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complain_filing_ cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632–9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250– 9410, by fax (202) 690–7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Persons With Disabilities Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and who wish to file either an EEO or program complaint, please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339 or (800) 845– 6136 (in Spanish). Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24387 Dated: April 24, 2014. Ashli Palmer, Acting Administrator, Rural Business Cooperative Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09869 Filed 4–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Inviting Applications for Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Rural BusinessCooperative Service announces the availability of $3,000,000, in competitive grant funds for the FY 2014 Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program as authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. We are requesting proposals from applicants who will provide technical assistance to small, sociallydisadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers. The maximum award per grant is $200,000. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe. DATES: Completed applications for grants must be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines: Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than June 30, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 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 2014 grant funding. Electronic copies must be received by http://www.grants.gov no later than midnight eastern time June 24, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 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. You are strongly encouraged to file your application early and allow sufficient time to manage any technical issues that may arise. Late applications will not be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding. ADDRESSES: You should contact the USDA Rural Development State Office (State Office) located in the State where SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 24388 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices you are headquartered if you have questions. Contact information for State Offices can be found at: http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/ StateOfficeAddresses.html. 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 templates may be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ SSDPG.html. If you want to submit an electronic application, follow the instructions for the SSDPG 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. Application materials for the SSDPG program may be obtained at http://www. rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html or by contacting your USDA Rural Development State Office. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Office of the Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Programs, Rural BusinessCooperative Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mail Stop3250, Room 4016-South, Washington, DC 20250–3250, (202) 720–7558. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview Federal Agency Name: USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service. Funding Opportunity Title: Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant. Announcement Type: Initial funding request. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.871. Application Deadline. You must submit your complete application by June 30, 2014, or it will not be considered for FY 2014 grant funding. Electronic applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov no later than midnight Eastern Time June 24, 2014, or it will not be considered for FY 2014 grant funding. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: A. Program Description The SSDPG Program is authorized by 310B (e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1932). The primary objective of the SSDPG program is to provide Technical Assistance to Small, SociallyDisadvantaged Agricultural Producers. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum award amount per grant is $200,000. Grants are available for Cooperative Development Centers, individual Cooperatives, or Groups of Cooperatives that serve Small SociallyDisadvantaged Producers and where a majority of the boards of directors or governing board is comprised of members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Definitions Agency—Rural Business-Cooperative Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development or a successor agency. Agricultural Commodity—An unprocessed product of farms, ranches, nurseries, and forests. Agricultural commodities include: livestock, poultry, and fish; fruits and vegetables; grains, such as wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale, rice, corn, and sorghum; legumes, such as field beans and peas; animal feed and forage crops; seed crops; fiber crops, such as cotton; oil crops, such as safflower, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed; trees grown for lumber and wood products; nursery stock grown commercially; Christmas trees; ornamentals and cut flowers; and turf grown commercially for sod. Agricultural commodities do not include horses or animals raised as pets, such as cats, dogs, and ferrets. Conflict of Interest—A situation in which a person or entity has competing personal, professional, or financial interests that make it difficult for the person or business to act impartially. Federal procurement standards prohibit transactions that involve a real or apparent conflict of interest for owners, employees, officers, agents, or their immediate family members having a financial or other interest in the outcome of the project; or that restrict open and free competition for unrestrained trade. Specifically, project funds may not be used for services or goods going to, or coming from, a person or entity with a real or apparent conflict of interest, including, but not limited to, owner(s) and their immediate family members. Examples of conflicts of interest include using grant funds to pay a member of the applicant’s board of directors to provide proposed technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged producers; pay an individual identified as a small-socially disadvantaged producer to provide proposed technical assistance to other small-socially disadvantaged producers; and pay an immediate family member of the applicant to provide proposed technical PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 assistance to socially-disadvantaged producers. Cooperative—A farmer- or rancherowned and -controlled business, organized and chartered as a cooperative, from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use by each of the farmer or rancher owners whose primary focus is to provide assistance to Small, SociallyDisadvantaged Agricultural Producers and where a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Cooperative Development Center—A nonprofit corporation or accredited institution of higher education that is currently being operated by the grantee for rural cooperative development and where a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. It may or may not be an independent legal entity separate from the grantee. The Center’s main objective is to assist Cooperatives with their startup, expansion or operational improvement in order to promote development in rural areas of services and products, processes that can be used in the marketing of products, or enterprises that create Value-Added to farm products through processing or marketing activities. Cooperative development activities may include, but are not limited to, Technical Assistance, research services, educational services and advisory services. Operational improvement includes making the Cooperative more efficient or better managed. Cooperative Services—The office within Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and any successor organization, that administers programs authorized by the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 (7 U.S.C. 451 et seq.) and such other programs identified in USDA regulations. Economic Development—The economic growth of an area as evidenced by increase in total income, employment opportunities, decreased out-migration of population, value of production, increased diversification of industry, higher labor force participation rates, increased duration of employment, higher wage levels, or gains in other measurements of economic activity, such as land values. Feasibility Study—An analysis of the economic, market, technical, financial, and management feasibility of a proposed Project. Group of Cooperatives—A group of Cooperatives whose primary focus is to E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices provide assistance to Small, SociallyDisadvantaged Agricultural Producers and where a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Operating Cost—The day-to-day expenses of running a business; for example: utilities, rent on the office space a business occupies, salaries, depreciation, product production costs, marketing and advertising, and other basic overhead items. Project—Includes all activities to be funded by the Small SociallyDisadvantaged Producer Grant. Rural and Rural Area—Any area of a State: (1) Not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, according to the latest decennial census of the United States; and (2) The contiguous and adjacent urbanized area, (3) Urbanized areas that are rural in character as defined by 7 U.S.C. 1991(a)(13), as amended by Section 6018 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110–246 (June 18, 2008). (4) For the purposes of this definition, cities and towns are incorporated population centers with definite boundaries, local self-government, and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the State. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph, within the areas of the County of Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Secretary may designate any part of the areas as a rural area if the Secretary determines that the part is not urban in character, other than any area included in the Honolulu census designated place (CDP) or the San Juan CDP. Rural Development—A mission area within USDA consisting of the Office of Under Secretary for Rural Development, Rural Business-Cooperative Services, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Utilities Service and any successors. Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer—Individual agricultural producers including farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters, and fishermen, that have averaged $250,000 or less in annual gross sales of agricultural products in the last 3 years and are members of a SociallyDisadvantaged Group. In the event that there are multiple owners, the Agency requires that at least 51 percent of the ownership be held by members of a Socially-Disadvantaged Group. Socially-Disadvantaged Group—A group whose members have been VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. State—Includes each of the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and, as may be determined by the Secretary to be feasible, appropriate and lawful, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau. Technical Assistance—An advisory service performed for the benefit of a Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer such as market research; product and/or service improvement; legal advice and assistance; Feasibility Study, business plan, and marketing plan development; and training. Technical Assistance does not include the Operating Costs of a cooperative being assisted. Value-Added—The incremental value that is realized by the producer from an agricultural commodity or product as the result of a change in its physical state, differentiated production or marketing, as demonstrated in a business plan, or product segregation. Incremental value may be realized by the producer as a result of either an increase in value to buyers or the expansion of the overall market for the product. Examples include milling wheat into flour, slaughtering livestock or poultry, making strawberries into jam, and marketing of organic products. B. Federal Award Information Type of Award: Competitive Grant. Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2014. Total Funding: $3,000,000. Maximum Award: $200,000. Project Period: 1 year. Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2014. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants. Grants may be made to Cooperatives, Groups of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers where a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. You must be able to verify your legal structure in the State in which you are incorporated. Grants may not be made to public bodies or to individuals. An applicant must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and register in the System for Awards Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application. (See 2 CFR 25.200(b)). An applicant must provide their DUNS PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24389 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). 2. Cost Sharing or Matching. No matching funds are required. 3. Other Eligibility Requirements. Use of Funds: Funds may only be used for Technical Assistance Projects as defined in this Notice. Project Area Eligibility: The proposed Project must take place in a Rural Area as defined in this Notice. Rural Development is encouraging applications for Projects that will support Rural Areas where according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis will support Rural Development’s goal of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need. Grant Period Eligibility: If awarded, grant funds must be used within 12 months. Applications must have a time frame of one year or less. Your proposed time frame should begin no earlier than the grant award date and end no later than December 31, 2015. However, you should note that the anticipated award date is September 1, so your proposed start date should be after September 1, 2014. Projects must be completed within the 12-month time frame. 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. However, you may not have more than one active SSDPG during the same grant period. If you receive another SSDPG during the next grant cycle, the first grant must be closed before funds can be obligated for the new grant. Applications that request funds for a time period ending after December 31, 2015, will not be considered for funding. If you have an existing SSDPG award, 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. Completeness Eligibility: Your application must provide all of the information requested in Section D (2) E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 24390 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices of this Notice. Applications lacking sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring will be considered ineligible. Multiple Grant Eligibility: You may only submit one SSDPG grant application each funding cycle. Activity Eligibility: Your application must propose Technical Assistance that will benefit Small SociallyDisadvantaged Producers in Rural Areas. Please review section D (6) of this Notice, ‘‘Funding Restrictions,’’ carefully. D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address To Request Application Package The application template for applying on paper for this funding opportunity is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ BCP_SSDPG.html. You may also contact your USDA Rural Development State Office for more information. Contact information for State Offices is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ StateOfficeAddresses.html. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2. Content and Form of Application 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. (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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 this program by using a keyword, the program name, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number, or the Funding Opportunity Number. • Your application must contain the following required forms and proposal elements: a. Form SF–424, ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance,’’ must be completed, signed, and include a DUNS number. 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 the SF–424. 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. Form SF–424A, ‘‘Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs.’’ This form must be completed and submitted as part of the application package. c. Form SF–424B, ‘‘Assurances—NonConstruction Programs.’’ This form must be completed, signed, and submitted as part of the application package. d. Table of Contents. Your application must contain a detailed Table of Contents (TOC) immediately following the SF–424B. The TOC must include page numbers for each part of the application. Page numbers should begin immediately following the TOC. e. Executive Summary. A summary of the proposal, not to exceed one page, must briefly describe the Project, tasks to be completed, and other relevant information that provides a general overview of the Project. f. Eligibility Discussion. A detailed discussion, not to exceed four pages, must describe how you meet the following requirements: (i) Applicant Eligibility. You must describe how you meet the definition of a Cooperative, Group of Cooperatives, or Cooperative Development Center. Your application must show that a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Your application must include a list of your board of directors/ governing board and the percentage of board of directors/governing board that are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Note: Your application will not be considered for funding if you fail to show that a majority of your board of directors/governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. If applying as a Cooperative or a Group of Cooperatives, you must verify your incorporation and status in the State that you have applied by providing the State’s Certificate of Good PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Standing, your Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws. If you are a nonprofit corporation applying as a Cooperative Development Center, you must provide evidence of your status as a nonprofit corporation in good standing, your Articles of Incorporation and a copy of your mission statement. If you are an institution of higher education applying as a Cooperative Development Center, you must provide evidence of your status as an accredited institution of higher education and a copy of your mission statement. You must apply as only one type of applicant. If the requested verification documents are not included, your application will not be considered for funding. (ii) Use of Funds. You must provide a detailed discussion on how the proposed Project activities meet the definition of Technical Assistance and identify the group(s) of sociallydisadvantaged producers that will be assisted. (iii) Project Area. You must provide specific information that details the location of the Project area and explain how the area meets the definition of ‘‘Rural Area.’’ (iv) Grant Period. You must provide a time frame for the proposed Project and discuss how the Project will be completed within that time frame. You must have a time frame of one year or less. g. Scoring Criteria. Each of the scoring criteria in this Notice must be addressed in narrative form, with a maximum of two pages for each individual scoring criterion, unless otherwise specified. Failure to address each scoring criteria will result in the application being determined ineligible. h. The Agency has established annual performance evaluation measures to evaluate the SSDPG program. You must provide estimates on the following performance evaluation measures as part of your narrative: • Number of businesses assisted; • Number of cooperatives assisted; and • Number of small, socially disadvantaged producers assisted. 3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) You are required to: • Be registered in SAM before submitting your application; • Provide a valid DUNS number in your application; and • Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which you have an active Federal award or an E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. The Agency will not make an award until an applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Agency is ready to make an award, the Agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 4. Submission Dates and Times Application Deadline Date: June 30, 2014. Explanation of Deadlines: Paper applications must be POSTMARKED and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight by June 30, 2014. 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 2014 grant funding. Electronic applications must be RECEIVED by http://www.grants.gov by June 24, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 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. 5. Intergovernmental Review Executive Order (EO) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to this program. This EO requires that Federal agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with State and local governments. Many States have established a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of States that maintain a SPOC may be obtained at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. If your State has a SPOC, you may submit your application directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to Rural Development for consideration as part of your application. If your State has not established a SPOC or you do not want to submit your application to the SPOC, Rural Development will submit your application to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies. You are also encouraged to contact Cooperative Programs at 202–720–7558 or cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov if you have questions about this process. 6. Funding Restrictions Grant funds must be used for Technical Assistance. No funds made VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 available under this solicitation shall be used to: a. Plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct a building or facility, including a processing facility; b. Purchase, rent, or install fixed equipment, including processing equipment; c. Purchase vehicles, including boats; d. Pay for the preparation of the grant application; e. Pay expenses not directly related to the funded Project; f. Fund political or lobbying activities; g. Fund any activities prohibited by 7 CFR parts 3015 or 3019; h. Fund architectural or engineering design work for a specific physical facility; i. Fund any direct expenses for the production of any commodity or product to which value will be added, including seed, rootstock, labor for harvesting the crop, and delivery of the commodity to a processing facility; j. Fund research and development; k. Purchase land; l. Duplicate current activities or activities paid for by other funded grant programs. m. Pay costs of the Project incurred prior to the date of grant approval; n. Pay for assistance to any private business enterprise that does not have at least 51 percent ownership by those who are either citizens of the United States or reside in the United States after being legally admitted for permanent residence; o. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States; p. Pay the Operating Costs of the Cooperative, Group of Cooperatives, or Cooperative Development Center; q. Pay expenses for applicant employee training; or r. Pay for any goods or services from a person who has a Conflict of Interest with the grantee. In addition, your application will not be considered for funding if it does any of the following: • 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 it is 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 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24391 ineligible costs, your application will not be considered for funding. 7. National Environmental Policy Act This NOFA has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G, ‘‘Environmental Program.’’ We have determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required because the issuance of regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing the Agency’s financial programs is categorically excluded in the Agency’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation found at 7 CFR § 1940.310(e)(3) of subpart G, ‘‘Environmental Program.’’ We have determined that this NOFA does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Individual awards under this NOFA are hereby classified as Categorical Exclusions according to 7 CFR § 1940.310(e), the award of financial assistance for planning purposes, management and feasibility studies, or environmental impact analyses, which do not require any additional documentation. 8. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements All grants made under this Notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as required by the USDA (7 CFR part 15, subpart A) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. E. Application Review Information 1. Scoring Criteria All eligible and complete applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria. Failure to address any one of the following criteria by the application deadline will result in the application being determined ineligible and the application will not be considered for funding. Evaluators will base scores only on the information provided or cross-referenced by page number in each individual scoring criterion. The total points possible for the criteria are 60. I. Technical Assistance (maximum score of 15 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your application to determine your ability to assess the needs of Small SociallyDisadvantaged Producers, plan and conduct appropriate and effective Technical Assistance, and identify the expected outcomes of that assistance. Higher points are awarded if you identify specific needs of the SociallyDisadvantaged Producers to be assisted; E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 24392 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices clearly explain a logical and detailed plan of assistance for addressing those needs; and discuss realistic outcomes of planned assistance. II. Experience (maximum score of 15 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your length of experience for identified staff or consultants in providing Technical Assistance, as defined in this Notice. You must describe the specific type of Technical Assistance experience for each identified staff member or consultant, as well as years of experience in providing that assistance. In addition, resumes for each individual staff member or consultant must be included as an attachment, listing their experience for the type of Technical Assistance proposed. The attachments will not count toward the maximum page total. We will compare the described experience to the work plan to determine relevance of the experience. Applications that do not include the attached resumes will not be considered for funding. Higher points will be awarded if a majority of identified staff or consultants demonstrate 5 or more years of experience in providing relevant Technical Assistance. Maximum points will be awarded if all of the identified staff or consultants demonstrate 5 or more years of experience in providing relevant Technical Assistance. III. Commitment (maximum of 15 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your commitment to providing Technical Assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers in Rural Areas. You must list the number and location of Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers that will directly benefit from the assistance provided. Higher points will be awarded for Projects that benefit at least 50 Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers. 