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Title 7 Part 4285

Title 7 → Subtitle B → Chapter XLII → Part 4285

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 7 Part 4285

e-CFR data is current as of June 14, 2018

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XLII → Part 4285


Title 7: Agriculture


PART 4285—COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS


Contents

Subpart A—Federal-State Research on Cooperatives Program

§4285.1   Objective.

This subpart sets forth the policies and procedures and delegates authority for providing Federal-State Research on Cooperatives cooperative agreement funds to finance programs of research on cooperatives as authorized under Section 204 (b) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1623 (b)). The primary purpose of this matching fund program, via cooperative agreements, is to encourage State Departments of Agriculture and State Agricultural Experiment Stations in conducting research related to agricultural cooperatives.

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§4285.2   Cooperative agreement purposes.

Rural Development Administration (RDA) or its successor agency may enter into a cooperative agreement with a State agency to provide funds to the State agency to:

(a) Conduct marketing research related to agricultural cooperatives.

(b) Assist other organizations in conducting marketing research related to agricultural cooperatives.

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§4285.3   Definitions.

As used in this part:

Agreement period. The total period of time approved by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services for conducting the proposed project as outlined in an approved application. The time period is normally no more than 3 years, renewable for cause not to exceed a total of 4 fiscal years.

Agricultural products. Agricultural products include agricultural, horticultural, viticultural, and dairy products, livestock and poultry, bees, forest products, fish and shellfish, and any products thereof, including processed or manufactured products, and any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured product thereof.

Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services. The Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services, Rural Development Administration or its successor agency, USDA or any authorized delegate.

Awarding official. The Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services or authorized delegate.

Cooperative agreement. A legal instrument reflecting a relationship between the United States Government and a State where:

(1) The principal purpose of the relationship is the transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value to the State agency to carry out research related to cooperatives; and

(2) Substantial involvement is anticipated between RDA or its successor agency, acting for the Federal Government, and the State or other recipient during performance of the research in the agreement.

Cooperator. The State agency designated in the cooperative agreement award document as the responsible legal entity to whom a cooperative agreement is awarded under this part.

Department. The U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Methodology. The research approach to be followed to carry out the project.

Principal investigator. A single individual who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the project, as designated by the cooperator in the cooperative agreement application and approved by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services.

Project. The particular activity within the scope of one or more of the research program areas identified in the annual program solicitation that is supported by a cooperative agreement under this part.

State agencies. State agencies include, among others, State Agricultural Experiment Stations and State Departments of Agriculture in the 50 States, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, and other appropriate State agencies. Final determination of whether certain 1890 or 1862 Land Grant institutions qualify as state agencies will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), USDA.

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§§4285.4-4285.23   [Reserved]

§4285.24   Eligibility.

To enter into a cooperative agreement for these funds, the applicant must:

(a) Be a State Agency as defined in §4285.3 of this subpart;

(b) Have the financial, legal, administrative, and actual capacity to assume and carry out the responsibilities imposed by the Agreement. To meet the requirement of actual capacity it must either:

(1) Have necessary background and experience with proven ability to perform responsibly in the field of economic, business management, or other needed research area; or

(2) Have the necessary administrative and supervisory controls in place to assure an agreed upon contracting organization has the proven ability to perform responsibly in the field of economic, business management, or other needed research area;

(c) Legally obligate itself to administer cooperative agreement funds, provide adequate accounting of the expenditure of such funds, and comply with the cooperative agreement;

(d) Provide at least 50 percent of the funds necessary to conduct the research from non-federal funds; and

(e) Agree to conduct proposed research related to cooperatives and agricultural marketing.

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§4285.25   Authorized use of cooperative agreement funds.

Funds received for research under cooperative agreements in this program shall only be used for:

(a) Payment of salaries and necessary employee benefits of personnel as agreed upon in the Cooperative Agreement. Included are salaries and benefits of State employees assigned full-time to one or more projects, or the percent of the salaries and benefits related to project work for State employees assigned part-time to research on one or more projects. Salaries and benefits include basic salary, other compensation such as holiday pay, sick or annual leave, and personnel benefits (quarters allowance, payments to other funds such as employees' life insurance, health benefits, retirement, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), accident compensation, and similar payments). For any of the benefit items when the State usually pays the employer share, Federal funds may be used to pay the proportionate share of such employer contributions.

