Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Competitive Grants Program

 

To establish a competitive research and extension grants program for the purpose of: (1) improving the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers; and (2) establishing and maintaining a national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.319
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:
The following FY14 FBMB projects were funded in four locations:
Location #1Amount: $144,762.00
Location #2 Amount: $313,663.00
Location #3 Amount: $405,900.00
Location #4 Amount: $435,000.00


Producer Stories
Several participating producers have made improvements in their operations through developing operational plans that, through analysis of benchmark variances, lead to targeted areas for improving their business. Examples of these improvements, producers working with the center said:

“My feed costs where way over the average of all other ranchers, with a dollar goal to work towards and some grazing and crop planning, I was able to graze my cows throughout the winter. I didn’t start my tractor all winter, and it only took 20 minutes every-other day to limit feed the cows with an electric fence. The management plan to reduce feed costs was a ‘HOME RUN’, I am planning to expand next year and already have interested neighbors wanting to winter feed their cows the same way.”

“My Utah Department of Agriculture and Food ARDL loan officer was surprised that a small livestock and farm operation such as mine had a QuickBooks generated Profit and Loss that was balanced and accurate. He was impressed that I knew where the strengths and weaknesses of my business were and that through the FINBIN analysis and benchmarking (www.FINBIN.umn.edu) I had developed a workable plan that addressed in a very meaningful way my production and financial weaknesses.”. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015,
NIFA announced the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year (FY) 2015 to improve the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers; and maintain a national, publicly available farm financial management database to support improved farm management. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2015 is approximately $1.35 million. The grant deadline was May 20, 2015. A panel of reviewers reviewed proposals on July 7, 2015. It is anticipated that four projects were be awarded. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
It is estimated that $1.4 million will be available.
Authorization
Section 1672D of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5925f), 7 U.S.C 5925f.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applications may be submitted by qualified public and private entities. Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 450i(7), this includes:
(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) colleges and universities;
(C) university research foundations;
(D) other research institutions and organizations;
(E) Federal agencies;
(F) national laboratories;
(G) private organizations or corporations;
(H) individuals; or
(I) any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (H).

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. An applicant’s failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of an application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Applications may be submitted by qualified public and private entities. Pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 450i(7), this includes:
(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) colleges and universities;
(C) university research foundations;
(D) other research institutions and organizations;
(E) Federal agencies;
(F) national laboratories;
(G) private organizations or corporations;
(H) individuals; or
(I) any group consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (H).

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. An applicant’s failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of an application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.
Credentials/Documentation
Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) - each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

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.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applicants 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. 7613) 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.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.

2 CFR Part 400 applies to this program.
Deadlines
Not Applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
: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:/nifa.usda.gov/grants

http://www.grants.gov

:095 Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:

From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals
Not applicable.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Renewals
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.
How are proposals selected?
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the Request for Application (RFA).
How may assistance be used?
In general:
The Secretary may make competitive research and extension grants for the purpose of:
(1) improving the farm management knowledge and skills of agricultural producers;
and
(2) establishing and maintaining a national, publicly available farm financial
management database to support improved farm management.

Selection criteria:
In allocating funds made available to carry out this section, the Secretary may give priority to grants that:
(1) demonstrate an ability to work directly with agricultural producers;

(2) collaborate with farm management and producer associations;

(3) address the farm management needs of a variety of crops and regions of the United
States; and

(4) use and support the national farm financial management database.

Administration:
Paragraphs (4), (7), (8), and (11)(B) of subsection (b) of section 450i of this title shall apply with respect to the making of grants under this section.
Authorization of appropriations:

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section. NIFA 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.

Section 720 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (Pub.L. No. 112-55) limits indirect costs to 30 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 30 percent of total Federal funds awarded. Fully discretionary.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal financial Report to monitor cash. (Pertinent details regarding Progress Reports are provided above.). A final “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to 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 Division (AMD)
Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. (Pertinent details regarding Performance Monitoring Reports are provided above.).
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart F—Audit Requirements nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. A non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in § 200.503. Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, § 200.333 Retention requirements for records. 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 (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The term of competitive project grants and/or cooperative agreements under this program may not exceed five (5) years.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None.
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Youth, Family, and Community, Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2250, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2250 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-4795 Fax: (202) 720-9366
Website Address
http://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/farm-business-management-and-benchmarking-fbmb-competitive-grants-program
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1500-0-1-352.
Obligations
(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 14 $1,352,349; FY 15 est $1,350,432; and FY 16 est $0 - 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.

NOTE:
Budget was not requested to fund this program in Fiscal Year 2016.
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).
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 - Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 - Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information

2 CFR Part 175 - Award Term for Trafficking in Persons

2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417 - OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-Wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 - Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 - General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 - Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 - New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 - Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

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)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) - Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)


Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:
The four funded Farm Business Management and Benchmarking (FBMB) projects maintained and expanded the existing national online farm financial database. Award programs facilitated and increased collaboration with existing farm management associations and farm and ranch business management education programs and will work to help emerging farm benchmarking efforts successfully help producers. Collaboration through funded efforts increased opportunities to use the national database for research purposes.

Benchmarking is an important and growing tool used to improve producer’s abilities to successfully manage the high risk and price volatility currently being experienced by farmers and ranchers throughout the U.S. The FBMB project improved the profitability and competitiveness of small and mid-sized U.S. farms and ranches by making benchmarking resources available to all
U.S. producers. Benchmarking practices used by producers compared their individual farm or ranch data with their peers. Through such comparisons, producers are able to identify strengths and weaknesses within their operations, learn what other producers are doing to increase profits, and make changes within their businesses. Specifically this project restructured some of the underlying database so that the data will be more accessible to researchers; provide training on enhancing data integrity and uniformity and developing greater efficiencies delivering farm financial analysis to producers; develop a file repository that will simplify the process of reviewing farm level files for accuracy and allow real-time uploading of the files to the database; develop formal protocols to allow researcher access to the database; and redesign the user interface for the entire database website. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:
The Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM) has extensive experience coordinating national educational programs and developing large online databases for public use. Educational programs and software are used in every state in the country by more than 80,000 educators, lenders and producers annually. CFFM has relationships with and delivers programs to diverse agricultural communities including African Americans, Native Americans, women in agriculture, specialty crop producers, organic producers, and traditional producers. CFFM has established the online national farm financial benchmarking database called FINBIN, www.FINBIN.umn.edu. The FINBIN database allows producers and educators to evaluate cost of production data from actual farm data. FINBIN is the largest online farm financial database in the U.S. and currently contains data from more than 3,500 farms representing more than 3.3 million acres of crop land, nearly over 165,000 dairy cows, 105,000 beef animals, and over 1 million pigs. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.

 



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