Federal Register Notices
[Federal Register: May 12, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 90)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Commodity Credit Corporation
7 CFR Part 1487
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops
AGENCY: Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and
Corporation (CCC), USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule amends the
regulations to incorporate changes into three
existing Technical Assistance for Specialty
Crops (TASC) provisions. First, it increases the
funding cap on individual proposals from
$250,000 to $500,000 per year. Second, it
increases the maximum duration of an activity
from 3 years to 5 years. Finally, it increases
the number of approved projects that a TASC
participant can have underway at any given time,
from three to five. The rule also makes other
minor administrative changes to two other
provisions for clarity.
DATE: Effective Date: June 11, 2009.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Slupek
at (202) 720-1169, fax at (202) 720-9361, or by
This final rule amends the regulations at 7
CFR part 1487 applicable to the TASC program.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of
2002, which was reauthorized by the Food,
Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, directs
CCC to establish a program to provide mandatory
funding to assist U.S. organizations with
funding for projects that address sanitary,
phytosanitary, and technical barriers that
prohibit or threaten the export of U.S.
specialty crops. FAS, which administers the TASC
program, provides grant funds as direct
assistance to U.S. organizations.
Executive Order 12866
This rule is issued in conformance with
Executive Order 12866. It has been determined to
be not significant for the purposes of Executive
Order 12866 and has not been reviewed by the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A
cost-benefit assessment of this rule was not
Executive Order 12988
This rule has been reviewed in accordance with
Executive Order 12988. This rule would preempt
State laws to the extent such laws are
inconsistent with it. This rule would not be
Executive Order 12372
This program is not subject to Executive Order
12372, which requires intergovernmental
consultation with State and local officials. See
the notice related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart
V, published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply
to this rule because CCC is not required by 5
U.S.C. 553 or any other law to publish a notice
of proposed rulemaking with respect to the
subject matter of this rule.
CCC has determined that this rule does not
constitute a major State or Federal action that
would significantly affect the human or natural
environment consistent with the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 40 CFR 1502.4,
major Federal actions requiring the preparation
of Environmental Impact Statements, and
Compliance with NEPA implementing the
regulations of the Council on Environmental
Quality, 40 CFR parts 1500-1508. Therefore, no
environmental assessment or environmental impact
statement will be prepared.
Although CCC is publishing this as a final
rule, Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act of 1995 (UMRA) does not apply to this rule
because CCC is not required by 5 U.S.C. 553 or
any other law to publish a final rulemaking for
the subject of this rule. Further, this rule
contains no unfunded mandates as defined in
sections 202 and 205 of UMRA. Nor does this rule
potentially affect small governments or contain
significant Federal intergovernmental mandates.
Paperwork Reduction Act of
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act
of 1995, CCC has previously received approval
from OMB with respect to the information
collection required to support this program. The
information collection is described below:
Title: Technical Assistance for Specialty
Crops. OMB Control Number: 0551-0038.
E-Government Act Compliance
CCC is committed to complying with the
E-Government Act to promote the use of the
Internet and other information technologies to
provide increased opportunities for citizen
access to Government information and services
and for other purposes. The forms, regulations,
and other information collection activities
required to be utilized by a person subject to
this rule are available at
List of Subjects in 7 CFR
Agricultural commodities, Exports, Specialty
Summary and Analysis of
CCC published a rule in the Federal Register
(73 FR 73617, Dec. 3, 2008) proposing three
changes to the regulations which govern the
operations of the TASC program. That rule
requested interested parties to submit comments
by January 2, 2009. Following is a summary of
the comments which specifically address the
proposed rule and CCC's responses to these
comments. General comments relating to the value
of the program, editorial suggestions, and
non-substantive comments have been omitted.
Increase the Funding Cap
From $250,000 to $500,000 per Year
CCC received six comments on this issue.
One of the six opposed the increase.
