Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal Assistance Programs-General Award Administrative Provisions and Specific Administrative Provisions, 21107-21110 [2017-09045]

Download as PDF 21107 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 86 Friday, May 5, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Part 1651 Designation of Beneficiary Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. I certify that these regulations do not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Final rule. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (Agency) is amending its death benefits regulations to modify the requirements necessary in order for a designation of beneficiary form to be valid. SUMMARY: DATES: This rule is effective May 15, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Austen Townsend at (202) 864–8647. The Agency administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99–335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401–79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for Federal civilian employees, members of the uniformed services, and spouse beneficiaries. The TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)). On March 30, 2017, the Agency published a proposed rule with request for comments in the Federal Register (82 FR 15642, March 30, 2017). The proposed rule amended 5 CFR 1651.3(c) to require that all pages of a TSP beneficiary designation form be signed and dated by the participant and only one witness. The Agency received no substantive comments and, therefore, is publishing the proposed rule as final without change. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:00 May 04, 2017 I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will affect Federal civilian employees and spouse beneficiaries who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99–335, 100 Stat. 514, and which is administered by the Agency. Paperwork Reduction Act AGENCY: ACTION: Regulatory Flexibility Act Jkt 241001 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, 653, 1501–1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under section 1532 is not required. Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 810(a)(1)(A), the Agency submitted a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. The rule is not a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2). List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1651 Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement. Gregory T. Long, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Agency amends 5 CFR chapter VI as follows: PART 1651—DEATH BENEFITS 1. The authority citation for part 1651 continues to read as follows: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8424(d), 8432d, 8432(j), 8433(e), 8435(c)(2), 8474(b)(5) and 8474(c)(1). 2. Amend § 1651.3 by revising paragraph (c)(3) to read as follows: ■ § 1651.3 Designation of beneficiary. * * * * * (c) * * * (3) Be signed and properly dated by the participant and signed and properly dated by one witness; (i) The participant must either sign the form in the presence of the witness or acknowledge his or her signature on the form to the witness; (ii) All submitted and attached pages of the form must be signed and dated by the participant; (iii) All submitted and attached pages of the form must be signed and dated by the same witness; * * * * * [FR Doc. 2017–09153 Filed 5–4–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6760–01–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture 7 CFR Part 3430 RIN 0524–AA69 Competitive and Noncompetitive Nonformula Federal Assistance Programs—General Award Administrative Provisions and Specific Administrative Provisions National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. ACTION: Final rule with request for comments. AGENCY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is publishing as a final rule, a set of general and specific administrative requirements applicable to competitive and non-competitive non-formula programs. The purpose of this final rule is to implement sections of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113–79 or the 2014 Farm Bill), making it necessary to add a new section for centers of excellence by modifying Subparts A, B, C and D of the general administrative provisions. Although this final rule becomes effective on the date of publication, NIFA is requesting comments for a 30-day period as identified below. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\05MYR1.SGM 05MYR1 21108 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 86 / Friday, May 5, 2017 / Rules and Regulations This final rule becomes effective on May 5, 2017. NIFA is accepting comments for 30 days until June 5, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by centers of excellence, by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Email: Centers@nifa.usda.gov. Include centers of excellence in the subject line of the message. Instructions: All comments received must include the agency name and reference to center of excellence. All comments received will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Daly, Senior Policy Advisor, Phone: 202–401–3319 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: I. Background and Summary jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Authority This rulemaking is authorized by section 1470 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 3316. Organization of 7 CFR part 3430 A primary function of NIFA is the fair, effective, and efficient administration of Federal assistance programs implementing agricultural research, education, and extension programs. The awards made under the above authority are subject to the NIFA assistance regulations at 7 CFR part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal Assistance Programs—General Award Administrative Provisions. NIFA’s development and publication of this regulation for its non-formula Federal assistance programs serves to enhance its accountability and to standardize procedures across the Federal assistance programs it administers while providing transparency to the public. NIFA published 7 CFR part 3430 with subparts A through F as a final rule on September 4, 2009 [74 FR 45736– 45752]. These regulations apply to all Federal assistance programs administered by NIFA except for the formula grant programs identified in 7 CFR 3430.1(f), the Small Business Innovation Research programs with implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 3403, and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), with implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 3431. NIFA organized the regulation as follows: Subparts A through E provide VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:00 May 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 administrative provisions for all competitive and noncompetitive nonformula Federal assistance programs. Subparts F and thereafter apply to specific NIFA programs. NIFA is, to the extent practical, using the following subpart template for each program authority: (1) Applicability of regulations, (2) purpose, (3) definitions (those in