GM_120 - Title 120 - Administrative Services

Subpart B – Excess Property
Subpart B – Excess Property

405.10  Acquisition of Excess Property
  

405.10  Acquisition of Excess Property

A.  Excess property is the first source for filling acquisition requests.

B.  Accountable property officers (APOs) must determine if excess property is available within their areas of responsibility before submitting a new procurement request.  The appropriate property management officer (PMO) will work with the APO to help find available excess property.  The results of such efforts should be documented on the procurement request.

C.  The primary source for locating excess personal property is GSAXcess.  This Web-based system includes the USDA internal Agency Asset Management System (AAMS).  Through GSAXcess, Federal agencies can search and request Federal excess personal property.  In addition, the system facilitates the transfer of property between Federal agencies.

GSAXcess is the site for the Federal Excess Personal Property Utilization Program operated by the General Services Administration (GSA). This site is utilized by all Federal agencies to report excess personal property available for transfer by GSA to other Federal agencies.  It includes the AAMS module, which is the internal screening by USDA agencies only.  At the end of the internal screening cycles, any property still available in AAMS is either returned to the agency or passed to GSAXcess for screening by all Federal agencies.

(i)  Federal employees can gain access to the "Search Only" feature by self-registering online at GSAXcess.  However, in order to report or acquire Federal excess personal property, the employee must be granted access by the national utilization officer (NUO).  All requests for access by NRCS employees should be forwarded to the national property management officer on the Asset Management Team, Acquisitions Division.

(ii)  Property is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis by the GSA area property officer in the region where the property is located.

·  GSAXcess will generate the required transfer forms. The forms must be signed and approved by the agency allocating the property, the agency receiving the property, and the regional GSA area property officer.

·  Once the transfer is official, the agencies must coordinate the actual shipping and transportation of the property.

D.  For offices in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, a large selection of excess furniture is readily available as well as other services such as furniture rehabilitation, property reutilization, and disposal of excess property through the Centralized Excess Property Operation (CEPO).

(1)  CEPO classifies excess furniture in two ways:

(i)  Refurbished.— Furniture that has been refurbished, reupholstered, repaired, etc.  CEPO charges for the cost of these services.

(ii)  As-Is.—Furniture that is available without needing any refurbishing services.  As-is furniture is free of charge.

(2)  CEPO publishes a catalog of standard available excess furniture and maintains a showroom of office furniture arrangements. 

(3)  CEPO provides a shuttle from USDA’s South Building to their warehouse in Landover, MD.  To arrange a visit to CEPO, the appropriate PMO must call to schedule an appointment.

(4)  To acquire excess personal property from CEPO:

(i)   Form AD-700, “Procurement Request,” is required and must include—

· Item description, including CEPO item number, if known.

· Appropriation number (CEPO does not accept the Government purchase card).

· Authorized signature.

· Furniture type, either “as-is” or “rehab.”

(ii)  The request is then forwarded to the appropriate PMO.

(iii)  The appropriate PMO will forward the request to CEPO and arrange for delivery.

E.  Direct Transfer To or From Other Federal Agencies

(1)  Federal agencies may transfer Federal excess personal property directly from one agency to another without reporting the property to GSA provided the total acquisition cost of the excess property does not exceed $10,000 per line item.

(i)  Transfers of excess property between USDA agencies must be accomplished using Form AD-107, “Report of Transfer or Other Disposition or Construction of Property.”

(ii)  Transfers of excess personal property between non-USDA agencies are accomplished using Standard Form (SF)-122, “Transfer Order - Excess Personal Property.”  A copy of the signed SF-122 must be provided to the appropriate GSA office within 10 workdays from the date of the transaction.

(2)  Excess personal property transferred between non-USDA agencies exceeding the $10,000 per line item limitation may also be obtained, provided that the appropriate GSA Personal Property Management Office is first contacted for verbal approval of a prearranged transfer by the holding agency.  SF-122, “Transfer Order - Excess Personal Property,” must be prepared annotating the name of the GSA approving official and the date of the verbal approval.  A copy of the signed SF-122 must be provided to GSA within 10 workdays from the date of transaction.

(3)  Agencies conducting direct transfers are subject to the requirement to pay reimbursement for the excess personal property under a direct transfer when any of the conditions in Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 102-36.75(b) apply.

(4)  Agencies are subject to the requirement to pay reimbursement for personal property vehicles, if disposed under the exchange or sale authority per FMR 102-36.85.  The amount of reimbursement is normally the fair market value. 

 


   
  

 
  

[ - Amend. 94 - March 2013]

Part 400 - Index (Reserved)
    

    



[GM_120_400 - ]

Part 401 - Agreements




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Subpart A - Cancelled







Subpart B – Agreements for RC&D







401.10  General



401.11  Authority Alternatives







Subpart C – Management Fees or Profit

401.20  Purpose



401.21  Authority



401.22  Policy



401.23  Definitions 







Subpart D – Guidelines for NRCS Support for National and International Conferences







401.30 Purpose



401.31 Authority



401.32 Policy



401.33 Procedures







Subpart E – Funding Announcement for Electronic Submission of Proposals







401.40  Grants and Electronics Submission







Subpart F – Unauthorized Commitments







401.50  Purpose



401.51  Definition



401.52  Delegation of Authority



401.53  Background



401.54  Approval of Unauthorized Commitments



401.55  Procedures to Follow When Requesting Approval for an Unauthorized Commitment







Subpart G – Monitoring of Agreements







401.60 Purpose



401.61 Authority



401.62 Policy



401.63 Procedures







                   
Subpart H – Guidelines for Determining Contribution Requirements for Cooperative Agreements



401.70 Purpose



401.71 Policy



401.72 Procedures







Subpart I – NRCS National Headquarters Grants and Agreements Review and Approval Process







401.80  Purpose



401.81  Background



401.82  Implementation



401.83  Procedures







Subpart J – Use of Revolving Fund Authority, 5 U.S.C. Section 1304 (e)-(f), for Office of Personnel Management Interagency Agreements







401.90 Purpose



401.91 Background



401.92 Implementation



401.93 Procedures



401.94 Definitions







Subpart K – Grants and Agreements Federal Financial Report (FFR)







401.100  Purpose



401.101  Background



401.102  Implementation



401.103  Procedures



401.104  Definitions













[GM_120_401 - 1st Ed., Amend. 138, Jul 2021 - ]

Part 402 - Communications

Subpart A - Correspondence

402.0  Scope

This subpart outlines NRCS correspondence policies and procedures for National Headquarters, region, State, and field offices.  (Note:  Further information on correspondence preparation is available in the NRCS Correspondence Reference Guide.)

402.1  Letters and Memorandums

A.  There are formats identified as letters and memorandums.  The difference between a letter and a memorandum is that a memorandum contains the captions “SUBJECT” and “TO” and does not include a complimentary closing.  Letters, in contrast, use an inside address, salutation, and complimentary closing. 

B.  The letter format (see Section 402.80) is required for—

(1)  Congressional correspondence.

(2)  General public correspondence is when a salutation and complimentary close are considered appropriate.

(3)  Internal correspondence (within NRCS) is when a personal touch is important (for example, letters of commendation, condolence, and retirement).

C.  Memorandum format (see Section 402.81) is required for internal (NRCS) and executive correspondence (outside NRCS, but within the executive branch) if a letter is not appropriate.

402.2  Required Response Time

A.  Required response times for answering congressional and general public correspondence is 7 business days after receipt in an NRCS office. 

(1)  For congressional correspondence, if a final answer cannot be completed within 7 business days, an interim reply should be sent within 5 business days and contain a date when the final reply will be sent.  If possible, the final reply should be made within 5 business days after the interim reply is sent.  Exceptions to these times can be made if the incoming correspondence concerns normal day-to-day operations with customers, contractors, etc., about their farm plans, contracts, agreements, and so forth. 

(2)  Internal correspondence will be answered within 7 business days, if possible.  If this is not possible, an interim reply that contains the date when the final reply can be expected will be sent.

B.  Required responses or actions will minimize or avoid field-level involvement and utilize electronic systems to collect and transmit the information.

402.3  NRCS Record Copies

A.  NRCS Letterhead

Use NRCS letterhead for letters, memorandums, and copies as follows:

 

First Page

Succeeding Pages

Original outgoing

Letterhead bond

Plain bond

Courtesy (if necessary)

Copy of outgoing

Plain white paper

Copy to other than addressee outside NRCS

Copy of outgoing

Plain white paper

Official file copy

Yellow paper

Yellow paper

Reader copy

White paper

White paper

Other NRCS copies (as needed)

White paper

White paper

B.  Courtesy Copy

(1)  A courtesy copy is an exact copy of the original, if furnished as a courtesy for congressional or other Federal agency heads.  Do not send courtesy copies unless requested.

(2)  For a copy to a person other than the addressee, type "cc" and the recipient's name, title, and address two lines below the signer's title, or the enclosure listing, if any.  The "cc:" listing shows on the original and all copies.  If the addressee is not to know to whom photocopies were sent, type "bcc:" on the copies but not on the original.

(i)  Yellow.—NRCS official record copy.  The yellow copy provides a complete record.  The original incoming letter, note, etc., with any enclosures becomes a part of the official record copy.  Copies of any enclosures dispatched with the original of the outgoing communication must be made a part of the official record copy. 

(ii)  White.—White bond paper is used for any additional copies within NRCS. 

C.  Records.—all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of the data in them.  Official files can be destroyed only according to authorized disposal schedules.  Electronic records are subject to the same laws and regulations as paper records.  Electronic records may be destroyed only in accordance with a records disposition schedule approved by the Archivist of the United States, including General Records Schedules. 

For additional information on records, see, General Manual (GM), Title 120, Part 408-records.

402.4  Informal Communication Techniques

Informal communications may be handled by using one of the following techniques:

(1)  Informal Replies.—When a simple interim reply, transmittal, or informal comment is appropriate, it may be typed on the incoming letter and returned to the sender.  This method is used when the original incoming letter and the added comments do not need to be retained.  The informal technique may be used to send a requested publication, etc.  A memorandum is an informal reply.

(2)  Routing and Reference Slip.—Optional Form-41 may be used to transmit documents to one or more offices or employees.  No record (file) copy of the routing slip should be made.

402.5  Special Handling

A.  Material marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" is available only for NRCS employees who need the material for their official work.  Do not distribute this material or furnish copies to persons outside NRCS unless you have the approval of the Regional Conservationist, State Conservationist, or other supervising administrator.  You cannot examine such material unless it is needed to perform official duties.  This applies to both internal and executive correspondence.  You are authorized to mark outgoing correspondence and other material "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" when it is in reply to incoming material so marked or you have special written authorization from the Regional Conservationist, State Conservationist, or other supervising administrator.

B.  If correspondence is to be so restricted, the words "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" should appear in capital letters centered at the top and bottom of the first page only of the original and each copy.

C.  Restricted correspondence should be sent in a sealed envelope addressed to an individual, a position, or particular office so that it can be delivered unopened.  The envelope is to be marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" in the lower right hand of the envelope beside the address.

D.  Restricted correspondence envelopes may additionally be marked:

(1)  To be Opened by Addressee Only.

(2)  To be Opened by State Conservationist Only (or other position).

(3)  To be Opened by “John Doe” Only.

402.6  Filing

Correspondence will be filed in accordance with NRCS filing system.  For additional information on the filing system, see GM-120, Part 408, Subparts A, B, and D.

402.7  Writing

Observe the following when writing NRCS correspondence:

(1)  Use clear, factual, and simple language and instructions.  Picture the reader as you compose.

(i)  Write in the active voice.

(ii)  Use simple, familiar words.

(iii)  Use short words and sentences.

(iv)  Limit sentences to one thought.

(v)  Cut useless words and information.

(2)  Answer promptly with courteous and responsive replies.

(3)  Date outgoing correspondence the day it is signed.

(4)  Refer to the letter you are answering, when appropriate.

(5)  Use the correct subject code in the subject line of all informal correspondence, and the corresponding file code number.

 

[GM_120_402_A - Amend. 91 - August 2010]

Subpart B – Mail

402.20  Purpose

A.  This subpart sets forth NRCS policy and procedures for mail management, prescribes records and reports needed to determine NRCS mail costs, and includes procedures for establishing and maintaining mailing lists of NRCS office locations.  NRCS has established a program of direct accountability for payment of postage.

B.  It is NRCS policy to use the most economical class and type of mail service available, consistent with operational needs.  All mail is to be processed promptly and efficiently and is to meet U.S. Postal Service (USPS) requirements.  Accurate reimbursement is to be ensured for all USPS services.

402.21  References

A.  Department Regulation (DR) 3050-001, Mail Management

B.  DR 3050-003, Penalty Mail Stamp System 

C.  Federal Management Regulation (FMR), Mail Management

D.  USPS, “Postage Payment Method”

E.  USPS, “Official Mail (Penalty)”

402.22  Abbreviations

A.  CFR.—Code of Federal Regulations

B.  CMU.—Central mail unit

C.  DMM.—Domestic Mail Manual, USPS

D.  FMR.—Federal Management Regulation

E.  FY.—Fiscal year

F.  GSA.—General Services Administration

G. IMM.—International Mail Manual, USPS

H.  MRMD.—Mail and Reproduction Management Division

I.  OMAS.—Official Mail Accounting System

J.  OO.—Office of operation

K.  PMS.—Penalty mail stamp

L.  SDO.—Stamp Distribution Office

M. USC—United States Code

N.  USDA.—U.S. Department of Agriculture

O.  USPS.—U.S. Postal Service

402.23  Definitions

A.  “Agency mail management” means the overall mail communications program of a Federal agency, with controls that provide prompt mail handling at a minimum cost, including—

(1)  Keeping NRCS personnel informed of objectives and procedures for prompt, accurate, and economical mail operations.

(2)  Ensuring that outgoing mail is dispatched economically and expeditiously.

(3)  Monitoring mail operations to identify problem areas and make improvements.

(4)  Maintaining a liaison with the departmental mail manager to keep abreast of departmental and industry changes, policies, procedures, and innovations.

B.  “Official mail” means all mail used to conduct U.S. Government business.  NRCS mail is U.S. Government property and is subject to all rules governing the use of that property.

C.  “Domestic mail” means mail within the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. possessions.

D.  “International mail” means mail sent to countries outside the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. possessions.

E.  “Commercial payments processes” means mechanisms for paying for USPS postage that are essentially the same as those used by private sector mailers.  This means paying for postage before the postage is used (which the U.S. Treasury has determined is appropriate for USPS postage).  For meter or permit mail, this also means sending money to the USPS by electronic funds transfer (EFT) transactions to commercial banks designated by the USPS as its financial agents.  For stamps and other USPS services, this means paying the USPS directly by cash, charge card, debit card, or money order, depending on the specific service being purchased.

F.  “Endorsement” means instructions on a mailing piece, indicating the class of mail or special service desired.

G.  “Incoming mail” means any mail that comes into USDA delivered by any service provider, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

H.  “Internal mail” means mail generated within USDA that is delivered to a USDA facility, so long as it is delivered by agency personnel or a dedicated agency (i.e., not a service provider).

I.  “Postage” means money due or paid to any service provider.

J.  “Class of mail” means the five categories of domestic mail, as defined by the USPS in the DMM (C100 through C600). These are:

(1)  Express mail

(2)  First-class and priority mail

(3)  Standard mail (e.g., bulk marketing mail)

(4)  Periodicals

(5)  Package service

K.  “Mail” means all materials that might pass through the USDA processing center, including—

(1)  All internal, incoming, and outgoing materials, such as envelopes, bulk mail, expedited mail, individual packages up to 70 pounds, publications, and postal cards.

(2)  Similar materials carried by agency personnel, contractors, USPS, and all other carriers of such items.

(3)  Electronic mail, only if it is printed and mailed, as described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this section; however, this part encourages agencies to maximize use of electronic mail in lieu of printed media, so long as it is cost effective.

L.  “Expedited mail” is a generic term that means mail designated for delivery more quickly than USPS’s normal delivery times (which may vary by class of mail).  Examples of expedited mail include USPS Express Mail and overnight and 2-day delivery by other service providers.

M.  The “Official Mail Accounting System” (OMAS) is USPS’s Government-unique system for tracking postage used by most of USDA’s agencies.  GSA has mandated that all Government agencies convert to commercial payment processes.

N.  “Official mail (penalty)” refers to official mail sent by U.S. Government agencies that relates solely to the business of the U.S. Government and that is authorized by law to be carried in the mail without prepayment of postage.  For this standard, “agencies” are Departments, agencies, corporations, establishments, commissions, committees, and all officers and authorities of the U.S. Government authorized to use penalty mail.

402.24  Responsibilities

A.  The Deputy Chief for Management, acting through the Acquisition Division (AD), will—

(1)  Develop and implement NRCS policies, standards, techniques, and procedures, and represent NRCS mail management.

(2)  Act as a liaison with USDA to ensure that rules are followed and that USPS is reimbursed for postal services.

B.  State Conservationists, directors of the Caribbean and Pacific Basin Areas, National Technical Support Centers (NTSCs) and the Deputy Chief for Management will designate a mail coordinator who will—

(1)  Ensure that all required mail data, including volume and cost information, are recorded and forwarded to AD.

(2)  Serve as the resident "mail authority."  This person should know the provisions in this subpart and in DR 3050-1 and be familiar with the references cited herein.

(3)  Monitor NTSC and State mail practices and procedures and recommend or make needed improvements.

(4)  Ensure that persons who dispatch mail do it efficiently and cost effectively.

(5)  Be alert to excess distribution.

(6)  Ensure that adequate accountability records are maintained.

402.25  Payment of Postage

A.  NRCS postage is paid by direct accountability.  This means that NRCS pays for the actual services it receives from the USPS.  NRCS will bill all administrative offices on a quarterly basis.  This billing will be based upon the figures received from the USPS quarterly report.

B.  USPS will provide OMAS computer-generated monthly statements, giving detailed listing of orders by user identification codes.  The statements will list orders filled in that month, by ZIP code, and will include a cost summary and the number of requisitions.

C.  The monthly statements will be sent to USDA’s Office of Operation (OO) for distribution to the agency mail managers.

402.26  Commercial Metered Mail

A.  Commercial meters may be installed in all NRCS offices where it is cost effective to do so.  A separate license must be obtained for each meter location.  Postal Service (PS) Form 3601-A, "Application for a Postage Meter License," should be obtained at the post office where the metered mail is to be deposited.  It should be completed and returned.  The three-digit, agency-assigned code and the State accounting code must be included.  See Section 402.42.

B.  A copy of each approved license will be maintained at the post office.  The original license should be maintained at the office where the meter is located and a copy of the license forwarded to the State or NTSC office.

C.  Designs for official meter stamps must be approved by USPS.  Standard designs should be used.  Requests for additional designs should be submitted through AD.

D.  Postal meters are refilled remotely by telephone or over the Internet through an account with the vendor.

E.  Meter Records.—At each setting, USPS will provide NRCS with PS Form 3603, "Receipt for Postage Meter Setting."  This form should be maintained in the State or NTSC office.  The amounts of the recorded settings should be retained to verify the quarterly postage billing.  PS Form 3602-A, which USPS provides at the first setting, is to be maintained as the meter is used.   This form will assist the user in identifying any malfunction in the meter.

F.  If an office using a postage meter moves to another town, the meter license must be transferred.  Contact the State administrative office for assistance.

G.  Spoiled Meter Postage.—Do not destroy spoiled or unused meter postage strips.  The grace period is 60 days; spoiled postage is accepted the third full week of each month.  Obtain PS Form 3533, "Application and Voucher for Refund of Postage and Fees," from USPS.  Complete the form and present it and the postage at the post office where the meter is set. 

H.  Mailing Pieces: Return Address.—All envelopes, post cards, labels, and packages to be used with an official meter must bear an official NRCS return address and the words "Official Business."

402.27  Official Postage Stamps

A.  All NRCS offices whose mail volume is too small to make meters cost effective will use official postage stamps.  Offices using meters should also retain a small stock of official postage stamps to use in the event of meter breakdowns (a 2- or 3-day supply).

B.  Orders for official postage stamps will be placed directly with the USPS Stamp Distribution Office (SDO) by the administrative office on PS Form 17-G, "Official Mail Stamp Requisition."  To the extent practicable, orders should be placed quarterly.  Estimates of needed postage can be based upon postage used in prior quarters.  Orders for stamps must be a minimum of $50.

C.  Mail Pieces.—All envelopes, post cards, labels, and packages to be used with official postage stamps must bear an official NRCS return address and the words "Official Business.”

402.28  Official Permit Imprint Mail

A.  The permit imprint indicium is intended to be used on large mailings of like pieces that are centrally mailed, whether by NRCS offices or contractors for NRCS.  The permit imprint indicium allows the mail to bypass the metering or stamping operation.  The number of pieces required for each mailing varies with the class of mail used. 

B.  NRCS uses only one permit imprint number (DMM-7.8) for first-class and standard mail at all mailing locations.

C.  The imprint is placed in the upper-right corner of the address side of the mailing piece.  A valid NRCS return address and the words, “Official Business, Penalty for Private Use, $300,” must be in the upper-left corner.

D.  When a contractor is to make mailings, the procedures mentioned above may be followed or the office may provide the contractor with both copies of completed Form 3601.  The contractor must then present the form with the mailing at the entry post office.  One copy of the form should be returned to the State administrative office.

