Colleges, Universities Can Now Apply Under the Food for Progress Program

Jerry Ashworth
August 28, 2019 at 08:50:17 ET
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Just in time for the “back-to-school” season, colleges and universities now can be considered … for potential Food for Progress awards, that is.

Under a final rule in today’s Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which oversees the Food for Progress program (CFDA No. 10.606), explained that it is amending the regulations governing the Food for Progress Program at 7 C.F.R. Part 1499 to include colleges and universities among the entities eligible for awards under the program, thus complying with provisions under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-334). The rule becomes effective today, although CCC is accepting comments on the rule through Sept. 27.

The program provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies committed to introducing and expanding free enterprise in the agricultural sector. The commodities are generally sold on the local market and the proceeds are used to support agricultural development activities. The program has two principal objectives: (1) to improve agricultural productivity, and (2) expand trade in agricultural products.

Along with colleges and universities, assistance under the Food for Progress program may be provided to governments of emerging agricultural countries, intergovernmental organizations, private voluntary organizations, nonprofit agricultural organizations or cooperatives, nongovernmental organizations and other private entities.

According to CCC, “the change will foster greater competition in proposal submissions and provide an opportunity for more innovative projects to be considered.”

The final rule also includes some other amendments related to the program. For instance, it now clarifies that provisions specified by CCC during the negotiation of an agreement, which are in addition to provisions required by the regulations, will be included in the agreement but will not necessarily be in the plan of operation component of the agreement. In addition, the rule replaces the specific reference to a percentage of the “grand total costs’’ in the agreement budget with a more general reference to the amount specified in the agreement, which would allow CCC to make a change to the budget format if it determines that it would be beneficial.

It will be interesting to see how many colleges and universities take advantage of this new opportunity going forward.

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