addition to or different from § 3430.2), (4) eligibility, (5) project types and priorities, (6) funding restrictions, (7) matching requirements, and (8) duration of grant. Subparts F and thereafter contain the above seven components in this order. Additional sections may be added for a specific program if there are additional requirements or a need for additional rules for the program (e.g., additional reporting requirements). Through this rulemaking, NIFA is making additions to Subparts A— General Information, B—Pre-award: Solicitation and Application, C—Preaward: Application Review and Evaluation and D—Award of the administrative provisions in order to add a new section for the centers of excellence identified in the 2014 Farm Bill. II. Administrative Requirements for the Rulemaking While the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2), specifically exempts rules that involve public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts from notice-and-comment requirements, NIFA is issuing this rule as final with request for comments. Accordingly, NIFA is allowing 30 days for the submission of comments. If upon consideration of the comments received in response to this notice NIFA decides to amend the final rule, NIFA will issue a subsequent final rule that includes an explanation of any changes made in response to the comments. Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has been determined to be not PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (5 U.S.C. 601–612). The Director of the NIFA certifies that this final regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final regulation will affect institutions of higher education receiving Federal funds under this program. The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards define institutions as ‘‘small entities’’ if they are for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total annual revenue below $5,000,000 or if they are institutions controlled by governmental entities with populations below 50,000. The rule does not involve regulatory and informational requirements regarding businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) The Department certifies that this final rule has been assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The Department concludes that this final rule does not impose any new information requirements or increase the burden hours. In addition to the SF–424 form families (i.e., Research and Related and Mandatory) and the SF–425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) No. 0348–0061, NIFA has three currently approved OMB information collections associated with this rulemaking: OMB Information Collection No. 0524–0042, NIFA REEport; No. 0524–0041, NIFA Application Review Process; and No. 0524–0026, Organizational Information. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance This final regulation applies to the following Federal financial assistance programs administered by NIFA including CFDA No. 10.309, Specialty Crop Research Initiative; CFDA No. 10.307, Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative; CFDA No. 10.303, Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program; CFDA No. 10.310, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI); CFDA No. 10.311, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program; CFDA No. 10.326, Capacity Building for Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture; and CFDA No. 10.320, Sun Grant Program. E:\FR\FM\05MYR1.SGM 05MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 86 / Friday, May 5, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 and Executive Order 13132 The Department has reviewed this final rule in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order No. 13132 and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq., and has found no potential or substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. As there is no Federal mandate contained herein that could result in increased expenditures by State, local, or tribal governments, or by the private sector, the Department has not prepared a budgetary impact statement. Executive Order 12866 and the President’s Memorandum of June 1, 1998, require each agency to write all rules in plain language. The Department invites comments on how to make this final rule easier to understand. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3430 Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural Research, Education, Extension; Federal assistance. Accordingly, the Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, adopts the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 3430 which was published at 75 FR 54759 on September 9, 2010, as final with the following changes: PART 3430—COMPETITIVE AND NONCOMPETITIVE NON–FORMULA FEDERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS— GENERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 3430 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 3316; Pub. L. 106–107 (31 U.S.C. 6101 note). Subpart A—General 2. Amend § 3430.2 by adding a definition for ‘‘Center of Excellence’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Definitions. * * * * * Center of Excellence in food and agricultural research, extension, and education is a grantee whose application was not only found to be highly meritorious by a peer panel, but met additional criteria (see § 3430.17(c)) to receive the designation. This VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:00 May 04, 2017 Subpart B—Pre-award: Solicitation and Application 3. Amend § 3430.12 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows: ■ § 3430.12 Requests for application. * * * * * (d)If applicants choose to address center of excellence criteria, they must do so in their project narrative, subject to any page limitations on that section of the application. ■ 4. Amend § 3430.16 by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows: § 3430.16 Eligibility requirements. * Clarity of This Regulation § 3430.2 designation is specific to a grant application. * * * * * Jkt 241001 * * * * (e) Center of Excellence. (1) To be considered as a center of excellence, a center of excellence must be one of the following entities that provides financial or in-kind support to the center being proposed: (i) State agricultural experiment stations; (ii) Colleges and universities; (iii) University research foundations; (iv) Other research institutions and organizations; (v) Federal agencies; (vi) National laboratories; (vii) Private organizations, foundations, or corporations; (viii) Individuals; or (ix) A group consisting of two or more of the entities described in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (viii) of this section. (2) Only standard grant and coordinated agricultural project (CAP) grant applicants may be considered for center of excellence designation. ■ 5. Amend § 3430.17 by designating the existing text as paragraph (a) and adding paragraph (b) to read as follows: § 3430.17 Content of an application. * * * * * (b) Center of Excellence: In addition to meeting the other requirements detailed in the request for application (RFA), eligible applicants who