E.  An annual fee is charged for each post office processing NRCS-permit-imprint mail, regardless of whether it is mailed by an NRCS official or a contractor.  This fee will be billed through direct accountability and not paid at the local post office.

402.29  Paying Postage on Penalty Reply Mail

A.  Reply mail is any self-addressed piece of mail sent to obtain a response.

B.  NRCS will pay postage for reply mail if the reply is of benefit to the agency.  Examples of such mailings are those to obtain reference checks on prospective employees or to confirm appointments with cooperators who cannot be reached by other means.

C.  If a response is to the benefit of the respondent, the respondent should pay the postage.  An example is when a mailing is made to update a mailing list.  Respondents who wish to remain on the list will be required to pay the return postage.

D.  The three ways to pay return postage are by using business reply mail envelopes or cards, courtesy reply mail that may include the use of postage stamps, or meter strips.  Use the most cost-effective method.

E.  NRCS has a single business reply permit and pays an annual accounting fee for its use from National Headquarters.

F.  Two options for business reply mail are available at field locations

(1)  Account Option.—An annual fee will be charged for a business reply permit at each location using the business reply, payable through direct accountability.  Form PS 3615, "Application for a BRM Permit," must be submitted to the local post office for assignment of a BRM number.  Charges will be a set amount for each piece of mail handled in addition to the applicable first-class postage.

(2)  Pay on Delivery.—A user fee will be charged on the NRCS general permit number, and the postage must be paid on each piece of mail at a higher rate of per-piece handling in addition to the first-class postage.  The fee for each day's business reply mail must be paid in penalty mail stamps or meter strips.  Only the user fee will be billed through direct accountability on this option.

G.  Each office should review its expected usage for BRM before deciding on the most cost-effective method of postage.

H.  The mailing piece must bear the penalty statement “Official Business, Penalty for Private Use, $300” under the NRCS return address and must be addressed to a valid NRCS address.

402.30  Postage Due

USPS will collect postage due on short paid mail, i.e., that for which insufficient postage has been affixed.  This may be paid by using official mail stamps or meter strips for the exact amount of postage due.  The meter strip should show the current date.  NRCS offices are not to pay cash for postage due.  Any office experiencing difficulty in getting the local post office to accept stamps or meter strips should contact its State administrative office.

402.31  Classes of Mail Used by USPS

First-Class and Priority Mail

(1)  First-Class Mail.—First-class mail consists of mailable postal cards, matter wholly or partially written or typewritten, matter closed against inspection, bills, and statements of accounts.  The postage rates are based upon the weight of the item.

(i)  First-class is the highest priority for processing mail and is given precedence over third- and fourth-class matter.

(ii)  The minimum dimensions for mailable envelopes, cards, and self-mailers are 3 ½ inches by 5 inches.  Cards exceeding 4 inches by 6 inches require postage at the first-class rate for letters.  Official mail weighing 11 ounces or less will automatically receive first-class service and must be paid at the first-class rate unless a lower class of mail is indicated on the item.  First-class mail over 11 ounces is "Priority Mail."

(iii)  “Nonstandard first-class mail” is any first-class piece weighing 1 ounce or less that exceeds 11 ½ inches in length, 6 1/8 inches in height, or ¼ inch in thickness.  A 9 ½ - by 12-inch envelope weighing 1 ounce or less is an example of a nonstandard item.  Such items are subject to a surcharge.

(iv)  An endorsement is not required on first-class mail; however, for clarification, it is recommended on first-class items larger than 4 ½ inches by 10 inches.

(2)  Priority Mail

Priority mail is all first-class mail that exceeds 11 ounces, or any other mail matter weighing 11 ounces or less at the option of the mailer.  Postage is determined by the weight size and zone of the destination. 

(3)  Bound printed matter can be used for printed matter that is permanently bound with staples, glue, or special binders.  Included are such items as catalogs and directories.  Packages of bound printed matter must weigh more than 1 pound and no more than 15 pounds.  Bound printed matter is zone rated and must be endorsed.

402.32  Special Services

A.  Registered mail should be used only when required by law or to transmit items subject to national security restrictions.  Registered mail is not to be used for indemnity (insurance) for Government mail.  Registered mail only provides secure handling and a record of delivery.  USPS’s recordkeeping on this type of mail will cause delivery to be considerably slower than other first-class mail.  The registered-mail fee is charged in addition to the first-class postage.  Less expensive records of delivery can be obtained using certified mail.

B.  Certified mail provides a record of delivery at the post office of delivery.  While in transit, certified mail is handled as ordinary mail.  The certified-mail fee must be paid in addition to the first-class postage.

C.  Insured mail is not normally used in U.S. Government mail because the Federal Government is self-insured.  However, if a record of delivery is required on a piece of third- or fourth-class mail, insurance is the least expensive means to accomplish this.  The insurance fee must be paid in addition to the third- or fourth-class postage.

D.  Return receipts are available on registered, certified, insured, and express mail.  The purpose of a return receipt is to provide evidence of delivery.  A fee must be paid for the return receipt in addition to the postage and special service fee, and can also be done electronically if the machine is capable of communication to USPS.

E.  Restricted delivery permits the mailer to direct that delivery be made only to the addressee or the recipient’s agent on registered, certified, and insured mail.  In the case of large companies or government agencies, mailrooms serve as the receiving agent for the entire organization and the item will be delivered to them.  In such an instance, this service is not cost-effective and should not be used.  The restricted-delivery fee must be paid in addition to the postage and special service fee.

F.  Special delivery provides expedited delivery after the item reaches the destination post office.  It does not speed the item while in transit.  This is an expensive service for which the cost is seldom justified.  The special delivery fee must be paid in addition to the postage.

G.  Special handling expedites third- and fourth-class mail in transit.  This is an inexpensive alternative to priority mail for third- and fourth-class material and is time-sensitive.  The special handling fee must be paid in addition to the third- or fourth-class postage.

H.  Express mail is an expedited service provided by USPS to a limited number of cities.  Check with your local post office to determine its availability and options.  This service is very expensive and should be used only when absolutely necessary.  Express mail should be paid by using meters or official mail stamps.  Indicate payment on the express mail label with the word "cash" in the customer number block.

402.33  International Mail

A.  International mail is any mail sent outside the United States, Puerto Rico, or U.S. possessions.  Weight, size limits, and endorsements differ in many respects from those used for domestic mail.  Offices should contact their local post office for information contained in the International Mail Manual.

B.  Two methods of transportation available for international mail are surface and air mail.  Effort should be made to consider cost when choosing a method of transportation, as international air mail is extremely expensive.

402.34  Proper Packaging

Damaged items more often result from improper packaging by the sender than from improper handling by the carrier.

(1)  The container should fit the item being mailed.  Items placed in a container that is too large will rattle about and be damaged.  Items in a container that is too small may burst the container and be lost or damaged.

(i)  Letters of six pages or fewer should be folded and placed in a letter-size envelope.  Large envelopes having insufficient contents are easily bent or damaged.

(ii)  Pamphlets should be placed in an envelope or wrapper that fits them properly.  Odd sizes should be secured so that they do not slide about and burst the envelope.  Do not use clips to secure items in envelopes because they will tear the envelopes.

(iii)  Parcel items should have containers adequate in strength and size for the contents.  Boxes can be made to fit if needed.

(2)  Cushioning should be used to make items fit their containers and protect them during transit, especially for fragile items.

(3)  Reinforcement of package closures should be adequate for the loads they bear.  Never use strings, as they become entangled in conveyor belts.

(4)  Proper address placement is essential for speedy handling.  On packages, the address label should be placed on the largest rectangular side of the package.  Use one side only.

402.35  Cost-Cutting Mail Practices

A.  Responsibility

(1)  All employees should—

(i)  Avoid sending excessive copies of amendments, bulletins, or enclosures.

(ii)  Limit distribution to those who need the material.

(iii)  Plan ahead to avoid higher cost for special handling.

(iv)  Request special services only when a legitimate need exists.

(v)  Report situations in which unnecessary extra copies or unneeded materials are dispatched from an NRCS office.

(2)  Employees who dispatch mail are responsible for using the most efficient, economical means.  They need to know the provisions of this subpart, particularly the costs, advantages, and requirements for the various postal classes and special services provided by USPS.

B.  Envelope Sizes

Use small envelopes when 6 or fewer sheets of folded paper are mailed.  Using a 9- by 12-inch envelope costs more because of a surcharge for oversized mail weighing 1 ounce or less.

C.  "All Office" Mailings

Judiciously limit "all office" mailings.  Carefully consider whether routine mail needs to be sent more often than once a week.  Use the smallest size envelopes for mailing to all locations.  For instance, if sending just two small bulletins that can be folded, use a small envelope.

402.36  Addressing

Proper addressing can greatly improve processing of mail by preventing delays and improving efficiency in handling.  Most letters and packages are handled by machines; therefore, addresses should be in a standard format.

(1)  Standard typewriter fonts rather than artistic fonts or handwritten addresses are preferred.  If handwriting must be used, print in simple block letters.

(2)  ZIP codes in both the delivery address and the return address are required on all Government mail.

(3)  The standard, two-letter State abbreviation should always be used.

(4)  The order of the address is as follows:

(i)  Line 1:  Company or individual name

(ii)  Line 2:  Business or individual location address, if different from USPS delivery address

(iii)  Line 3:  USPS delivery address

(iv)  Line 4:  City, State, and ZIP code

Examples: 

Mr. John Jones                          ABC Company

801 North Erie Street                801 North Erie Street

P.O. Box 1502                          Toledo, OH 43602

Toledo, OH 43602

Note:  If used, an "attention" line should be on line 2, with the location address on line 3.

(5)  Four-line addresses are preferred.  Five lines may be used when absolutely necessary.

Example:

ABC Company

Attn:  John Jones

801 North Erie Street

P.O. Box 1502

Toledo, OH 43602

(6)  All NRCS addresses should be formatted to include the position title so that the mail will be routed efficiently and be answered by the person filling the position at the time the mail is received.  Personal mail should not be sent to an official address.

Example:

USDA-NRCS

J. Jones, State Engineer

W. 920 Riverside, Room 360

Spokane, WA 99201

402.37  Address Format for Material Sent to National Headquarters (NHQ)

A.  NHQ is located in different office buildings in the USDA complexes in Washington, DC.  Because of the complex USDA mail system, different address formats must be used for different classes of U.S. mail and alternate carriers delivering to NHQ.

B.  The address formats are as follows:

(1)  First-Class and Priority Mail:

USDA-NRCS

[Division or Title]

P.O. Box 2890

Washington, DC 20013

 

USDA-NRCS

5601 Sunnyside Avenue Stop Code 5460

Beltsville, MD  20707

(2)  USPS parcel post and express mail must be sent through the USDA mailroom.

USDA-NRCS

[Division or Title]

1400 Independence Ave., SW., Stop 1600

Washington, DC 20250

(3)  USDA-NRCS official parcels and express packages will be delivered to the recipient's room.  To receive the most expeditious service, use a street address and room number.  Some companies charge an additional fee if a post office box number is used for the address.

USDA-NRCS

[Division or Title]

[Room Number, Building]

14th & Independence Ave., SW

Washington, DC 20250

402.38  Mailing Size Limitations for USPS Items

A.  To increase the mechanization of mail processing, USPS has established standard sizes for letters and packages.  In most cases, other sizes can be mailed, but they are subject to a surcharge.  In the interest of economy, these surcharge items should be avoided whenever possible.

B.  The minimum size for a mailable piece is 3 1/2 inches by 5 inches, and 0.007 inches thickness.  Any item with one or more dimensions smaller than this cannot be mailed.

C.  Post cards must meet the minimum size, but cannot exceed 4 ¼ inches by 6 inches to be mailed at the post card rate.  Larger cards require the letter rate.

D.  Letter-size items weighing 1 ounce or less must be at least the minimum size.  They cannot exceed 6 1/8 inches by 11 1/2 inches and 1/4-inch thickness and must be rectangular.  Any first-class or third-class, single-piece item that weighs 1 ounce or less and does not meet the size specifications requires a surcharge.

E.  Parcels being sent by USPS are divided into two categories: machinable and irregular.  All parcels that are irregular are subject to a surcharge.

(1)  Machinable parcels must meet specific weight and size limits, as detailed in figure 402-B13.

Figure 402-B13:  Size and Weight Limits

 

Minimum

Maximum

Length

6 inches

34 inches

Width

3 inches

17 inches

Height (thickness)

1/4 inch

17 inches

Weight

8 ounces

35 pounds

Note:  Pieces weighing between 6 ounces and 8 ounces are machinable if all sides are rectangular.

Note:  The maximum weight for books or other printed matter is 25 pounds.

(2)  Irregular parcels include any item whose measurements are outside the criteria in figure 402-B13, plus some specifically identified items, as follows:

(i)  Rolls and tubes

(ii)  Paper or sleeve-wrapped printed matter

(iii)  Articles not securely packaged

(iv)  Unpackaged articles

(3)  The maximum size and weight of all parcels sent by USPS are 108 inches in length plus girth and 70 pounds, but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth for the parcel.  These limits apply to standard, express mail, and priority mail.

402.39  Commercial Carriers

A.  General

General Services Administration (GSA) awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) to United Parcel Service for Domestic Delivery Services (DDS2).   As a result, it is mandatory that NRCS use the UPS BPA. 

B.  Restrictions

(1)  Items that require first-class handling, such as correspondence, may not be sent by commercial carriers without paying the first-class postage.  In this case, any benefits for using an alternate carrier are negated.

(2)  Commercial carriers are prohibited from delivering items addressed to post office box addresses.  All items must bear a complete street address.

C.  Purchasing and Payments

Arrangements should be made at the local level for purchasing and payment of fees for commercial carriers.

402.40  Mailing Lists

A.  The Joint Committee on Printing Regulations requires that all mailing lists maintained by the Government for distribution of publications be circululated once each year.  Therefore, the addressees will be canvassed to see who wishes to continue receiving the publication.  This can be done as part of a normal mailing or as a special mailing.  Postage on the return item should be paid by the addressee, not NRCS. 

B.  To report address changes, send an email to the Records Management Branch, Management Services Division, Room 4235-S, NHQ.  Include a recent mailing label, your name and address, type of office (State office, area office, district conservationist, resource conservation and development, soil survey, project, or subfield office).  Include a name and telephone number that can be called if there are any questions.

402.41  Authorized Meter Providers

A.  DATA-PAC Mailing System Corporation

1217 Bay Road

Webster, NY 14580

Telephone (800) 355-1755

B.  Francotyp-Postalia Inc.

140 North Mitchell Court, Suite 200

Addison, IL 60101

Telephone (800) 341-6052

C.  Hasler Inc.

478 Wheelers Farm Road

Milford, CT 06461

Telephone (800) 642-2035

D.  Neopost Inc.

478 Wheelers Farm Road

Milford, CT 06461

Telephone (800) 624-7892

E.  Pitney Bowes Inc.

1 Elmcroft Road

Stamford, CT 06926

Telephone (800) 322-8000

402.42  USPS Accounting Control Numbers for NRCS

A.  Agency Code - 011

B.  State Accounting Codes are listed in figure 402-B14.

Figure 402-B14:  State Accounting Codes

AL

16001

NE

16031

AK

16002

NV

16032

AZ

16004

NH

16033

AR

16005

NJ

16034

CA

16006

NM

16035

CO

16008

NY

16036

CT

16009

NC

16037

DE

16010

ND

16038

FL

16012

OH

16039

GA

16013

OK

16040

HI

16015

OR

16041

ID

16016

PA

16042

IL

16017

RI

16044

IN

16018

SC

16045

IA

16019

SD

16046

KS

16020

TN

16047

KY

16021

TX

16048

LA

16022

UT

16049

ME

16023

VT

16050

MD

16024

VA

16051

MA

16025

WA

16053

MI

16026

WV

16054

MN

16027

WI

16055

MS

16028

WY

16056

MO

16029

PR

16072

MT

16030

 

 

DC

16011

 

 

GU

16015

 

 

 

 

[GM_120_402_B - Amend. 108 - March 2011]

Subpart C – Reserved

 

[GM_120_402_C - March 2007]

Subpart D - Wire Communications

402.40  Telegraph and Cable Messages

Use wire communication facilities only if operating needs require a speedier means than can be provided by mail. If a written record is important, send messages by the most economical wire facilities in preference to using long-distance telephone.

402.41  Commercial Services

Commercial wire facilities provide for "day letters" and "night letters" at lower rates than straight (day) messages. Select the type that is most economical and that meets current operating needs when necessary to use commercial facilities. Consider time zones, daylight saving time differences, and telegraphic traffic rush hours (4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST).

Use Form SF-14, Telegraphic Message, as the original to telegraph offices. Prepare tissue copies the same as 402.3 for correspondence.

Use abbreviations and coined words in telegraphic messages if the recipient will understand their meaning. Five or less letters or numerals of coined words count as one word. To reduce the word count, use punctuation marks instead of spelling out such words as stop, comma, quote, etc. Do not hyphenate words unless necessary for understanding. Omit articles "I," "an," and "the" unless needed for clarity. Write dates with hyphens, such as 5-14-79, not with diagonal "/." Omit "please," "Mr.," etc.

402.42  Messages Between Offices

In messages between NRCS offices or employees, omit titles, bureaus, divisions, etc., in signatures and addresses. Use the approved abbreviation for a directive series or primary subject of two or more words. See Part 403 of this title for primary subject abbreviations. 

402.43  Messages Outside NRCS Offices

An official business telegram to an official address may include a request for hotel reservations if the request does not exceed 10 percent of the total wordage of the text of official business.

If needed, priority handling of full-rate (straight) messages sent via commercial facilities may be obtained by typing "PRIORITY" immediately preceding the name and address of the addressee.

[GM_120_402_D - October 2006]

Subpart E - Telephone

402.50  General

  • Depending on location, there may be either of two basic telephone facilities available for placing long-distance telephone calls
    • the Federal Telecommunications System (FTS)
    • commercial facilities

      Use FTS facilities when available in lieu of commercial facilities, whether the official business is transacted from an NRCS office, other office, residence, hotel, etc.
  • Make long-distance telephone calls (FTS or commercial) only when operating needs require a speedier means of communication than is provided by mail.
  • The FTS system can be used in placing long-distance telephone calls from non-FTS locations to FTS locations. Non-FTS locations are to place long-distance calls through nearby FTS operators if
    • Field offices are within the local dialing area of FTS operators and are calling FTS locations.
    • The cost of a long-distance call to the FTS operator does not exceed the commercial charge to the number being called.
  • State offices are to determine which field offices should normally use FTS for long-distance calls and are to provide the necessary operator number and identification code by supplementing this subpart of the General Manual.
  • Policy interpretations, establishment of operating procedures, and commitments of any consequence made over the telephone (whether long-distance or local) must be confirmed or recorded in writing. In a rush situation for which a written record is important, send a telegraphic message by the most economical wire facility instead of making a long-distance telephone call.
  • Telephones are installed in NRCS offices for official business. Private or personal calls increase cost to NRCS, either directly or indirectly. Personal local calls may prevent or delay important long- distance or other business calls from reaching their destinations. Do not use official telephones to make outgoing local private telephone calls except in emergencies. Never use FTS or commercial long-distance facilities for other than official government business.
  • An employee may receive important or necessary incoming private calls (local or long-distance). Both employee and supervisor, however, are responsible for seeing that unofficial incoming calls are held to a minimum and completed as quickly as possible.

402.51  Monitoring Telephone Calls

No employee may authorize, permit, or participate in monitoring telephone conversations from, to, or within NRCS or with respect to official business of the Department for any purposes unless prior and adequate notice is given to, and agreement received from, all participants to the conversation. This prohibits listening in for any reason without prior approval of all parties to the conversation.

If a telephone call is to be a conference call, all participants in the conference are to be fully identified before the subject matter of the call is introduced. If a call is monitored by a secretary or any other person to take notes or make a verbatim transcript of the conversation, the secretary or other person is to be identified and the assent of all other parties to the conversation obtained before the subject matter is discussed. The monitoring is to end as soon as the portion of the telephone conversation agreed upon for monitoring is terminated.

402.52  Electronic or Mechanical Device

No electronic or mechanical device including transmitter cut-off switches are to be used to monitor NRCS telephones.

402.53  Answering Service

Use of telephone answering service is not classed as "monitoring" telephone calls. State offices may approve the use of a telephone answering service if needed for field operations. The need must be fully documented even if installation is temporary.

402.54  Telephone Directory Listings

Telephone directory listings should be as uniform as possible throughout NRCS. The following example of the desired directory listing should be used as a guide:

United States Government
Agriculture, Department of
Agriculture Marketing Service
Forest Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Area Office (Address)
Field Office (Address)

For towns in which there are not enough government agencies to warrant a separate listing under "United States Government" but there is at least one Agriculture agency other than the NRCS office, the listing may be under "Agriculture, U.S. Department of" followed by the alphabetical listings of the agencies. If NRCS is the only Agriculture agency, the listing may be made under either "United States Government" or "Agriculture, U.S. Department of." 

402.55  Manning Telephones

Good service to the public requires constantly available communication. Telephones are to be manned without interruption from the opening of business in the morning to the close of business in the evening. This policy applies to all TSC, state, area, and other NRCS offices that have enough regular office employees to make staggering of lunch hours possible. This does not apply to field offices where field work must take first priority. In field offices when the work requires two or more people to be in the office, lunch hours should be staggered or otherwise arranged to handle incoming telephone calls whenever it does not interfere with scheduled activities.