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. IV. Work Plan/Budget (maximum of 10 points). You must describe, in detail not to exceed four pages, the purpose of the grant, what type of assistance will be provided, and the total amount of funds needed for the Project. The budget must also present a breakdown of estimated costs associated with each task/activity for each Project. The amount of grant funds requested will be reduced if the applicant does not have justification for all costs. A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your work plan for detailed VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 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. You must discuss at a minimum: a. Specific tasks to be completed using grant 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 project objectives. V. Local support (maximum of 5 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your application for local support of the Technical Assistance activities. Applicants that demonstrate strong support from potential beneficiaries and other developmental organizations will receive more points than those not showing such support. (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion. (ii) 1 point is awarded if you provide 2–3 support letters that show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local organizations. (iii) 2 points are awarded if you provide 4–5 support letters that show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local organizations. (iv) 3 points are awarded if you provide 6–7 support letters that show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local organizations. (v) 4 points are awarded if you provide 8–9 support letters that show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local organizations. (vi) 5 points are awarded if you provide 10 support letters that show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local organizations. You may submit a maximum of 10 letters of support. Support letters should come from potential beneficiaries and other local organizations. Letters received from Technical Assistance providers will not be included in the count of support letters received. Support letters should be included as an attachment to the application and will not count against the maximum page total. Additional letters from industry groups, commodity groups, local and State government, and similar organizations should be referenced, but not included in the application package. When referencing these letters, provide the name of the organization, date of the letter, the nature of the support, and the name and title of the person signing the letter. 2. Review and Selection Process The State Offices will review applications to determine if they are eligible for assistance based on PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 requirements in 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 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. F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices If your application is successful, you will receive notification regarding funding from the State Office where your application is submitted or headquartered 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. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements Additional requirements that apply to grantees selected for this program can be found in 7 CFR part 4284, subpart A, 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 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act reporting requirements (See 2 CFR 170.200(b), unless you are exempt under 2 CFR 170.110(b)). These regulations may be obtained at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ cfr/index.html. The following additional requirements apply to grantees selected for this program: • Agency approved Grant Agreement. • Letter of Conditions. • Form RD 1940–1, ‘‘Request for Obligation of Funds.’’ • Form RD 1942–46, ‘‘Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.’’ • Form AD–1047, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions.’’ • Form AD–1048, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary ExclusionLower Tier Covered Transactions.’’ E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 83 / Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Notices • Form AD–1049, ‘‘Certification Regarding a Drug-Free Workplace Requirement (Grants).’’ • Form RD 400–4, ‘‘Assurance Agreement.’’ • SF LLL, ‘‘Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,’’ if applicable. • SF–425, ‘‘Federal Financial Report.’’ Additional information on these requirements can be found at http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ SSDPG.html. reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) 3. Reporting If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complain_filing_ cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632–9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250– 9410, by fax (202) 690–7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. To File a Program Complaint After grant approval and through grant completion, you will be required to provide the following: a. A SF–425, ‘‘Federal Financial Report,’’ and a project performance report will be required on a semiannual basis (due 30 working days after end of the semiannual period). For the purposes of this grant, semiannual periods end on March 31st and September 30th. Any grant in excess of $100,000 must also have the appropriate SF–PPR ‘‘Performance Progress Report’’ completed. The project performance reports shall include the following: A comparison of actual accomplishments to the objectives established for that period; b. Reasons why established objectives were not met, if applicable; c. Reasons for any problems, delays, or adverse conditions, if any, which have affected or will affect attainment of overall project objectives, prevent meeting time schedules or objectives, or preclude the attainment of particular objectives during established time periods. This disclosure shall be accompanied by a statement of the action taken or planned to resolve the situation; and d. Objectives and timetable established for the next reporting period. e. Provide a final project and financial status report within 90 days after the expiration or termination of the grant. f. Provide outcome project performance reports and final deliverables. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES G. Agency Contacts Persons With Disabilities Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and who wish to file either an EEO or program complaint, please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339 or (800) 845– 6136 (in Spanish). Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). Dated: April 24, 2014. Ashli Palmer, Acting Administrator, Rural BusinessCooperative Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09868 Filed 4–29–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P For general questions about this announcement and for program Technical Assistance, please contact the appropriate State Office as indicated in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE H. Non Discrimination Statement Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identify, religion, VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Apr 29, 2014 Jkt 232001 Rural Business-Cooperative Service Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA. AGENCY: ACTION: PO 00000 Notice. Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24393 The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision, under the Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program, is designed to help facilitate the production, processing, and distribution of locally and regionally produced agricultural food products. Although demand exists for locally and regionally produced foods, producers in many parts of the country have difficulties accessing markets and processing facilities as well as establishing distribution channels. In addition, some retail outlets are less willing to buy from smaller volume producers because the volume of food that the producers can supply at any one time is insufficient. The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision provides loan guarantees for the purpose of establishing or facilitating enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, and market locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to support community development and farm and ranch income. For purposes of this provision under the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program, 7 U.S.C. 1932(g)(9) provides: ‘‘The term ‘locally or regionally produced agricultural food product’ means any agricultural food product that is raised, produced, and distributed in the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product, or in the State in which the product is produced.’’ Food products could be raw, cooked, or a processed edible substance, beverages, or ingredients used or intended for use or for sale in whole or in part for human consumption. To be eligible for funding through the Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision, projects must ensure that there is an agreement that the local or regional nature of the food product is conveyed to the end consumer. If the end product is sold at a grocery retail facility or institution, local products must be identified to the consumer with a sticker, sign, or other indicator of the product’s local or regional origin. The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision gives priority to the financing of projects that provide a benefit to underserved communities. An underserved community is defined as a community (including an urban or rural community and an Indian tribal community) that has limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 83 (Wednesday, April 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24387-24393]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09868]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service


