Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding Under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, 24279-24281 [2017-10782]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 101 / Friday, May 26, 2017 / Notices Forest Supervisor, Monongahela National Forest, 200 Sycamore Street, Elkins, WV 26241. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board ADDRESSES: Forest Service Matthew Edwards, South Zone Recreation Manager, 304–799–4334. Information about the proposed fee can also be found on the Monongahela National Forest Web site at: https:// www.fs.usda.gov/mnf. The Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act (Title VII, Pub. L. 108–447) directed the Secretary of Agriculture to publish a six month advance notice in the Federal Register whenever new recreation fee areas are established. Prior to these fees going into effect, the Monongahela National Forest will present this proposal to the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act requires a recommendation from the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee prior to a decision and implementation. This cabin sleeps four and includes one set of bunk beds, a fold-out bed, tables, chairs, electric lights, and heat. A campsite, for up to eight people, with a picnic table and campfire ring, is also included with the cabin rental. The Monongahela National Forest currently has one other cabin, often fully booked throughout the rental season, available for rent. A business analysis of Hopkins Mountain Fireman’s Cabin has shown that people desire having this sort of recreation experience on the Monongahela National Forest. A market analysis indicates that the $75 per night fee is both reasonable and acceptable for this sort of unique recreation experience. People wanting to rent Hopkins Mountain Fireman’s Cabin will need to do so through the National Recreation Reservation Service, at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1–877– 444–6777. The National Recreation Reservation Service charges a $9 fee for online reservations and a $10 fee for telephone reservations. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: April 12, 2017. Glenn P. Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–10941 Filed 5–25–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 May 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Board is established consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, the National Forest Management Act of 1976, and the Federal Public Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Additional information concerning the Board, including the meeting summary/ minutes, can be found by visiting the Board’s Web site at: http:// www.fs.usda.gov/main/blackhills/ workingtogether/advisorycommittees. DATES: The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. All meetings are subject to cancellation. For updated status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Forest Service Center, 8221 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, South Dakota. Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses, when provided, are placed in the record and available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the Black Hills National Forest Supervisor’s Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Jacobson, Committee Coordinator, by phone at 605–440–1409 or by email at sjjacobson@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the meeting is to provide: (1) Information Topic: Mining Claims on the Forest; (2) Black Hills Resilient Landscape Project update; (3) District Updates; (4) Non-motorized Trails—Working Group update; (5) Black Backed Woodpecker update; (6) Northern Long Eared Bat update; SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24279 (7) Black Hills Horse Sanctuary Trespass Update; and (8) August Field Trip. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should submit a request in writing by June 12, 2017, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the Board may file written statements with the Board’s staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and time requests for oral comments must be sent to Scott Jacobson, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 1019 North Fifth Street, Custer, South Dakota 57730; by email to sjjacobson@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 605–673–9208. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. Dated: May 5, 2017. Jeanne M. Higgins, Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–10959 Filed 5–25–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding Under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. ACTION: Notice of opportunity for commodity boards to submit topics and contribute funding under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. AGENCY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is soliciting topics from eligible commodity board entities (Federal and State-level commodity boards, as defined below), which they are willing to equally co-fund with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26MYN1.SGM 26MYN1 24280 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 101 / Friday, May 26, 2017 / Notices (AFRI) Requests for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the established priority areas of AFRI. DATES: Commodity boards may submit topics at any time; however, all topics to be considered for the fiscal year 2018 AFRI RFAs must be received by 5:00 p.m., EDT on July 25, 2017. Topics submitted by eligible commodity board entities after this date will be considered for RFAs to be issued in future years. NIFA will hold a webinar and workshop to respond to questions from commodity boards interested in submitting topics. Details including the date and time, and access information will be posted on the NIFA Web site (http://nifa.usda.gov/commodityboards/). ADDRESSES: You may submit topics by the following method: Web site: https:// nifa.usda.gov/webform/commodityboard-topic-submission/. Instructions: The topic submission must be through the Web site form; emailed topics will not be accepted. Required fields are marked. Topics submitted through this form will not be posted to a public site. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Mirando; Phone: (202) 401–4336, or Email: commodityboards@ nifa.