402.56  Availability of Telephone Service to Conservation Districts

At an NRCS location where the conservation district does not maintain an office or have its own telephone, the district staff may be permitted to conduct official district business over the NRCS telephone if:

The district's use of the NRCS telephone does not interrupt greatly both incoming and outgoing NRCS official calls.

The district agrees to stand any additional costs to NRCS that may accrue from its commercial long-distance telephone calls.

The district may also be permitted to list the NRCS telephone number in the local telephone directory under the heading or name of "Conservation District" preceded by the district's name if it wishes to do so. The district must pay for and make arrangements with the telephone company to be billed directly for such additional listing.

The state office is to provide instructions about the records NRCS needs for any commercial long-distance telephone calls placed by the district. It is sometimes possible to work out arrangements whereby the telephone company will bill the district separately for their long-distance telephone calls.

NRCS offices that have FTS telephone service are to instruct district personnel who are authorized to place commercial long-distance calls through FTS to provide the FTS operator his or her full name and the two letter four-digit identification symbol assigned by GSA to NRCS. District personnel who are provided an FTS identification symbol are not to make the symbol available to anyone else.
 

[GM_120_402_E - October 2006]

Subpart F - Directories

402.60  General

Listings in local city telephone directories (402.54) are principally for the convenience of the public and those Government agencies or groups who are seeking information or assistance from NRCS.

402.61  Responsibilities

The National Headquarters Administrative Staff is responsible for the preparation, revision, and distribution of National Headquarters directories. In addition, this office will report changes for the USDA Telephone Directory as requested by Office of Operations and Finance.

NTC directors and state conservationists are responsible for the preparation, revision, and distribution of directories for their states or NTC's.

402.62  Preparation and Revision

Directories are to be prepared or reissued at the beginning of each fiscal year by each state, each NTC, and the National Headquarters.

There is no prescribed format for NRCS directories, except the following:

  • The directory must identify the organizational level represented.
  • A telephone number and address must be included where employees listed in the directory can normally be contacted during duty hours.
  • State directories must identify the area served by each field or project office.
  • Margins must allow for side or top punching. Pages are to be loose-leaf and numbered for ease of revision.

Other features which may enhance directories include office and personnel indexes and office hours for each location or, if more appropriate, duty hours for each employee. Several states also include EEO contacts, order of succession of command for the state conservationist, and alternate headquarters locations in the event of an emergency.

NRCS employees assigned to PPT or INT tours of duty may be listed in NRCS directories at the discretion of the individual responsible for preparing the directory. Non-NRCS employees may be included if they are assigned by their employer to perform duties under the technical guidance or supervision of an NRCS employee.

Covers for NRCS directories are optional. When covers are used, their cost should be in keeping with the maximum 1-year life of the directory.

Directories may be revised at any time during the year by issuing corrected or updated pages. Pen and ink changes are to be used ONLY for prompt corrections of essential information and are to be incorporated in a revision as soon as practicable.

Revisions of National Headquarters directories are based on:

  • Changes resulting from personnel actions (promotion, reassignment, separation, name change, etc.) prepared by the administrative office, or
  • Changes of telephone or room number as reported by the supervisor of each organizational unit through their respective director or equivalent to the administrative office. Use Form SCS-ADS-18, Directory Change Notice, to effect changes in the National Headquarters Organizational Listing or NRCS Directory. Use Form SF - 146, Change in Telephone Listing, to effect changes in the USDA Telephone Directory.
  • Revisions of NTC or state directories are to be in accordance with instructions issued by the respective NTC director or state conservationist.

402.63  Distribution

National Headquarters directories will be distributed to NTC's and state offices. NTC and state offices must inform the Director, Information Resources Management (IRM) Division, when they desire to change the number of copies of National Headquarters directories received.

Each NTC and state office is to forward 15 copies of their current directory to the Director, IRM, by October 30 each year. Revisions during the year are to be forwarded in the same quantity to the IRM director. Additional distribution is to be as determined by the state conservationist, except for required copies at primary alternate headquarter locations.

Distribution of state directories within the National Headquarters will be in accordance with the distribution list maintained by the Director, IRM. National Headquarters units desiring to receive copies of state directories must make written request to the IRM director.

NTC directories are to be distributed to those states served by the respective NTC. State conservationists must inform the NTC director as to the number of copies needed. Additional distribution of NTC directories is to be determined by NTC director.
 

[GM_120_402_F - October 2006]

Subpart H - Exhibits


402.80  Sample Letter

THE DATE WILL BE STAMPED ON THE LETTER AFTER BEING SIGNED

 

Mr. John Doe

19918 East 766 Road

Tahlequah, Oklahoma  74464                                                File Code:  120-1 (On file copy only)

 

Dear Mr. Doe:

 

I want to thank you for helping the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) celebrate its 75th anniversary.  Your reflections on the agency’s past and your insights on the challenges and needs of the future contributed significantly to making NRCS Day a successful event for staff, partners, and the media.  You provided valuable perspective on the agency’s important role in conserving this country’s natural resources and the continued need for its programs.

 

With more than 70 percent of this country’s land in private ownership, working with private landowners to protect soil, water, air, plants, and animals remains essential to achieving both productive lands and healthy ecosystems.  Taking a moment to take pride in the agency’s past accomplishments helps us all bring new energy to the challenges ahead. 

 

Please accept the enclosed as an expression of our appreciation for your valuable contribution to our celebration and to conservation.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Dave White

Chief

 

Enclosure

 

bc:  (On file copy only)

Thomas W. Christensen, Regional Conservationist, Central, NRCS, Washington, D.C.

Ronald L. Hilliard, State Conservationist, NRCS, Stillwater, Oklahoma

 

FINAL:NRCS:MGT:PAD:TERRYBISH:rm:(202) 690-2877:2-22-10:C-10-2

DRAFT:DCMGT:CRD:Wytonya Jackson: 301-504-2182: 02/16/2010   (ON FILE COPY ONLY)

 

402.81  Sample Memorandum

THE DATE WILL BE STAMPED ON THE MEMORANDUM AFTER BEING SIGNED

 

 

SUBJECT:    ADS - The Office of Management and Budget 2002 A-76 Inventory Data Call

 

TO:             Richard M. Guyer                                               File Code:  180-12 (On file copy only)

      Director                                                            

            Fiscal Policy Division

      Office of the Chief Financial Officer

 

 

The attached report was mandated by the Office of Management and Budget regarding the 2002 A-76 Inventory Data Call.  Included in the report are the required in-house, full-time equivalents for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

If you have questions, please contact Dianne Guidry, Director, Management Services Division, at (202) 720-4102.

 

 

 

 

Dave White

Chief

 

Attachment

 

FINAL:NRCS:MGT:MSD:EDWARDBIGGERS:chr:6/10/02:504-2162:LM-99-115

*NOTE:  File codes are for internal use only     (ON FILE COPY ONLY)

 

[GM_120_402_H - Amend. 91 - August 2010]

Part 403 - Directives and Forms
 


Note: Due to large file sizes, some links may appear to not function when clicked on. If this occurs, right-click on the link and select "save target as" to download the pdf file to your computer.

Subpart A - Directives

403.0  Purpose
403.1  Definition
403.2  Coordinated System of Records
403.3  Permanent Directives
403.4  Temporary Directives
403.5  Non-NRCS Directives
403.6  Part Numbers
403.7  Maintaining Directives
403.8  Clearance Signatures for Directives
403.9  Where to Find Detailed NRCS Directives Policy and Procedures

Subpart B - Forms

403.10  Purpose
403.11  References
403.12  Definitions
403.13  Responsibilities
403.14  General Forms Management Principles
403.15  Forms Design
403.16  Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
403.17  Instructions for Printing, Stocking, and Distribution of Forms
403.18  eForms
403.19  Section 508 Accessibility Standards

                   




 
  


[GM_120_403 - ]

Part 404 - Land Treatment Long-Term Contracting

Subpart A - General

404.0  General

A.  This part sets forth Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) policy and procedures for installation of conservation treatment through long-term contracts (LTC) either with conservation districts or directly with individual participants under all NRCS cost-share programs where LTCs are authorized. The Rural Abandoned Mine Program and Wellton-Mohawk project are excluded. Policy for Long-Term Agreements, (LTAs) is contained in the National Manual for Assisting ASCS Cost-Sharing Programs, parts 535 through 541. Subpart C is recommended for preparation of LTCs for state and or locally funded long-term cost-share programs. If an unusual situation arises or a special condition exists, a letter requesting an exception to the policy in this part will be sent to the Chief. The letter must provide adequate rationale for the request.

B.  Long-Term Contracts are binding contracts which will spell out the participants', NRCS or conservation district responsibilities, and the consequences of violating the contract. An LTC requires the participant to carry out the work with his or her own resources or contract for the work. The basis for the LTC is an approved plan/schedule of operations developed by the participant and approved by NRCS.

C.  NRCS will provide available technical assistance when requested for developing plans and installing scheduled conservation practices. Participants are to be encouraged to use assistance available from other Federal and state agencies and private sources. Technical assistance for planning and installing conservation treatment may be provided by sources other than NRCS. NRCS must approve any technical assistance and conservation plans prepared by non-NRCS personnel.

D.  Cost-share payments are made to participants upon satisfactory completion of installation of the practices or identifiable components of practices. Participants may use any annual Federal cost-sharing program in carrying out non-cost-share items unless restricted by other program policies.

E.  Payments made to participants under NRCS - land user contracts are reported to IRS on Form 1099-G by NFC. Conservation districts are responsible for reporting of cost-share paid to participants on Form 1099-G as a result of project agreements.

F.  Time and progress should be recorded in accordance with the current National Reporting Codes Handbook.

404.1  Required State Actions

A.  Develop a priority rating system for determining the priority in which Conservation Plans of Operation's (CPO) are developed and contracts funded. Copies of the GM-120-404 supplement will be provided to the NTC.

B.  Update cost list annually.

C.  Supplement GM-120-404 or Section I of the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) with current eligible practice list.

D.  Establish the amount which is considered to be a "significant" change in the cost of a contract item number. Copies of the GM-120-404 supplement will be provided to the NTC.

E.  Appoint Contracting Officer.

F.  Appoint Government Representative (GR) for Conservation District participants contracts.

G.  Appoint hearing officers as needed.

404.2  Definitions

A.  Affiliated Persons.  Spouse, minor children, estate ??sts, partnerships and joint ventures that individual filing or the spouse or minor child has an interest in; and corporations that the individual filing or the spouse or minor children have more than a 20 percent interest.

B.  Applicant.  A land user who has declared in writing the intention of participating in a long-term contract.

C.  Average Costs.  The calculated cost, determined by averaging recent actual costs and current cost estimates, considered necessary for a participant to carry out a conservation practice or a designated component of a conservation practice. Actual cost includes labor, supplies, and other direct costs required for physical installation of a practice.

D.  Case File.  A document folder maintained in the NRCS field office for recipients of NRCS technical assistance. It may contain information regarding inventory, evaluation, decisionmaking, and implementation.

E.  Compensatory T  treatment.  The installation of one or more conservation practice to replace a practice destroyed or removed.

F.  Component.  See identifiable component.

G.  Conservation District.  A subdivision of a state or territory organized pursuant to the State Soil Conservation District Law, as amended. This includes conservation districts organized pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1932, or 1934 or by tribal law. In some states these are called soil conservation districts, soil and water conservation districts, resource conservation districts, or natural resource districts. Conservation districts are locally created and operated. They are controlled by an elected and/or appointed governing body, generally made up of resident land users. In most states, conservation districts are under the general supervision of a state soil conservation commission, committee, board, or agency. Functions, operations, purposes, and powers of conservation districts vary widely from state to state.

H.  Conservation Practice.  A measure commonly used to meet a specific need in planning and carrying out soil and water conservation programs for which standards and specifications have been developed. (It may be all or part of a resource management system.)

I  Contract item Number (CIN).  A number or number and letter used to identify required practices and identifiable components, respectively. (In LTAs the term is AIN.)

J.  Contracting Officer (CO).  The NRCS or conservation district employee authorized to sign long-term contracts.

K.  Cooperator.  An individual, group of people, or representative of a unit of government who has entered into an understanding, working arrangement, or cooperative agreement with a conservation district (or association of conservation districts) to work together in planning and carrying out soil and water resources use, development, and conservation on a specific land area.

L.  Cost.  The amount actually paid or engaged to be paid by the participant for equipment use, materials, and services for carrying out a practice, identifiable component, or if the participant uses own resources in carrying out an identifiable component, the constructed value of own labor, equipment use, and materials.

M.  Cost List.  A list of practices which includes average cost, cost-share methods, and cost-share rate.

N.  Cost-Share Payments.  Payments made to or on behalf of a participant at established rates as specified in contracts for carrying out a conservation practice or an identifiable component of such practices according to the contract.

O.  Cost-Share Rate (%).  The percentage of the cost paid by the Federal Government for completing the installation of a practice.

P.  Entity.  A corporation, partnership, trust, tribe or other legally formed group.

Q.  Finding of Fact.  A letter written by the district conservationist to the contracting officer informing of the situation involving noncompliance with a contract. It should state the situation, discuss the documentation that support noncompliance and recommend additional treatment to resolve the problem.

R.  Flat Rate ($).  A fixed dollar amount paid for carrying out certain conservation practices on a per-unit basis.

S.  Government Representative, (GR).  An NRCS employee designated by the state conservationist to be responsible for the day-to-day administration of a project agreement for NRCS functions relating to long-term contracts between the conservation district and the participant.

T.  Identifiable Component.  All of an eligible conservation practice, or a part thereof, that when carried out can be clearly identified as a segment in the sequence of carrying out the conservation practice.

U.  Joint Agreements.  (Also called pooling agreements.) Two or more participants who are cooperating to carry out conservation practices that can best be accomplished by combining resources.

V.  Land Unit.  Part or all of an operating unit.

W.  Land User.  Any eligible land user, producer, operator, lessor, o???pier, group, nonpublic legal entity, or other who individually, collectively, or by other arrangement has conservation planning and implementation responsibility for the land involved.

X.  Long-Term Contract.  (LTC), (Called long-term agreement LTA, by ASCS.) A binding agreement between NRCS or the conservation district and the participant which is based on the plan of operations and provides for cost-sharing of the conservation treatmen.

Y.  Operating Unit.  A parcel or parcels of land, whether contiguous or noncontiguous, constituting a single management unit for agricultural purposes. (An operating unit shall be designated as located in the county in which the principal dwelling is situated, or if there is no dwelling thereon, it shall be regarded to be in the county in which the major portion of the land is located. Questionable cases will be decided by the state conservationist before the contracting officer signs the contract.)

Z.  Participant.  Any land user who is a party to an executed long-term contract.

AA.  Plan of Operations.  A written plan of farming or ranching operations designed tosolve identified problems. It schedules the participant's decisions concerning land use, management systems, and cost-shared and non-cost-shared practices to be installed on all land in the unit to protect, develop, and use the soil, water, and related resources.  (Also referred to as a conservation plan of operations or plan/schedule of operations, CPO.)

BB.  Program Plan.  A broad plan of action developed to achieve specific goals of a USDA program.

CC.  Project Agreement.  A written agreement between NRCS and the conservation district establishing detailed working arrangements for the installation of conservation treatment.

DD.   Required Conservation Treatment.  The combination of conservation practices that, when installed, will provide the treatment required to solve the identified problems to the degree needed to meet identified program objectives or project plan requirements. This treatment may or may not be cost-shared.

EE.  Resource Management System.  A combination of conservation practices and management identified by the primary use of land or water that, if installed, will at a minimum, protect the resource base by meeting acceptable soil losses, maintaining acceptable water quality, and maintaining acceptable ecological and management levels for the selected resource use. Resource management systems, in addition, may include conservation practices or management to achieve NRCS mission objectives.

FF.  Statement of Fact.  A letter from the contracting officer to the state conservationist for concurrence that outlines a course of action that corrects a noncompliance where no forfeiture, refund or pay adjustment is needed.

GG.  Violation of Compliance Provisions.  For the purpose of determining loss of benefits, a violation is deemed to have occurred when reported through the ASCS Kansas City Computer System. Violations may occur on tracts operated by the participant as well as on tracts with which the participant may be affiliated.

[GM_120_404_A - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart B - Application for Assistance

404.10  General

Applications to participate in long-term contracting under NRCS cost-share programs are to be sent to the NRCS field office or the conservation district, whichever will develop the contract.  The application will be reviewed by the district conservationist (DC) and the local conservation district representative and given a priority.  Applications will be serviced on the basis of this priority, the availability of appropriated program funds, and the installation requirements as specified in the program plan.

404.11  Eligibility

A.  Eligible land user. Any person or entity that has control of an eligible land unit in a designated area and meets the requirements of 404.11(c) is eligible for participation if they submit an acceptable plan of operations.  It is the applicant's responsibility to furnish acceptable evidence of control of the land unit for the period required to carry out the plan of operations.  Persons in violation of the compliance provisions of the 1990 Food Agriculture and Conservation Trade Act (FACTA) are not eligible for benefits from a NRCS long-term contract.  Exception:  Contracts entered into prior to November 28, 1990 are not affected unless modified after that date to add additional land.

(1)  NRCS employees.  NRCS and conservation districts may enter into long-term contracts with employees of NRCS.  Employees may not service their own or their supervisor's contracts.

(2)  Conservation district employees.  The same requirements [(404.11(a)(1)] which apply to NRCS employees apply to conservation district employees.

(3)  Members of Congress.  Land users who are Members of Congress are eligible for participation only in the Great Plains Conservation Program (GPCP), (P.L. 381, 75th Congress, August 26, 1937, 50 Stat. 838).

B.  Eligible Land.

(1)  In designated counties or areas. Long-term contracting is applicable to--

(i)  Privately owned land.

(ii)  Nonfederally owned public land under private control for the contract period and included in the participant's operating unit.

(iii)  Federally owned land if the applicability thereto is for the installation of conservation treatment that directly and primarily conserve or benefit nearby or adjoining privately owned land of persons who maintain and use the Federal land under agreement with the department or agency having jurisdiction over the land.

(2)  In non-designated areas. Land lying in a non-designated Great Plains Conservation Program county but which is part of an eligible land unit located in a designated GP county, is considered to be eligible land for cost-sharing purposes.  Portions of field outside watershed boundaries may be treated under LTC with the rest of the field The CO is responsible for determining whether such land is a part of the land unit.

C.  Other Eligibility Requirements.

The DC shall evaluate each application and classify it as "eligible" or "ineligible."  A brief statement to document the basis for the eligibility classification shall be entered on the application.

(1)  GPCP

All land controlled and managed as an operating unit must be included in the application. Eligible operating units are those that have one or more resource problems identified in the current National Conservation Program and have problems that can be substantially solved utilizing Great Plains Conservation Program cost-sharing.

(2)  Watersheds and RC&D

Only that land identified in a watershed or RC&D measure plan as part of the problem area is eligible for NRCS cost-shared assistance.

D.  Other Long-Term Contracting Programs.

Land under long-term agreement (LTA) with ASCS or any other long-term contracting program is ineligible for a LTC under GPCP, Watershed or RC&D.

404.12  Submitting Applications

Applications should be submitted to NRCS or the conservation district, depending on who will be contracting with the land user.  It is to be signed and dated by the applicant.  The application will be returned to ASCS for completion of Form AD-1026 to determine eligibility for benefits. (Ref: 180-V-PFSAM)

404.13  Processing Applications

A.  General

On receipt of an application for program assistance, district conservationists and a representative of the conservation district are to check the application for completeness. If any information is missing or items in the application need further clarification, the application is to be returned to the applicant with instructions for completing any missing or incomplete items.

B.  Applications Meeting Eligibility and Priority Criteria are to be Separated into Two Categories

(1)  Applications involving land not previously under a long-term contract are to be considered for initial contracts.

(2)  Applications involving land previously under a long-term contract are to be processed according to the following guidelines.

(i)  If submitted by the previous participant or a new land user on a land unit primarily consisting of land that has been under a long-term contract within the last 10 years (120 months), they are to be considered for second contracts.

(ii)  If submitted by the previous participant or a new land user on a land unit primarily consisting of land that has not been under a long-term contract within the last 10 years (120 months), they are to be considered for initial contracts.

(iii)  If submitted by the previous participant or a new land user on a land unit consisting of land that was under a long-term contract within the last 10 years (120 months) plus a substantial acreage never under a long-term contract, they are to be considered for initial contracts.

C.  Record of Applications

The office that develops long-term contracts will maintain a record of each application submitted. This may be done using Form SCS-LTP-3 (404.83).

404.14  Priority Rating

Priority rating system.  The state conservationist shall develop a system for determining the priority in which technical assistance is to be given to eligible applicants for developing plans of operations and contracts.  The system shall be so devised to give highest priority to applicants with the most severe problems as defined in the planned objectives, program objectives or other national guidelines. (See Exhibit)

404.15  Priority of Servicing

Servicing Order.  The DC in consultation with the conservation district shall rate each eligible application and assign priority designation of high, medium or low.  The DC must document this process.  Applications in the highest priority group normally shall be serviced first to ensure that limited cost-share funds and technical assistance are directed to the most serious problems.  Some of the factors to be considered in setting the order in which applications are to be serviced within a priority group are:

(1)  The urgency of work to be accomplished in relation to the conservation district's long-range program and annual plan of work.

