Program Requirements for the Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant ProgramJuly 14th, 2023
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Program Requirements for the Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program
[53 Pa.B. 3706]
[Saturday, July 15, 2023]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) hereby provides notice of the standards and requirements for the Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program (Program).
The Program is established under authority of 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 10702—10705 (relating to Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program), referred to as the Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program Act (act). The Program allows the Department to award reimbursement grants for certain eligible projects to improve urban agricultural infrastructure in an urban area, improve or facilitate the aggregation of agricultural products in an urban area, entail the sharing of resources among urban agricultural entities or community organizations and support community development in the project area.
This notice establishes the procedures by which grant applications will be solicited, reviewed and by which grants will be awarded, drawing on funding available in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-2024. The Department intends to make no less than $500,000 available for grants under the Program.
1. Program Objective. The Program's objective is to provide grants to reimburse some portion of the costs of implementing projects that improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas and that focus on aggregation of agricultural products, sharing of resources and support for community development resources.
2. Definitions. The following words and phrases apply to the Program:
Department. The Department of Agriculture of the Commonwealth
Eligible project. A project that the Department determines does one or more of the following:
a. Improves agricultural infrastructure in an urban area.
b. Improves or facilitates the aggregation of agricultural products in an urban area.
c. Entails the sharing of resources among urban agricultural operations, agricultural producers or community organizations.
d. Supports community or economic development in the project area.
Person. An individual, partnership, association, firm, corporation, cooperatives or any other legal entity.
Program. The Urban Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program.
Secretary. The Secretary of the Department.
Urban municipality. A municipality with a population density equal to or greater than 291 persons per square mile and a total population equal to or greater than 2,500, or a municipality in which more than 50% of the population lives in an urbanized area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau. A listing of urban municipalities can be found on the Center for Rural Pennsylvania's list of municipalities, currently found at https://www.rural.pa.gov/download.cfm?file=Resources/PDFs/data/List%20of%20Municipalities%20web%202022.xlsx.
3. Reimbursement Grant Program. Program grants shall be reimbursement grants. The following shall apply:
a. The amount of a grant is based on actual eligible costs submitted by an approved applicant for an approved project.
b. Grant money shall not exceed 85% of the costs of an eligible project.
c. Grant money shall not be used to reimburse any portion of an in-kind contribution to an eligible project.
d. Grant money may not be used to pay or reimburse wages or salaries of grant recipient staff.
e. 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.
f. A single applicant may not be awarded more than $100,000 in grants in any 5-year period, calculated from the date the Department awards the grant.
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.
4. Eligibility. A person may apply to the Department for a grant for an eligible project in an urban municipality under the Program.
5. Grant Types. An applicant for a grant under the Program shall specify whether the applicant seeks a Microgrant or a Collaboration Grant.
a. A Microgrant shall be awarded for one-time project or to a single entity applicant. The maximum amount of a Microgrant shall be the lesser of $2,500 or 85% of project costs.
b. A Collaboration Grant shall be awarded for an eligible project (as defined in paragraph No. 2) for which a Microgrant is not sought. An application for a Collaboration Grant may be submitted by multiple partners on a single project. The maximum amount of a Collaborative shall be the lesser of $50,000 or 85% of project costs.
6. Application Procedure.
a. Online Applications Only. An applicant for a grant under the Program shall be submitted 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 Monday, July 17, 2023, and 5 p.m. on Friday, September 1, 2023. Applications received outside of that application window will not be considered or reviewed.
c. Application Requirements. An application for a grant under the Program shall contain the following information:
i. The applicant's name, business address and contact information.
ii. A statement as to whether the applicant seeks a Microgrant or a Collaboration Grant.
iii. The details of the project for which reimbursement grant money is sought, including the following:
A. A project budget.
B. A statement of the maximum amount of grant money sought for the project.
C. A project construction and implementation schedule.
D. A narrative identifying each entity that will assist in, participate in and benefit from the project.
iv. Separate descriptions of how the project would meet one or more of the following statutory requirements:
A. Improve agricultural infrastructure in an urban area.
B. Improve or facilitates the aggregation of agricultural products in an urban area.
C. Entail the sharing of resources among urban agricultural operations, agricultural producers or community organizations.
D. Support community or economic development in the project area.
v. An attestation signed by the applicant, verifying the accuracy of the information presented on the application.
7. Disposition and Review of Grant Applications. The Department will review each application, and supporting documentation submitted therewith, 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.
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 shall 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 the records relating to the performance of the project and submit the 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 phone number or e-mail address set forth in section 10. Applicants who are unable to agree to the terms and conditions should not submit an application.
9. Distribution of Grant Money. As Program grants are reimbursement grants, the Department will not issue grant money until the successful applicant submits all of the following to the Department:
a. A verified statement that the eligible project has been completed or implemented.
b. A verified statement of the project completion date.
c. Photos of the completed or implemented project with a narrative explanation of each photo.
d. Bills and invoices demonstrating that expenses were incurred for which reimbursement grant funds are sought.
Documents submitted to the Department under this paragraph shall be directed to the Department of Agriculture, Attn: Agricultural Infrastructure Grant Program Coordinator, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408.
10. Additional Information. Additional information may be obtained from the Department by contacting Morgan Sheffield, (717) 787-3568, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-931. Filed for public inspection July 14, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]