wish to be considered as a center of excellence must provide a brief justification statement at the end of their project narrative and within the page limits provided for the project narrative, describing how they meet the standards of a center of excellence, based on the following criteria: (1) The ability of the center of excellence to ensure coordination and cost effectiveness by reducing unnecessarily duplicative efforts regarding research, teaching, and PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 21109 extension in the implementation of the proposed research and/or extension activity outlined in this application; (2) In addition to any applicable matching requirements, the ability of the center of excellence to leverage available resources by using publicprivate partnerships among agricultural industry groups, institutions of higher education, and the Federal Government in the implementation of the proposed research and/or extension activity outlined in this application. Resources leveraged should be commensurate with the size of the award; (3) The planned scope and capability of the center of excellence to implement teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences through extension activities in the implementation of the proposed research and/or extension activity outlined in this application; and (4) The ability or capacity of the center of excellence to increase the economic returns to rural communities by identifying, attracting, and directing funds to high-priority agricultural issues in support of and as a result of the implementation of the proposed research and/or extension activity outlined in this application. (5) Additionally, where practicable (not required), center of excellence applicants should describe proposed efforts to improve teaching capacity and infrastructure at colleges and universities (including land-grant colleges and universities, cooperating forestry schools, certified Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) (list of certified NLGCA is available at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/pdfs/ nlgca_colleges.pdf), and schools of veterinary medicine). * * * * * Subpart C—Pre-award: Application Review and Evaluation 6. Amend § 3430.34 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows: ■ § 3430.34 Evaluation criteria. * * * * * (c) Center of Excellence status. All eligible applicants will be competitively peer reviewed (as described in Part V, A. and B. of the RFA), and ranked in accordance with the evaluation criteria. Those that rank highly meritorious and requested to be considered as a center of excellence will be further evaluated by the peer panel to determine whether they have met the criteria to be a center of excellence. In instances where they are found to be equally meritorious with the application of a non-center of E:\FR\FM\05MYR1.SGM 05MYR1 21110 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 86 / Friday, May 5, 2017 / Rules and Regulations excellence, based on peer review, selection for funding will be weighed in favor of applicants meeting the center of excellence criteria. NIFA will effectively use the center of excellence prioritization as a ‘‘tie breaker’’. Applicants that rank highly meritorious but who did not request consideration as a center of excellence or who are not deemed to have met the center of excellence standards may still receive funding. Subpart D—Pre-award: Award 8. Amend § 3430.41 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows: ■ § 3430.41 Administration. * * * * ** (c) Center of Excellence. Applicant’s Notice of Award will reflect that, for that particular grant program, the applicant meets all of the requirements of a center of excellence. Entities recognized as a center of excellence will maintain that distinction for the duration of their award or as identified in the terms and conditions of that award. Dated: April 27, 2017. Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. [FR Doc. 2017–09045 Filed 5–4–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FAA–2017–0341; Special Conditions No. 25–663–SC] Special Conditions: AMAC Aerospace Switzerland AG, Boeing Model 737–700 Airplane; Installation of a Therapeutic Oxygen System for Medical Use Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments. AGENCY: These special conditions are issued for the Boeing Model 737–700 airplane, as modified by AMAC Aerospace Switzerland AG (AMAC). This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport-category airplanes. This design feature is the installation of a therapeutic oxygen system for medical use. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:00 May 04, 2017 Jkt 241001 appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. DATES: This action is effective on AMAC Aerospace Switzerland AG on May 5, 2017. We must receive your comments by June 19, 2017. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA–2017–0341 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202–493–2251. Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–19478). Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Hettman, FAA, Propulsion and Mechanical Systems, ANM–112, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057–3356; telephone 425–227–2683; facsimile 425–227–1320. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FAA has determined that notice of, and PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions is impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected airplane. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been previously subject to the public comment process with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds it unnecessary to delay the effective date and finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Comments Invited We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive. Background On September 7, 2016, AMAC applied for a supplemental type certificate (STC) for the installation of a supplemental therapeutic oxygen system, for medical use, in a Boeing Model 737–700 airplane configured by a separate STC with a business-cabin interior. This Boeing Model 737–700 airplane, as modified by AMAC, is a narrow-body, business-cabin interior, twin jet-engine powered airplane with seating for 15 passengers, 1 cabin crewmember, and four flightcrew members. The maximum takeoff weight is 171,000 pounds. Type Certification Basis Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.101, AMAC must show that the Boeing Model 737–700 airplane, as changed, continues to meet the applicable provisions of the regulations listed in Type Certificate No. A16WE or the applicable regulations in effect on the date of application for the change, except for earlier amendments as agreed upon by the FAA. If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Boeing Model 737–700 airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16. E:\FR\FM\05MYR1.SGM 05MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 86 (Friday, May 5, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 21107-21110]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-09045]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