(b) Payment of necessary and reasonable office expenses such as office rental, office utilities, and office equipment rental. The purchase of office equipment is permissible when the cooperator determines it to be more economical than renting. However, as a general rule, these types of expenses would be classified as indirect costs in multiple funded organizations and would not be an allowable expense. Planned purchases of equipment costing more than $200 per unit must be approved by RDA or its successor agency. Equipment purchased becomes State property pursuant to the cooperative agreement.

(c) Payment of necessary and reasonable costs of printing publications of research project results. However, all such publications should show the RDA or its successor agency as cooperator in the project and bear the following statement: “State funds for this project (publication) were matched with Federal funds under the Federal-State Research on Cooperatives Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Administration or its successor agency, Cooperative Services, as provided by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and (appropriate) fiscal year appropriations.”

(d) Purchase of office supplies (such as paper, pens, pencils, and trade magazines) and postage needed for project activities.

(e) Payment of necessary and reasonable travel expenses.

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§§4285.26-4285.45   [Reserved]

§4285.46   Prohibited use of cooperative agreement funds.

(a) The Agricultural Marketing Act prohibits the use of Federal funds to pay for newspaper or periodical space and radio and television time, either directly to the media or indirectly though an advertising agency or other firm. County and State fair exhibits, as well as commodity months and weeks, are also excluded as the research on cooperatives program activities.

(b) Federal funds cannot be used to purchase products or samples of products to give away to the public.

(c) Federal program funds cannot be used to purchase:

(1) Promotional pieces such as point-of-sale materials, promotional kits, billboard space and signs, streamers, automobile stickers, table tents, and placemats; or

(2) Promotion items of a personal gift nature.

(d) Cooperative agreement funds cannot be used to conduct general publicity or information programs designed to build the image of the State's agriculture or of a particular State Department of Agriculture or Agricultural Experiment Station.

(e) Project funds cannot be used to pay for the salary and travel of employees of cooperatives, trade associations, commodity groups, and other industry organizations, or of State personnel while engaged in managing market orders, cooperatives, or other group endeavors.

(f) Commissioners, Directors, and Secretaries of State Departments of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Stations, and other State agencies cannot charge their salaries and travel to project funds, with the exception of travel to workshops or conferences devoted to the Federal-State Research On Cooperatives Program.

(g) Funds made available for this program shall not be subject to reduction for indirect costs or for tuition remission.

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§4285.47   Limitations.

The amount of funds available for the cooperative agreements under this program is limited to the amount appropriated for the fiscal year.

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§§4285.48-4285.57   [Reserved]

§4285.58   How to apply for cooperative agreement funds.

(a) A program solicitation will be prepared and announced through publications such as the Federal Register, professional trade journals, agency or program handbooks, and/or any other appropriate means, as early as practicable each fiscal year in which funds are appropriated for the program.

(b) The annual program solicitation will contain information sufficient to enable all eligible applicants to prepare proposals including:

(1) Desired research topics. The FY-94 solicitation will encourage studies:

(i) To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing of agricultural cooperatives;

(ii) To measure the impact of rural cooperatives on the local economies;

(iii) That help identify opportunities to develop cooperatives for new or alternative market uses of agricultural products;

(iv) That help identify ways to develop agricultural marketing cooperatives; and

(v) Addressing other cooperative marketing objectives;

(2) Explanation of eligibility requirements as outlined in §4285.24 of this subpart;

(3) The notice of availability of application forms and instructions for submission of applications;

(4) The notice of deadline dates for postmarking proposal packages.

(c) Format for proposals. Unless otherwise indicated by the Department in the annual program solicitation, the following information must be submitted for the preparation of proposals under this program:

(1) Form SF-424, “Application for Federal Assistance.”

(2) Form SF-424A, “Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs.”

(3) Form SF-424B, “Assurances—Non-Construction Programs.”

