DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Program Requirements for the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program
[52 Pa.B. 4141]
[Saturday, July 23, 2022]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) hereby provides notice of the standards and requirements for the Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grant Program (Program).
The Program is established under the authority of 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 10101—10106 (relating to Very Small Meat Processor Federal Inspection Reimbursement Grant Program). The Program allows the Department to award reimbursement grants for certain eligible costs incurred by a very small meat or poultry processing operation who meets the Federal definition of a ''very small establishment.''
This notice establishes the procedures by which grant applications will be solicited, reviewed and awarded for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2023. The amount appropriated for grants in FY 2022-2023 will be no less than $500,000.
1. Program Objective. The Program's objective is to support the development and expansion of current or future very small meat and poultry processing operations in this Commonwealth by offering reimbursement grants to cover the cost associated with obtaining a grant of inspection from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), opening a new very small meat and poultry processing operation, expanding the capacity of a current very small meat and poultry processing operation or a combination of those purposes.
2. Definitions. The following words and phrases apply to the Program:
Applicant. A person applying for a reimbursement grant.
Grant cycle. The period of time from when the Department solicits applications for grants under 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 10101—10106 until final reimbursement.
Grant of inspection. An inspection by the USDA FSIS certifying that products at a very small meat and poultry processing operation are produced in accordance with Federal law.
Person. An individual, partnership, association, firm, corporation or any other legal entity.
Secretary. The Secretary of the Department.
USDA. United States Department of Agriculture.
Very small meat and poultry processing operation. A person operating under a grant of inspection that meets the definition of ''very small establishment'' in 9 CFR 381.65(g)(1)(i) (relating to operations and procedures, generally).
3. Grant program. Program grants will be reimbursement grants. The following will apply:
a. The amount of reimbursement is based on actual eligible costs submitted by an approved applicant within the grant cycle.
b. Grant reimbursement money shall only be available for eligible costs associated with meeting the requirements to obtain a grant of inspection, opening a new very small meat and poultry processing operation, expanding the capacity of a current very small meat and poultry operation or a combination of those purposes.
c. Grants are limited to no more than $100,000 per applicant.
d. Grant reimbursement money may not be used to reimburse any portion of an in-kind contribution to an eligible project.
e. Grant money may not be used to pay or reimburse wages or salaries of grant recipient staff.
f. Grant money may not be used to reimburse any portion of the project costs which are being paid or reimbursed under another Federal or State grant program.
g. Grants will only be offered to the extent that funding is made available to the Department. In the event funding is exhausted or otherwise unavailable, the Department will be under no obligation to provide grants. Grant money may be prorated or offered as a percentage of actual costs, as determined by the Department, and set forth in an order by the Secretary, to spread available money to a larger number of eligible applicants.
h. Grant money may only be awarded and distributed to the owner of the eligible very small meat and poultry processing operation. The Department may not assign grant money to a lessee, operator or person other than the owner of the eligible very small meat and poultry processing operation.
4. Applicant Eligibility. An applicant may apply to receive reimbursement for eligible costs if the applicant is a very small meat and poultry processing operation and is either:
a. Currently operating under a grant of inspection.
b. Upon completion of the approved project, the applicant will obtain a grant of inspection. An applicant must attest to this eligibility requirement under penalty of law to receive reimbursement.
5. Application Procedure.
a. Online Applications Only. An applicant for a grant under this Program must submit an application through the Commonwealth's Single Application for Assistance online application system at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.
b. Application Window. Applications must be submitted through the Single Application for Assistance online application system between 8 a.m. on July 25, 2022, and 5 p.m. on September 26, 2022. Applications received outside of that application window will not be considered or reviewed.
c. Application Requirements. An application for a grant under the Program must contain the following information:
i. The applicant's name, the organization name, a business address and a telephone number.
ii. A list of corporate officers if the applicant is a corporation.
iii. The applicant's eligibility (describing whether they are currently a USDA inspected operation or will obtain a grant of inspection by the completion of the proposed project).
iv. A detailed plan to include:
(1) The process being undertaken to meet the requirements necessary to obtain a grant of inspection from USDA FSIS, if appliable.
(2) An of outline of the overall project and materials being requested.
(3) A line-item proposed budget.
(4) Individual tasks required to complete the project.
(5) A detailed timeline for completion of project tasks.
(6) A detailed description of equipment or supplies required to complete the project, training, consulting, technical support and other services utilized, as applicable.
(7) A detailed list of costs, including training and equipment costs, as applicable.
(8) An attestation signed by the applicant, stating the applicant is in compliance, or will be in compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act (Pub.L. No. 59-382, 21 U.S.C.A. §§ 601—695) or Poultry Product Inspection Act (Pub.L. No. 85-172, 21 U.S.C.A. §§ 451—473) upon completion of the approved project to maintain a grant of inspection.
d. Eligible Costs. The following costs, incurred during the term of the grant cycle in which the grant is awarded, are eligible for reimbursement:
i. Consulting or other technical support services that directly support the development and maintenance of programs required to operate under a grant of inspection.
ii. Professional employee training and educational services and programs that support the development and maintenance of programs to operate under a grant of inspection. If a professional consultant is utilized, reasonable costs may be reimbursed, as determined by the Department.
iii. Up to 85% of the purchase of meat or poultry slaughter or processing equipment or supplies. This does not include reimbursement of the costs of planning, erecting, repair or modification of a structure or building or repair of installation of roofing or other physical structure improvements.
iv. The purchase of equipment or supplies directly related to employee safety.
6. Evaluation of Applications. The Department will review each application and supporting documentation submitted for completeness and accuracy. If an application is found to be incomplete or inaccurate, the Department may request additional documentation and may discontinue further processing of the application until the requested information is received. The Department will evaluate an application on the basis of:
a. The ability of the applicant to complete the stated project within the stated timeline.
b. The ability of the applicant to provide a detailed description of the project and project costs.
c. The potential of the project to provide slaughter or meat or poultry processing capacity and services to this Commonwealth's livestock and poultry producers.
d. The potential of the project to provide availability of Commonwealth-produced meat or poultry products to consumers.
7. Agreement Required. If the Secretary approves a grant application, and as a precondition to the Department's release of grant moneys to a successful applicant, the Department and the applicant shall execute a Grant Agreement which describes the terms and conditions subject to which the grant is made.
8. Final Reimbursement. Reimbursement will be based on the approved applicant's completion of the project and submission of the final costs related to expenses and materials in the applicant's approved grant project within the grant cycle. The submission must also include:
a. Documentation of actual expenditures for eligible costs approved in the grant application and invoices evidencing payment of the costs. The documentation may include invoices for hours of training or consultation.
b. Documentation of the completion of the approved project. The documentation may include pictures and dates of training and equipment installation.
c. Documentation demonstrating the very small meat and poultry processing operation is operating under a grant of inspection.
d. A written report related to:
i. The completed project.
ii. The expansion of meat or poultry processing capability.
iii. Expanded services to this Commonwealth's livestock and poultry producers.
iv. An increase to the availability of this Commonwealth's meat or poultry products to consumers.
Documents submitted to the Department under this paragraph should be directed to the Department of Agriculture, Attn: Joshua Scheinberg, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408.
9. Additional Information. Additional information may be obtained from the Department by contacting Joshua Scheinberg, (717) 919-0377, firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-1094. Filed for public inspection July 22, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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