Comment: We support
amending the regulations used to administer the
TASC program by increasing the amount of funding
per proposal in any given year. The amendment to
the TASC regulations will make the program more
viable and relevant in addressing potential and
existing trade barriers. Comment: CCC should
reconsider the proposed funding limitation by
either reducing the funding limitation of
$500,000 per project to allow for longer maximum
durations, or by creating a discretionary fund
to be designated specifically for projects
extending beyond the maximum duration. The
assessment of these types of circumstances
should be based on the effectiveness of the
project's activities by the measurement in
reaching projected goals. Response: Given the
increase in program funding authorized by the
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, CCC
believes that increasing the project funding
limitation will not constrict the number or
duration of approved projects. Therefore, CCC is
adopting the rule as proposed.
Increase the Maximum
Duration of an Activity From 3 Years to 5 Years
CCC received six comments on this issue.
One of the six opposed the 5-year limitation.
Comment: The proposed rule change increasing
the maximum duration of an activity from 3 years
to 5 years should facilitate the efficient
allocation of funding to the specialty crop
industry and promote the design and
implementation of projects that will benefit our
industry. Comment: The proposed 5-year
limitation, although appreciated, is an
unrealistic timeline when mitigating
phytosanitary concerns of international trade
partners. A discretionary fund should be
specifically created for those projects that
extend beyond the maximum duration. Response:
After 7 years of operating the TASC program, CCC
believes that 3 years is not a sufficient length
of time to complete certain projects. CCC
believes that 5 years should be sufficient to
complete all projects, and that making a
provision to allow for projects to exceed 5
years in duration is unnecessary. Therefore, CCC
is adopting the rule as proposed.
Increase the Number of
Approved Projects From Three to Five That a TASC
Participant Can Have Underway at Any Given Time
CCC received five comments on this issue, all
of which favored the proposed change.
Comment: Allowing up to
five approved projects for any one TASC
participant at any given time should facilitate
the efficient allocation of funding to the
specialty crop industry and promote the design
and implementation of projects that will benefit
the industry. Response: CCC will adopt the
rule as proposed.
For the reasons set out in
the preamble, 7 CFR part 1487 is amended as
ASSISTANCE FOR SPECIALTY CROPS
1. The authority citation
for part 1487 continues to read as follows:
Authority: Sec. 3205 of
Pub. L. 107-171.
2. Revise Sec. 1487.4 to
read as follows:
Sec. 1487.4 Are there any
limits on the scope of proposals?
(a) Funding cap.
Proposals which request more than $500,000 of
CCC funding in a given year will not be
(b) Length of
activities. Funding will not be provided for
projects that have received TASC funding for 5
years. The 5 years do not need to be
(c) Target countries.
Proposals may target all eligible export
markets, including single countries or
reasonable regional groupings of countries.
(d) Multiple proposals.
Applicants may submit multiple proposals, but no
participant may have more than five approved
projects underway at any given time. 0 3. Amend
Sec. 1487.6 by revising paragraph (b) to read as
* * * * *
(b) Evaluation process.
FAS will review all proposals for eligibility
and completeness and will evaluate each proposal
against the factors described in paragraph (a)
of this section. The purpose of this review is
to identify meritorious proposals, recommend an
appropriate funding level for each proposal, and
submit the proposals and funding recommendations
to appropriate officials within FAS for
decision. FAS may, when appropriate to the
subject matter of the proposal, request the
assistance of other U.S. government experts in
evaluating the merits of a proposal.
4. Amend Sec. 1487.8 by
revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:
Sec. 1487.8 How are
(a) * * *
shall maintain all records and documents
relating to TASC projects, including the
original documentation which supports
reimbursement claims, for a period of 3 calendar
years following the expiration or termination
date of the program agreement. Such records and
documents will be subject to verification by FAS
and shall be made available upon request to
authorized officials of the U.S. Government. FAS
may deny a claim for reimbursement if the claim
is not supported by acceptable documentation.
* * * * *
Signed at Washington, DC,
on the 28th of April 2009.
Patricia R. Sheikh,
Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural
Service, and Vice President, Commodity Credit
[FR Doc. E9-11053 Filed
5-11-09; 8:45 am]
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