(2)  The applicant's interest, readiness, willingness, and ability to move ahead with a sound conservation program.

(3)  Chronological order of applications received.

(4)  The seasonal nature of the conservation work to be accomplished.

404.16  Servicing Applications

Review of unserviced applications. Unserviced applications shall be reviewed annually with the applicants to determine current status.  Those which cannot be developed into contracts in the foreseeable future for reasons other than shortage of cost-share funds or technical servicesshall be canceled.  Changes in priority classification and proposed cancellations shall be reviewed by the DC with the conservation district.  The date of review, findings, and actions may be recorded on the application and on Form SCS-LTP-3.  Applicants will be advised in writing of the cancellation and of the opportunity to file new applications if their circumstances change.

[GM_120_404_B - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart C - Plan/Schedule of Operations

404.20  General

The basis for a long-term contract (LTC) is an approved plan/schedule of operations developed by the applicant with assistance from NRCS and the conservation district.  The plan/schedule of operations is to include the portion of the land controlled by the applicant and requiring treatment as specified in the program plan.  The plan/schedule of operations is to include all required conservation treatment (see definition) before it can be accepted and approved.  Except for GPCP, a plan/schedule of operations may cover less than the entire farm but must cover the entire problem area.  For GPCP, the plan/schedule of operations is to include all land controlled and managed as an operating unit.

404.21  Preparation of Plan/Schedule of Operations

A.  A plan/schedule of operations (CPO) is to be keyed to a map and prepared on Forms SCS-LTP-11, or 11A and 11b, or an OMB approved electronically generated version of these forms.

B.  The key to successful implementation of a conservation plan is a schedule of operations that outlines a logical sequence of work to be accomplished within a reasonable time.  All required treatment shall be scheduled for installation 2 years before the expiration of the contract.  Some primary considerations in setting the time schedule are the seasonal nature of practices, the interrelation of practices, the availability of contractors and materials, the participant's financial situation, and the need for and availability of technical services.  Management practices will be scheduled to support needed vegetative and structural practices and permit the participant to comply with the time schedule.

404.22  Applicable Conservation Treatment

A.  The conservation treatment included in the plan/schedule of operations should be compatible with the planned resource management systems.

B.  Where program objectives or project plan objectives include soil loss reduction, all practices used in arriving at the planned reduction must be included in the plan/schedule of operation.

C.  Any practice listed in the National Handbook of Conservation Practices that has a set of approved standards and specifications in the local NRCS field office technical guide and meets program criteria may be considered.

D.  Treatment must be planned and applied in accordance with the approved practice specifications on file in the local field office technical guide or meet special design standards and specifications approved by the authorized NRCS official.

404.23  Conservation Treatment Already On The Land

A.  Compatible conservation practices or components thereof established before entering into a contract are to be used to the extent practical in combination with planned conservation treatment.  Maintenance of the existing practices necessary to meet the objectives of the program are to be included as part of the LTC.  A contract does not relieve participants of their obligations with respect to maintaining practices previously installed with assistance from NRCS or any other agency.

B.  If the destruction of an existing practice is planned, the participant must furnish evidence that all obligations with regard to cost-shared practices to be destroyed have been met and a record of the evidence must be included in all copies of the contract.

404.24  Conservation District Review

(a) In those cases where contracts are between NRCS and the land user, the district conservationist (DC) is to provide the conservation district an opportunity to review plans, including significant changes in plans resulting from addition or deletion of land by contract modification. District concurrence of the plan is to be indicated on the SCS-LTP-11B.

(b) If the conservation district chooses to review the plan and does not concur, the DC is to advise the contracting officer (CO).  If the CO is unable to resolve the problem with the parties concerned, the matter is to be referred to the state conservationist for final decision.

404.25  Approval By NRCS

The plan/schedule of operations and contract modifications are to be approved by the DC.  This includes approval of plans developed by other agencies.  The DC's signature constitutes certification that the scheduled contract items provide for safe and practical land use of all land under contract and the required conservation treatment to achieve planned program objectives.

404.26  Conservation Assistance Notes

Conservation Assistance Notes are kept in the field office contract file.  Forms SCS-CPA-6 and 6a should be used for this purpose.  Notes should be concise factual statements that document information relating to significant activities and situations such as--

(1)  Planning and application materials delivered, such as participant's copy of contract, job sheets, and engineering data.

(2)  Potential noncompliance with contract provisions and actions taken.

(3)  Scheduling arrangements.

(4)  Visits and agreements reached with the participant that are not documented in other parts of the contract should be noted since they may be useful in future follow-up.

(5)  Environmental evaluations and assessments including cultural resource considerations.

404.27  Operation and Maintenance

Provisions for operation and maintenance may also be included in the plan/schedule of operations as specified in the National Operation and Maintenance Manual (180-500).  In addition to the operation and maintenance (O&M) statement on the SCS-LTP-11B.

[GM_120_404_C - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart D - Cost-Sharing

404.30  Methods of Cost-Sharing

A.  Cost-sharing with participants may be based on:

(1)  Average cost.

(2)  Actual cost not to exceed the average cost.

(3)  Actual cost not to exceed a specified maximum cost.

(4)  Flat rate cost.

B.  Select the method using the following criteria:

(1)  Average cost (AC).

Average cost will be used unless cost data cannot be obtained. Average costs are to be developed for each practice or component of a practice identified in the plan as eligible for financial assistance. Average costs are to apply to a county, watershed, or other defined geographical area within a state and are to be approved by the state conservationist. Average costs are to be uniform among NRCS programs in a county or other designated area.

(2)  Actual cost not to exceed average cost (AA).

The actual cost not to exceed average cost method is to be used if—

·          The participant can buy materials and services in quantity at discount prices below the average costs allowed for average size jobs.  This applies particularly to unusually large jobs subject to competitive bids, such as those frequently scheduled under joint agreements.

·          It is likely that the cost of materials and services will go down sufficiently to result in windfall payment to the participant.

·          Used materials are installed as allowed in Section 404.58.

(3)  Actual cost not to exceed a specified maximum cost (AM).

(i)  The actual cost not to exceed a specified maximum method is to be used if—

·          There are insufficient data or it is not feasible to determine reliable average costs for a practice or components.

·          It is not practical or feasible to determine average cost for a practice because of difficulty in measuring quantities.

·          It is determined that a definite limit is to be imposed on a particular practice.

(ii)  All practices and identifiable components that are cost-shared according to specified maximum cost must be supported by documentation of how the costs were determined.

(4)  Flat rate (FR).

The flat rate ($) method is to be used to encourage the adoption of conservation practices where it is difficult to establish the actual cost. Flat rates usually are on a dollar-per-unit basis.

404.31  Development of Average Cost Data

A.  Actual cost data are to be collected on a representative number of jobs on all applicable measures and practices in each county, watershed, or other defined area.  In determining average costs, information from suppliers, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS), Extension Service (ES), and other sources may be considered in addition to data collected from participants. Cost data are to be recorded and summarized on Forms SCS-LTP-154 and SCS-LTP-155.  Cost lists are to be prepared, reviewed, and updated at least annually to determine if changes are required.  Changes in average costs can be made at any time if supported by justification and approved by the state conservationist; however, changes generally should not be made unless actual costs have increased or decreased by 10 percent or more.

B.  Average costs developed by DCs are to be reviewed and concurred in by conservation districts and ACs or appropriate program leaders in states without areas before they are submitted to the state conservationist for approval.  New average costs are effective when approved by the state conservationist.

404.32  Establishing Cost-Share Rates

A.  Procedures for establishing cost-share rates (%) vary between programs.  For watershed and RC&D work the rate is established during the project planning phase and is stated in the watershed agreement or RC&D measure plan.  Maximum cost-share rates for GPCP are established by individual states and cannot exceed 80 percent.  Once the cost-share rate is established in an LTC or NRCS project agreement, it will not be changed throughout the life of the contract.

B.  Where the flat rate ($) method is desired, the appropriate charge, based on either equipment rental rates or custom rates in the area, should be used to determine the flat rate to be allowed.

404.33  Use of Other Funds

The participant's share of the cost of installing practices may come from any source other than Federal funds without a reduction in NRCS funding as long as the total financial assistance to be received does not exceed 100 percent of the cost.  If other Federal funds are used, the NRCS share will be reduced by the amount of the other Federal funding.

404.34  Eligible Practice Lists

State conservationists are to supplement this section or Section I of the FOTG with lists of practices eligible for cost-sharing in each NRCS cost-share program or project.

404.35  Cost List

See exhibit for a recommended automated cost list.  File actual cost list as supplements to this manual or in Section I of the FOTG.

[GM_120_404_D - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart E - Contracting

404.40  Methods

A.  Project agreement between NRCS and conservation district and an LTC between conservation district and land user.

(1)  This approach requires a project agreement, (Exhibit 404.80), with the conservation district.  The project agreement provides funds for cost-share payments to participants for installing conservation treatment.  Project agreements shall detail the working arrangements and applicable operating regulations between NRCS and the conservation district.  NRCS will execute a project agreement with the conservation district that will identify the parties involved, their responsibilities, and the appropriations and amount to be obligated by NRCS.  This agreement is the Federal fund-obligating document.  Project agreements must support the kind, amount, and general location of conservation treatment agreed upon in the project plan.

(2)  Cost-sharing will be carried out through LTCs between the conservation district and individual participants for land treatment installed on land that these individuals own or control.  An approved plan/schedule of operations is a prerequisite for financial assistance.  The plan/schedule of operation to solve identified problems will be used as a basis for developing the LTC.

(3)  Cost-share payments are to be made by the conservation district after a practice or identifiable component of the conservation practice has been completed and certified.  Payment shall be based on the cost-share prescribed by NRCS.  Participants must file an application for payment.

B.  LTC Between NRCS and Participant

(1)  Cost-sharing arrangements for installation of conservation treatment will be made through LTCs with participants on the land they own or control.  An approved plan/schedule of operations is a prerequisite for financial assistance.  The plan/schedule of operation to solve identified problems will be used as a basis for developing the LTC.

(2)  Cost-share payments are to be made by NRCS after a practice or identifiable component of the conservation practice has been completed and certified.  Payment shall be based on the cost-share prescribed by NRCS. Participants must file an application for payment.

404.41  Responsibilities

A.  Joint Responsibilities

The contract is to be based on the participant's plan/schedule of operations regardless of who develops the contract.  The District Conservationist is to assemble the contract and forward it to the CO for review, fund certification, and signing.

B.  NRCS

(1)  The state conservationist is responsible for designating the contracting officer (CO) in situations where NRCS will contract directly with the land user.  Whenever an area conservationist (AC) is designated as the CO, the state administrative officer (SAO) will spot check for contractual procedures and provide needed guidance and training on contracting.

(2)  When the conservation district is involved, the state conservationist will designate a government representative (GR) to work with the CO assigned by the conservation district.  The GR will administer the terms of the project agreement and be assured that the LTCs are being carried out in accordance with NRCS procedures.  The GR will represent NRCS at any hearing conducted by a conservation district.

C.  District

The conservation district will designate a CO for conservation district-participant contracts.  NRCS employees may not be designated as the CO for these contracts.

404.42  Other Responsibilities

A.  The participant will--

(1)  Carry out land use changes and conservation treatment according to the plan/schedule of operations, which is made a part of the contract and in accordance with specifications in the NRCS field office technical guide or NRCS approved special design.

(2)  Submit to NRCS or the conservation district an application for payment and itemized statements of cost of materials and copies of contractor's invoices whenever practices are cost shared on an actual-cost basis.

(3)  Permit free access for NRCS and conservation district representatives to provide technical assistance and inspect the work at any reasonable time during the life of the installed practices.

(4)  Forfeit all rights to further payments under the contract and refund to NRCS or the conservation district all contract payments received upon termination of the contract unless the termination is due to situations cited in 404.56 (h) (1) or (2) or (3).

(5)  Upon transfer of his or her right and interest in the land unit during the contract period, forfeit all rights to further payments under this contract.

(6)  Upon termination of the contract refund to NRCS or to the conservation district if under a project agreement, all payments made under the contract, unless the termination is due to situations cited in 404.56 (h) (1) or (2) or (3).

(7)  Maintain the conservation treatment installed on the land unit as provided in the plan/schedule of operations.

B.  NRCS or the conservation district(s) will--

(1)  Establish the cost-share rate.

(2)  Provide authorized technical assistance, including but not limited to--

(i)  Obtaining basic information.

(ii)  Preparing drawings, designs, and specifications.

(iii)  Performing layout.

(iv)  Inspecting during installation.

(v)  Certifying on completion of installation.

(vi)  Maintain record of location of contracts.  A map may be used.

(vii)  Maintain the following records for all expired or terminated contracts for 10 years following expiration or termination.

(3)  Contract number

(4)  Legal description

(5)  Cost-share funds received

(6)  Date of expiration or termination.

(7)  Make payment to the participant covering NRCS's share of the cost when--

(i)  The technical adequacy and amount of work installed is checked and certified by NRCS.

(ii)  The participant has furnished required certifications and itemized statements of cost of materials and copies of contractor's invoices when practices are cost-shared on an actual cost basis.

(iii)  It has been determined that the participant is eligible to receive USDA benefits.

404.43  Agreements

A.  Project Agreements.

(1)  The project agreement is a document used to obligate funds between NRCS and the conservation district.  These funds are to be used for the execution of conservation district-participant contracts.  Project agreements may be signed after the beginning of the fiscal year when the first conservation district-participant contract is ready for execution.  The agreement is to include the number of participants and the estimated installation costs of the plan/schedule of operations to be developed under the agreement through the third quarter of the fiscal year.  Any unused funds in the agreement at that time will be withdrawn and reallocated based on the fund management policy in effect at that time.  The project agreement may be amended or a separate project agreement may be signed for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year if reallocated funds are made available.

(2)  Once the project agreement is signed by both parties, LTCs can be entered into by the conservation district and participants.  Participants may enter into contracts with the district as long as there are funds remaining in the agreement.

B.  Joint Agreements.

(1)  A participant may enter an agreement jointly with other participants.  Joint participation is permitted when it will result in better land use and treatment than individual participation.

(2)  Whenever participants enter agreements jointly with other participants, the arrangement is to be documented.  The agreement is to describe and show on a map or sketch the location of the practice or practices to be installed, specify the benefits each participant is to receive and the distribution of the cost-sharing payments, and define the maintenance responsibilities of each participant.

(3)  Separate contracts are to be signed with each participant. The joint practice or practices may be included in the contract that includes the land on which the major portion of the practice or practices is to be installed.  In these cases, the other contracts are to be cross- referenced to the contract containing the practice or practices and each is to include the portion of the cost-sharing applicable to the joint practice.

(4)  A copy of the joint agreement is to be included in each contract.

404.44  Control of Land Unit

A.  A contract may be entered into with a participant who has control of a land unit for the contract period.  Control means possession of the land by ownership or written lease.  The state conservationist may waive this requirement in unique cases where a written lease is not customarily used.  If control of the land unit is questioned, a participant will be required to furnish evidence of control satisfactory to the CO.  All participants, or persons designated by power of attorney, who control or share control of the land unit must sign the contract.

B.  The status of each participant, such as owner, co-owner, tenant, partner, or operator, is to be shown.  The DC is to give the CO a written statement how he or she knows the applicant has control of the operating unit with evidence that the contract covers all eligible land.  The CO acknowledges approval by signing on the DC's letter.  In District - Participant contracts, the District is responsible for determining control.

C.  The participant is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits to perform the planned work and for furnishing necessary land rights and water rights.  NRCS may provide technical assistance to the participant in accordance with NRCS policy.  The participant must certify that adequate land rights and water rights have been obtained.  The DC is to receive a copy of the certification.

404.45  Contract Components

The contract is to include the following documents:

(1)  The long-term contract.

(2)  Special provisions and supplements, as needed.

(3)  Plan/Schedule of Operations, Form SCS-LTP-11 or 11A and 11B or OMB approved electronically generated versions.

(4)  Plan map

(5)  Soil map, legend, and interpretations.

(6)  Explanation of violations and procedures to be followed.

404.46  Special Contract Provisions and Supplements

A.  Special provisions for additional terms and conditions are to be made part of the contract under certain conditions and for specific purposes, provided they are not contrary to established policies.  Additional terms and conditions are to be prepared on a separate sheet under the heading "Special Contract Provisions" and must be referenced in Part II of the contract form and attached to the contract.

B.  The payments and time schedule clauses included as a special provision are to be included in all applicable contracts.  The time schedule clause reduces the number of modifications required to reschedule measures or practices.  Items to which this clause will apply must be carefully selected.

C.  The contract items to which it will not apply are to be designated with a "t" in the reference column.  "T" as used here means the practice must be applied in the year scheduled on the CPO.

D.  Clauses concerning nondiscrimination in employment are to be included in contracts if the estimated total cost exceeds $10,000 for any construction practice or combination of practices.

E.  If two or more participants sign a contract it may be supplemented to provide for making cost-share payments to one participant or to permit one participant to sign applications for cost-share payments (Sections 404.72, 404.73, and Exhibit 404.90).

F.  The contract form may also be supplemented to authorize a designated individual to sign contract modifications or certain types of modifications.  The person authorized need not be signatory to the contract.

404.47  Contract Period and Limitations

A.  A contract is to be for a period that is needed to install and ensure establishment of all measures and practices in the plan/schedule of operations.  The contract period may not be less than 3 years or more than 10 years after the application of all required conservation treatment to ensure adequate establishment of the treatment.  This means that all required treatment must be scheduled and installation completed no later than the 8th year of a 10-year contract (does not apply to reapplication).  The 2-year period may be reduced for unusual circumstances with approval of the state conservationist.

B.  No more than $100,000 of PL 566 and $50,000 cost-shared RC&D funds may be paid to any one individual, family, corporation, or combination of these where the party has a mutual interest in the land.  No more than $35,000 of cost-shared GPCP funds may be paid on any operating unit.  Funds for the reapplication of a practice that failed through no fault of the participant will not apply toward program limitations.  Adjustments in contract amounts, SCS-LTP-11, 11a, 11b or 12, will be required only for the payment that would disburse funds in excess of the program limit.

C.  The total Federal cost-share for all irrigation practices applied through GPCP cannot exceed $10,000 per operating unit.  Cost-share will be limited to reorganizing existing systems.

D.  Cost-share scheduled shall not exceed program or other dollar limits.  Additional required practices will be shown as N/C and must be carried out.

E.  Separate contracts must be used if more than one NRCS program will be providing financial assistance.

F.  Contracts expire at 12 p.m. (midnight) on the expiration date stated in the contract.  All items in a contract must be reviewed on-site at least 90 days before the expiration date.  This review should be made with the participant.  The findings must be recorded on Form SCS-LTP-13, Status Review (404.92).  Notice of contract expiration is not required; however, the CO is encouraged to recognize successful completion with a personal letter to the participant.

404.48  Numbering and Distribution of Contracts

A.   Numbering.

Contracts with NRCS will be numbered by the state office in the contract numbering series (SCSAR 41-4.870) assigned to LTC's.  A prefix should be used to designate the appropriate program.  Contracts with a conservation district will be numbered by the district.

B.  Distribution.

Contracts are to be distributed as follows:

(i)  Original-

·          State office, for NRCS-participant contracts.

·          Conservation district, for conservation district-participant contracts.

(ii)  First copy to the participant who will conduct contract business.

(iii)  Other copies to--

·          Area office

·          Field office

·          Other participants signatory to the contract

·          State office or conservation district (whichever did not get an original).

404.49  Assembling of Contracts

Contracts will be assembled in six-part folders. Folder arrangement is as follows:

(1)  First cover.

(i)  Contract (SCS-LTP-2), Attachment A - Violations, and contract related forms, i.e., special provisions, supplements, noncompliance (SCS-LTP-153), violation (SCS-LTP-151), transfer (SCS-LTP-152), termination, etc.

(ii)  Program application form.

(2)  Second cover.

(i)  Status Review, SCS-LTP-13.

(ii)  Conservation Assistance Notes, SCS-CPA-6 (field office copy only).

(iii)  General correspondence (in date order).

(4)  Cross references.

(3)  Third cover.

(i)  Plan map and legend.

(ii)  Location map (if used).

(iii)  Soil map and legend.

(4)  Fourth cover.

(i)  CPO, SCS-LTP-11 or 11A and 11B or OMB approved electronically-generated versions of these forms.

(ii)  Revision or modification of the Plan/Schedule of Operations (CPO) SCS-LTP-12 --latest action on top.

(iii)  Cross references to other programs that may be contributing to the implementation of the CPO should be filed here.

(5)  Fifth cover.

(i)  Job sheets (referenced from CPO).

(ii)  Worksheets (referenced from CPO).

(6)  Sixth cover.

(i)  Application for payment, SCS-FNM-141.

(ii)  Joint agreement, if any.

(iii)  Check out notes and other support data.  Reference to the location of these data if they are not filed here.

(7)  Soil conservation district agreement sheets will not be filed in the contract folder.

(8)  Six-part folders are to contain only cross-references to other state, Federal or local programs except as defined in 404.49 (d).

[GM_120_404_E - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart F - Contract Administration

404.50  Modifications

A.  General

(1)  To modify a participant contract, use Form SCS-LTP-12, Revision of Schedule of Operation or Modification of Contract.

