DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Agricultural Hemp Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program; 2022-2023 Application Period
[53 Pa.B. 614]
[Saturday, January 28, 2023]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) announces the program requirements and application period for grants under the Pennsylvania Agricultural Hemp Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant Program (Program). The Program is authorized under Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 budgetary appropriations to the Department for agricultural product promotion, education and exports for hemp. The Department intends to make up to $392,000 available for grants under the Program.
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 hemp products within this Commonwealth and thereby increase sales of these agricultural hemp products.
(2) Educate producers and consumers with respect to agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth.
(3) Otherwise facilitate the growth and development of export markets for agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth.
(b) Applicants. Grants will be awarded to Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations.
(c) FY 2022-2023 project funding priorities. The Department will prioritize eligible projects for promotion, education and export market development of agricultural hemp within this Commonwealth to receive grant funding.
(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.
Eligible hemp products—An agricultural or industrial hemp product that is legal to grow, process and sell within this Commonwealth which has a major component/ingredient derived from the hemp plant.
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 a Commonwealth agricultural product 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 Pennsylvania 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 agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth.
(4) To pay the cost of other activities consistent with the Secretary of Agriculture's authority under section 1704 of The Administrative Code of 1929, as amended (71 P.S. § 444).
(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 Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations shall submit grant applications to the Department. An application shall include a detailed work plan and project budget.
(b) Project beginning and completion dates. An application shall designate July 1, 2022, or a later date, as the project start date and June 30, 2023, 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?var=5.
(d) Application window. Applications shall be submitted by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28, 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 Pennsylvania 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 hemp products within 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 agricultural hemp products within this Commonwealth 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.
(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 that are joint efforts between two or more Pennsylvania nonprofit agricultural product promotion and marketing organizations may be given preference over projects involving only one organization.
(9) 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.
(10) Whether the project has been assigned priority for funding in FY 2022-2023, 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 by Friday, March 10, 2023. 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 describes the terms and conditions subject to which the grant is made. The grant agreement shall contain and conform to the requirements of this notice and shall also contain special terms and conditions as required by the Secretary.
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.
(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 the online application process, may be directed to Ruth Welliver, Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-5222.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-110. Filed for public inspection January 27, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]
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