(4) Statement of Work. The application must include a narrative statement describing the nature of the proposed research. The Statement of Work must include at least the following:

(i) Title of the Project. The title of the proposal must be brief, yet represent the major thrust of the project.

(ii) Project Leaders. List the name(s) of the principal investigator(s). Minor collaborators or consultants should be so designated and not listed as principal investigators.

(iii) Need for the Project. A concisely worded rationale behind the proposed research must be presented. The need for the proposed research must be clearly related to marketing and to the needs of agricultural cooperatives.

(iv) Objectives of the project. The specific description of the overall project goal(s) and supporting objectives must be presented.

(v) Procedures for conducting the research. The hypotheses or questions being asked and the methodology being applied to the proposed project must be described. A description of any subcontracting arrangements that will be used for conducting the research must be included. A tentative schedule for conducting major steps involved in the investigation must also be included.

(vi) The expected output of the project. A description of how the results of the research will be disseminated should be presented. Responsibility for publishing any research reports or other types of output should also be identified.

(5) Collaborative arrangements. If the nature of the proposed project requires collaboration or subcontractual arrangements with other research scientists, corporations, organizations, agencies, or entities, the applicant must identify the collaborator(s) and provide a full explanation of the nature of the collaboration. Evidence (i.e., letters of intent) should be provided to assure reviewers that the collaborators involved have agreed to render this service. In addition, the proposal must indicate whether or not such a collaborative arrangement(s) has the potential for conflict(s) of interest.

(6) Personnel support. To assist reviewers in assessing the competence and experience of the proposed project staff, key personnel who will be involved in the proposed project must be identified clearly. For each principal investigator involved, and for all senior associates and other professional personnel who expect to work on the project, whether or not funds are sought for their support, the following must be included:

(i) An estimate of the time commitments necessary;

(ii) Curriculum Vitae. The curriculum vitae should be limited to a presentation of academic and research credentials, e.g., educational, employment and professional history, and honors and awards. Unless pertinent to the project, it should not include meetings attended, seminars given, or personal data such as birth date, martial status, or community activities; and

(iii) Publication List(s). A chronological list of all publications in refereed journals during the past five years, including those in press, must be provided for each professional project member for whom a curriculum vitae is provided. Also list other non-refereed technical publications that have relevance to the proposed project. Authors should be listed in the same order as they appear on each paper cited, along with the title and complete reference as these usually appear in journals.

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§§4285.59-4285.68   [Reserved]

§4285.69   Evaluation and disposition of applications.

(a) Evaluation. (1) All proposals received from eligible applicants and postmarked in accordance with deadlines established in the annual program solicitation shall be evaluated by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services through an RDA or its successor agency staff panel. The Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services will select the evaluation panel from staff determined to be highly qualified in the subject matter areas that were emphasized in the current year's solicitation and from those with no potential conflict of interest with the applicants.

(2) Prior to technical examination, a preliminary review will be made for responsiveness to the program solicitation (e.g., relationship of proposal to research topic(s) listed in solicitation). Proposals that do not fall within the guidelines as stated in the program solicitation will be eliminated from competition and will be returned to the applicant.

(3) Proposals will be ranked based on evaluation criteria established in §4285.70 of this subpart, and financial support levels will be recommended to the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services by the panel within the limitation of the total funding available in the fiscal year. The purpose of these evaluations is to provide information upon which the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services may make informed judgments in selecting proposals. Such recommendations are advisory only and are not binding on the awarding official of RDA or its successor agency. To ensure a comprehensive evaluation, all applications should be written with the care and thoroughness accorded papers for publication.

(b) Disposition. (1) On the basis of the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services's evaluation of an application in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services will either:

(i) Approve support using currently available funds;

(ii) Defer support due to lack of funds or need for further evaluation; or

(iii) Disapprove support for the proposed project in whole or in part.

(2) With respect to any approved project, the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services will determine the project period during which the project may be funded.

(3) Any deferral or disapproval of an application will not preclude its reconsideration or reapplication during subsequent fiscal years. However, applicants must reapply if reconsideration is desired.

(4) The Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services will not make a cooperative agreement funding award, based upon an application covered by this part, unless the application has been properly reviewed in accordance with the provisions of this part and unless said reviewers have made recommendations concerning the scientific merit and relevance to the program of such application.

