7 CFR § 4284.902 - Definitions.
The following definitions apply to this subpart:
Administrator. The Administrator of the Rural Business-Cooperative Service or designees or successors.
Agency. The Rural Business-Cooperative Service or successor for the programs it administers.
Agricultural commodity. An unprocessed product of farms, ranches, nurseries, and forests and natural and man-made bodies of water, that the Independent Producer has cultivated, raised, or harvested with legal access rights. Agricultural commodities include plant and animal products and their by-products, such as crops, forestry products, hydroponics, nursery stock, aquaculture, meat, on-farm generated manure, and fish and seafood products. Agricultural commodities do not include horses or other animals raised or sold as pets, such as cats, dogs, and ferrets.
Agricultural food product. Agricultural food products can be raw, cooked, or processed edible substances, beverages, or ingredients intended for human consumption. These products cannot be animal feed, live animals (except for seafood products customarily sold and/or consumed live), non-harvested plants, fiber, medicinal products, cosmetics, tobacco products, or narcotics.
(1) An individual or entity that produces an Agricultural Commodity through participation in the day-to-day labor, management, and field operations; or that has the legal right to harvest an Agricultural Commodity that is the subject of the VAPG project.
Agricultural producer group. A non-profit membership organization that represents Independent Producers and whose mission includes working on behalf of Independent Producers and the majority of whose membership and board of directors is comprised of Independent Producers. The Independent Producers, on whose behalf the value-added work will be done, must be confirmed as eligible and identified by name or class.
Applicant. The legal entity submitting an application to participate in the competition for program funding. The Applicant must be legally structured to meet one of the four eligible Applicant types: Independent Producer, Agricultural Producer Group, Farmer or Rancher Cooperative, or Majority-Controlled Producer-Based Business Venture.
Beginning farmer or rancher.
(ii) An eligible Applicant entity, other than a Harvester, that has an Applicant ownership or membership of more than 50 percent farmers or ranchers each of whom have operated a Farm or Ranch for no more than 10 years.
(ii) An eligible Applicant entity, other than a Harvester, that has an Applicant ownership or membership comprised entirely of (i.e., 100 percent) farmers or ranchers that have operated a Farm or Ranch for no more than 10 years.
Business plan. A formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals, including Pro Forma Financial Statements appropriate to the term and scope of the Project and sufficient to evidence the viability of the Venture. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.
Change in physical state. An irreversible processing activity that alters the raw Agricultural Commodity into a marketable Value-Added Agricultural Product. This processing activity must be something other than a post-harvest process that primarily acts to preserve the commodity for later sale. Examples of eligible Value-Added Agricultural Products in this category include, but are not limited to, fish fillets, diced tomatoes, bio-diesel fuel, cheese, jam, and wool rugs. Examples of ineligible products include, but are not limited to, pressure-ripened produce; raw bottled milk; container grown trees; young plants, seedlings or plugs; and cut flowers.
Conflict of interest. A situation in which a person or entity has competing personal, professional, or financial interests that make it difficult for the person or business to act impartially. Regarding use of both grant and Matching Funds, Federal procurement standards apply to the use of grant funds for purchases and hires, and prohibit transactions that involve a real or apparent Conflict of Interest for owners, employees, officers, agents, or their Immediate Family members having a financial or other interest in the outcome of the Project; or that restrict open and free competition for unrestrained trade. Specifically, grant and Matching Funds may not be used to support costs for services or goods going to, or coming from, a person or entity with a real or apparent Conflict of Interest, including, but not limited to, owner(s) and their Immediate Family members. See § 4284.925(a) and (b) for limited exceptions to this definition and practice for VAPG.
Departmental regulations. The regulations of the Department of Agriculture's Office of Chief Financial Officer (or successor office) as codified in 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 and any successor regulations to these parts.
Emerging market. A new or developing, geographic or demographic market that is new to the Applicant or the Applicant's product. To qualify as new, the Applicant cannot have supplied this product, geographic, or demographic market for more than two years at time of application submission.
Family farm. A Farm (or Ranch) that produces agricultural commodities for sale in sufficient quantity to be recognized as a farm and not a rural residence; whose owners are primarily responsible for daily physical labor and strategic management; whose hired help only supplements family labor; and, whose owners are related by blood or marriage or are Immediate Family.
Farm or ranch. Any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were raised and sold or would have been raised and sold during the previous year, but for an event beyond the control of the farmer or rancher.