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) strategy to implement section 7404 of Public Law 113–79, the Agricultural Act of 2014, NIFA is soliciting topics from eligible commodity board entities (Federal and State-level commodity boards, as defined below), which they are willing to equally co-fund with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI) Requests for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the established priority areas of AFRI. Commodity boards are those entities established under a commodity promotion law, as such term is defined under section 501(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7401(a), or a State commodity board or other equivalent State entity. See the ‘‘Supplementary Information’’ section of this Notice under the heading ‘‘Eligibility for Submitting Topics’’ for further information. If, after NIFA’s evaluation, proposed topics are accepted for inclusion in an AFRI RFA, they will be incorporated into AFRI competitive grants program RFAs. As a condition of funding grants pertaining to a topic, NIFA will require an agreement with the commodity board VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 May 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 to provide funds equal to the amount NIFA is contributing under the agreed upon topic. This Notice invites topic submissions from commodity boards as defined above, outlines the process NIFA will use to evaluate the appropriateness of these topics for inclusion in AFRI RFAs, and describes the commitment required of commodity boards for NIFA to jointly fund competitively selected AFRI awards within a topic area submitted by the commodity boards. Background and Purpose This Notice begins the third topic submission cycle to implement section 2(b)(4)(F) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)(4)(F)), as added by section 7404 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113–79, which requires NIFA to ‘‘establish procedures, including timelines, under which an entity established under a commodity promotion law, as such term is defined under section 501(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7401(a), or a State commodity board (or other equivalent State entity) may directly submit to [NIFA] for consideration proposals for requests for applications’’ within the AFRI Program. Stakeholder feedback gathered in previous years informed this Notice and the process NIFA is using to implement section 7404. This Notice invites entities established under a commodity promotion law or State commodity boards (or other equivalent State entities) to submit topics they are proposing for inclusion in fiscal year 2018 AFRI RFAs. Topics must relate to the established AFRI priority areas, which are: Plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. A summary statement on AFRI is included below. To learn more about AFRI programs, including program priorities, typical award budget amounts, and examples of RFAs, please visit: http://nifa.usda.gov/commodityboards/. AFRI Program Overview The AFRI program is the largest agricultural competitive grants program in the United States and a primary funding source for research, education, and extension projects that bring practical solutions to some of today’s most critical societal challenges. AFRI programs impact all components of PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 agriculture, including farm and ranch efficiency and profitability, bioenergy, forestry, aquaculture, rural communities, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and genetic improvement of plants and animals. In FY 2018, NIFA will solicit applications for AFRI funding opportunities in the six AFRI priority areas (Plant health and production and plant products; Animal health and production and animal products; Food safety, nutrition, and health; Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; Agriculture systems and technology; Agriculture economics and rural communities). It is anticipated these will include the AFRI Foundational Science Program RFA and the AFRI Education and Workforce Development RFA. The annual AFRI Foundational Science Program RFA solicits grant applications focused predominately, but not exclusively, on fundamental scientific research addressing statutory priorities. The AFRI Education and Workforce Development RFA solicits grant applications for training K–14 teachers and administrators, undergraduate research and extension experiential learning fellowships, and pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. Any additional AFRI RFAs made available in FY 2018 will be included in this solicitation. Eligibility for Submitting Topics Eligible commodity board entities are those established under a commodity promotion law, as such term is defined under section 501(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7401(a)), or a State commodity board (or other equivalent State entity). Language in 7 U.S.C. 7401(a) defines a ‘‘commodity promotion law’’ as ‘‘a Federal law that provides for the establishment and operation of a promotion program regarding an agricultural commodity that includes a combination of promotion, research, industry information, or consumer information activities, is funded by mandatory assessments on producers or processors, and is designed to maintain or expand markets and uses for the commodity (as determined by the Secretary).’’ 7 U.S.C. Section 7401(a) includes a list of such Federal laws. A current list of approved entities is maintained at (http://nifa.usda.gov/ commodity-boards/). Additionally, entities eligible to submit topics include a State commodity board (or other equivalent State entity). This includes commodity boards authorized by State law; commodity boards that are not authorized by State law, but are E:\FR\FM\26MYN1.SGM 26MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 101 / Friday, May 26, 2017 / Notices organized and operate within a State and meet the requirements of their authorizing statute; and commodity boards that are authorized by a State and operate within the State for commodities that have no Federal program or oversight. Topic Submission Guidance and Procedures Topics may be submitted at any time and will be evaluated by NIFA on an annual basis. However, to be considered for the proposed fiscal year 2018 AFRI RFAs, topics must be received by COB (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) on July 25, 2017. Each topic proposed must be submitted using the online topic submission form provided