Inviting Applications for Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer 
Grants

AGENCY: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the 
availability of $3,000,000, in competitive grant funds for the FY 2014 
Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program as 
authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. We are 
requesting proposals from applicants who will provide technical 
assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in 
rural areas. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of 
Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers. The maximum award 
per grant is $200,000. The grant period is limited to a one-year 
timeframe.

DATES: Completed applications for grants must be submitted on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
    Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent 
overnight no later than June 30, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 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 2014 grant funding.
    Electronic copies must be received by http://www.grants.gov no 
later than midnight eastern time June 24, 2014, to be eligible for FY 
2014 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. You 
are strongly encouraged to file your application early and allow 
sufficient time to manage any technical issues that may arise. Late 
applications will not be eligible for FY 2014 grant funding.

ADDRESSES: You should contact the USDA Rural Development State Office 
(State Office) located in the State where

[[Page 24388]]

you are headquartered if you have questions. Contact information for 
State Offices can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html. 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 templates may be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html.
    If you want to submit an electronic application, follow the 
instructions for the SSDPG 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. Application materials for the SSDPG program may be 
obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html or by contacting 
your USDA Rural Development State Office.

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 Name: USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer 
Grant.
    Announcement Type: Initial funding request.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.871.


DATES: Application Deadline. You must submit your complete application 
by June 30, 2014, or it will not be considered for FY 2014 grant 
funding. Electronic applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov no later than midnight Eastern Time June 24, 2014, or it 
will not be considered for FY 2014 grant funding.

A. Program Description

    The SSDPG Program is authorized by 310B (e) of the Consolidated 
Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1932). The primary objective 
of the SSDPG program is to provide Technical Assistance to Small, 
Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers. Grants are awarded on a 
competitive basis. The maximum award amount per grant is $200,000. 
Grants are available for Cooperative Development Centers, individual 
Cooperatives, or Groups of Cooperatives that serve Small Socially-
Disadvantaged Producers and where a majority of the boards of directors 
or governing board is comprised of members of Socially-Disadvantaged 
Groups.

Definitions

    Agency--Rural Business-Cooperative Service, an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development or a 
successor agency.
    Agricultural Commodity--An unprocessed product of farms, ranches, 
nurseries, and forests. Agricultural commodities include: livestock, 
poultry, and fish; fruits and vegetables; grains, such as wheat, 
barley, oats, rye, triticale, rice, corn, and sorghum; legumes, such as 
field beans and peas; animal feed and forage crops; seed crops; fiber 
crops, such as cotton; oil crops, such as safflower, sunflower, corn, 
and cottonseed; trees grown for lumber and wood products; nursery stock 
grown commercially; Christmas trees; ornamentals and cut flowers; and 
turf grown commercially for sod. Agricultural commodities do not 
include horses or animals raised as pets, such as cats, dogs, and 
ferrets.
    Conflict of Interest--A situation in which a person or entity has 
competing personal, professional, or financial interests that make it 
difficult for the person or business to act impartially. Federal 
procurement standards prohibit transactions that involve a real or 
apparent conflict of interest for owners, employees, officers, agents, 
or their immediate family members having a financial or other interest 
in the outcome of the project; or that restrict open and free 
competition for unrestrained trade. Specifically, project funds may not 
be used for services or goods going to, or coming from, a person or 
entity with a real or apparent conflict of interest, including, but not 
limited to, owner(s) and their immediate family members. Examples of 
conflicts of interest include using grant funds to pay a member of the 
applicant's board of directors to provide proposed technical assistance 
to socially-disadvantaged producers; pay an individual identified as a 
small-socially disadvantaged producer to provide proposed technical 
assistance to other small-socially disadvantaged producers; and pay an 
immediate family member of the applicant to provide proposed technical 
assistance to socially-disadvantaged producers.
    Cooperative--A farmer- or rancher-owned and -controlled business, 
organized and chartered as a cooperative, from which benefits are 
derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use by each of the 
farmer or rancher owners whose primary focus is to provide assistance 
to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and where a 
majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of 
individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups.
    Cooperative Development Center--A nonprofit corporation or 
accredited institution of higher education that is currently being 
operated by the grantee for rural cooperative development and where a 
majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of 
individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. It may or 
may not be an independent legal entity separate from the grantee. The 
Center's main objective is to assist Cooperatives with their startup, 
expansion or operational improvement in order to promote development in 
rural areas of services and products, processes that can be used in the 
marketing of products, or enterprises that create Value-Added to farm 
products through processing or marketing activities. Cooperative 
development activities may include, but are not limited to, Technical 
Assistance, research services, educational services and advisory 
services. Operational improvement includes making the Cooperative more 
efficient or better managed.
    Cooperative Services--The office within Rural Business-Cooperative 
Service, and any successor organization, that administers programs 
authorized by the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 (7 U.S.C. 451 et 
seq.) and such other programs identified in USDA regulations.
    Economic Development--The economic growth of an area as evidenced 
by increase in total income, employment opportunities, decreased out-
migration of population, value of production, increased diversification 
of industry, higher labor force participation rates, increased duration 
of employment, higher wage levels, or gains in other measurements of 
economic activity, such as land values.
    Feasibility Study--An analysis of the economic, market, technical, 
financial, and management feasibility of a proposed Project.
    Group of Cooperatives--A group of Cooperatives whose primary focus 
is to

[[Page 24389]]