Farm- or Ranch-based renewable energy. An Agricultural Commodity that is used to generate renewable energy on a Farm or Ranch owned or leased by the Independent Producer Applicant that produces the Agricultural Commodity, such that the generated renewable energy, is utilized in such a way that the applicant can demonstrate expanded customer base and increased revenues returning to the producers of the agricultural commodity as a result of the project. On-farm generation of energy from wind, solar, geothermal or hydro sources is not eligible for this program.
Farmer or rancher cooperative. A business owned and controlled by Independent Producers that is incorporated, or otherwise identified by the state in which it operates, as a cooperatively operated business. The Independent Producers, on whose behalf the value-added work will be done, must be confirmed as eligible and identified by name or class.
Fiscal year. The Federal government's fiscal year.
Harvester. An Independent Producer of an Agricultural Commodity that is an individual or entity that can document that it has a legal right to access and harvest the majority of a primary Agricultural Commodity that will be used for the Value-Added Agricultural Product. Individuals and entities that merely glean, gather, or collect residual commodities that result from an initial harvesting or production of a primary Agricultural Commodity are not considered Harvesters and are not eligible for this program.
Immediate family. Individuals who are closely related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or live within the same household, such as a spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, niece, or nephew.
(1) Individual Agricultural Producers or entities that are solely owned and controlled by Agricultural Producers. Independent Producers must produce and own more than 50 percent of the Agricultural Commodity to which value will be added as the subject of the Project proposal. Independent Producers must maintain ownership of the Agricultural Commodity or product from its raw state through the production and marketing of the Value-Added Agricultural Product. Producers who produce the Agricultural Commodity under contract for another entity, but do not own the Agricultural Commodity or Value-Added Agricultural Product produced, are not considered Independent Producers. Entities that contract out the production of an Agricultural Commodity are not considered Independent Producers. Independent Producer entities must confirm their owner members as eligible and must identify them by name or class.
(2) A Steering Committee must apply as an Independent Producer and form a program-eligible legal entity prior to execution of the grant agreement by the Agency. The Steering Committee and entity subsequently formed must meet all other program eligibility requirements.
(3) A Harvester must apply as an Independent Producer because harvester operations do not meet the definition requirements for a Farm or Ranch. Harvester applicants are therefore not eligible to receive Reserved Funds and/or Priority Points for a Beginning Farmer or Rancher, Socially-Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher, operator of a Small- or Medium-sized farm or ranch that is structured as a Family Farm, or a Farmer or Rancher Cooperative, but may request Reserved Funds and/or Priority Points for qualified Mid-Tier Value Chain projects.
(4) The Agency shall determine the Independent Producer status of Tribes or Tribal entities without regard to ownership of the commodity to which value will be added so long as the tribal member participant, tribal entity and/or Tribe own and control at least 50 percent of the raw commodity necessary for the project, per the definition of Independent Producer in § 4284.902.
Local or regional supply network. An interconnected group of individuals and/or entities through which agricultural based products move from production through consumption in a local or regional area of the United States. Examples of participants in a supply network may include Agricultural Producers, aggregators, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, and entities that organize or provide facilitation services and technical assistance for development of such networks.
Locally-produced Agricultural Food Product. Any Agricultural Food Product, as defined in this subpart, that is raised, produced, and distributed in:
(1) The locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or
(2) The State in which the product is produced.
Majority-controlled producer-based business venture. An entity (except Farmer or Rancher Cooperatives) in which more than 50 percent of the financial ownership and voting control is held by Independent Producers. Independent Producer members must be confirmed as eligible and must be identified by name or class, along with their percentage of ownership.
Marketing plan. A plan for the project that identifies a market window, potential buyers, a description of the distribution system and possible promotional campaigns.
Matching funds. A cost-sharing contribution to the project via confirmed cash or funding commitments from eligible sources without a real or apparent Conflict of Interest, that are used for eligible project purposes during the grant funding period. Matching Funds must be at least equal to the grant amount, and combined grant and Matching Funds must equal 100 percent of the Total Project Costs. All Matching Funds must be provided for in the approved budget, must be necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives and can be verified by authentic documentation from the source as part of the application. Matching Funds must be provided in the form of confirmed Applicant cash, loan, or line of credit, or provided in the form of a confirmed Applicant or family member in-kind contribution that meets the requirements and limitations in § 4284.925(a) and (b); or confirmed third-party cash or eligible third-party in-kind contribution; or confirmed non-federal grant sources (unless otherwise provided by law). Matching funds cannot be paid by the Federal Government under another Federal award and are not included as contributions for any other Federal Award. See examples of ineligible Matching Funds and Matching Funds verification requirements in §§ 4284.926 and 4284.931.