at: https:// nifa.usda.gov/webform/commodityboard-topic-submission/. Commodity boards may propose support for multiple awards for each topic proposed. For each topic the commodity board proposes to support, the minimum amount contributed by the commodity board must align with budget guidance for each AFRI area (http://nifa.usda.gov/commodityboards/) and comply with the maximum amount of $2.5 million allowed per topic. NIFA does not intend to match funding from a single commodity board in excess of $10 million in any year. Commodity boards should only submit topics that have a strong economic impact on their industry and U.S. agriculture, as a whole. Examples of topics typically supported by AFRI can be found at http://nifa.usda.gov/ commodity-boards/. If topics are accepted for funding, they will be incorporated into AFRI RFAs, and grants supporting the topic area may be awarded to AFRI eligible entities based on a competitive peer review process. As a condition of funding grants in a topic, NIFA will require an agreement by the commodity board to provide funds in an amount equal to the amount NIFA is contributing under the agreed upon topic. If a topic is selected for inclusion in an RFA, the commodity board submitting the topic will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the topic until the RFA is issued by NIFA. All commodity board funds and NIFA funds must be available at the time awards are selected for funding; awards are fully funded at the beginning of the award. Applications submitted under topics provided by commodity boards will be required to include a letter of support from the commodity board that proposed the topic. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 May 25, 2017 Jkt 241001 Evaluation and Notification Process NIFA will screen proposed research topics to ensure eligibility of the submitting commodity boards. NIFA will also consult with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to determine that submissions and proposed financial contributions are consistent with commodity promotion laws and commodity boards’ charters, as applicable. Commodity board topics are reviewed by an internal panel based on evaluation criteria developed using stakeholder input from commodity boards and other stakeholders from government, industry, and academe. Each topic will be evaluated based on: Alignment with one or more of the statutory AFRI priority areas (six AFRI priority areas authorized in the Farm Bill and described in 7 CFR 3430.309); alignment with the President’s budget proposal for NIFA, as identified in the Department of Agriculture’s annual budget submission; and alignment with the priority areas in the AFRI RFAs to be released by NIFA during the fiscal year for which the commodity board is proposing a topic for funding (for example, within the AFRI Foundational Science RFA, the AFRI Animal Health and Production and Animal Products’ ‘‘Animal Reproduction’’ priority area). From those topics received by COB (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) on July 25, 2017, NIFA will select the topic(s) that were evaluated favorably for inclusion in the appropriate FY 2018 AFRI RFA. NIFA will notify commodity boards as to whether their topics will be included by August 24, 2017. Based on the evaluation, NIFA reserves the right to negotiate with commodity boards should changes be required to accept topics and funding amounts. Any changes to topics and funding amounts will be reviewed by USDA’s AMS to determine if such changes are consistent with applicable commodity promotion laws. NIFA will evaluate topics submitted after the July 25, 2017 deadline on an annual basis and notify commodity boards whether their topics will be included in subsequent RFAs within two weeks following the meeting of the internal evaluation panel, the date of which will be published on NIFA’s Commodity Boards Web page at (http:// nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/). Done at Washington, DC, this 19th day of May, 2017. Robert Holland, Associate Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. [FR Doc. 2017–10782 Filed 5–25–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24281 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) for Fiscal Year 2017 Rural Housing Service, USDA. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the USDA Rural Development (RD) mission area herein referred to as the Agency announces the acceptance of applications under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. Applicants must provide matching funds in an amount at least equal to the Federal grant. These grants will be made to qualified intermediary organizations that will provide financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop their capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development that will support the community. This Notice lists the information needed to submit an application for these funds. This Notice announces that the Rural Housing Service (Agency) is accepting fiscal year (FY) 2017 applications for the RCDI program. The Agency will publish the program funding level on the Rural Development Web site https://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/rural-communitydevelopment-initiative-grants. This Notice contains revised evaluation criteria that are streamlined, in order to enhance program efficiency and delivery. SUMMARY: The deadline for receipt of an application is 4 p.m. local time, July 25, 2017. The application date and time are firm. The Agency will not consider any application received after the deadline. Applicants intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX), electronic mail, and postage due applications will not be accepted. ADDRESSES: Entities wishing to apply for assistance may download the application documents and requirements delineated in this Notice from the RCDI Web site: http:// www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/ rural-community-developmentinitiative-grants. DATES: E:\FR\FM\26MYN1.SGM 26MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 101 (Friday, May 26, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24279-24281]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-10782]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Solicitation of Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of 
Funding Under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive 
Grants Program