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§4285.70   Evaluation criteria.

(a) In evaluating the proposal, the RDA or its successor agency staff review panel and the awarding official will take into account the degree to which the proposal demonstrates the following:

(1) Focus on a practical solution to a significant problem involving one or more of the following on a cooperative business basis: the preparation for market, processing, packaging, handling, storing, transporting, distributing, or marketing of agricultural products. (35%)

(2) Adequacy, soundness, and appropriateness of the proposed approach to solve the identified problem. (30%)

(3) Feasibility and probability of success of project solving the problem. (10%)

(4) Qualifications, experience in related work, competence, and availability of project personnel to direct and carry out the project. (25%)

(b) In addition, the cost relative to the expected research results will be considered in determining the awarding of the agreements.

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§§4285.71-4285.80   [Reserved]

§4285.81   Cooperative agreement awards.

(a) General. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the awarding official shall make awards for cooperative agreements to those applicants whose proposals are judged most meritorious in the announced program areas under the evaluation criteria and procedures set forth in this part. The date specified by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services as the beginning of the project period shall be no later than September 30 of the Federal fiscal year in which the project is approved and funds are appropriated for such purpose, unless otherwise permitted by law. All funds awarded under this part shall be expended solely in accordance with the methods identified in approved application and budget, the regulations of this part, the terms and conditions of the award, the Grants and Agreements regulations of the Department of Agriculture as currently codified in 2 CFR parts 400, 415, 417, 418, and 421.

(b) Cooperative agreement award document and notice of award—(1) Cooperative agreement award document. The award document shall include at a minimum the following:

(i) Legal name and address of performing organization or institution to whom the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services has competitively awarded funds under the terms of this part;

(ii) Title of project;

(iii) Name(s) and address(es) of principal investigator(s) chosen to direct and control approved activities;

(iv) Identifying cooperative agreement number assigned by RDA or its successor agency;

(v) Project period, specifying the amount of time the Agency intends to support the project without requiring recompetition for funds;

(vi) Total amount of Agency financial assistance approved by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services during the project period;

(vii) Legal authority(ies) under which the cooperative agreement is awarded;

(viii) Approved budget plan for categorizing allocable project funds to accomplish the stated purpose of the cooperative agreement award; and

(ix) Other information or provisions deemed necessary by RDA or its successor agency to carry out its agreement activities or to accomplish the purpose of a particular cooperative agreement.

(2) Notice of award. The notice of award of funds for the cooperative agreement will be in the form of a letter providing pertinent instructions or information to the cooperator.

(c) Types of cooperative agreement instruments. The types of cooperative agreements shall be as follows:

(1) New agreement. This is an agreement instrument by which RDA or its successor agency agrees to support a specified level of effort for a project not supported previously under this program. This type of agreement is approved on the basis of an RDA or its successor agency Staff evaluation review and recommendation.

(2) Renewal agreement. This is an agreement instrument by which RDA or its successor agency agrees to provide additional funding for a project beyond the period approved in an original or amended agreement, provided that the cumulative period does not exceed the statutory limitation. When a renewal application is submitted, it must include a summary of progress to date from the previous agreement period. A renewal agreement shall be based upon new application, de novo review and staff evaluation, new recommendation and approval, and a new award instrument.

(3) Supplemental agreement. This is an instrument by which RDA or its successor agency agrees to provide small amounts of additional funding under a new or renewal cooperative agreement as specified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section and may involve a short-term (usually one year or less) extension of the project period beyond that approved in an original or amended award, but in no case may the cumulative period for the project exceed the statutory limitation. A supplement is awarded only if required to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work and if there is sufficient justification to warrant such action. A request of this nature will not require additional review.

(d) Obligation of the Federal Government. The approval of any application or the award of any funds for a cooperative agreement shall not commit nor obligate the United States in any way to make any renewal, supplemental, continuation, or other award with respect to any approved application or portion of an approved application.

