7 CFR § 1.14 - Appeals.
(a) Requesters seeking administrative appeal of a denial of a request for records or denial of a fee waiver must ensure that the appeal is received by the agency within 45 days of the date of the denial letter.
(b) Each agency shall provide for review of appeals by an official different from the official or officials designated to make initial denials.
(c)5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(ii) provides that each agency in the Department to which an appeal of a denial is submitted shall inform the requester of its determination concerning that appeal within 20 working days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), plus any extension authorized by § 1.16, of its date of receipt. If the agency determines to grant the appeal, 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 compliance will be effected. If the agency grants only a portion of the appeal, it shall treat the portion not granted as a denial. If it determines to deny the appeal either in part or in whole, it shall inform the requester of that decision and of the following:
(1) The reasons for denial;
(2) The name and title or position of each person responsible for denial of the appeal; and
(3) The right to judicial review of the denial in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4).
(d) Each agency, upon a determination that it wishes to deny an appeal, shall send a copy of the records requested and of all correspondence relating to the request to the Assistant General Counsel, General Law Division, Office of the General Counsel (“Assistant General Counsel”). When the volume of records is so large as to make sending a copy impracticable, the agency shall enclose an informative summary of those records. The agency shall not deny an appeal until it receives concurrence from the Assistant General Counsel
(e) The Assistant General Counsel shall promptly review the matter (including necessary coordination with the agency) and render all necessary assistance to enable the agency to respond to the appeal within the administrative deadline or any extension of the administrative deadline.