(2)  The basis for modifying the contract must be stated clearly on the modification or on an attachment to the modification.

(3)  Contract items may not be modified to reschedule to avoid loss of cost-share due to violation of FACTA compliance provisions but must be completed as scheduled without cost-share.

B.  Actions not Requiring Modifications

(1)  If the criteria listed under (2) below are met, the actions that do not require modification are--

(i)  Substitution of seed or fertilizer mixtures or rates.

(ii)  Change in average cost.

(iii)  Change in the amount of a practice.

(iv)  Substitution of one non-cost-shared practice for another.

(2)  The following are the criteria for not requiring modifications:

(i)  The cost-share payment is not significantly increased or decreased (each state is to supplement this directive to specify what is considered significant).

(ii)  The changes are in accordance with planned objectives and the NRCS technical guide.

(3)  The change of a contract item that is not considered significant and therefore is not covered by a modification must be explained on the Application for Payment Form, SCS-FNM-141.

(4)  Changes in time schedule. Contract items may be accomplished at any time prior to or not later than 1 year after the year scheduled unless timely "t."  See special provisions. Where this provision is used, it will be noted on the next status review.  All required treatment must be installed at least 2 years before expiration of contract.

C.  Actions Requiring Modifications

(1)  Adding land. Both the participant and the CO must agree to add land that is not currently under an existing contract.  Enough time must remain under a contract to meet the 2-year requirement to establish needed land treatment on any land to be added.  If the land being added is already under contract, see 404.55 for procedure.

(2)  Deleting land.  See 404.55 for procedure.

(3)  Changing contract period.  For contracts exceeding 3 years, the contract period may be reduced with the approval of the CO if it is mutually beneficial.  The contract period may not be reduced to satisfy or avoid contract violation problems or avoid the 2-year requirement.  It cannot be used to reduce the contract to fewer than 3 years.  Contracts can be modified to lengthen up to 10 years.  All recurring management practices must be extended accordingly.

(4)  Adding contract items.  All new contract items that are to be installed as part of the contract are to be added to the LTC before performance on the new item is started.  This includes adding an item to provide for the reapplication of a practice or identifiable component.

(5)  Deleting contract items.  A contract is to include all conservation treatment agreed to by the participant that will accomplish the program or project plan objectives.  A participant is expected to carry out all scheduled practices.  There must be valid reasons not adverse to the Government's interest and conservation objectives for deleting any contract item.  Each modification must include sound justification for the deletion.  For items to be cost-shared under other programs or completed without cost-sharing, only the cost-share information is to be deleted and the items are to be shown in the plan as numbered non-cost-shared (N/C) items.

(6)  Changing time schedule. See the time schedule provision of the special contract provisions (Exhibit 404.89) for exceptions to the need to modify changing time schedules.  Modification for rescheduling should not be approved after the 8th year of a contract because the 2-year establishment period could not be met.

(7)  Changing specifications or materials.  Modifications to authorize changes in specifications or materials may be made if the changes meet NRCS requirements.

(8)  Significant changes in cost-share payments.

(i)  Modifications for increasing or decreasing average cost, specified maximum costs, or flat rates are required when the change in the cost-share obligation is significant or failure to modify the contract would result in extensive loss to the participant.

(ii)  Modifications that significantly increase average costs and make no other change need only the signature of the CO.

(iii)  Modifications that significantly increase or decrease average or specified maximum costs are to be limited to works that are scheduled or planned for installation in the current year.  The contract cannot be modified to increase average costs for a practice after a participant has started work on the respective practice.

(iv)  Modifications to change the amount of a practice are required if the increase or decrease in amount is known before actual installation and will result in a significant increase or decrease in the cost-share obligation.  Where the need becomes apparent during installation, a modification is needed before work is continued.

(9)  Permitting participants to destroy a practice.  A modification is required to permit a participant to destroy any practice established under the contract or any existing practice for which maintenance is specified in the contract.  It is the participant's responsibility to obtain approval from the agency concerned to destroy a practice that was cost-shared under any other conservation program if the practice has not fulfilled its life span or maintenance requirements.

(i)  The CO must establish clearly defined needs before approving the destruction. It must be considered essential to the most practical operation of the land unit.

(ii)  The destruction of the practice must be followed with needed compensatory treatment to meet the minimum required treatment and to preserve the effectiveness of other practices already installed on the land unit.

(iii)  All NRCS cost-share payments made for (successfully completed) practices destroyed are to be deducted from the cost-share payment due for the replacement practice.  Additional eligible costs that result from carrying out a replacement practice may be authorized for cost-sharing.  If compensatory treatment consists of non-cost-shared practices, all cost-share payments made for the destroyed (successfully completed) practice are to be refunded by the participant. The refund may be deducted from future cost-share payments due the participant.  NRCS can assist other Federal agencies in their program debt collection if formally requested.  Deductions are to be entered on the "Other" deduction line of Form SCS-FNM-141, Application for Payment.

(iv)  Failure to replace the destroyed practice with needed compensatory treatment constitutes violation of the contract, and all NRCS cost-share payments made for the destroyed practice are to refunded by the participant.

(10)  Adding special provisions and supplements.  Special provisions, terms, conditions and supplements may be added to a contract by modification.

(11)  Changing method of cost-sharing.  Contracts may be modified to change the method of cost-sharing at any time before the date a practice is started.

(12)  Modifications to existing contracts are needed to substitute a practice not included in the project plan.

D.  Modification Procedures

(1)  Indicate modifications to the contract by recording the number of the modification in the reference column of Form SCS-LTP-11, 11A or 12 on the line of the contract item that is modified.  To determine the status of contract items, all modifications and the CPO must be checked.  All entries for a CIN will be lined out when modified and the modification number will be shown in the reference column of the SCS-LTP-11, 11A, or 12.

(2)  The effective date of a contract modification is the date it is signed by the CO. The DC is to initial all modifications to show technical approval before transmitting them to the CO for signing.  No cost-share payments may be made for new work included by a modification if the application work is started before the modification is signed by the CO indicating funds are available.  However, if obtaining the signature of the CO will delay practice application, the CO may give approval by telecommunications and document the file to support the action.

(3)  Funds scheduled for cost-sharing any practice may be delet'd from a plan and contract by modification if a participant elects to carry out the practice under another cost-sharing program or at his or her own expense before installation is started.  If any part of a practice is begun before modification of a contract, all of that practice must be carried out under that cost-sharing program.

(4)  The consecutive numbering of contract items is to be continued for new items added by modifications and is to be maintained for the life of the contract.  The originally assigned item number is to be used for any item that is modified.

404.51  Contract Status Review

A.  Active contracts will be reviewed annually.  This will be on the land and with participants if possible, to assess current conditions and progress in implementing the contract.  Final review of a contract is to be made with the participant at least 90 days before the contract expires.  Final reviews should be done by staff at one level higher than the level that administered the contract.  Status reviews should be done late enough in the calendar year to allow for the observation of performance of scheduled practices.

B.  Even though the acreage under contract must be visited one or more times during a year, the annual review will be the occasion for careful evaluation and recording of the participant's needs and problems and the status of the contract and operations.  Findings are to be recorded on SCS-LTP-13, 404.92.  As a minimum, the following are to be checked and or reviewed:

(1)  Maintenance of practices previously applied.

(2)  Application of practices scheduled in the current year.

(3)  Items in noncompliance.

(4)  Need for changes in time schedule or practices.

(5)  Adequacy of applied conservation practices in relation to the project plan or program objectives.

(6)  Determination of whether land under contract is still under the participant's control.

(7)  Items needing attention next year.

(8)  CIN's not carried out as scheduled and are covered under special provisions will be noted on the SCS-LTP-13 along with the reason if delayed.

(9)  Non-cost-shared items substituted will be noted.

(10)  Contract disbursements and remaining estimated obligations on contracts that have the potential to reach program limits.

C.  The DC must sign the report.  Any NRCS field office staff member or other designated person who makes a review should sign immediately above the space for the DC's signature. When the review is made with the participant, he or she should sign or initial the report to indicate concurrence.  The original report is to be sent to the state office, or conservation district office for conservation district-participant contracts, and copies furnished to all other holders of the contract.

D.  States may supplement this section with policy on review of expiring contracts.

404.52  Practice Documentation, Certification, and Spot Checking

A.  Performance of conservation treatment installed under contracts is to be checked as stipulated in the General Manual 450-407, 330-405 and state supplements.

B.  States may supplement this section for policy on review of expiring contracts.

404.53  Reapplication of Conservation Treatment

A.  Contracts may be modified to cost-share reapplication of practices that failed to achieve desired results, provided reapplication is required to solve the identified problem to the degree needed to meet program objectives, the specifications for the practices were met in the original application, and failure was caused by circumstances beyond the control of the participant.  Failure of a practice because of circumstances within the control of the participant constitutes a violation of the terms and conditions of the contract.

B.  Reapplication of practices will not be scheduled until the original application has failed.  Reapplication of cost-shared practices may be approved by the CO after the 8th year of a 10-year contract if needed. It may not be carried out after the contract expires.

C.  The cost-share rate for the reapplication is to be the same rate established in the original contract.  Contract items included on modifications for reapplying practices are to be numbered the same as the original contract item, suffixed with the letters "RA."

D.  The program limitation does not apply where practices fail through no fault of the participant.

404.54  Second Contracts

A.  Second contracts are subsequent contracts entered into with the same or new land user on the same land unit or an operating unit made up primarily of land under previous long-term contracts.

B.  Second contracts may be developed for only the dollar amount difference remaining between the amount expended on the original contract and the program limitation.  Where practice failure occurs and reconstruction would require exceeding the program financial limitation, a new limitation may be approved by the Chief.  Second contracts cannot be used to avoid the $10,000 limitation for irrigation practices under GPCP.

C.  Second contracts may not be entered for the purpose of circumventing financial or contractual limitations -- for example, to permit beginning or completing practices planned but not completed under the initial contract; primarily for purposes such as converting grassland enterprises to cash grain, developing new or redesigning irrigation systems, or converting conventional terraces that meet the conservation needs to parallel; or to replace treatment, established or maintained under the previous contract, which has been destroyed.

D.  Second contracts may be entered into for the following--

(1)  Practice failure.  To repair or reconstruct practices, cost-shared under previous contract, that failed for reasons beyond the control of the participant.

(2)  Initial contract terminated.  With new participants only, to apply needed conservation practices on land units under previous contracts terminated for cause or by mutual consent before the planned practices were applied.

(3)  New land units.  To make land use adjustments and apply needed conservation practices on new land units created through subdivision of a larger unit or through combination of smaller units under a previous contract.  Examples: conversion of cropland to grass, water development, fences and related practices.

(4)  Advanced technology.  For conservation, development, and use of soil and water resources not considered feasible under the initial contract.  Examples are installation of artesian or deep wells, pipeline water distribution systems, or additional fences and water facilities needed to establish specialized grazing systems.

404.55  Transfer of Land

A.  Land will be considered "transferred" if the participant loses control of the acreage for any reason.  The term "transferor" means the participant who loses control, and the term "transferee" means the person who acquires control of the land.  Table 404.1 (See 404.109) provides guidance for determining the new financial and contract period limitations for the transferred contract.

B.  If all or part of a land unit under contract is transferred, the contract terminates with respect to the transferred acreage; however, the transferee may assume the obligations of the contract with respect to the transferred acreage.  It is the transferor's responsibility to contact the transferee about assuming the responsibility of the contract.  If the transferee will not assume the obligations of the contract with respect to the transferred acreage, the transferor is in violation and subject to forfeiture and refunds of payments received on the transferred acreageor (2) or (3).  See Exhibit 404.109 Table Number 404.1.

C.  The procedure for transferring the rights and obligations under a contract is dictated generally by the extent of the acreage transferred and how the land unit will be operated after the transfer.

(1)  If all of a land unit under contract is transferred and is to be operated as a separate unit, a Transfer Agreement, Form SCS-LTP-152, is to be executed.  The transferee, by signing the transfer agreement, assumes all of the rights and obligations of the contract.  The contract period of the original contract applies.  The description of the acreage transferred and all practices to be carried out by the transferee are to be listed on the transfer agreement.  The transferee is to be furnished a complete copy of the contract, including all modifications.  The original copy of the executed transfer agreement is to be filed with the original copy of the contract.  Copies manually signed by both parties and the CO are to be furnished to the transferee and transferor.  Conformed copies are to be furnished to all others having copies of the contract.  Table 404.1 - Item 1.

(2)  If all of the land unit under contract is transferred and is combined with another land unit under contract, transfer the obligations of the contract by modification of the contract, Form SCS-LTP-12.  Prepare a contract modification to delete all remaining items from the transferor's contract.  Modify the transferee's contract to add the acreage transferred and the practices remaining to be installed.  The modification is also to list all of the practices carried out on the transferor's land unit and to provide that these practices be maintained by the transferee.  Do not show cost-sharing information for practices already installed.  They are to be designated numbered N/C (not cost-shared) in the transferee's contract.  The contract period of the transferee's contract is not changed even though the dates on the two contracts may be different.  Table 404.1 - Item 2.

(3)  If only part of a land unit under a contract is transferred and not made part of another land unit under contract, prepare a new contract.  Include all practices to be carried out on the transferred land and all practices installed on the transferred land that are to be maintained by the transferee.  Do not show cost-sharing information for practices already installed.  They are to be designated numbered N/C in the contract with the transferee.  The new contract is to be for the period of time remaining in the transferor's contract.  The transferred acreage and all applicable practices are to be modified out of the transferor's contract.  This is to be done after the new contract is signed by the transferee. Table 404.1 - Item 3.

(4)  If only part of a land unit under a contract is transferred and made part of another land unit under contract, transfer the acreage and obligations of the contract by modification.  Two modifications are required, one to transfer the acreage and obligations from the transferor's contract, and one to transfer the acreage and obligations into the transferee's contract.  The modification to transfer the acreage and the obligations out of the transferor's contract must Lot be approved by the CO before approving the modification transferring the acreage and obligations into the transferee's contract.  Table 404.1 - Item 4.

(5)  If all of the land unit under contract is transferred and is combined with another unit not under contract but the transferee has requested a contract, prepare a new contract.  Include all practices to be carried out on the transferred land unit and all practices installed on the transferred land unit that are to be maintained by the transferee in the new contract.  Do not show cost-sharing information on practices already installed.  They are to be designated numbered N/C contract items in the new contract with the transferee.  The transferred acreage and all practices are to be modified out of the transferor's contract.  This is to be done after the new contract is signed by the transferee.  Table 404.1 - Item 5.

404.56  Termination of Contracts

A.  Failure to satisfactorily complete all contract items before the contract expires constitutes violation of the contract, and the participant may be subject to refund the total cost-share payments made under the contract. If it is determined by the CO that failure to complete the contract was caused by circumstances beyond the control of the participant, refund or adjustment of cost-share payments is not required.

B.  If all or a part of a land unit is transferred by sale, the contract terminates with respect to the acreage of land transferred. Land will be considered "transferred" if the participant loses control for any reason.  All cost-share payments for practices and components carried out on the transferred land must be refunded if the transferee does not assume the responsibility for the contract.

C.  Contracts are terminated with forfeiture or refund as agreed to or as imposed as a result of violation of the contract.

D.  Contracts may be terminated by mutual consent for any reason if the participant agrees to refund all of the cost-share payments made under the contract.

E.  Land lost or transferred from a land unit because of encroachment for such public purposes as highway development, military installation, or municipal expansion will require a refund or an adjustment of all cost-share payments made for practices and components carried out on that land.  If the remaining land unit after encroachment is not a feasible or practical operation, the CO may authorize termination of the contract by mutual consent without refund of cost-share payments made on the remaining land.

F.  A contract may be terminated because of death of the participant or because it is determined that a participant is under such physical or mental disability that it would not be reasonably possible to carry out the terms and conditions of the contract and that to require compliance would cause undue hardship.  Termination of this nature may be made without recovery of cost-shares with approval of the state conservationist in NRCS-participant contracts and the SAO in the case of conservation district-participant contracts.

G.  The CO, with approval of the SAO on conservation district-participant contracts, is to issue a notice of contract termination to the participant in all cases, except for expiration.  There are no printed forms for notice of termination.  Termination notices issued as a result of transfers and other reasons should follow the format and content illustrated by 404.94.  The participant's signature is required if termination is by mutual consent.  Termination notices issued as a result of violations are to be in the form of a letter to the participant.  The letter is to state the nature of the violation, that the contract is terminated, the amount of refund and interest due, and how repayments are to be made.

H.  Involuntary Transfers

(1)  Foreclosure - Transfer due to foreclosure or surrender of deed in lieu of foreclosure will leave the participant unable to fulfill the obligations of the contract. In either of such events the contract will automatically terminate.  Normal noncompliance and violation procedures are not required.  Repayment of prior cost-share is not necessary.  Case files will be documented by including a copy of the foreclosure deed or a deed given in lieu of foreclosure.

(2)  Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy resulting in a participant losing control of an operating unit automatically terminates the contract.  The government shall retain the right to file a claim in the bankruptcy proceedings.  Where bankruptcy permits a participant to retain some part of the operating unit the contract may be continued by modifying out the acres lost.  Cost-shares previously received on the acres lost will not apply to the program limit on the remaining acres.  The remaining unit can continue under contract provided it is determined to be an economically viable unit.

(3)  FmHA foreclosures, GPCP only.

(i)  Upon taking of land into inventory, FmHA will contact NRCS to determine if the land is under GPCP contract.

(ii)  GPCP contracts will be transferred to FmHA once the farm goes into inventory.  Form SCS-LTP-152 will be initiated transferring the contract temporarily to FmHA.  The contract will be in suspension for the period the land is in inventory.

(iii)  NRCS will conduct a status review to determine the adequacy of treatment and maintenance needs for installed practices.  This status review will be provided to the FmHA county supervisor outlining actions needed during the inventory period.  The county supervisor will assure such actions are carried out.

(iv)  Farming or ranching activities while in inventory, must comply with the plan/schedule of operations in the contract.  Cost-shared practices previously scheduled to be applied during the period the property is in FmHA's inventory will be delayed until the contract is transferred to the new owner.

(v)  Reapplication of practices that failed during the inventory period will be delayed until the contract is transferred from FmHA inventory to an owner, provided the failure of the conservation practice does not allow erosion to occur.  If the initial status review indicates that treatment is needed for protection, notice of the treatment needs will be provided to FmHA who will assume responsibility for implementing such treatment.

(vi)  As a condition of sale, the new owner will assume the original GPCP contract or refund all previous cost-share associated with the original contract.  FmHA's sale price will not be affected if the new owner does not assume the GPCP contract.  A transfer agreement SCS-LTP-152 will be initiated by NRCS to transfer the contract from FmHA to the new owner.  The GPCP contract will be modified to reflect the new contract period and other changes needed to fit the new owner's operation.  The length of the contract (beginning with the original contract date) may extend up to 10 years, plus the time the contract was in suspension during inventory.  However, the Secretary of the Interior will not be required to assume the original GPCP contract as a condition of transfer to the Secretary of the Interior that inventory which is located on an Indian reservation and which had belonged to an FmHA borrower who is a member of the Indian tribe.

404.57  Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment Requirements

A.  Non-segregated Facilities provisions applicable to federally-assisted construction contracts include construction work carried out through long-term contracts.  They apply if--

(1)  A participant enters into any single contractual arrangement with a contractor and the estimated cost exceeds $10,000.

(2)  A participant performs the construction work and employs personnel for the specific purpose of assisting in performing the work, and the estimated cost exceeds $10,000 for work to be carried out during a 12 month period.

B.  The following clauses are to be included as special provisions in contracts for which the estimated cost exceeds $10,000:

(1)  The participant agrees to include in any single contractual arrangement estimated to exceed $10,000 the non-segregated facilities provisions applicable to federally-assisted construction contracts.

(2)  The participant agrees to comply with Executive Order 11246 and the non-segregated facilities provisions with regard to employment of people specifically to assist the participant in construction work estimated to exceed $10,000 to be installed in any 12 month period.

(3)  The participant agrees to actively assist NRCS and/or the conservation district in obtaining from the contractor full compliance with the non-segregated facilities provisions in any contractual arrangement entered into by the participant.  The CO is to furnish the participant all forms, posters, and instructions for compliance with Executive Order 11246 and the non-segregated facilities provisions.

C.  Form SCS-ADS-818, Certification of Non-Segregated Facilities, and Form SCS-ADS-819, Notice to Prospective Federally-Assisted Construction Contractors, are to be furnished to participants for inclusion in any contractual arrangement exceeding $10,000.  Form SCS-ADS-818 is to be signed by the contractor and copies are to be furnished to the state office.

D.  If the total estimated cost exceeds $10,000 and the participant intends to perform the construction work himself or herself and employ personnel for the specific purpose of assisting in the construction, he or she will be furnished Forms SCS-ADS-818, and SCS-ADS-819.  He or she will be required to sign Form SCS-ADS-818, and furnish copies to the contracting officer.

404.58  Materials Required

A.  New materials are to be used in all work installed, unless the contract specifically provides for the use of used materials.

B.  Used materials may be authorized if the criteria set forth in the National Engineering Manual, Part 543, are met.  The determination that used materials meet NRCS requirements rests with the individual having job approval authority.

C.  Cost-sharing for used materials is permitted only if they are purchased by a participant for a specified practice.  Cost-sharing is not allowed for used materials that the participant has on hand.  Used materials are to be cost-shared on the basis of actual cost not to exceed the average cost of new materials.