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for commodity boards to submit topics and 
contribute funding under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative 
Competitive Grants Program.

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

SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is soliciting 
topics from eligible commodity board entities (Federal and State-level 
commodity boards, as defined below), which they are willing to equally 
co-fund with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture 
and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program

[[Page 24280]]

(AFRI) Requests for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the 
established priority areas of AFRI.

DATES: Commodity boards may submit topics at any time; however, all 
topics to be considered for the fiscal year 2018 AFRI RFAs must be 
received by 5:00 p.m., EDT on July 25, 2017. Topics submitted by 
eligible commodity board entities after this date will be considered 
for RFAs to be issued in future years. NIFA will hold a webinar and 
workshop to respond to questions from commodity boards interested in 
submitting topics. Details including the date and time, and access 
information will be posted on the NIFA Web site (http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/).

ADDRESSES: You may submit topics by the following method: Web site: 
https://nifa.usda.gov/webform/commodity-board-topic-submission/.
    Instructions: The topic submission must be through the Web site 
form; emailed topics will not be accepted. Required fields are marked. 
Topics submitted through this form will not be posted to a public site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Mirando; Phone: (202) 401-4336, 
or Email: commodityboards@nifa.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As part of the National Institute of Food 
and Agriculture's (NIFA) strategy to implement section 7404 of Public 
Law 113-79, the Agricultural Act of 2014, NIFA is soliciting topics 
from eligible commodity board entities (Federal and State-level 
commodity boards, as defined below), which they are willing to equally 
co-fund with NIFA. To be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture 
and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (AFRI) Requests 
for Applications (RFAs), topics must relate to the established priority 
areas of AFRI.
    Commodity boards are those entities established under a commodity 
promotion law, as such term is defined under section 501(a) of the 
Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 
7401(a), or a State commodity board or other equivalent State entity. 
See the ``Supplementary Information'' section of this Notice under the 
heading ``Eligibility for Submitting Topics'' for further information.
    If, after NIFA's evaluation, proposed topics are accepted for 
inclusion in an AFRI RFA, they will be incorporated into AFRI 
competitive grants program RFAs. As a condition of funding grants 
pertaining to a topic, NIFA will require an agreement with the 
commodity board to provide funds equal to the amount NIFA is 
contributing under the agreed upon topic.
    This Notice invites topic submissions from commodity boards as 
defined above, outlines the process NIFA will use to evaluate the 
appropriateness of these topics for inclusion in AFRI RFAs, and 
describes the commitment required of commodity boards for NIFA to 
jointly fund competitively selected AFRI awards within a topic area 
submitted by the commodity boards.

Background and Purpose

    This Notice begins the third topic submission cycle to implement 
section 2(b)(4)(F) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research 
Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)(4)(F)), as added by section 7404 of the 
Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113-79, which requires NIFA to 
``establish procedures, including timelines, under which an entity 
established under a commodity promotion law, as such term is defined 
under section 501(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform 
Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7401(a), or a State commodity board (or other 
equivalent State entity) may directly submit to [NIFA] for 
consideration proposals for requests for applications'' within the AFRI 
Program.
    Stakeholder feedback gathered in previous years informed this 
Notice and the process NIFA is using to implement section 7404. This 
Notice invites entities established under a commodity promotion law or 
State commodity boards (or other equivalent State entities) to submit 
topics they are proposing for inclusion in fiscal year 2018 AFRI RFAs. 
Topics must relate to the established AFRI priority areas, which are: 
Plant health and production and plant products; animal health and 
production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; 
bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and 
technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. A summary 
statement on AFRI is included below. To learn more about AFRI programs, 
including program priorities, typical award budget amounts, and 
examples of RFAs, please visit: http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/.

AFRI Program Overview

    The AFRI program is the largest agricultural competitive grants 
program in the United States and a primary funding source for research, 
education, and extension projects that bring practical solutions to 
some of today's most critical societal challenges. AFRI programs impact 
all components of agriculture, including farm and ranch efficiency and 
profitability, bioenergy, forestry, aquaculture, rural communities, 
human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and genetic improvement of 
plants and animals.
    In FY 2018, NIFA will solicit applications for AFRI funding 
opportunities in the six AFRI priority areas (Plant health and 
production and plant products; Animal health and production and animal 
products; Food safety, nutrition, and health; Bioenergy, natural 
resources, and environment; Agriculture systems and technology; 
Agriculture economics and rural communities). It is anticipated these 
will include the AFRI Foundational Science Program RFA and the AFRI 
Education and Workforce Development RFA. The annual AFRI Foundational 
Science Program RFA solicits grant applications focused predominately, 
but not exclusively, on fundamental scientific research addressing 
statutory priorities. The AFRI Education and Workforce Development RFA 
solicits grant applications for training K-14 teachers and 
administrators, undergraduate research and extension experiential 
learning fellowships, and pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. Any 
additional AFRI RFAs made available in FY 2018 will be included in this 
solicitation.