(1) Targets and strengthens the profitability and competitiveness of Small- and Medium-sized Farms or Ranches that are structured as a Family Farm; and
(2) Obtains agreement from an eligible Agricultural Producer Group, Farmer or Rancher Cooperative, or Majority-Controlled Producer-Based Business Venture that is engaged in the value chain on a marketing strategy.
(3) For Mid-tier Value Chain projects, the Agency recognizes that, in a supply chain network, a variety of raw Agricultural Commodity and Value-Added Agricultural Product ownership and transfer arrangements may be necessary. Consequently, Applicant ownership of the raw Agricultural Commodity and Value-Added Agricultural Product from raw through value-added stages is not necessarily required, as long as the Mid-tier Value Chain application can demonstrate an increase in customer base and an increase in revenue returns to the Applicant producers supplying the majority of the raw Agricultural Commodity for the project.
Planning grant. A grant to facilitate the development of a defined program of economic planning activities to determine the viability of a potential value-added Venture, and specifically for the purpose of paying for conducting and developing a Feasibility Study, Business Plan, and/or Marketing Plan associated with the processing and/or marketing of a Value-Added Agricultural Product.
Produced in a manner that enhances the value of the Agricultural Commodity. The use of a recognizably coherent set of agricultural production practices in the growing or raising of the raw commodity, such that a differentiated market identity is created for the resulting product. Examples of eligible products in this category include, but are not limited to, sustainably grown apples, eggs produced from free-range chickens, or organically grown carrots.
Physical segregation. Separating an Agricultural Commodity or product on the same farm from other varieties of the same commodity or product on the same farm during production and harvesting, with assurance of continued separation from similar commodities during processing and marketing in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of the separated commodity or product. An example of a segregated product is non-GMO corn separated from GMO corn.
Pro forma financial statement. A financial statement that projects the future financial position of a company. The statement is part of the Business Plan and includes an explanation of all assumptions, such as input prices, finished product prices, and other economic factors used to generate the financial statements. The statement must include projections for a minimum of three years in the form of cash flow statements, income statements, and balance sheets.
Project. All of the eligible activities to be funded by the grant under this subpart and Matching Funds.
Qualified consultant. An independent, third-party, without a Conflict of Interest, possessing the knowledge, expertise, and experience to perform the specific task required in an efficient, effective, and authoritative manner.
Rural Development. A mission area of the Under Secretary for Rural Development within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which includes Rural Housing Service, Rural Utilities Service, and Rural Business-Cooperative Service and their successors.
Socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher. This term has the meaning given in section 355(e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2003(e)): Socially-Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a “Socially-Disadvantaged Group.”
(1) For the purposes of determining eligibility to receive priority points under § 4284.924, if there are multiple farmer or rancher owners of the Applicant organization, more than 50 percent of the ownership must be held by members of a Socially-Disadvantaged Group.
(2) For the purposes of determining eligibility to received funding reserved for Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers under § 4284.923, if there are multiple farmer or rancher owners of the Applicant organization, all farmer and rancher owners (i.e., 100 percent) must be members of a Socially-Disadvantaged Group.
Socially-Disadvantaged group. A group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
State. Any of the 50 States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
State office. USDA Rural Development offices located in each State.
Steering committee. An unincorporated group comprised wholly of specifically identified Independent Producers in the process of organizing one of the four program eligible entity types (Independent Producer, Agricultural Producer Group, Farmer or Rancher Cooperative or Majority-Controlled Producer-Based Business Venture.
Value-added agricultural product. Any Agricultural Commodity produced in the U.S. (including the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or American Samoa), that meets the requirements specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this definition.
(i) Has undergone a Change in Physical State;
(ii) Was Produced in a Manner that Enhances the Value of the Agricultural Commodity;
(iii) Is Physically Segregated in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of the Agricultural Commodity;
(iv) Is a source of Farm- or Ranch-based Renewable Energy, including E-85 fuel; or
(v) Is aggregated and marketed as a Locally-Produced Agricultural Food Product.
(i) The customer base for the Agricultural Commodity is expanded and
Veteran farmer or rancher. A farmer or rancher who has served in the Armed Forces, as defined in section 101(10) of title 38 United States Code, and who either has not operated a Farm or Ranch or has operated a Farm or Ranch for not more than 10 years.
(ii) An eligible Applicant entity, other than a Harvester, that has an Applicant ownership or membership of more than 50 percent Veteran Farmers or Ranchers each of whom have either never operated a Farm or Ranch or operated a Farm or Ranch for no more than 10 years.
Working capital grant. A grant to provide funds to operate a value-added project, specifically to pay the eligible project expenses related to the processing and/or marketing of the Value-Added Agricultural Product that are eligible uses of grant funds.