404.59  Drug-Free Workplace (DFW) Certification

A.  NRCS-Participant Contracts. Form AD-1049, DFW Requirements for Grantees Other Than Individuals or Form AD-1050 DFW Requirements for Grantees Who Are Individuals is to be completed by the participant before the Long-Term Contract (SCS-LTP-02) is signed by the contracting officer.  A manually signed copy of the form is to be filed with the original copy of the long-term contract.

B.  District-Participant Contracts. Conservation districts are required to complete Form AD-1049, DFW Requirements for Grantees Other Than Individuals before the project agreement is signed by NRCS.  A manually signed copy of the form is to be filed with the state office copy of the project agreement.  The participant is not required to provide a certification.

[GM_120_404_F - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart G - Violations

404.60  Causes

A.  Noncompliance. Failure to comply with all terms and conditions of the contract is noncompliance.  This includes but is not limited to failure to carry out the LTC as scheduled, failure to begin a cost-shared practice within the first 12 months, failure to meet specifications for establishing practices, failure to satisfactorily complete or maintain all contract items, or failure of a practice because of circumstances within the control of the participant.  If the participant removes the cause for noncompliance, a violation can be avoided.

B.  Practice destruction.  Destruction of a practice established under the terms of the contract without approval of the CO (SAO on conservation district contracts) or failure to apply compensatory treatment for a destroyed practice.

C.  False application for payment.  Filing a false application for cost-share payment.

D.  Failure to complete contract items.  Failure to satisfactorily complete all contract items before the contract expires.

E.  Transfer of land under contract.  If the transferee will not assume the obligations of the contract with respect to the transferred acreage, the transferor is subject to forfeiture and refund of payments received on the transferred acreage.

F.  A contract will be in violation if, upon notification by NRCS to discontinue application of a contract item because it may destroy or adversely impact an endangered species, significant cultural resource or historic property that is known or suspected to be present, the participant elects to continue with the installation of the practice.

404.61  Determination of Violations

A.  NRCS-Participant Contracts

(1)  If noncompliance is not resolved, the DC is to furnish the CO a finding of fact.  The CO is required to ascertain if a violation has occurred and, if so, determine if a forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is warranted.

(2)  Following the investigation, the CO is to make a statement of fact to the state conservationist.  The report is to include information received by the CO and findings of fact and determination.  If no violation has occurred or if a violation has occurred but no forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, no further action is necessary.  A copy of the report of the CO, approved by the state conservationist, will be provided to all holders of copies of the contract.

(3)  If a violation is apparent and forfeiture refund payment adjustment or termination is required, the CO in consultation with the conservation district is to try to obtain an agreement.  The agreement is to be on Form SCS-LTP-153, 404.98.

(4)  If no agreement is reached, the state conservationist will issue a notice of violation on Form SCS-LTP-151, 404.99.  This notice is to be forwarded to the participant by certified mail--return receipt requested.  After a Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation has been issued, follow the procedure outlined in 404.62 and 404.75.

B.  Conservation District-Participant Contracts

(1)  The DC or the conservation district is to furnish the CO any information they obtain that indicates a violation may have occurred.  In every instance the CO is required to ascertain if a violation has occurred and, if so, determine if a forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is warranted.

(2)  Following the investigation, the CO is to prepare a narrative report.  The report is to include information received by the CO and findings of the investigation.  If no violation has occurred or if a violation has occurred but no forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, no further action is necessary.  A copy of the CO's report should be reviewed with the DC and a copy of the report furnished to the state office and to all holders of the contract.

(3)  If a violation has occurred and forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, the CO is to try to obtain an agreement.  The agreement is to be on Form SCS-LTP-153, Agreement Covering Noncompliance.  NRCS is to review and approve all such agreements before the CO signs.  The state conservationist is to designate the position within NRCS to review and approve agreements covering noncompliance.

(4)  If an agreement is not reached, the CO is to issue a notice of violation on Form SCS-LTP-151, Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation.  This notice is to be forwarded to the land user by certified mail--return receipt requested.  After the notice has been issued, follow the procedure outlined in 404.62.  A copy of the notice is to be furnished to the NRCS state office.

404.62  Violation Procedures

A.  Scope

This section prescribes the regulations dealing with contract violations.  No cost-share payment shall be made pending the decision on whether a contract has been violated.

B.  Determination by Contracting Officer

Upon notification that a contract may have been violated, the contracting officer is to--

(i)  Determine, with the approval of the state conservationist, that a violation did not occur or that the violation was of such a nature that no penalty of forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is necessary.  No notice is issued to the participant, and no further action is to be taken.

(ii)  Determine with the approval of the state conservationist that a violation did occur, but the participant agrees in writing to accept the penalty.  If the participant agrees in writing to accept a penalty of forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, termination, or appropriate corrective action, no further action is necessary.

C.  Notice of Possible Violations

(1)  When the CO is notified that a contract violation may have occurred that may warrant a penalty or forfeiture, refund payment adjustment, or termination, the CO is to notify in writing each participant who signed the contract of the alleged violation.  This notice may be personally delivered or sent by certified or registered mail.  A participant is considered to have received the notice at the time of personal receipt acknowledged in writing, at the time of the delivery of a certified or registered letter, or at the time of the return of a certified or registered letter when delivery was refused.

(2) The notice setting forth the nature of the alleged violation is to give the participant an opportunity to appear before a hearing officer.

D.  Request for Hearing

The participant's request for a hearing is to be submitted in writing and must be received in the NRCS field office or conservation district office within 30 days after receipt of the notice.  The participant is to be notified in writing by registered mail with return receipt requested by the hearing officer of the time, date, and place for the hearing.  Participants have no right to a hearing if they do not file a written request, or if they or their representative does not appear at the appointed time, unless the hearing officer permits an appearance at another specified time.  A request for a hearing filed by a participant is considered to be a request by all participants who signed the contract.  The request also supersedes any further bills for collection and interest charges if the violation involves refunds.

E.  Hearing Officer

(1)  The hearing officer appointed by the state conservationist may not be the CO or anyone subordinate to the CO.  If a violation involves considerable money or possible termination of a contract, it would be advisable to confer with the attorney in charge of the field office of USDA's Office of the General Counsel, who may also serve as hearing officer.

(2)  The hearing officer appointed by the conservation district should be someone other than the CO.  If a violation involves considerable money or possible termination of a contract, it would be advisable for the district to confer with their attorney.

F.  Hearing

The hearing officer is to limit the hearing to relevant facts and evidence, and is not to be bound by the strict rules of evidence as required in courts of law.  Witnesses may be sworn in at the discretion of the hearing officer.

(i)  Participants or their representatives are to be given full opportunity to present oral or documentary evidence about the alleged violation.  Likewise, NRCS or the conservation district may submit statements and evidence.  Individuals not otherwise represented at the hearing may be permitted, at the discretion of the hearing officer, to give information or evidence.  The hearing officer, at his or her discretion, may permit witnesses to be cross-examined.

(ii)  The hearing officer is to record the hearing so that the testimony can be summarized.  A transcript of the hearing is to be made if requested by either the conservation district, or participant.  If a transcript is requested by the participant, the participant will be assessed the cost of a copy of the transcript.

(iii)  The hearing officer is to close the hearing after a reasonable time if the participant or the participant's representative is not present at the scheduled time.  The hearing officer may accept information and evidence submitted by others present for the hearing.

(iv)  The hearing officer is to furnish the state conservationist or conservation district with a written report setting forth the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.  The report is to include a summary of testimony or transcript of the hearing and any other information that would aid the state conservationist or conservation district in reaching a decision.

G.  Decision

(1)  The state conservationist, or the conservation district under conservation district-participant contracts, is to make a decision after considering the hearing officer's report, recommendation of the conservation district (for NRCS-participant contracts), and any other information available.  The decision is to state whether the violation is of such a nature as to warrant termination of the contract, or if the contract is not to be terminated, the amount of the forfeiture, refund, or payment adjustment.  The state conservationist or conservation district is to notify in writing each participant who signed the contract of the decision.  The state conservationist or conservation district may authorize or require the reopening of any hearing before a hearing officer for any reason at any time before the decision is rendered.

(2)  If the decision provides for termination of the contract, it is to state that the contract is terminated, that all rights to further cost-share payments under the contract are forfeited, and which cost-share payments received under the contract are to be refunded.

(3)  The decision is to state the amount of refund, interest charges, and method of payment.  The decision also reinstates required bills for collection and interest charges where refunds are due (404.75).

H.  Appeal to the Chief

(1)  Any participant adversely affected by a determination of the state conservationist or conservation district shall have the right of appeal to the Chief.  A participant who wishes to appeal to the Chief must file an appeal with the office of the Chief.  This appeal and any briefs or statements must be received within 30 days after the participant has received notice of the determination of the state conservationist.

(2)  Where refunds are due, the appeal supersedes bills for collection and interest.  The state conservationist or conservation district may file a brief or statement in the office of the Chief within 15 days after the participant's brief or statement is received there.  The appeal shall be limited to the records and the issues made before the state conservationist or conservation district which records shall be submitted to the Chief by the state conservationist.  The Chief will make a decision based upon the record and the issues presented by the appeal.  The participant shall be notified of the decision in writing.  There shall be no further appeal in the USDA.  A final decision reinstates bills for collection and interest charges where refunds are due.

[GM_120_404_G - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart H - Cost-Share Payments

404.70  Application for Payment

A.  Participants are to apply to NRCS or the conservation district for cost-share payments on Form SCS-FNM-141, Application for Payment for Federal Cost-Share, upon satisfactory completion of the installation of any cost-shared practice or practice component listed in the plan/schedule of operations.  Cost-share payments are made on the cost in effect at the time of starting the installation of a practice.  NRCS may help participants prepare their applications.  Applications for payments due are to be filed by September 30 of the year following the calendar year in which the practices or components were completed. Those made after this date require approval of the CO.

B.  When average cost and flat rates are used, no receipts or bills are required to be submitted (even though they may be needed for certification of completion and/or average cost development).  The participant is to submit acceptable itemized receipts, invoices, or cost statements to support application for payments if cost-sharing is based on actual costs.

C.  To receive reimbursement from NRCS for work installed under conservation district-participant contracts, conservation districts are to submit Form SF-270, Requests for Advance or Reimbursement, accompanied by an original copy of completed Form SCS-FNM-141, including copies of acceptable receipts, billings, or statements of costs if cost- sharing is on an actual cost basis.

D.  Payments by NRCS or the conservation district will be made only to the participant(s).  No direct payments will be made to contractors or vendors, but can be made to financial institutions.

E.  Completed Form SCS-FNM-141 is submitted to ASCS by NRCS for NRCS-participant contracts and by the SCD under project agreement where SCD-participants are used.  The participant will be checked and certified by ASCS for the following:

(1)  The application does not represent duplication of payment under any other USDA program, and.

(2)  The participant is not shown on the county claim control record as being indebted to the government.

(3)  ASCS has determined that the producer has filed required AD-1026 Certification of Compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, and has not been determined to be in violation of those provisions.

404.71  Payments Not Authorized

Cost-share payments may not be authorized for--

(1)  Unapplied materials or for services that partially complete a component of a practice.

(2)  A practice or component that depends on the performance of another practice that failed to meet specifications and for which cost-share payment was denied.  The participant must be informed by an explanation on Form SCS-LTP-153, Agreement Covering Noncompliance with Provisions of Contract.

(3)  Any work performed by a participant before the date the contract or modification adding new work is signed or verbally approved and documented by the CO.

(4)  Use of used materials except as authorized in 404.58.

(5)  Any application that would result in duplicate payment.

(6)  If cost-share payment will result in total payments exceeding the program limitation or the 100 percent financial assistance limit.

404.72  Payment to a Designated Participant

A.  A contract may be supplemented to provide for making cost-share payments to one participant when two or more sign the contract.  The following clause is to be added as a supplement to the contract in order to make payments to only one participant.

B.  It is further agreed that ______________________ is the participant who will carry out all conservation treatment for which cost-share payments will be made.  Therefore, all payments shall be made to ______________________

C.  Application for Payment, SCS-FNM-141, shall be signed only by ______________________.

404.73  Signing of Applications for Payment by Designated Participant

A.  A contract may be supplemented to provide for signing the Application for Payment, SCS-FNM-141, by one participant when two or more participants sign the contract.  Cost-share payments under a contract so supplemented are to be drawn in the names of all the participants who signed the contract.

B.  The following clause must be added as a supplement to the contract to authorize signature by only one participant:

Application for Payment, SCS-FNM-141, will be signed only by ____________________________.

404.74  Filing of False Payment Applications

Applications for cost-share payments for practices or components not carried out or that do not meet required specifications constitute false applications.  Participants filing false or fraudulent applications are subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both.

404.75  Setoffs Collections and Claims

A.  If a participant to whom compensation is payable is indebted to any Federal agency including the Commodity Credit Corporation and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, and such indebtedness is listed on the ASCS county register, the compensation due the participant shall be set off against the indebtedness.  Indebtedness to any Federal agency will be given first consideration.  Setoffs made pursuant to this section shall not deprive the participant of any rights to contest the indebtedness.  Participants in violation or appealing a violation of FSA compliance provisions will have payments withheld.  Participants winning such appeals will receive payment.  Payments made inadvertantly during the period of an unsuccessful appeal will be collected under procedures in 404.75 (b).  Benefits will be denied for the calendar year in which a violation occurs.

B.  Collection of amounts due under NRCS administered contracts will follow debt collection standards as prescribed by the Federal Debt Collection Act of 1982.  Debtors are to be placed on me applicable ASCS County Debt Register when the first demand letter for collection is issued.  Debtors are to be removed from the list during their appeal.

C.  Collection responsibilities for amounts due under conservation district administered contracts are to be a part of project agreements.

D.  Amounts remaining unsettled after 180 days become claims against the debtor.

E.  Refer to National Financial Management Manual Part 532 for collection procedures regarding such claims.

[GM_120_404_H - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Subpart I - Exhibits

404.80  Project Agreement, NRCS-Conservation District

STATE Any
WATERSHED Lost River
AGREEMENT NO. 59-5016-20

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE
PROJECT AGREEMENT

THIS AGREEMENT, made this 30th day of October 1983, by and between the Madison County Soil Conservation District, called the Conservation District; and the Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, called the Service.

WITNESSETH THAT:

WHEREAS, under the provisions of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, the Conservation District and the Service agreed to a watershed plan for the above watershed which provides for installation of conservation treatment.

NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and of the several promises to be faithfully performed by the parties hereto as set forth, the Conservation District and the Service do hereby agree to the following terms and conditions set out below.

A.  It is agreed that conservation treatment measures will be accomplished on lands owned or controlled by approximately 10 participants at an estimated cost of $75,000.  A list of participant contracts with names, contract numbers, and dollar amounts will be attached to this project agreement as the contracts are signed.

B.  The Conservation District will:

1.  Enter into a contract approved by the Service, with each land user for installation of conservation treatment measure in accordance with drawings and specifications furnished or approved by the Service.  A copy of each contract will be furnished to the Service.

2.  Secure written concurrence of the Service before approving modifications or changes in the Conservation District-Participant contract.

3.  Provide necessary facilities, clerical personnel, and legal counsel for arranging for and carrying out the installation of the conservation treatment measures by the participants.

4.  Appoint an Authorized Representative and Alternate, who shall have authority to act for the Conservation District, listing their duties, responsibilities, and authorities.  Furnish such information in writing to the State Administrative Officer.

5.  Pay the participant as set out in the Conservation District-Participant contract.  Submit billings to the Service on Form SF-270 supported by Forms SCS-FNM-141, and invoices, if required.  The Form SCS-FNM-141 will be checked and certified by ASCS for the following:

(i)  The application does not represent duplication of payment under any other USDA program.

(ii)  The participant is not shown on the county claim control record as being indebted to the government.

(iii)  ASCS has determined that the producer has filed required AD-1026 Certification of Compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, and has not been determined to be in violation of those provisions.

6.  Issue Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099-G, Statement for Recipients of Government Payments to the participant and to IRS as required by IRS regulations.

7.  Hold and save the Service free from any and all claims or causes of action whatsoever resulting from the obligations undertaken by the Conservation District under this agreement or resulting from the work provided for in this agreement.

8.  Dispose of all claims resulting from the work under the Conservation District- Participant contract; secure prior written concurrence of the State Administrative Officer when Service funds are involved.

9.  Take reasonable and necessary actions to dispose of all issues arising out of the Conservation District-Participant contract.  This includes but is not limited to disputes, claims, and lawsuits. Such actions will be at the expense of the Conservation District including any legal expenses.  The Conservation District will advise, consult with, and obtain prior written concurrence of the Service on any such matters in which the Service could have a financial interest.

10.  Retain all records dealing with the Conservation District-Participant contracts and all work performed under the contracts for 3 years from the date of the Conservation District's submission of the final request for reimbursement or until final audit findings have been resolved, whichever is longer.  Make such records available to the Comptroller General of the United States or duly authorized representative and accredited representatives of the Department of Agriculture or cognizant audit agency for the purpose of making audit, examination, excerpts, and transcriptions.

11.  Comply with the restrictions on lobbying, Exhibit 404.108, on project agreements in excess of $100,000.

C.  The Service will:

1.  Provide the percentages of the average cost of the conservation treatment measures included in the contract between the conservation district and the participant and installed by the participants.  This cost to the Service is estimated to be $56,250.

2.  Provide authorized assistance such as: results of tests and studies as may be available; site investigations; design and layout; and drawings and specifications.

3.  Provide the services of a Government Representative.

4.  Make payment to the Conservation District covering the Service's share of the cost when--

(i)  The technical adequacy and amount of work installed is checked and certified by a Service representative.

(ii)  The Conservation District has submitted to the Service a properly prepared Form SF-270, supported by Form SCS-FNM-141, and invoices if required.

D.  It is mutually agreed that:

1.  Conservation District-participant contracts will be executed with participants based on the amount of funds reserved in C.1.  These funds will be available for signing contracts until June 30th (or September 30th for agreements signed after July 1) when they will be automatically withdrawn by the Service from this project agreement.

2.  The State Administrative Officer may make adjustments in the estimated cost to the Service set forth in C.1. for performing the work.

3.  The Service may terminate this agreement in whole or in part when it is determined by the Service that the Conservation District has failed to comply with any of the conditions of this agreement.  The Service shall promptly notify the Conservation District in writing of the determination and reasons for the termination together with the effective date.  Payments made by or recoveries made by the Service under this termination shall be in accord with the legal rights and liabilities of the Service, and Conservation District.

4.  This agreement may be temporarily suspended by the Service if it determines that corrective action by the Conservation District is needed to meet the provisions of this agreement. Further, the Service may suspend this agreement when it is evident that a termination is pending.

5.  The Service, at its sole discretion, may refuse to cost-share should the Conservation District elect to proceed without obtaining concurrence as set out in Section B of this agreement.

6.  No member of or delegate to Congress, or Resident Commissioner, shall be admitted to any share or part of this agreement, or to any benefit that may arise there from; but this provision shall not be construed to extend to this agreement if made with a corporation for its general benefit.

7.  The furnishing of administrative and technical services by the Service as set out in C.2. and C.3. is contingent upon the continuing availability of appropriations by the Congress from which payment may be made and shall not obligate the Service upon failure of the Congress to so appropriate.

8.  The conservation district will liable to the Service for the Service share of any funds collected by or due the Conservation District from the participant due to violations by the participant under the Conservation District-Participant contracts.  The Service share will be determined by prorating the funds due or collected between the Conservation District and the Service in the same ratio as fun's are contributed under the terms of this agreement.

9.  The program conducted will be in compliance with the nondiscrimination provisions as contained in Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-259) and other nondiscrimination statutes, namely Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and in accordance with regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture (7CFR-15, Subparts A & B) which provide that no person in the United States shall, on grounds of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, marital status or handicap, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture or any agency thereof.

404.81  Applications forms.

404.82  Long-term contract.

404.83  Record of Servicing Long-Term Contracts.

404.84  Plan/Schedule of Operations.

LTP-11-KEY

(1)  Name of contract participants.

(2)  County name.

(3)  State name.

(4)  Leave blank until a number is assigned, then record LTC number. See 404.48 for control numbering guidance.

(5)  Total Acres: Total acres included in LTC.

Group CINs by land use and record land use on the first line of the CPO in the Planned Treatment Column.  Follow with the first CIN for that land use.

(6)  Item No. (first column):  Number each required practice, both cost-shared and non-cost-shared, listed in the Planned Treatment column. Start with "1" and number consecutively.  Schedule components of practices as separate items using alpha and numeric characters for each component.  Use separate item numbers for cost-shared practices that are scheduled for different years. Several years of non-cost-shared management practices may be used with one item number.

(7)  Field: Enter the plan map field number(s) applicable to the practice.

(8)  Planned Treatment:

(a)  Use the standard names listed in the National Handbook of Conservation Practices. List brief specifications or refer to specifications or job sheet for each management or vegetative practice. Copies of job sheets, planting plans, or other specifications tailored to specific conservation problems are to be included on the fifth cover of the six-part folder of the NRCS field office copy and the participant copy.

(b)  Components of a practice may be listed separately under the practice title if they are to be cost-shared separately. Components are to be numbered 1a, 1b, 1c, and etc.

