(a)5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i) provides that each agency of the Department to which a request for records is submitted in accordance with § 1.5(a) shall inform the requester of its determination concerning that request within 20 working days of its date of receipt (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), plus any extension authorized under § 1.16. If the agency determines to grant the request, it shall inform the requester of any conditions surrounding the granting of the request (e.g., payment of fees) and the approximate date upon which the agency will provide the requested records. If the agency grants only a portion of the request, it shall treat the portion not granted as a denial, and make a reasonable effort to estimate the volume of the records denied and provide this estimate to the requester, unless providing such an estimate would harm an interest protected by an exemption of the FOIA. If the agency determines to deny the request in part or in whole, it shall immediately inform the requester of that decision and provide the following:
(1) The reasons for the denial;
(2) The name and title or position of each person responsible for denial of the request;
(3) The requester's right to appeal such denial and the title and address of the official to whom such appeal is to be addressed; and
(4) The requirement that such appeal be made within 45 days of the date of the denial.
(b) If the reason for not fulfilling a request is that the records requested are in the custody of another agency outside USDA, other than in the permanent custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”), the agency shall inform the requester of this fact and shall forward the request to that agency or Department for processing in accordance with its regulations. If the records are in the permanent custody of NARA, the agency shall so inform the requester. Information about obtaining access to records at NARA may be obtained through the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL) Database at http://www/nara.gov/nara.nail.html, or by calling NARA at (301) 713-6800. If the agency has no knowledge of requested records or if no records exist, the agency shall notify the requester of that fact.