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Specialty Crop Research Initiative

SCRI
Number: 10.309
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
10.309 Specialty Crop Research Initiative
Federal Agency (030):
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
Authorization (040):
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) is authorized by Section 7311 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, which added section 412 to the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA). Section 412 of AREERA establishes a specialty crop research and extension initiative to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address needs of specific crops and their regions. , Public Law 105-185.
Objectives (050):
The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) was established to solve critical industry issues through research and extension activities. SCRI will give priority to projects that are multistate, multi-institutional, or trans-disciplinary; and include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas: research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics; efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators; efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term; new innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops including fresh produce.
Types of Assistance (060):
PROJECT GRANTS
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
Grant funds must be used for allowable costs necessary to conduct approved research and extension objectives.

Funds shall not be used for the construction of a new building or facility or the acquisition, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building or facility (including site grading and improvement, and architect fees).

Funds may not be used for any purposes other than those approved in the grant award documents. INDIRECT COSTS:
Not to exceed 22% of Federal Funds awarded.

Applicants may use both the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Federal Budget and the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Non-Federal Budget to meet their matching requirements. Indirect costs may not be recovered on third-party matching contributions.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
Applications may be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
Beneficiary Eligibility (082):
Applications may be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State agricultural experiment stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
No Credentials or documentation are required. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
Notice of Intent to Submit an Application: Prospective applicants are asked to email a notification of intent to submit an application. The notification of intent to submit is not required and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application. The information it contains will be used to help program staff plan the review and estimate the potential review workload. This email should include the following information:
• Descriptive (draft) title of proposed research;
• Name of the Project Director and applicant name if applicable;
• Names of other potential co-Project Directors and their affiliations, if applicable;
• Focus area(s) addressed, (see Part I(B) for specific details);
• Likely type of proposal (Coordinated Agricultural Projects, Standard Research and Extension Projects, Regional Partnerships for Innovation Projects, eXtension Projects, and Research and Extension Planning Projects); and
• Subject line of email should read: SCRI – Intent to Submit. Emails should be sent to scri@csrees.usda.gov. All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedures (092):
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.
Award Procedure (093):
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 1613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA.

Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors:

(a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities;

(b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;

(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs;

(d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations;

(e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and

(f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application.

Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.
Deadlines (094):
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
Section :094 - Deadlines:
Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:
From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals (096):
Not Applicable.
Renewals (097):
Proposals for renewal should be submitted at the announced deadline. Renewals are treated in competition with all other pending proposals.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 100.%. Applicants may use both the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Federal Budget and the unrecovered indirect costs associated with the Non-Federal Budget to meet their matching requirements. Indirect costs may not be recovered on third-party matching contributions.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
The term of a competitive grant under this program may not exceed ten (10) years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division (AMD)
Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
STOP 2271
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," and implemented in 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations." This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records (113):
In accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations [2 CFR 215, Subpart C, Section 215.53, (OMB Circular A-110)] grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 12 $46,439,187; FY 13 est $0; and FY 14 est $46,291,000 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

NOTES:
(1) Funding for this Farm Bill mandatory program expired at the end of September 2012. Program is subject to reauthorization in FY 2014.

(2) The President's FY 2014 Budget proposal includes a proposed $50 million for this program under the Commodity Credit Corporation.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Program Accomplishments (130):
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: Program is subject to Farm Bill reauthorization in FY 2013. Based on current Congressional drafts, the agency anticipates $25-50 million in available funds. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
7 CFR Part 3430, Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Grant Programs – General Grant Administrative Provisions and Program-Specific Administrative Provisions; 7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) ; 7 CFR Part 3018, New Restrictions on Lobbying; 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-profit Organizations; and 7 CFR Part 3021— USDA implementation of Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-free Workplace (Financial Assistance).
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
None.
Headquarters Office (152):
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader; Institute of Food Production and Sustainablity, Division of Plant Systems-Production, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2240, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2240 Phone: (202) 401-4202 Fax: (202) 401-1782
Website Address (153):
http://www.nifa.usda.gov/
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: No data are available at this time. Pending program re-authorization and funding, new projects will continue to address the five mandated focus areas. Pertinent data will be provided by Program at a future date. Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
Within guidelines established for the program as described in the request for applications.