7 CFR Part 3430

RIN 0524-AA69


Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal Assistance 
Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions and Specific 
Administrative Provisions

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is 
publishing as a final rule, a set of general and specific 
administrative requirements applicable to competitive and non-
competitive non-formula programs. The purpose of this final rule is to 
implement sections of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79 or 
the 2014 Farm Bill), making it necessary to add a new section for 
centers of excellence by modifying Subparts A, B, C and D of the 
general administrative provisions. Although this final rule becomes 
effective on the date of publication, NIFA is requesting comments for a 
30-day period as identified below.

[[Page 21108]]


DATES: This final rule becomes effective on May 5, 2017. NIFA is 
accepting comments for 30 days until June 5, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by centers of 
excellence, by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Email: Centers@nifa.usda.gov. Include centers of excellence in the 
subject line of the message.
    Instructions: All comments received must include the agency name 
and reference to center of excellence. All comments received will be 
posted to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Daly, Senior Policy Advisor, 
Phone: 202-401-3319

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background and Summary

Authority

    This rulemaking is authorized by section 1470 of the National 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 
(NARETPA), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 3316.

Organization of 7 CFR part 3430

    A primary function of NIFA is the fair, effective, and efficient 
administration of Federal assistance programs implementing agricultural 
research, education, and extension programs. The awards made under the 
above authority are subject to the NIFA assistance regulations at 7 CFR 
part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Federal 
Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions. NIFA's 
development and publication of this regulation for its non-formula 
Federal assistance programs serves to enhance its accountability and to 
standardize procedures across the Federal assistance programs it 
administers while providing transparency to the public. NIFA published 
7 CFR part 3430 with subparts A through F as a final rule on September 
4, 2009 [74 FR 45736-45752].
    These regulations apply to all Federal assistance programs 
administered by NIFA except for the formula grant programs identified 
in 7 CFR 3430.1(f), the Small Business Innovation Research programs 
with implementing regulations at 7 CFR part 3403, and the Veterinary 
Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), with implementing regulations 
at 7 CFR part 3431.
    NIFA organized the regulation as follows: Subparts A through E 
provide administrative provisions for all competitive and 
noncompetitive non-formula Federal assistance programs. Subparts F and 
thereafter apply to specific NIFA programs.
    NIFA is, to the extent practical, using the following subpart 
template for each program authority: (1) Applicability of regulations, 
(2) purpose, (3) definitions (those in addition to or different from 
Sec.  3430.2), (4) eligibility, (5) project types and priorities, (6) 
funding restrictions, (7) matching requirements, and (8) duration of 
grant. Subparts F and thereafter contain the above seven components in 
this order. Additional sections may be added for a specific program if 
there are additional requirements or a need for additional rules for 
the program (e.g., additional reporting requirements).
    Through this rulemaking, NIFA is making additions to Subparts A--
General Information, B--Pre-award: Solicitation and Application, C--
Pre-award: Application Review and Evaluation and D--Award of the 
administrative provisions in order to add a new section for the centers 
of excellence identified in the 2014 Farm Bill.

