7 CFR 1.9 - Expedited processing.
(a) A requester may apply for expedited processing at the time of the initial request for records. Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, an agency shall decide whether to grant it, and shall notify the requester of the decision. Once the determination has been made to grant expedited processing, an agency shall process the request as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, the agency shall act expeditiously on any appeal of that decision.
(b) A request or appeal will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever the agency determines that the requester has established either of the following criteria:
(1) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(2) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity, if made by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information. Representatives of the news media would normally qualify as individuals primarily engaged in disseminating information; however, other requesters must demonstrate that their primary activity involves publishing or otherwise disseminating information to the public as a whole, and not just a particular segment or group. “Urgency” contemplates that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. Ordinarily this means a breaking news story of general public interest. Information of historical interest only or information sought for litigation or commercial activities would not meet the test of urgency, nor would a news media publication or broadcast deadline unrelated to the news breaking nature of the information.
(c) A requester who seeks expedited processing must provide a written statement that the requester has certified to be true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. The agency will not consider the request to have been received unless accompanied by a written, certified statement, and will be under no obligation to consider the request for expedited processing until it receives such a written, certified statement.
(d) the same procedures apply to requests for expedited processing of administrative appeals.