DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program; 2023-2024 Application Period
[53 Pa.B. 2741]
[Saturday, May 20, 2023]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) announces the program requirements and application period for grants under the Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program (Program). The Program is authorized under a Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-2024 budgetary appropriation to the Department for agricultural product promotion, education and exports. The Department intends to make up to $303,000 available for grants under the Program. Funding is contingent upon FY 2023-2024 budget appropriations.
1. Program objectives.
(a) Purpose. The Department will award grants to provide matching funds to nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations to reimburse up to 50% of the cost of projects intended to:
(1) increase consumer awareness of agricultural products within this Commonwealth and thereby increase sales of these agricultural products;
(2) educate producers and consumers with respect to agricultural products within this Commonwealth; or
(3) otherwise facilitate the growth and development of export markets for agricultural products within this Commonwealth.
(b) Applicants. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations in this Commonwealth.
(c) FY 2023-2024 project funding priorities. The Department will prioritize eligible projects that:
(1) promote and increase consumer awareness of hardwood products within the United States, with special consideration given to projects that have an emphasis on hardwood species that this Commonwealth is recognized for including, but not limited to, black cherry, oaks and maples, including the promotion of value-added products;
(2) promote the marketing of agricultural commodities produced within this Commonwealth through the Pennsylvania Preferred® program;
(3) promote agritourism;
(4) increase sales and consumption of dairy products within and beyond this Commonwealth;
(5) facilitate the growth and development of export markets for agricultural products produced or processed within this Commonwealth;
(6) improve food security in this Commonwealth, including projects that improve access to nutritious food, decrease food waste in schools and other settings and that leverage Federal, State and community resources through public-private partnerships; and
(7) promote the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, food delivery systems through farm markets and farm stands, fresh fruits and vegetables produced within this Commonwealth.
(d) Competitive program. The Program is competitive. Grant requests and related documentation will be reviewed by the Secretary, who will approve or reject each grant request.
(e) Funds available basis. Grants will not be awarded unless funds are available for this purpose. The Department need not expend all the funds that are available for the Program.
2. Definitions. The following words and terms have the following meanings:
Applicant—A Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organization which applies for grant moneys under the Program.
Bureau—The Bureau of Market Development of the Department.
Pennsylvania agricultural products—The following agricultural commodities grown, processed or manufactured within this Commonwealth: agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural, viticulture and dairy products, including artisan cheese, livestock and the products thereof, ranch raised fur-bearing animals and the products thereof, the products of poultry and beef raising, forestry and forestry products, and all products raised or produced on farms intended for human consumption, and the processed or manufactured products thereof intended for human consumption, transported or intended to be transported in commerce.
Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organization—A nonprofit business organization having its principal business offices within this Commonwealth, or having 50% or more of its membership within this Commonwealth, or having 50% or more of the agricultural products which it promotes or markets produced within this Commonwealth, and having as its members groups, individuals or organizations that serve to distribute an agricultural product within this Commonwealth in commerce. These members may include wholesalers, distributors, brokers, retailers, processors, growers and producers.
Secretary—The Secretary of the Department.
3. Limitations on grants. The minimum amount of a matching grant is $1,000. A matching grant is a reimbursement grant, meaning no payment of grant funds will be made by the Department until the subject project is completed and the applicant documents the completion of the project to the Department in accordance with this notice.
4. Uses of matching grant moneys.
(a) Conformity to application. Matching grant moneys awarded to an applicant shall be expended solely to reimburse up to 50% of the cost of the specific project described in the grant application.
(b) Allowable expenditures of grant moneys. Grant moneys shall be used for one or more of the following purposes described in the grant application:
(1) To pay the cost of the specific project described in the grant application.
(2) To pay the cost of a portion of a Commonwealth nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organization's contribution to a National or regional agricultural product promotion and marketing project.
(3) To pay the cost of programs conducted by an applicant to educate producers and consumers with respect to Commonwealth agricultural products.
(4) To pay the cost of trade shows conducted or attended by an applicant, or other projects to facilitate the growth and development of export markets for produced agricultural products within this Commonwealth.
(c) Prohibited expenditure of grant moneys. Grant moneys may not be used to defray the costs of employing temporary or permanent personnel.
(a) Application required. Interested nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations in this Commonwealth shall submit grant applications to the Department. An application shall include a detailed work plan and project budget.