provide assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural 
Producers and where a majority of the board of directors or governing 
board is comprised of individuals who are members of Socially-
Disadvantaged Groups.
    Operating Cost--The day-to-day expenses of running a business; for 
example: utilities, rent on the office space a business occupies, 
salaries, depreciation, product production costs, marketing and 
advertising, and other basic overhead items.
    Project--Includes all activities to be funded by the Small 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant.
    Rural and Rural Area--Any area of a State:
    (1) Not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 
inhabitants, according to the latest decennial census of the United 
States; and
    (2) The contiguous and adjacent urbanized area,
    (3) Urbanized areas that are rural in character as defined by 7 
U.S.C. 1991(a)(13), as amended by Section 6018 of the Food, 
Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246 (June 18, 
2008).
    (4) For the purposes of this definition, cities and towns are 
incorporated population centers with definite boundaries, local self-
government, and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the 
State. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph, within 
the areas of the County of Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, the Secretary may designate any part of the areas as a 
rural area if the Secretary determines that the part is not urban in 
character, other than any area included in the Honolulu census 
designated place (CDP) or the San Juan CDP.
    Rural Development--A mission area within USDA consisting of the 
Office of Under Secretary for Rural Development, Rural Business-
Cooperative Services, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Utilities 
Service and any successors.
    Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer--Individual agricultural 
producers including farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural 
harvesters, and fishermen, that have averaged $250,000 or less in 
annual gross sales of agricultural products in the last 3 years and are 
members of a Socially-Disadvantaged Group. In the event that there are 
multiple owners, the Agency requires that at least 51 percent of the 
ownership be held by members of a Socially-Disadvantaged Group.
    Socially-Disadvantaged Group--A group whose members have been 
subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their 
identity as members of a group without regard to their individual 
qualities.
    State--Includes each of the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, American Samoa, 
the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and, as may be 
determined by the Secretary to be feasible, appropriate and lawful, the 
Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands 
and the Republic of Palau.
    Technical Assistance--An advisory service performed for the benefit 
of a Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer such as market research; 
product and/or service improvement; legal advice and assistance; 
Feasibility Study, business plan, and marketing plan development; and 
training. Technical Assistance does not include the Operating Costs of 
a cooperative being assisted.
    Value-Added--The incremental value that is realized by the producer 
from an agricultural commodity or product as the result of a change in 
its physical state, differentiated production or marketing, as 
demonstrated in a business plan, or product segregation. Incremental 
value may be realized by the producer as a result of either an increase 
in value to buyers or the expansion of the overall market for the 
product. Examples include milling wheat into flour, slaughtering 
livestock or poultry, making strawberries into jam, and marketing of 
organic products.

B. Federal Award Information

    Type of Award: Competitive Grant.
    Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2014.
    Total Funding: $3,000,000.
    Maximum Award: $200,000.
    Project Period: 1 year.
    Anticipated Award Date: September 1, 2014.

C. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants. Grants may be made to Cooperatives, Groups 
of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers where a majority 
of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of 
individuals who are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. You must 
be able to verify your legal structure in the State in which you are 
incorporated. Grants may not be made to public bodies or to 
individuals.
    An applicant must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number and register in the System for Awards 
Management (SAM) 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).
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching. No matching funds are required.
    3. Other Eligibility Requirements.
    Use of Funds: Funds may only be used for Technical Assistance 
Projects as defined in this Notice.
    Project Area Eligibility: The proposed Project must take place in a 
Rural Area as defined in this Notice. Rural Development is encouraging 
applications for Projects that will support Rural Areas where according 
to the American Community Survey data by census tracts show at least 20 
percent of the population is living in poverty. This emphasis will 
support Rural Development's goal of providing 20 percent of its funding 
by 2016 to these areas of need.
    Grant Period Eligibility: If awarded, grant funds must be used 
within 12 months. Applications must have a time frame of one year or 
less. Your proposed time frame should begin no earlier than the grant 
award date and end no later than December 31, 2015. However, you should 
note that the anticipated award date is September 1, so your proposed 
start date should be after September 1, 2014. Projects must be 
completed within the 12-month time frame. 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.
    However, you may not have more than one active SSDPG during the 
same grant period. If you receive another SSDPG during the next grant 
cycle, the first grant must be closed before funds can be obligated for 
the new grant. Applications that request funds for a time period ending 
after December 31, 2015, will not be considered for funding.
    If you have an existing SSDPG award, 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.
    Completeness Eligibility: Your application must provide all of the 
information requested in Section D (2)

[[Page 24390]]

of this Notice. Applications lacking sufficient information to 
determine eligibility and scoring will be considered ineligible.
    Multiple Grant Eligibility: You may only submit one SSDPG grant 
application each funding cycle.
    Activity Eligibility: Your application must propose Technical 
Assistance that will benefit Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producers in 
Rural Areas. Please review section D (6) of this Notice, ``Funding 
Restrictions,'' carefully.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package

    The application template for applying on paper for this funding 
opportunity is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html. 
You may also contact your USDA Rural Development State Office for more 
information. Contact information for State Offices is located at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.

2. Content and Form of Application 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. 
(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.
     Your application must contain the following required forms 
and proposal elements:
    a. Form SF-424, ``Application for Federal Assistance,'' must be 
completed, signed, and include a DUNS number. 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 the SF-
424. 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. Form SF-424A, ``Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs.'' 
This form must be completed and submitted as part of the application 
package.
    c. Form SF-424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.'' This 
form must be completed, signed, and submitted as part of the 
application package.
    d. Table of Contents. Your application must contain a detailed 
Table of Contents (TOC) immediately following the SF-424B. The TOC must 
include page numbers for each part of the application. Page numbers 
should begin immediately following the TOC.
    e. Executive Summary. A summary of the proposal, not to exceed one 
page, must briefly describe the Project, tasks to be completed, and 
other relevant information that provides a general overview of the 
Project.
    f. Eligibility Discussion. A detailed discussion, not to exceed 
four pages, must describe how you meet the following requirements:
    (i) Applicant Eligibility. You must describe how you meet the 
definition of a Cooperative, Group of Cooperatives, or Cooperative 
Development Center. Your application must show that a majority of the 
board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who 
are members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Your application must 
include a list of your board of directors/governing board and the 
percentage of board of directors/governing board that are members of 
Socially-Disadvantaged Groups. Note: Your application will not be 
considered for funding if you fail to show that a majority of your 
board of directors/governing board is comprised of individuals who are 
members of Socially-Disadvantaged Groups.
    If applying as a Cooperative or a Group of Cooperatives, you must 
verify your incorporation and status in the State that you have applied 
by providing the State's Certificate of Good Standing, your Articles of 
Incorporation, and By-Laws. If you are a nonprofit corporation applying 
as a Cooperative Development Center, you must provide evidence of your 
status as a nonprofit corporation in good standing, your Articles of 
Incorporation and a copy of your mission statement. If you are an 
institution of higher education applying as a Cooperative Development 
Center, you must provide evidence of your status as an accredited 
institution of higher education and a copy of your mission statement. 
You must apply as only one type of applicant. If the requested 
verification documents are not included, your application will not be 
considered for funding.
    (ii) Use of Funds. You must provide a detailed discussion on how 
the proposed Project activities meet the definition of Technical 
Assistance and identify the group(s) of socially-disadvantaged 
producers that will be assisted.
    (iii) Project Area. You must provide specific information that 
details the location of the Project area and explain how the area meets 
the definition of ``Rural Area.''
    (iv) Grant Period. You must provide a time frame for the proposed 
Project and discuss how the Project will be completed within that time 
frame. You must have a time frame of one year or less.
    g. Scoring Criteria. Each of the scoring criteria in this Notice 
must be addressed in narrative form, with a maximum of two pages for 
each individual scoring criterion, unless otherwise specified. Failure 
to address each scoring criteria will result in the application being 
determined ineligible.
    h. The Agency has established annual performance evaluation 
measures to evaluate the SSDPG program. You must provide estimates on 
the following performance evaluation measures as part of your 
narrative:
     Number of businesses assisted;
     Number of cooperatives assisted; and
     Number of small, socially disadvantaged producers 
assisted.