II. Administrative Requirements for the Rulemaking

    While the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2), 
specifically exempts rules that involve public property, loans, grants, 
benefits, or contracts from notice-and-comment requirements, NIFA is 
issuing this rule as final with request for comments. Accordingly, NIFA 
is allowing 30 days for the submission of comments.
    If upon consideration of the comments received in response to this 
notice NIFA decides to amend the final rule, NIFA will issue a 
subsequent final rule that includes an explanation of any changes made 
in response to the comments.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. This rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980

    This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, (5 U.S.C. 601-612). The Director of 
the NIFA certifies that this final regulation will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This final regulation will affect institutions of higher education 
receiving Federal funds under this program. The U.S. Small Business 
Administration Size Standards define institutions as ``small entities'' 
if they are for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total annual 
revenue below $5,000,000 or if they are institutions controlled by 
governmental entities with populations below 50,000. The rule does not 
involve regulatory and informational requirements regarding businesses, 
organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    The Department certifies that this final rule has been assessed in 
accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 
44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The Department concludes that this final rule 
does not impose any new information requirements or increase the burden 
hours. In addition to the SF-424 form families (i.e., Research and 
Related and Mandatory) and the SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) 
No. 0348-0061, NIFA has three currently approved OMB information 
collections associated with this rulemaking: OMB Information Collection 
No. 0524-0042, NIFA REEport; No. 0524-0041, NIFA Application Review 
Process; and No. 0524-0026, Organizational Information.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    This final regulation applies to the following Federal financial 
assistance programs administered by NIFA including CFDA No. 10.309, 
Specialty Crop Research Initiative; CFDA No. 10.307, Organic 
Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative; CFDA No. 10.303, 
Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants 
Program; CFDA No. 10.310, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative 
(AFRI); CFDA No. 10.311, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development 
Program; CFDA No. 10.326, Capacity Building for Non-Land Grant Colleges 
of Agriculture; and CFDA No. 10.320, Sun Grant Program.

[[Page 21109]]

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 and Executive Order 13132

    The Department has reviewed this final rule in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order No. 13132 and the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq., and has found no potential 
or substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship 
between the national government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 
As there is no Federal mandate contained herein that could result in 
increased expenditures by State, local, or tribal governments, or by 
the private sector, the Department has not prepared a budgetary impact 
statement.

Clarity of This Regulation

    Executive Order 12866 and the President's Memorandum of June 1, 
1998, require each agency to write all rules in plain language. The 
Department invites comments on how to make this final rule easier to 
understand.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3430

    Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural Research, 
Education, Extension; Federal assistance.

    Accordingly, the Department of Agriculture, National Institute of 
Food and Agriculture, adopts the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 3430 
which was published at 75 FR 54759 on September 9, 2010, as final with 
the following changes:

PART 3430--COMPETITIVE AND NONCOMPETITIVE NON-FORMULA FEDERAL 
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS--GENERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 3430 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 3316; Pub. L. 106-107 (31 U.S.C. 6101 
note).

Subpart A--General

0
2. Amend Sec.  3430.2 by adding a definition for ``Center of 
Excellence'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Center of Excellence in food and agricultural research, extension, 
and education is a grantee whose application was not only found to be 
highly meritorious by a peer panel, but met additional criteria (see 
Sec.  3430.17(c)) to receive the designation. This designation is 
specific to a grant application.
* * * * *

Subpart B--Pre-award: Solicitation and Application

0
3. Amend Sec.  3430.12 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.12  Requests for application.

