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Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
10.226 Secondary and Two-Year Postsecondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grants

AUTHORIZATION:

Section 1405 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 3121) designates the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the lead Federal agency for agriculture research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences. Section 7109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) amends the authority for this program contained in section 1417(j) of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (7 U.S.C. 3152(j)). In accordance with the statutory authority, subject to the availability of funds, the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), who has delegated the authority to the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will award grants to: (a) promote and strengthen secondary and 2-year postsecondary agriscience and agribusiness education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom, in order to help ensure the existence in the United States of a qualified workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences system; and (b) promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, 2-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the food and agricultural sciences in order to attain excellence in education and to encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the food and agricultural sciences., 7 U.S.C 3121; Section 1405 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 3121) designates the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the lead Federal agency for agriculture research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences. Section 7109 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) amends the authority for this program contained in section 1417(j) of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (7 U.S.C. 3152(j))., 7 U.S.C 3152 (j).
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The purpose of the Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge (SPECA) Grants Program is to: enhance curricula in agricultural education; increase faculty teaching competencies; interest young people in pursuing higher education in order to prepare for scientific and professional careers in the food and agricultural sciences; promote the incorporation of agriscience and agribusiness subject matter into other instructional programs, particularly classes in science, business, and consumer education; facilitate joint initiatives by the grant recipient with other secondary schools, institutions of higher education that award an associate's degree, institutions of higher education that award a bachelor's degree, and nonprofit organizations supporting agriscience and agribusiness education, to maximize the development and use of resources, such as faculty, facilities, and equipment, to improve agriscience and agribusiness education; support other initiatives designed to meet local, State, regional, or national needs related to promoting excellence in agriscience and agribusiness education; and support current Agriculture in the Classroom programs for grades K-12.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE:

Project Grants
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USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS:

Funds may be used only in targeted areas, e.g., curricula design and materials development, promotion of teaching competencies, promotion of agriscience and agribusiness career information, instruction delivery systems, student experiential learning, and educational activities that increase the diversity of students pursuing degrees in agriscience and agribusiness. CSREES has determined that grant funds awarded under this authority may not be used for the renovation or refurbishment of research, education, or extension space; the purchase or installation of fixed equipment in such space; or the planning, repair, rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of buildings or facilities.

Tuition remission not allowed.

Section 7132 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246), amended the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), limiting indirect costs to 22 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award. Therefore, when preparing budgets, applicants should limit their requests for recovery of indirect costs to the lesser of their institution’s official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 22 percent of total Federal funds awarded.

**Special Note on Indirect Costs as in-kind matching contributions. Indirect costs may be claimed under the Federal portion of the award budget or, alternatively, indirect costs may be claimed as a matching contribution (if no indirect costs are requested under the Federal portion of the award budget). However, unless explicitly authorized in the RFA, indirect costs may not be claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution, unless the total claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. An awardee may split the allocation between the Federal and non-Federal portions of the budget only if the total amount of indirect costs charged to the project does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. For example, if an awardees' indirect costs are capped at 22 percent pursuant to section 1462(a) of NARETPA (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), the awardee may request 11 percent of the indirect costs on both the Federal portion of the award and as a matching contribution. Or, the awardee may request any similar percentage that, when combined, does not exceed the maximum indirect cost rate of 22 percent. Fully discretionary.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Applicant Eligibility:   Public secondary schools or public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges.

Beneficiary Eligibility:   Public secondary schools or public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges.

Credentials/Documentation:   A Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number must be obtained - A DUNS number is a unique number that identifies an organization. It has been adopted by the Federal government to help track how Federal grant money is distributed. If your organization does not have a DUNS number, call the special Dun & Bradstreet hotline at 1-866-705-5711 to receive one free of charge. You will receive a DUNS number within several days of your request. Please note, individual proprietorships (i.e. farmers, ranchers) can request and receive a DUNS number, but must register with Grants.gov as an organization, not as an individual.