3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and 
System for Award Management (SAM)

    You are required to:
     Be registered in SAM before submitting your application;
     Provide a valid DUNS number in your application; and
     Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with 
current information at all times during which you have an active 
Federal award or an

[[Page 24391]]

application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency.

The Agency will not make an award until an applicant has complied with 
all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully 
complied with the requirements by the time the Agency is ready to make 
an award, the Agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified 
to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for 
making an award to another applicant.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Application Deadline Date: June 30, 2014.
    Explanation of Deadlines: Paper applications must be POSTMARKED and 
mailed, shipped, or sent overnight by June 30, 2014. 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 2014 grant funding.
    Electronic applications must be RECEIVED by http://www.grants.gov 
by June 24, 2014, to be eligible for FY 2014 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.

5. Intergovernmental Review

    Executive Order (EO) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs, applies to this program. This EO requires that Federal 
agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance 
with State and local governments. Many States have established a Single 
Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of 
States that maintain a SPOC may be obtained at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. If your State has a SPOC, you may 
submit your application directly for review. Any comments obtained 
through the SPOC must be provided to Rural Development for 
consideration as part of your application. If your State has not 
established a SPOC or you do not want to submit your application to the 
SPOC, Rural Development will submit your application to the SPOC or 
other appropriate agency or agencies.
    You are also encouraged to contact Cooperative Programs at 202-720-
7558 or cpgrants@wdc.usda.gov if you have questions about this process.

6. Funding Restrictions

    Grant funds must be used for Technical Assistance. No funds made 
available under this solicitation shall be used to:
    a. Plan, repair, rehabilitate, acquire, or construct a building or 
facility, including a processing facility;
    b. Purchase, rent, or install fixed equipment, including processing 
equipment;
    c. Purchase vehicles, including boats;
    d. Pay for the preparation of the grant application;
    e. Pay expenses not directly related to the funded Project;
    f. Fund political or lobbying activities;
    g. Fund any activities prohibited by 7 CFR parts 3015 or 3019;
    h. Fund architectural or engineering design work for a specific 
physical facility;
    i. Fund any direct expenses for the production of any commodity or 
product to which value will be added, including seed, rootstock, labor 
for harvesting the crop, and delivery of the commodity to a processing 
facility;
    j. Fund research and development;
    k. Purchase land;
    l. Duplicate current activities or activities paid for by other 
funded grant programs.
    m. Pay costs of the Project incurred prior to the date of grant 
approval;
    n. Pay for assistance to any private business enterprise that does 
not have at least 51 percent ownership by those who are either citizens 
of the United States or reside in the United States after being legally 
admitted for permanent residence;
    o. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States;
    p. Pay the Operating Costs of the Cooperative, Group of 
Cooperatives, or Cooperative Development Center;
    q. Pay expenses for applicant employee training; or
    r. Pay for any goods or services from a person who has a Conflict 
of Interest with the grantee.
    In addition, your application will not be considered for funding if 
it does any of the following:
     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 it is 
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.

7. National Environmental Policy Act

    This NOFA has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1940, 
subpart G, ``Environmental Program.'' We have determined that an 
Environmental Impact Statement is not required because the issuance of 
regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing 
administrative and financial procedures for processing, approving, and 
implementing the Agency's financial programs is categorically excluded 
in the Agency's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation 
found at 7 CFR Sec.  1940.310(e)(3) of subpart G, ``Environmental 
Program.'' We have determined that this NOFA does not constitute a 
major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment. Individual awards under this NOFA are hereby classified as 
Categorical Exclusions according to 7 CFR Sec.  1940.310(e), the award 
of financial assistance for planning purposes, management and 
feasibility studies, or environmental impact analyses, which do not 
require any additional documentation.

8. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements

    All grants made under this Notice are subject to Title VI of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964 as required by the USDA (7 CFR part 15, 
subpart A) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

E. Application Review Information

1. Scoring Criteria

    All eligible and complete applications will be evaluated based on 
the following criteria. Failure to address any one of the following 
criteria by the application deadline will result in the application 
being determined ineligible and the application will not be considered 
for funding. Evaluators will base scores only on the information 
provided or cross-referenced by page number in each individual scoring 
criterion. The total points possible for the criteria are 60.
    I. Technical Assistance (maximum score of 15 points). A panel of 
USDA employees will evaluate your application to determine your ability 
to assess the needs of Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producers, plan and 
conduct appropriate and effective Technical Assistance, and identify 
the expected outcomes of that assistance.
    Higher points are awarded if you identify specific needs of the 
Socially-Disadvantaged Producers to be assisted;

[[Page 24392]]

clearly explain a logical and detailed plan of assistance for 
addressing those needs; and discuss realistic outcomes of planned 
assistance.
    II. Experience (maximum score of 15 points). A panel of USDA 
employees will evaluate your length of experience for identified staff 
or consultants in providing Technical Assistance, as defined in this 
Notice. You must describe the specific type of Technical Assistance 
experience for each identified staff member or consultant, as well as 
years of experience in providing that assistance. In addition, resumes 
for each individual staff member or consultant must be included as an 
attachment, listing their experience for the type of Technical 
Assistance proposed. The attachments will not count toward the maximum 
page total. We will compare the described experience to the work plan 
to determine relevance of the experience. Applications that do not 
include the attached resumes will not be considered for funding.
    Higher points will be awarded if a majority of identified staff or 
consultants demonstrate 5 or more years of experience in providing 
relevant Technical Assistance. Maximum points will be awarded if all of 
the identified staff or consultants demonstrate 5 or more years of 
experience in providing relevant Technical Assistance.
    III. Commitment (maximum of 15 points). A panel of USDA employees 
will evaluate your commitment to providing Technical Assistance to 
Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers in Rural Areas. You must list 
the number and location of Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers that 
will directly benefit from the assistance provided. Higher points will 
be awarded for Projects that benefit at least 50 Small, Socially-
Disadvantaged Producers. 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.
    IV. Work Plan/Budget (maximum of 10 points). You must describe, in 
detail not to exceed four pages, the purpose of the grant, what type of 
assistance will be provided, and the total amount of funds needed for 
the Project. The budget must also present a breakdown of estimated 
costs associated with each task/activity for each Project. The amount 
of grant funds requested will be reduced if the applicant does not have 
justification for all costs.
    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. You must discuss at a 
minimum:
    a. Specific tasks to be completed using grant 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 project objectives.
    V. Local support (maximum of 5 points). A panel of USDA employees 
will evaluate your application for local support of the Technical 
Assistance activities. Applicants that demonstrate strong support from 
potential beneficiaries and other developmental organizations will 
receive more points than those not showing such support.
    (i) 0 points are awarded if you do not address this criterion.
    (ii) 1 point is awarded if you provide 2-3 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (iii) 2 points are awarded if you provide 4-5 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (iv) 3 points are awarded if you provide 6-7 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (v) 4 points are awarded if you provide 8-9 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    (vi) 5 points are awarded if you provide 10 support letters that 
show support from potential beneficiaries and/or support from local 
organizations.
    You may submit a maximum of 10 letters of support. Support letters 
should come from potential beneficiaries and other local organizations. 
Letters received from Technical Assistance providers will not be 
included in the count of support letters received. Support letters 
should be included as an attachment to the application and will not 
count against the maximum page total. Additional letters from industry 
groups, commodity groups, local and State government, and similar 
organizations should be referenced, but not included in the application 
package. When referencing these letters, provide the name of the 
organization, date of the letter, the nature of the support, and the 
name and title of the person signing the letter.

2. Review and Selection Process

    The State Offices will review applications to determine if they are 
eligible for assistance based on requirements in 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 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.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notices

    If your application is successful, you will receive notification 
regarding funding from the State Office where your application is 
submitted or headquartered 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.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Additional requirements that apply to grantees selected for this 
program can be found in 7 CFR part 4284, subpart A, 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 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act reporting 
requirements (See 2 CFR 170.200(b), unless you are exempt under 2 CFR 
170.110(b)). These regulations may be obtained at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html.
    The following additional requirements apply to grantees selected 
for this program:
     Agency approved Grant Agreement.
     Letter of Conditions.
     Form RD 1940-1, ``Request for Obligation of Funds.''
     Form RD 1942-46, ``Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.''
     Form AD-1047, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered 
Transactions.''
     Form AD-1048, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered 
Transactions.''

[[Page 24393]]

     Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding a Drug-Free 
Workplace Requirement (Grants).''
     Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.''
     SF LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,'' if 
applicable.
     SF-425, ``Federal Financial Report.''
    Additional information on these requirements can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html.

3. Reporting

    After grant approval and through grant completion, you will be 
required to provide the following:
    a. A SF-425, ``Federal Financial Report,'' and a project 
performance report will be required on a semiannual basis (due 30 
working days after end of the semiannual period). For the purposes of 
this grant, semiannual periods end on March 31st and September 30th. 
Any grant in excess of $100,000 must also have the appropriate SF-PPR 
``Performance Progress Report'' completed. The project performance 
reports shall include the following: A comparison of actual 
accomplishments to the objectives established for that period;
    b. Reasons why established objectives were not met, if applicable;
    c. Reasons for any problems, delays, or adverse conditions, if any, 
which have affected or will affect attainment of overall project 
objectives, prevent meeting time schedules or objectives, or preclude 
the attainment of particular objectives during established time 
periods. This disclosure shall be accompanied by a statement of the 
action taken or planned to resolve the situation; and
    d. Objectives and timetable established for the next reporting 
period.
    e. Provide a final project and financial status report within 90 
days after the expiration or termination of the grant.
    f. Provide outcome project performance reports and final 
deliverables.

G. Agency Contacts

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

H. Non Discrimination Statement

    USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and 
applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, 
age, disability, sex, gender identify, religion, reprisal, and where 
applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental 
status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is 
derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic 
information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or 
funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all 
programs and/or employment activities.)

To File a Program Complaint

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of 
discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form 
(PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complain_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the 
form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information 
requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to 
us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, 
by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Persons With Disabilities

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech 
disabilities and who wish to file either an EEO or program complaint, 
please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 
or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).
    Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, 
please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or 
by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program 
information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), please 
contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: April 24, 2014.
Ashli Palmer,
Acting Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-09868 Filed 4-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P