Eligibility for Submitting Topics

    Eligible commodity board entities are those established under a 
commodity promotion law, as such term is defined under section 501(a) 
of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 
7401(a)), or a State commodity board (or other equivalent State 
entity). Language in 7 U.S.C. 7401(a) defines a ``commodity promotion 
law'' as ``a Federal law that provides for the establishment and 
operation of a promotion program regarding an agricultural commodity 
that includes a combination of promotion, research, industry 
information, or consumer information activities, is funded by mandatory 
assessments on producers or processors, and is designed to maintain or 
expand markets and uses for the commodity (as determined by the 
Secretary).'' 7 U.S.C. Section 7401(a) includes a list of such Federal 
laws.
    A current list of approved entities is maintained at (http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/). Additionally, entities eligible to 
submit topics include a State commodity board (or other equivalent 
State entity). This includes commodity boards authorized by State law; 
commodity boards that are not authorized by State law, but are

[[Page 24281]]

organized and operate within a State and meet the requirements of their 
authorizing statute; and commodity boards that are authorized by a 
State and operate within the State for commodities that have no Federal 
program or oversight.

Topic Submission Guidance and Procedures

    Topics may be submitted at any time and will be evaluated by NIFA 
on an annual basis. However, to be considered for the proposed fiscal 
year 2018 AFRI RFAs, topics must be received by COB (5 p.m. Eastern 
Daylight Time) on July 25, 2017.
    Each topic proposed must be submitted using the online topic 
submission form provided at: https://nifa.usda.gov/webform/commodity-board-topic-submission/. Commodity boards may propose support for 
multiple awards for each topic proposed. For each topic the commodity 
board proposes to support, the minimum amount contributed by the 
commodity board must align with budget guidance for each AFRI area 
(http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/) and comply with the maximum 
amount of $2.5 million allowed per topic. NIFA does not intend to match 
funding from a single commodity board in excess of $10 million in any 
year. Commodity boards should only submit topics that have a strong 
economic impact on their industry and U.S. agriculture, as a whole. 
Examples of topics typically supported by AFRI can be found at http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/.
    If topics are accepted for funding, they will be incorporated into 
AFRI RFAs, and grants supporting the topic area may be awarded to AFRI 
eligible entities based on a competitive peer review process. As a 
condition of funding grants in a topic, NIFA will require an agreement 
by the commodity board to provide funds in an amount equal to the 
amount NIFA is contributing under the agreed upon topic. If a topic is 
selected for inclusion in an RFA, the commodity board submitting the 
topic will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the topic 
until the RFA is issued by NIFA. All commodity board funds and NIFA 
funds must be available at the time awards are selected for funding; 
awards are fully funded at the beginning of the award. Applications 
submitted under topics provided by commodity boards will be required to 
include a letter of support from the commodity board that proposed the 
topic.

Evaluation and Notification Process

    NIFA will screen proposed research topics to ensure eligibility of 
the submitting commodity boards. NIFA will also consult with USDA's 
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to determine that submissions and 
proposed financial contributions are consistent with commodity 
promotion laws and commodity boards' charters, as applicable.
    Commodity board topics are reviewed by an internal panel based on 
evaluation criteria developed using stakeholder input from commodity 
boards and other stakeholders from government, industry, and academe. 
Each topic will be evaluated based on: Alignment with one or more of 
the statutory AFRI priority areas (six AFRI priority areas authorized 
in the Farm Bill and described in 7 CFR 3430.309); alignment with the 
President's budget proposal for NIFA, as identified in the Department 
of Agriculture's annual budget submission; and alignment with the 
priority areas in the AFRI RFAs to be released by NIFA during the 
fiscal year for which the commodity board is proposing a topic for 
funding (for example, within the AFRI Foundational Science RFA, the 
AFRI Animal Health and Production and Animal Products' ``Animal 
Reproduction'' priority area).
    From those topics received by COB (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) on 
July 25, 2017, NIFA will select the topic(s) that were evaluated 
favorably for inclusion in the appropriate FY 2018 AFRI RFA. NIFA will 
notify commodity boards as to whether their topics will be included by 
August 24, 2017. Based on the evaluation, NIFA reserves the right to 
negotiate with commodity boards should changes be required to accept 
topics and funding amounts. Any changes to topics and funding amounts 
will be reviewed by USDA's AMS to determine if such changes are 
consistent with applicable commodity promotion laws.
    NIFA will evaluate topics submitted after the July 25, 2017 
deadline on an annual basis and notify commodity boards whether their 
topics will be included in subsequent RFAs within two weeks following 
the meeting of the internal evaluation panel, the date of which will be 
published on NIFA's Commodity Boards Web page at (http://nifa.usda.gov/commodity-boards/).

    Done at Washington, DC, this 19th day of May, 2017.
Robert Holland,
Associate Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2017-10782 Filed 5-25-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-22-P