DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Program Requirements for the Pennsylvania Agriculture Veteran Grant Program
[52 Pa.B. 3113]
[Saturday, May 28, 2022]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) hereby provides notice of the standards and requirements for the Pennsylvania Veteran Grant Program (Program). This notice establishes the grant solicitation by the Department to solicit applications to conduct one or more ''mini-grant'' programs for the benefit of military veterans entering or expanding farm operations or related businesses as part of its ongoing commitment to agricultural business and workforce development in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2023.
1. Grant Solicitation. The Department is soliciting applications to conduct one or more ''mini-grant'' programs for the benefit of military veterans entering or expanding farm operations or related businesses as part of its ongoing commitment to agricultural business and workforce development.
Depending on the quality of applications received, the Department may make up to three awards of up to $100,000 each. Mini-grants to individual veterans should not exceed $10,000. The proposed mini-grant program should allow for one or more of the following purposes (additional purposes may be proposed):
• Business planning.
• Feasibility studies.
• Food safety, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plans.
• Biosecurity planning.
• Cost-sharing implementation of natural resource conservation planning.
• Cost-sharing permitting fees.
• Cost-sharing equipment purchases.
• Working capital.
• Marketing and promotion of agricultural commodities and value-added products.
2. Scoring of Applications. The Department will evaluate each complete and timely-filed project proposal and grant application it receives, using a 100-point scale assessing:
a) Up to 10 points for the project needs statement.
b) Up to 20 points for projected Program outcomes, including enhancement of diversity, equity and inclusion in farming.
c) Up to 30 points for the methodology of awarding mini-grants and ensuring funds are used as intended.
d) Up to 20 points for the applicant's project evaluation process.
e) Up to 20 points for support, including financial support, and participation in operating the mini-grant from veterans and the farming industry.
Upon completion of application scoring, the Department will prepare a record identifying each complete and timely-filed project proposal and grant application received and the numerical score assigned to each. The Department will award up to three grants based upon its evaluation and scoring of applications.
3. Grant Agreement. With the e-mailed grant award notice, the Department will provide applicants with a grant agreement for execution and return within 30 days or instructions as to finalizing the grant agreement electronically. The Department will obtain the required Commonwealth signatures on the grant agreements and return a copy of the fully executed grant agreement to the applicant. The grant agreement is not effective and work should not begin until all required signatures have been applied to the grant agreement. Among the terms of the grant agreement shall be a requirement that the grant recipient provide the Department full and complete access to all records relating to the performance of the project and submit such information as the Department may require.
4. Application Delivery and Deadline. Interested applicants must submit a complete electronic proposal and grant application using the Department of Community and Economic Development's Electronic Single Application web site at https://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx by Friday, June 17, 2022, at 5 p.m. Questions regarding this online application process may be directed to Joshua Scheinberg, at (717) 919-0377 or email@example.com.
5. Multiyear Projects or Extensions. The Department may award grant funding for multiyear projects or extensions of an ongoing project, if the Department identifies that a multiyear term or an extension advances the grant's objectives. Requests for extensions of ongoing projects shall be made, evaluated and processed in accordance with all the requirements of this notice.
6. Notice of Award. Applicants shall be notified by mail of the decision on their grant applications by the Department. Best efforts will be made to do so within 15 days of the application deadline.
7. Nonmatching Cost-Reimbursable Grant. Grants made hereunder do not require the applicant to provide matching funds; however outside funding may be considered as an evaluation criterion under paragraph 2 of this solicitation. Payment of grant funds will occur on a reimbursement basis, with the possibility of a 50% advance payment option upon the written submission of justification and subsequent approval of the Department and Comptroller operations. Applicants that require advance payment must indicate that in their proposal.
8. Allowable Indirect Cost Reimbursement. Grants made hereunder are subject to an indirect cost cap of 15% of total direct project costs. For the purpose of this solicitation, indirect costs shall include administrative salaries and benefits, office supplies and equipment, facility-related cost including maintenance and repairs, telephones, memberships/dues, freight/postage cost and any consultant related costs associated with the administration of this grant.
9. Reporting Requirements. Within 60 days of completing a mini-grant program, grant recipients will submit a final report to the Department detailing the program's results based upon the evaluation method proposed in the application.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-785. Filed for public inspection May 27, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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