(b) Project commencement and completion dates. An application shall designate July 1, 2023, or a later date, as the project start date and June 30, 2024, or earlier, as the project completion date. Program grant funds will not be awarded or paid for project activities that occur before the stated project start date or beyond the stated project completion date.
(c) Electronic applications only. Interested applicants must submit a complete electronic project proposal and grant application using the Department's Electronic Single Application web site at https://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/Login.aspx.
(d) Application window. Applications shall be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 14, 2023.
(e) Additional documentation. The Secretary may require that an applicant submit additional documentation to complete or verify an application. The additional documentation may include a letter, affidavit or other documentation:
(1) Verifying that an applicant is a Commonwealth nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organization.
(2) Verifying the activities and location of offices of an applicant.
(3) Confirming that the applicant for a matching grant has secured funds in an amount at least equal to the matching grant amount sought for the project.
6. Review of application.
(a) Transmittal of application to Bureau. When the Bureau receives a complete and accurate grant application, it will forward this application, together with supporting documentation submitted therewith, to the Secretary for review. The Bureau may also forward a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved or rejected, whether the grant should be in an amount less than requested and whether special restrictions or limitations should be placed on the grant.
(b) Factors. The Secretary will review and evaluate the application and supporting documentation and may consider the following factors, among others, in deciding whether to approve or reject the grant request:
(1) The relevance of the project to the promotion or marketing of agricultural products in this Commonwealth.
(2) The innovativeness of the project described in the application.
(3) The scope of the project and the number of people who will be exposed to or affected by the project described in the application.
(4) The impact which the project will have upon the promotion and sales of the Commonwealth agricultural products to which the project is targeted.
(5) The availability of full funding for the project from the applicant or from any source other than the Grant Program. Projects that are joint efforts between two or more Commonwealth nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations may be given preference over projects involving only one organization.
(6) The apparent ability of the applicant to complete the project as described in the application or, in the case of a grant to fund a National or regional agricultural product promotion or marketing project, the apparent ability of the entity with primary responsibility for the project to complete it.
(7) The overall performance of the project if the project had received funding through any other grant program administered by the Department in a previous fiscal year.
(8) Projects where reference to the Department as a source of funding can practicably be made in promotional materials or broadcasts, and that would make such a reference, may be given preference over projects that would not make such a reference.
(9) Whether the project has been assigned priority for funding in FY 2023-2024, as previously described in Paragraph No. 1(c).
(c) Decisions. The Secretary may approve a grant in an amount less than that requested in the grant application. In addition, the Secretary may impose restrictions or special conditions upon the issuance of a grant. The Secretary will review all recommendations of the Bureau but will have final authority to accept or reject these recommendations.
7. Notice of disposition of application.
The Department will e-mail notice of the acceptance or rejection of a grant application. This notice will be by e-mail to the address provided by the applicant in the grant application.
8. Grant agreement.
After 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 will execute a written or electronic grant agreement which establishes the terms and conditions subject to which the grant is made. The grant agreement will not be effective, and work should not begin, until all required signatures have been applied to the grant agreement. The grant agreement will contain and conform to the requirements of this notice and will also contain special terms and conditions as required by the Secretary. Among the terms of the grant agreement will 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. Applicants who wish to view the full terms and conditions of the grant agreement in advance of submitting an application may contact the Department at the address set forth in Section 11. Applicants who are unable to agree to the terms and conditions should not submit an application.
9. Verification of project completion.
(a) General. Within 30 days of completion of the subject project, the applicant shall provide the Department with proof of the completion of the project and eligibility to receive reimbursement grant funds from the Department.
(b) Required documentation. The proof described in subsection (a) shall consist of:
(1) Copies of invoices for goods or services directly related to the project, confirming that the total billed amount is at least twice the amount of the grant, along with the written certification of the president or treasurer of the applicant that the goods or services that are the subject of the invoices have been delivered or provided to the applicant; and
(2) A certificate of completion, signed by its president or treasurer, verifying completion of the subject project and stating that the grant funds will reimburse the applicant for a portion of the costs incurred by the applicant in completing the subject project.
10. Delivery of grant funds by the Department. The Department will pay the grant amount to the applicant in a single payment within 45 days of receiving the proof of completion previously described in Paragraph No. 9.
11. Questions and additional information. Questions on this Program, including on the online application process, may be directed to Kristina Watson, Bureau of Market Development, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 712-4545.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-669. Filed for public inspection May 19, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]
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