(c)  Identical non-cost-shared conservation practices may be grouped into one contract item with all applicable fields listed and the combined acreage scheduled as appropriate. List items by individual fields unless identical items in two or more fields are scheduled to be applied at the same time.

(9)  Estimated Amount (Units): Record total amount planned for each practice or component.

(10)  Cost basis. If using AC or AA Methods, enter the current average cost per unit. If using FR or AM, enter the flat rate or specified maximum amount per unit.  Show N/C for practices not cost-shared.

(11)  Cost-Share Rate: For AC, AA, and AM enter the cost-share percentage for each practice.  The cost-share rate remains unchanged for the life of the practice. Enter "AC," "AA" or "AM" above or after the percentage.  If the payment is based on a flat rate, enter "FR" after 100%.  If non-cost-shared, enter N/C.  Practices reapplied are to be cost-shared at the same rate as provided during the original application. See 404.53(c).

(12)  Time Schedule and Estimated Cost-Share by Year:

(13)  

(a)  Enter consecutive calendar years in column headings for the contract period.

(b)  Record the estimated cost-shared dollars for practices or components under the years they are to be established.  All practices that exceed program or other dollar limitations are to be shown as N/C except where only part of the cost of the practice would exceed the limit then schedule that part of the cost-share that will put you at the limit and show with AM* and an explanation in the planned treatment column of the SCS-LTP-11.

(c)  Record amounts in units for non-cost-shared practices under the years to be established.  For recurring management practices, enter the units in the year the practice is to be accomplished and each year thereafter for the life of the agreement.

(d)  When rescheduling without modification as allowed by the special contract provision, indicate the change by drawing a line through the original entry and moving the amount to the year to be rescheduled.  Items excepted from the special provision are designated with a "T" in the reference column.

(e)  The time schedule on the SCS-LTP-11 can be extended by clipping a section from a blank form and taping it over the original.  Another alternative is to use the SCS-LTP-11A Form, which provides for up to a 10-year contract.

(f)  Practices or components are to be lined out, dated, and initialed as completed. Practice units reportable in the NRCS progress reporting system may be corrected (pen or ink) to the actual units performed.  These corrections are to be initialed, dated, and reported in prescribed manner.

(17)  Reference No.:  This column is used to reference the payment application number or the modification number if the CPO is revised on the SCS-LTP-12.

(18)  Total cost-share by years.

The amount of estimated cost-sharing is to be added for each year of the contract and posted in the appropriate column on the 11-B.

(8)  Total contract cost-share.

Show the total dollars for the contract that will be paid by the Federal government through the program listed on the LTC.

(18)  The participant must sign the CPO.

(19)  The district conservationist is to indicate technical certification by signing the LTP-11-B. The contracting officer indicates contract approval by signing the LTP-002.

When the conservation planning is completed and the CPO has been developed by the participant with NRCS assistance, it must be signed and dated by a representative of the conservation district, where districts exist.  The district conservationist is to sign in all cases.

404.84  Plan Map

404.85  Conservation Assistance Notes

404.86  Summary - Actual Cost

404.87  Cost lists.

(a)  Average cost list

AVERAGE COSTS - Practices and identifiable components.

Establishment of Vegetation

Avg. Cost Per Unit

Seedbed Preparation

per acre

Seeding Operation (includes sprigging or sodding)

per acre

Seed Cost

per acre or lb.

Liming

per acre or lb. or ton

Fertilizer
Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium


per acre or lb.
per acre or lb.
per acre or lb.

Mulch (straw etc.)

per acre or ton

Planting of Trees or Shrubs

Site Preparation

per acre

May be combined

Planting Operation

into one cost

per 100 trees

item on a per

per 100 trees or

Cost of Trees and/or Shrubs

100 basis.

per 100 trees or shrubs

Construction of Waterways

Shaping and Grading (This item may be broken down into different depths of average cuts per acre, i.e., 0-6"; 6"1'; 1'-2'; 2' and above or on light, medium, or heavy shaping)1/

per acre or per cubic yard

Seedbed Preparation

per acre

Seeding Operation

per acre

Seed Cost

per acre or lb.

Liming

per acre or lb. or ton

Fertilizer
Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium


per acre or lb.
per acre or lb.
per acre or lb.

Mulch

per acre or ton

Diversions

Construction (earth moving)

per cubic yard

Liming

see Waterways

Fertilizer

see Waterways

Seed

see Waterways

Mulch

see Waterways

Chiseling or Ripping

per acre

Grade Stabilization Structures

Construction (earth moving)

per cubic yard

Materials i.e., pipe, valves, etc.

per unit of material used, i.e., pipe on a dia. Inch per foot

Concrete in place

per cubic yard

Vegetation

see Waterways

Lime

see Waterways

Fertilizer

see Waterways

Mulch

see Waterways

Fencing (Different average cost for (different types of fences)

per rod or per L.F.

(b) Eligible practice list (and identifiable components)

PRACTICE LIST - SUTTON WATERSHED

County:  Sutton

Average Cost year 1979

1. ESTABLISHMENT OF VEGETATION.

Identifiable Components:

(a)  Clearing, grading, shaping or filling areas in a field to permit use of seeding and mowing equipment.

(b)  Seedbed preparation.

(c)  Seed, seeding, and fertilizer.

Average Costs

(1)  Seedbed preparation, per acre.

(a)  __________________for summer fallow.

(b)  __________________land preparation, seeding a cover crop.

(c)  __________________plow-plant.

(d)  __________________other seedbed preparation (limited cultivation).

(2)  Seed and seeding, per acre.

(a)  ___________________80 to 100 percent tame (common-commercial species).

(b)  ___________________80 to 100 percent tame, special purpose (commercial species, identify eligible species)

(c)  ___________________50 to 80 percent tame (common-commercial species).

(d)  ___________________25 to 50 percent tame species.

(e)  ___________________0 to 25 percent tame species.

Overseeding and spot seeding included in above groupings.

(3)  ____________100 sq. ft. for grading, shaping, or filling with heavy earth-moving equipment in order that farm tillage implements may be used to prepare a seedbed.

(4)  Fertilizer--See Table I.

2.  CONSTRUCTION PITS OR PONDS:

Installing a dam, pit or pond, for impoundment of water.

Identifiable Components:

(a)  Earth Work and Structures.

(b)  Sealing or Lining.

(1)  Earth work and structures.

(a)  ___________per cubic yard of earth moved - compacted by earth moving equipment.

(b)  ___________per cubic yard of earth moved - compacted by specialized equipment.

(c)  ___________per cubic yard of rock excavated.

(d)  ___________per square yard cleared for site clearance.

(e)  ___________See Table II for required materials for structures.

(2)  Sealing or lining.

(a)  ___________per pound of refined bentonite used in sealing or lining.

(b)  ___________per square foot of asphalt or plastic membrane lining.

(3)  Obstruction removal.

(a)  ___________per 100 square feet of obstruction removed.  (Established as a specified maximum since adequate data is not available to determine an average cost.)

3.  CONSERVATION TILLAGE

Identifiable components:

(a)  No-tillage

(b)  Other types of conservation tillage.

Flat Rate

(1)  Per acre of no-till.

(2)  Per acre of other types of conservation tillage.

404.88  Attachment A - Violations.

CAUSES:

(a)  Noncompliance.  Failure to comply with all terms and conditions of the contract is noncompliance.  This includes but is not limited to failure to carry out the LTC as scheduled,failure to begin within a 12-month period, failure to meet specifications for establishing practices, failure to satisfactorily complete or maintain all contract items, or failure of a practice because of circumstances within the control of the participant.  If the participant removes the cause for noncompliance, a violation can be avoided.

(b)  Practice destruction.  Destruction of a practice established under the terms of the contract without approval of the CO (SAO on conservation district contracts) or failure to apply compensatory treatment for a destroyed practice.

(c)  False application for payment.  Filing a false application for cost-share payment.

(d)  Failure to complete contract items.  Failure to satisfactorily complete all contract items before the contract expires.

(e)  Transfer of land under contract.  If the transferee will not assume the obligations of the contract with respect to the transferred acreage, the transferor is subject to forfeiture and refund of payments received on the transferred acreage.

DETERMINATION OF VIOLATIONS:

(a)  NRCS-participant contracts.

(1)  If noncompliance is not resolved, the DC is to furnish the CO any information obtained that indicates a violation may have occurred.  The CO is required to ascertain if a violation has occurred and, if so, determine if a forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is warrantedviolate FSA compliance provisions on this or affiliated units.

(2)  Following the investigation, the CO is to make a written report to the state conservationist.  The report is to include information received by the CO and findings of fact and determination.  If no violation has occurred or if a violation has occurred but no forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, no further action is necessary.

A copy of the report of the CO, approved by the state conservationist, will be provided to all holders of copies of the contract.

(3)  If a violation is apparent and forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, the CO in consultation with the conservation district is to try to obtain an agreement.  The agreement is to be on Form SCS-LTP-153, Agreement Covering Noncompliance (404.98 and 404.75).

(4)  If no agreement is reached, a notice of violation is to be issued on Form SCS-LTP-151, Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation (404.99).  This notice is to be forwarded to the participant by certified mail--return receipt requested.  After a Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation has been issued, follow the procedure outlined in 404.62 and 404.75.

(b)  Conservation district-participant contracts.

(1)  The DC or the conservation district is to furnish the CO any information they obtain that indicates a violation may have occurred.  In every instance the CO is required to ascertain if a violation has occurred and, if so, determine if a forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is warranted.

(2)  Following the investigation, the CO is to prepare a narrative report.  The report is to include information received by the CO and findings of the investigation.  If no violation has occurred or if a violation has occurred but no forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, no further action is necessary.  A copy of the CO's report should be reviewed with the DC and a copy of the report furnished to the state office and to all holders of the contract.

(3)  If a violation has occurred and forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is required, the CO is to try to obtain an agreement.  The agreement is to be on Form SCS-LTP-153, Agreement Covering Noncompliance (404.98).  NRCS is to review and approve all such agreements before the CO signs.  The state conservationist is to designate the position within NRCS to review and approve agreements covering noncompliance.

(4)  If an agreement is not reached, the CO is to issue a notice of violation on Form SCS-LTP-151, Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation (404.99).  This notice is to be forwarded to the land user by certified mail--return receipt requested. After the notice has been issued, follow the procedure outlined in 404.62.  A copy of the notice is to be furnished to the NRCS state office.

VIOLATION PROCEDURES:

(a)  Scope.  This section prescribes the regulations dealing with contract violations.  No cost-share payment shall be made pending the decision on whether a contract has been violated.

(b)  Determination by contracting officer.  Upon notification that a contract may have been violated, the contracting officer is to--

(1)  Determine, with the approval of the state conservationist, that a violation did not occur or that the violation was of such a nature that no penalty of forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination is necessary.  No notice is issued to the participant, and no further action is to be taken; or

(2)  Determine with the approval of the state conservationist that a violation did occur, but the participant agrees in writing to accept the penalty.  If the participant agrees in writing to accept a penalty of forfeiture, refund, payment adjustment, or termination, no further action is necessary.

(c)  Notice of possible violations.

(1)  When the CO is notified that a contract violation may have occurred that may warrant a penalty or forfeiture, refund payment adjustment, or termination, the CO is to notify in writing each participant who signed the contract of the alleged violation.  This notice may be personally delivered or sent by certified or registered mail.  A participant is considered to have received the notice at the time of personal receipt acknowledged in writing, at the time of the delivery of a certified or registered letter, or at the time of the return of a certified or registered letter when delivery was refused.

(2)  The notice setting forth the nature of the alleged violation is to give the participant an opportunity to appear before a hearing officer.

(d)  Request for hearing.

The participant's request for a hearing is to be submitted in writing and must be received in the NRCS field office or conservation district office within 30 days after receipt of the notice.  The participant is to be notified in writing by the hearing officer of the time, date, and place for the hearing.  Participants have no right to a hearing if they do not file a written request, or if they or their representative does not appear at the appointed time, unless the hearing officer permits an appearance at another specified time.  A request for a hearing filed by a participant is considered to be a request by all participants who signed the contract.  The request also supersedes any further bills for collection and interest charges if the violation involves refunds.

(e)  Hearing officer.

(1)  The hearing officer appointed by the state conservationist may not be the CO or anyone subordinate to the CO.  If a violation involves considerable money or possible termination of a contract, it would be advisable to confer with the attorney in charge of the field office of USDA's Office of the General Counsel, who may also serve as hearing officer.

(2)  The hearing officer appointed by the conservation district should be someone other than the CO.  If a violation involves considerable money or possible termination of a contract, it would be advisable for the district to confer with their attorney.

(f)  Hearing.

The hearing officer is to limit the hearing to relevant facts and evidence, and is not to be bound by the strict rules of evidence as required in courts of law.  Witnesses may be sworn in at the discretion of the hearing officer.

(1)  Participants or their representatives are to be given full opportunity to present oral or documentary evidence about the alleged violation.  Likewise, NRCS or the conservation district may submit statements and evidence.  Individuals not otherwise represented at the hearing may be permitted, at the discretion of the hearing officer, to give information or evidence.  The hearing officer, at his or her discretion, may permit witnesses to be cross-examined.

(2)  The hearing officer is to make a record of the hearing so that the testimony can be summarized.  A summary of the testimony is to be made.  A transcript of the hearing is to be made if requested by either the state conservationist, conservation district, or participant at least 10 days before the hearing.  If a transcript is requested by the participant, the participant may be assessed the cost of a copy of the transcript.

(3)  The hearing officer is to close the hearing after a reasonable time if the participant or the participant's representative is not present at the scheduled time.  The hearing officer may accept information and evidence submitted by others present for the hearing.

(4)  The hearing officer is to furnish the state conservationist or conservation district with a written report setting forth the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.  The report is to include a summary of testimony or transcript of the hearing and any other information that would aid the state conservationist or soil conservation district in reaching a decision.

(g)  Decision.

(1)  The state conservationist, or the conservation district under conservation district-participant contracts, is to make a decision after considering the hearing officer's report, recommendation of the conservation district (for NRCS-participant contracts), and any other information available.  The decision is to state whether the violation is of such a nature as to warrant termination of the contract, or if the contract is not to be terminated, the amount of the forfeiture, refund, or payment adjustment.  The state conservationist or conservation district is to notify in writing each participant who signed the contract of the decision.  The state conservationist or conservation district may authorize or require the reopening of any hearing before a hearing officer for any reason at any time before the decision is rendered.

(2)  If the decision provides for termination of the contract, it is to state that the contract is terminated, that all rights to further cost-share payments under the contract are forfeited, and which cost-share payments received under the contract are to be refunded.  The decision is to state the amount of refund, interest charges, and method of payment.  The decision also reinstates required bills for collection and interest charges where refunds are due (404.75).

(h)  Appeal to the Chief.

Any participant adversely affected by a determination of the state conservationist or conservation district shall have the right of appeal to the Chief. A participant who wishes to appeal to the Chief must file an appeal with the office of the Chief.  This appeal and any briefs or statements must be received within 30 days after the participant has received notice of the determination of the state conservationist.  Where refunds are due, the appeal supersedes bills for collection and interest.  The state conservationist or conservation district may file a brief or statement in the office of the Chief within 15 days after the participant's brief or statement is received there.  The appeal shall be limited to the records and the issues made before the state conservationist or conservation district which records shall be submitted to the Chief by the state conservationist.  The Chief will make a decision based upon the records and the issues presented by the appeal.  The participant shall be notified of the decision in writing.  There shall be no further appeal in the USDA.  A final decision reinstates bills for collection and interest charges where refunds are due.

404.89  Special provisions

Contract No. 60-5A19-9-25
State Any
County Sutton

SPECIAL PROVISIONS

1.  PAYMENTS

(a)  Payments will be made at cost-share rates specified in the contract for the actual amount or extent determined after work is performed.  Payments will be based on average costs, unless it is provided in the Plan/Schedule of Operations that payment will be based on actual cost not to exceed the average cost or specified maximum.

(b)  Cost-share payments are based on the average cost or flat rate in effect at the time of starting the installation of a practice.

(c)  Designation "AA" or "AM" following average cost in the cost-share rate column of the Plan/Schedule of Operations means the practice or identifiable component is to be cost-shared on an actual cost basis not to exceed the average cost or actual cost basis not to exceed a specified maximum.  This must be documented by acceptable itemized receipts, invoices, or cost statements.

(d)  Designation "FR" in the average cost column and in the cost-share rate column along with a dollar amount means the cost-share payment per unit will be the dollar amount specified.

(e)  Payments may be withheld, denied or collected back where participants (and or affiliated persons) violate FSA compliance provisions on this or affiliated units.

2.  TIME SCHEDULE

Installation of a cost-shared practice must be started within 1 year (12 months) of the signing of the contract.  All other contract items may be accomplished at any time prior to, or not later than, 1 year after the year shown under "Time Schedule" in the Plan/Schedule of Operations, without execution of a contract modification.

The contact officer may indicate contract items to be excepted for part or all of this provision by inserting a "T" above the cost-share or unit figure in the year column on the plan/schedule of operations.

All required conservation treatment must be installed at least 2 years before expiration of the contract and all contract items must be accomplished prior to the expiration date of the contract.

3.  MODIFICATIONS

Changes may be made in this contract through modifications which are agreed to by the participant(s) and the CO.

4.  EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

(Clauses from 404.5should be used here as appropriate.)

5.  NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT

"The program conducted will be in compliance with the nondiscrimination provisions as contained in Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-259) and other nondiscrimination statutes, namely, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and in accordance with regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture (7 CFR-15, Subparts A&B) which provide that no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, marital status or handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture or any agency thereof."

6.  DISPUTES AND APPEALS ON MATTERS OTHER THAN CONTRACT VIOLATIONS

If an applicant or participant disagrees with a determination made by the district conservationist, the person must notify the contracting officer in writing on the nature, extent and reasons for the disagreement.

An applicant or participant may appeal to the Chief regarding a state conservationist decision regarding a dispute.  This appeal must be in writing setting forth the disagreement with the state conservationist's decision and must be made within 30 days of that decision.

404.90  Contract supplement. (Example)

CONTRACT SUPPLEMENT

1.  It is further agreed that Larry R. Green is the participant who will carry out all practices and treatment for which cost-share payments will be made.  Therefore, all payments shall be made to Larry R. Green. Application for Payment, SCS-FNM-141, shall be signed by Larry R. Green.

2.  It is further agreed that modification documents shall be signed in the name of Larry R. Green by Ralph Wilson.

404.91  Revision of Plan/Schedule of Operations.

LTP-12-KEY

Modification number block.  Number revisions consecutively.

Item number block.  To add new items, start with the next consecutive contract item number from SCS-LTP-11, SCS-LTP-11A, or SCS-LTP-12.

To delete items, use original entries and enter "delete" in revised amount column.

NOTE:  To reapply a contract item, use the original contract item number and suffix RA.

Basis for modification block.

Enter a brief statement of why the revision is needed on the last page of SCS-LTP-12.

Approval by participant block
Concurrence by NRCS block.

The participant must sign and date the last page of each modification to indicate approval.  The district conservationist must initial and date to indicate technical approval.  The contracting officer must sign and enter approval in the concurrence by NRCS block.

Prepare and distribute the same number of copies as the original CPO.  If the modification is such that a sketch, overlay, or revised plan map is desirable, prepare the required copies.

Record the modification number in the reference column of SCS-LTP-11, SCS-LTP-11A, or SCS-LTP-12 for each agreement item modified.  The original item should be lined out to indicate that it is closed.

File revisions on top of the CPO with the latest revision on top.

The contracting officer (CO) must sign and enter approval date.

404.92  Status Review.

404.93 Transfer Agreement.

404.94  Termination Notice. (Example)

404.95  (Reserved)

404.96  Certification of Non-Segregated Facilities.

404.97  Notice to Prospective Federally Assisted Construction Contractors.

404.98  Agreement Covering Noncompliance.

404.99  Notice of Agreement or Contract Violation.

404.100  IRS Form 1099-G

404.101  Application for Payment

PREPARATION AND PROCESSING FORM SCS-FNM-141

COPIES REQUIRED:  Original and three if there is only one participant.   Additional copies to be prepared as required to provide a copy to each participant and the conservation district under conservation district-participant contracts.  Whenever the AC is the CO under a NRCS-participant contract, an additional copy will be required.

SIGNATURES:  Only the original copy need be signed manually.

DISTRIBUTION:  On NRCS-participants contracts the original and all copies are to be forwarded to the NRCS state office.  Distribution of copies to the field office; area office, if required; and the participant is to be made after application has been scheduled for payment.

On district-participant contracts, conservation districts are to forward three copies of SCS-FNM-141 with two copies of Form SF-270 to the NRCS state office when they are requesting reimbursement under conservation district-participant contracts.

PREPARATION:  Upon request, the DC may assist the participant in preparing applications.  When such assistance is given, the DC must be sure the participant understands the application before affixing his or her signature.

The following information is to be recorded on the application.

(1)  Enter "LONG-TERM CONTRACT" and the program name under which the work is carried out.

(2)  The state in which the land unit is located.

(3)  The number assigned to the contract under which application for payment is requested.

(4)  The number of the payment application.  Each SCS-FNM-141 submitted by the participant under a contract is to be numbered consecutively as received.

(5)  The location code number assigned to your office by your administrative office.  Not applicable to payment applications completed by participants under conservation district-participant contracts.

(6)  The county in which the land unit is located.