Registration with Central Contractor Registry (CCR) is required - The CCR is the central government repository for organizations working with the Federal government. If your organization is not already registered, identify the primary contact who should register your organization. When your organization registers with CCR, it will be required to designate an e-Business Point of Contact (e-Business POC). The e-Business POC authorizes individuals to submit grant applications on behalf of the organization and creates a special password called a Marketing Partner ID Number (M-PIN) to verify individuals authorized to submit grant applications for the organization. Visit the CCR Web site at http://www.ccr.gov to begin this process. It may take several days to collect the information needed for your organization’s registration. The CCR Assistance Center can be reached at 888-227-2423. This information collection is approved under OMB Control No. 0524-0039, “NIFA Application Kit for Research and Extension Programs.”

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

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APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCESS:
Pre-application Coordination:   All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure:   OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.

Award Procedure:   Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors: (a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities; (b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields; (c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs; (d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations; (e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and (f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

Deadlines:   Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   

Section :094 - Deadlines:
Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year. Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website. Respective links are provided below:

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/
http://www.grants.gov

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: From 30 to 180 days.

Appeals:   

Not Applicable.

Renewals:   

Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.

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ASSISTANCE CONSIDERATIONS:

Formula and Matching Requirements:   

This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: Percent: 100.%. A grant recipient is required to match the USDA funds awarded on a dollar-for-dollar (100%) basis from non-Federal sources. Matching funds are not required to come in any particular amount from any one source. However, all matching funds pledged in this application must be accompanied by documentation. See Part IV, B.5. SF 424 (R&R) Budget Fed and Non-Fed, Field K-Budget Justification, for additional details.

**Note #2 - Use of Indirect Costs as In-Kind Matching Contributions. Indirect costs may be claimed under the Federal portion of the award budget or, alternatively, indirect costs may be claimed as a matching contribution (if no indirect costs are requested under the Federal portion of the award budget). However, unless explicitly authorized in the RFA, indirect costs may not be claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution, unless the total claimed on both the Federal portion of the award budget and as a matching contribution does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. An awardee may split the allocation between the Federal and non-Federal portions of the budget only if the total amount of indirect costs charged to the project does not exceed the maximum allowed indirect costs or the institution’s negotiated indirect cost rate, whichever is less. For example, if an awardees' indirect costs are capped at 22 percent pursuant to section 1462(a) of NARETPA (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), the awardee may request 11 percent of the indirect costs on both the Federal portion of the award and as a matching contribution. Or, the awardee may request any similar percentage that, when combined, does not exceed the maximum indirect cost rate of 22 percent. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   

The term of a competitive grant under this authority may not exceed five (5) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

POST ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Reports:   Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA's Current Research Information System (CRIS). This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No. 0524-0042, “NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).” CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. Cash reports are not applicable. Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA's

Current Research Information System (CRIS). This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No. 0524-0042, “NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).” CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Branch, Office of Extramural Programs at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Branch
Office of Extramural Programs
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271.

Grantees also are required to submit annual and summary progress reports via NIFA's Current Research Information System (CRIS). This reporting requirement was approved under OMB Control No. 0524-0042, “NIFA Current Research Information System (CRIS).” CRIS is an electronic, web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submission of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects.

Audits:   In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, “Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations,” and implemented in 7 CFR 3052. This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.

Records:   In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations [2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)] grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

Account Identification:  

12-1500-0-1-352.

Obligations:   (Project Grants) FY 08 $925,815; FY 09 est $925,680; FY 10 est $17,743,680 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:  

If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).

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PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Fiscal Year 2009: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2010: WILL BE PROVIDED BY PROGRAM UNIT AT A FUTURE DATE. Fiscal Year 2011: No Current Data Available

REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND LITERATURE:

7 CFR Part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Grant Programs – General Grant Administrative Provisions and Program-Specific Administrative Provisions; 7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) ; 7 CFR Part 3018, New Restrictions on Lobbying; 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-profit Organizations; and 7 CFR Part 3021— USDA implementation of Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-free Workplace (Financial Assistance).

INFORMATION CONTACTS:

Regional or Local Office:   None.

Headquarters Office:   USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Youth, Family, and Community, Division of Community and Education, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2250, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2250 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-2324 Fax: (202) 720-2030.

Web Site Address:  
http://nifa.usda.gov/program/secondary-education-two-year-postsecondary-education-and-agriculture-k-12-classroom

EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS:

Fiscal Year 2009: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2010: It is anticipated that similar projects will be funded in Fiscal Year 2010. Fiscal Year 2011: No Current Data Available

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PROPOSALS:

Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).

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