* * * * *
    (d)If applicants choose to address center of excellence criteria, 
they must do so in their project narrative, subject to any page 
limitations on that section of the application.

0
4. Amend Sec.  3430.16 by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.16  Eligibility requirements.

* * * * *
    (e) Center of Excellence. (1) To be considered as a center of 
excellence, a center of excellence must be one of the following 
entities that provides financial or in-kind support to the center being 
proposed:
    (i) State agricultural experiment stations;
    (ii) Colleges and universities;
    (iii) University research foundations;
    (iv) Other research institutions and organizations;
    (v) Federal agencies;
    (vi) National laboratories;
    (vii) Private organizations, foundations, or corporations;
    (viii) Individuals; or
    (ix) A group consisting of two or more of the entities described in 
paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (viii) of this section.
    (2) Only standard grant and coordinated agricultural project (CAP) 
grant applicants may be considered for center of excellence 
designation.

0
5. Amend Sec.  3430.17 by designating the existing text as paragraph 
(a) and adding paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.17  Content of an application.

* * * * *
    (b) Center of Excellence: In addition to meeting the other 
requirements detailed in the request for application (RFA), eligible 
applicants who wish to be considered as a center of excellence must 
provide a brief justification statement at the end of their project 
narrative and within the page limits provided for the project 
narrative, describing how they meet the standards of a center of 
excellence, based on the following criteria:
    (1) The ability of the center of excellence to ensure coordination 
and cost effectiveness by reducing unnecessarily duplicative efforts 
regarding research, teaching, and extension in the implementation of 
the proposed research and/or extension activity outlined in this 
application;
    (2) In addition to any applicable matching requirements, the 
ability of the center of excellence to leverage available resources by 
using public- private partnerships among agricultural industry groups, 
institutions of higher education, and the Federal Government in the 
implementation of the proposed research and/or extension activity 
outlined in this application. Resources leveraged should be 
commensurate with the size of the award;
    (3) The planned scope and capability of the center of excellence to 
implement teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively 
disseminate solutions to target audiences through extension activities 
in the implementation of the proposed research and/or extension 
activity outlined in this application; and
    (4) The ability or capacity of the center of excellence to increase 
the economic returns to rural communities by identifying, attracting, 
and directing funds to high-priority agricultural issues in support of 
and as a result of the implementation of the proposed research and/or 
extension activity outlined in this application.
    (5) Additionally, where practicable (not required), center of 
excellence applicants should describe proposed efforts to improve 
teaching capacity and infrastructure at colleges and universities 
(including land-grant colleges and universities, cooperating forestry 
schools, certified Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) (list 
of certified NLGCA is available at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/pdfs/nlgca_colleges.pdf), and schools of veterinary medicine).
* * * * *

Subpart C--Pre-award: Application Review and Evaluation

0
6. Amend Sec.  3430.34 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.34  Evaluation criteria.

* * * * *
    (c) Center of Excellence status. All eligible applicants will be 
competitively peer reviewed (as described in Part V, A. and B. of the 
RFA), and ranked in accordance with the evaluation criteria. Those that 
rank highly meritorious and requested to be considered as a center of 
excellence will be further evaluated by the peer panel to determine 
whether they have met the criteria to be a center of excellence. In 
instances where they are found to be equally meritorious with the 
application of a non-center of

[[Page 21110]]

excellence, based on peer review, selection for funding will be weighed 
in favor of applicants meeting the center of excellence criteria. NIFA 
will effectively use the center of excellence prioritization as a ``tie 
breaker''. Applicants that rank highly meritorious but who did not 
request consideration as a center of excellence or who are not deemed 
to have met the center of excellence standards may still receive 
funding.

Subpart D--Pre-award: Award

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8. Amend Sec.  3430.41 by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  3430.41  Administration.

* * * * **
    (c) Center of Excellence. Applicant's Notice of Award will reflect 
that, for that particular grant program, the applicant meets all of the 
requirements of a center of excellence. Entities recognized as a center 
of excellence will maintain that distinction for the duration of their 
award or as identified in the terms and conditions of that award.

    Dated: April 27, 2017.
Sonny Ramaswamy,
NIFA Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2017-09045 Filed 5-4-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-22-P