(e) Obligation of the cooperator. The cooperator shall be responsible for:

(1) Making a brief quarterly progress reports at the end of each December, March, June and September to the FSROC program staff for the duration of the research project;

(2) Presenting a final administrative report on the project at the end of the research project; and

(3) Preparing and publishing a report(s) of research findings for dissemination to interested producers, cooperatives, and agencies. Include recognition to financial and other assistance received from the FSROC program.

[59 FR 38342, July 28, 1994, as amended at 79 FR 76018, Dec. 19, 2014]

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§4285.82   Use of funds; changes.

(a) Delegation of fiscal responsibility. The cooperator may not, in whole or in part, delegate or transfer to another person, institution, or organization the responsibility for use or expenditure of cooperative agreement funds.

(b) Change in project plans. (1) The permissible changes by the cooperator, principal investigator(s), or other key project personnel in the approved cooperative agreement shall be limited to changes in methodology, techniques, or other aspects of the project to expedite achievement of the project's approved goals. If the cooperator and/or the principal investigator(s) is uncertain whether a particular change complies with this provision, the question must be referred to the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services for a final determination.

(2) Changes in approved goals, or objectives, shall be requested by cooperator and approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services, or authorized delegate, prior to effecting such changes. Normally, no requests for such changes outside the scope of the original approved project will be approved.

(3) Changes in approved project leadership or the replacement or realignment of other key project personnel shall be requested by the cooperator and approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services, or authorized delegate, prior to effecting such changes.

(4) Transfers of actual performance of the substantive programmatic work in whole or in part and provisions for payment of funds, whether or not Federal funds are involved, shall be requested by the cooperator and approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services, or authorized delegate, prior to effecting such changes, except as may be allowed in the terms and conditions of a cooperative agreement award.

(c) Changes in project period. The project period determined pursuant to §4285.81(b) of this subpart may be extended by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services without additional financial support, for such additional period(s) as the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services determines may be necessary to complete, or fulfill the purposes of, an approved project. Any extension, when combined with the originally approved or amended project period, shall not exceed four (4) years and shall be further conditioned upon prior request by the cooperator and approval in writing by the Assistant Administrator for Cooperative Services, or authorized delegate, except as may be allowed in the terms and conditions of a cooperative agreement award.

(d) Changes in approved budget. The terms and conditions of a cooperative agreement will prescribe circumstances under which written Agency approval must be requested and obtained prior to instituting changes in an approved budget.

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§§4285.83-4285.92   [Reserved]

§4285.93   Other Federal statutes and regulations that apply.

Several other Federal statutes and regulations apply to cooperative agreement proposals considered for review or to agreements awarded under this part. These include but are not limited to:

(a) 7 CFR Part 1, Subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act;

(b) 7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular A-129 regarding debt collection;

(c) 7 CFR Part 15, Subpart A—USDA implementation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to assure nondiscrimination;

(d) 7 CFR Part 1473—National Agricultural, Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act Amendments of 1981 if the project involves a college or university;

(e) 2 CFR part 400, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards;

(f) 2 CFR part 415, General Program Administrative Regulations;

(g) 2 CFR part 417, Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension;

(h) 2 CFR part 418, New Restrictions on Lobbying;

(i) 2 CFR part 421, Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance);

(j) 7 CFR part 3051—Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Institutions; 29 U.S.C. 794, section 504—Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 7 CFR part 15B prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in Federally assisted programs; and

(k) 35 U.S.C. 200 et seq.—Bayh-Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in Federally assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR part 401).

[59 FR 38342, July 28, 1994, as amended at 79 FR 76018, Dec. 19, 2014]

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§4285.94   Other conditions.

Post-award requirements. Upon awarding the cooperative agreement, the post-award and audit requirements of 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by USDA in 2 CFR part 400 apply.

[79 FR 76018, Dec. 19, 2014]

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§§4285.95-4285.99   [Reserved]

§4285.100   OMB control number.

The reporting and recordkeeping requirements contained in this regulation have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and have been assigned OMB control number 0570-0005. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to vary from 10 minutes to 36 hours per response with an average of 3.48 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Department of Agriculture, Clearance Officer, OIRM, Ag Box 7630, Washington, DC 20250; and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (OMB #0570-0005), Washington, DC 20503.

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