(7)  The field number from the plan/schedule of operations in which the practice or component is located.

(8)  Contract item number as it appears in the contract for the practice or component.

(9)  The practice or identifiable component as shown in the contract.

(10)  The number or amount of actual practice units certified as completed according to specifications.  Enter in units used for progress reporting.

(11)  Date application of the practice or component was begun.

(12)  Date the practice or a component was completed.

(13)  Same as (10), only entered in the units cost-shared.

(14)  The average cost shown in the contract or the average cost current at the time the practice or component was begun.  When payment is to be made on the basis of actual cost not to exceed the average cost or specified maximum, the SCS-FNM-141 must be supported by invoices, receipts, etc.

(15)  The cost-share rate (percentage) specified in the contract for the practice.

(16)  The amount of cost-share to be paid to the participant for completing the practice or component (the product of (13), (14) and (15)).

(17)  Total amount earned by the participant for all items listed.

(18)  Each participant must check the appropriate block.  If yes is checked, each participant must indicate the amount, explain the circumstances, and state from whom the payment was received or will be received.

(19)  The form is designed for a division of payments to two participants where applicable.  If more than two participants are involved, use the "Division of Payment Between Participants" portion of as many additional copies of SCS-FNM-141 as necessary.  Show the percent share of amount earned (16) that is claimed by each participant.  Show by line only where applicable.

(20)  The payment share amount earned (16) claimed by each participant.  Show by line only where applicable.

(21)  Enter the amount, if any, obtained from the ASCS county debt register.  If none, indicate with a zero.

(22)  Enter the amount to be deducted for other state and Federal financial aid received by the participant in applying the practice or identifiable component.  If none enter a zero.

(23)  Amounts of any other deductions required to be made because of errors in computation, change in average costs, violation refunds due, or for any other legitimate reason.  This is completed in the state office.

(24)  Net amount of cost-share approved for payment to the participant.

(25)  Name, address, and social security number of participant(s).

(26)  Signature and date signed by the participant(s).

(27)  Signature and date certified by the district conservationist.

(28)  The local ASCS CED must sign before the application is processed for payment.

404.102  Request for Advance or Reimbursement. (SF-270)

404.103  SCS-LPT--11 Substituted Practice

404.103  Application for Payment Substituted Practice

404.104  Miscellaneous Contract Administration Examples

404.104  Sample Power of Attorney

404.105  Drug-Free Workplace Certification

404.106  Contract Check Sheet

404.107  Priority Rating Worksheet

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE EXAMPLE

PRIORITY RATING WORKSHEET

FACTORS

ACRES WEIGHT SCORES

EROSION

(9)

Untreated HEL cropland fields

(1) _______x _____= ______

Other cropland fields over T

(2) _______x _____= ______

WATER CONSERVATION

Irrigated lands needing improvement

Irrigation water management with;

Ground water decline

(3) _______x _____= ______

Short surface water supplies

(4) _______x _____= ______

Nonirrigated cropland needing soil moisture conserving practices- stripcropping, flat channel terraces, or con servation tillage

(5) _______x _____= ______

RANGE CONDITION

Fair or Poor condition rangeland

(6) _______x _____= ______

WATER QUALITY

Pesticide or nitrate pollution of groundwater

(7) _______x _____= ______

Other NPS pollution

On site or offsite

(8) _______x _____= ______

TOTAL SCORE

(10) ______

TOTAL ACRES

(11) ______

WEIGHTED SCORE SCORE DIVIDED BY ACRES

(12) ______

ESTIMALED TOTAL COST SHARE

(13) $ ______________________

 

LAND USE SUMMARY

COST-SHARE SUMMARY

Land Use Total Acres to be

Practice Units Cost-share

Acres Treated

Cropland ______ ______

______ ______ ______

Rangeland______ ______

______ ______ ______

Pasture ______ ______

______ ______ ______

Hayland ______ ______

______ ______ ______

Other ______ ______

______ ______ ______

Total______ ______

Estimated total C/S_______________

404.107  Priority Rating Instructions

Completion of Priority Rating Worksheet

The worksheet is designed to give each application a relative score using factors reflecting the objectives of the National Conservation and Food Security Act.  Weights are to be assigned for each factor.  Values greater than 1 should be assigned to factors which are higher priority.  For example, a 2 could be assigned to HEL, poor range condition or groundwater pollution in order to give priority to applications with these problems.  Weights should be assigned for a state or possibly for a region of the state.  This worksheet should be completed and attached to each application that involves an eligible land user and eligible land.  The completed worksheet and supporting materials become the basis for deciding which contracts are to be funded within the area or other jurisdiction.  Complete the worksheet for the operating unit covered by the applications as followed:  (enter acres only if they will be treated by the planned practices).

(1)  Enter the acres of untreated HEL cropland fields.

(2)  Enter the acres of other cropland fields over T.

(3)  Enter the acres of irrigated lands, needing improved irrigation water management that is in an area of ground water decline.

(4)  Enter the acres of irrigated lands needing improved irrigation water management that is served by an irrigation district that has short water supplies.

(5)  Enter the acres of nonirrigated cropland needing soil moisture conserving practices, stripcropping, flat channel terraces, and/or conservation tillage.

(6)  Enter the acres of rangeland that are in fair to poor condition as determined by a reconnaissance survey.

(7)  Enter acres of agricultural land contributing to ground water pollution through pesticide or nitrate leaching.

(8)  Enter acres of other NPS pollution, on or offsite.

(9)  Enter the score for each factor by multiplying acres entered by applicable weight factor.

(10)  Enter the total score by adding together the scores of each factor.

(11)  Enter the total acres to be treated from land use summary.

(12)  Calculate the weighted score by dividing total score by acres to be treated (10) and enter.

(13)  Enter the estimated total GPCP cost-share.

LAND USE - The total acres column should reflect total acres of each land use. The acres to be treated column should only reflect the acres that will be treated with the newly planned practices.

COST-SHARED SUMMARY - This should be a preliminary list of the practices that will receive cost-share and estimated units and estimated cost-share.

404.108  Restrictions of Lobbying (Attachment A for Project Agreements over $100,000)

(a)  No Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid, by or on behalf of the undersigned, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress in connection with the awarding of any Federal contract, the making of any Federal grant, the making of any Federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement.

(b)  If any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an office or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the Federal contract, grant, loan or cooperative agreement, the undersigned shall complete and submit Standard Form-LLL, "Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying," in accordance with its instructions.

(c)  The undersigned shall require that the language of this certification be included in the award documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts, subgrants, and contracts under grants, loans, and cooperative agreements) and that all subrecipients shall certify and disclose accordingly.  This certification is a material representation of fact upon which reliance was placed when this transaction was made or entered into.  Submission of this certification is a prerequisite for making or entering into this transaction imposed by Section 1352, Title 31, U.S. Code.  Any person who fails to file the required certification shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less that $10,000 and not more that $100,000 for each such failure.

404.109  Summary of Land Transfers, Table 404.1

Financial Limitation

Time Limitation

 

1.  All acreage transferred and operated as a separate unit.

No change

No change

2.  All acreage transferred and combined with another unit under contract

Cost-share payment made on transferred acreage before transfer not considered. Cost- share payments made to transferee on the transferred acreage applies to limitation in in existing contract.

Transferee's original contract limitation controls.

3.  Part of the acreage transferred but will not be combined with another unit under contract, new contract signed

Difference between cost-share paid to transferor on the acres transferred and original contract.

New contract limitations apply.

Transferor's contract controls minimum

4.  Part of the acreage transferred and combined with another unit under contract.

Cost-share payments made to transferor before transfer not considered. However cost-share payments made to transferree for work per formed on the transferred acreage apply to limitation in transferor's original contract.

Transferee's original contract limitation controls.

5.  All acreage transferred (combined with another unit not currently under contract but transferee desires a contract.)

New contract limitations apply.

A new contract limitation applies

[GM_120_404_I - Amend. 115 - April 2012]

Part 405 - Personal Property

Subpart A – General
Subpart A – General

  

405.0  Purpose

This part establishes policies, assigns responsibilities, and outlines procedures regarding personal property management for NRCS.  It addresses aspects related to acquisition, accountability, utilization, and disposal.

405.1  References

A.  Federal Management Regulation (FMR)

 Subchapter B, “Personal Property”

(i)  Part 102-35, “Disposition of Personal Property”

(ii)  Part 102-36, “Disposition of Excess Personal Property”

(iii)  Part 102-37, “Donation of Surplus Personal Property”

(iv)  Part 102-38, “Sale of Personal Property”

(v)  Part 102-39, “Replacement of Personal Property Pursuant to the Exchange/Sale Authority”

(vi)  Part 102-41, “Disposition of Seized, Forfeited, Voluntarily Abandoned, and Unclaimed Personal Property”

(vii)  Part 102-42, “Utilization, Donation, and Disposal of Foreign Gifts and Decorations

B.  Agriculture Property Management Regulation (AGPMR)

(1)  Subchapter B, “Personal Property”

(i)  Part 110-36, “Disposition of Excess Personal Property Supplementing 102-36

(ii)  Part 110-37, “Donation of Surplus Personal Property Supplementing 102-37”

(iii)  Part 110-38, “Sale of Personal Property Supplementing 102-38

(iv)  Part 110-39, “Replacement of Personal Property Pursuant to the Exchange/Sale Authority Supplementing 102-39”

(v)  Part 110-42, “Utilization, Donation, and Disposal of Foreign Gifts and Decorations Supplementing 102-42

(vi)  Part 110-50, “Personal Property

(2)  Subchapter N, “Property Management

C.  Departmental Regulations

(1)  DR 2200-002, Property, Plant and Equipment

(2)  DR 5200-001, Personal Property Management-Property Passes

(3)  DR 5200-003, Gift Acceptance Policy

405.2  Policy

All employees must acquire, utilize, and manage NRCS personal property in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies in order to—

(1)  Ensure maximum use of agency property.

(2)  Operate adequate inventory control and accountability systems.

(3)  Ensure proper disposal of unneeded agency assets.

405.3  Definitions

A.  Accountable Personal Property.—All Government-owned property having an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and any item valued at less than $5,000 but determined by the agency  to be “sensitive” per the definition contained in section 405.3J.

B.  Acquisition.—The acquiring of equipment, supplies, or services by and for the use of the Federal Government through purchase or lease, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated, and evaluated.

C.  Agency Asset Management System (AAMS).—A module of the General Services Administration’s (GSA's) screening system that provides internal agency screening and redistribution of personal property to authorized agency users.

D.  Budget Object Classification Code (BOC).—Codes assigned to all obligations in accordance with the nature of such obligations.  For personal property, the codes range from 3100-3190.  The specific code is used to identify the use of resources and type of property maintained in the Property Management Information System (PROP).  These codes also determine the rate of depreciation on capitalized personal property.  For a complete list of BOCs, refer to National Finance Center’s (NFC’s) Title 5, Miscellaneous Systems Manual, Chapter 3, “Budget Object Classification Codes.”

E.  Capitalized Personal Property.—All Government-owned property with an acquisition cost of $25,000 or more, or $100,000 for internal-use software.

F.  Excess Personal Property.—Personal property no longer needed by the agency.  It may or may not be considered obsolete or unserviceable.

G.  GSAXcess.—Database used to screen excess personal property to all Federal Government agencies.

H. Obsolete.—Property that is no longer useful, typically due to advances in technology or lack of replacement parts.

I.  Personal Property.—Property that is transportable and is not classified as real or Government records.  It includes all equipment, furniture, and vehicles. 

J.  Sensitive Property.—Personal property with an acquisition value of $5,000 or less that is highly susceptible to loss or theft.  For NRCS, only firearms and ammunition have been deemed “sensitive” by the agency.

K.  Surplus Property.—Excess property that has been screened and is not required by any Federal agency.  

L.  Unserviceable.—Property that is not fit for use, uneconomical to repair, and has no commercial value, either as an individual item or as scrap.  Additional criteria may include laws or regulations requiring abandonment or destruction of the item.

405.4  Roles and Responsibilities

A.  The Deputy Chief for Management is responsible for overall operation of property management for NRCS.

B.  The Director, Acquisitions Division, is responsible for—

(1)  Developing and implementing the NRCS Personal Property Management Program. 

(2)  Posting policy on the eDirectives System within NRCS.

C.  The national property management officer is responsible for—

(1)  Developing and implementing personal property policy.

(2)  Providing personal property advice, guidance, and training to agency personnel.

(3)  Monitoring the Property Management Information system (PROP) to ensure timely actions are taken by agency personnel to ensure accurate property inventories.

(4)  Maintaining segregation of duties memos from each organizational unit for A-123 reporting compliance. 

(5)  Responding to requests from the Department regarding property management.

D.  State Conservationists and directors are responsible for—

(1)  Establishing a system to ensure compliance with personal property regulations and policies.

(2)  Designating an employee in writing to serve as the property management officer (PMO).  

E.  The PMOs are responsible for—

(1)  Administration and management of personal property in accordance with NRCS policies and procedures.

(2)  Appointing accountable property officers (APOs) in writing.

(3)  Making determinations in matters of accountability and disposition of property.

(4)  Determining the liability of employees if property is lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed.

(5)  Ensuring that personal property inventories remain current and are conducted in accordance with subpart C.

F.  APOs are responsible for—

(1)  Implementing the policies and procedures established by the PMO.

(2)  Ensuring the proper use of all Government property within their areas of responsibility.

(3)  Providing documentation and accountability for all accountable personal property, to include acquisition and disposition.

G.  The personal property data entry person is responsible for entering and updating records in PROP.

405.5  Internal Controls

A.  NRCS must maintain internal controls over its accountable property.  The foundation for adequate segregation of duties is based on the roles, responsibilities, and system accesses of the individuals charged with managing NRCS personal property.

B.  To ensure the proper segregation of duties, the positions responsible for acquiring accountable personal property, entering and updating transactions in PROP, and conducting the actual physical inventories must be separated as follows:

(1)  Warranted Contracting Officer (CO).—Responsibilities of the CO include, but are not limited to, the purchasing or acquisition of personal property through established procurement procedures, including the creation, revision, and access to records in the Integrated Acquisition System (IAS).  The CO role is primarily performed by a purchasing agent, procurement specialist, contract specialist, or a contracting officer, although exceptions exist.  The CO may not have edit privileges in PROP or roles for conducting and verifying the physical inventory.  The systems access restriction ensures proper separation of responsibilities between acquisition and recordkeeping.

(2)  Personal Property Data Entry.—Responsibilities of the individual performing the  personal property data entry function include entering, updating, and disposing of items in PROP and certifying that all updates have been entered in PROP with proper documentation.  The personal property data entry employee may not have another role in the asset management process.  This restriction ensures proper segregation of duties between recordkeeping and the responsibilities of procurement and verification of physical inventory.  

(3)  Accountable Property Officer (APO).—Responsibilities of the APO include conducting the physical inventories to verify the physical location of each item listed on the report and signing the inventory certification.  The APO may not be a warranted contracting officer or have PROP edit privileges.  This restriction ensures an individual responsible for conducting and verifying the physical inventory cannot procure property or update the property records.

(4)  Property Management Officer (PMO).—The PMO is responsible for the personal property for the entire State or organizational unit (e.g., National Headquarters) and for ensuring that required physical inventories for each APO are performed in a timely manner.  The PMO certifies the completed physical inventory and approves the forms for property transfers, disposals, etc.  The PMO is generally the State administrative officer and may not hold a contracting officer warrant or have edit privileges in PROP.  This provides an independent review by an individual who does not procure property, update physical inventory records, or verify the physical inventory. 

(5)  The segregation of duties must be documented annually in writing by either the State Conservationist or division director.  Copies of such memos must be provided to the national property management officer by July 1 of each year.  As changes occur due to employee turnover (e.g., promotions, transfers, retirements, etc.), the segregation of duties memo must be revised accordingly.

 

 

 
    

[GM_120_405_A_April 2013 - Amend. 126 - ]

Subpart C – Accountability and Control
Subpart C – Accountability and Control

 

405.20  Official Property Records

A.  All accountable, capitalized, and sensitive personal property items as defined in subpart A are maintained electronically in the Property Management Information System (PROP).  PROP is a database management system that provides control of acquisition and disposition of accountable, capitalized, leased, loaned, and sensitive personal property.  PROP supports external and internal reporting requirements and provides remote data entry, inquiry, and reporting. 

B.  The official property records and the supporting documentation for such records provide audit trails and status of items from receipt until final disposition.  In accordance with Agricultural Property Management Regulation (AGPMR) 104.51-104, official property records must contain the following, at a minimum:

(1)  Description of item

(2)  Location

(3)  National Finance Center (NFC) identification number

(4)  Dates of acquisition or disposal

(5)  Responsible party (property management officer (PMO) or accountable property officer (APO))

(6)  Acquisition source (purchase order, purchase card, new, transfer, from excess, etc.)

(7)  Manufacturer name and model number

(8)  Serial number

(9)  Acquisition cost

(10)  National stock number or Federal supply classification number

C.  Supporting documentation for the acquisition of each accountable item must be retained for the life of the item to support its acquisition cost.  Supporting documentation includes copies of the following, as appropriate:

(1)  Acquisition document (e.g., purchase order, transfer document, etc.) containing the following:

(i)  Name and address of receiving office

(ii)  Description of property

(iii)  Manufacturer name

(iv)  Model number

(2)  Packing slip or other documentation containing the following:

(i)  Signature of individual receiving the property

(ii)  Date received

(iii)  Serial number

405.21  Nonaccountable Personal Property 

A.  Although nonsensitive personal property under $5,000 is not accountable, employees must take reasonable care to ensure property is not lost, missing, or stolen and is used only for official Government business.  

B.  Nonsensitive personal property with a unit cost of less than $5,000 is not entered into the PROP database.  PMOs may wish to maintain a separate inventory of items they deem worthwhile to track to ensure proper control and protection of such items. 

405.22  Asset Identification 

Each asset maintained in PROP is assigned a unique identification number (e.g., AG0002223456) that should be clearly visible on the property item.  There are various methods allowable to identify each property item by this number, such as affixing labels containing the property identification number to the item or writing the property identification number on the item using permanent marker.

405.23  PROP Suspense Report

A.  USDA payments systems at NFC access accounting and procurement transaction data from feeder records.  Examples of such feeder systems include the Integrated Acquisition System, U.S. Bank for purchase card transactions, AutoChoice, and the accounting system (direct entry obligations).  Based on the budget object class code (BOCC) assigned to the transaction, the feeder system automatically captures and sends data to PROP.  The PROP 304 suspense report identifies property items in sensitive, accountable, and capitalized BOCCs that need to be entered in PROP.

B.  Reconciling the Suspense Report

The person appointed to perform the personal property data entry function is responsible for reviewing suspense reports on a monthly basis and updating records in PROP within 30 days of receipt.  If an error is made on the assigned BOCC (i.e., an item appears on the suspense report that is not sensitive, accountable, or capitalized), the item must be removed from the suspense list in PROP. 

405.24  Physical Inventory

A.  Frequency

AGPMR 104.51 requires all agencies to conduct physical inventories of accountable property, including all motorized vehicles.  Inventories are to be conducted biennially (every 2 years) and must be signed by the APO and PMO.  The inventory date for each APO must be entered into PROP.  A physical inventory must be conducted when there is a change in APO or PMO.  After inventory is completed, the property may be assigned to a new APO or PMO in PROP. 

B.  Inventory Procedures

The Personal Property Physical Inventory Report 302 (PROP 302 report) will be sent to each APO for inventory certification. 

(i)  Each APO must take the following actions:

· Verify that each item listed is physically located and place a checkmark on the report for each item listed.

· Annotate accountable property that is not listed on the report.

· Annotate information that is missing (e.g., serial number, make, model, manufacturer, etc.).

· Annotate if any of the items are excess property as defined in subpart A.

· Annotate if any of the items are unserviceable, obsolete, or should be removed.

· Annotate items that were transferred, lost, stolen, missing, damaged, destroyed, or sold.

· Complete the appropriate forms (i.e., AD-107 or AD-112, “Report of Unserviceable, Lost, Stolen Damaged or Destroyed Property,” to support notations). 

· Sign the certification on the last page of the PROP 302 report and forward to the PMO for review and signature. 

(ii)  Each PMO must take the following actions:

· Review the PROP 302 reports signed by the APOs to ensure all items are accounted for and the proper documentation is attached.

· Sign the PROP 302 certification page.

· File the original inventory reports and supporting documentation.

· Forward a copy of the signed property certification form to the national PMO.

· Ensure that the inventories are documented in PROP for each APO as well as the PMO.

C.  Physical Inventory Discrepancies

(1)  The APO is responsible for investigating and preparing documentation to verify inventory discrepancies, such as—

(i)  Unrecorded transfers.

(ii)  Lost, stolen, or damaged items.

(iii)  Items determined as excess.

(2)  To report unrecorded transfers, the APO must prepare Form AD-107 (transfers within USDA) or SF-122 (transfers outside USDA).  After obtaining necessary signatures, the APO forwards documentation to the PMO for approval.

(3)  To report unserviceable, lost, stolen, missing, or damaged property, APOs must complete Form AD-112, “Report of Unserviceable, Lost, Stolen, Damaged, or Destroyed Property,” and forward to their PMO for approval.

(i)  AD-112s for capitalized property as defined in subpart A must also be approved by the Financial Management Division at the appropriate PMO location. 

(ii)  Police reports should be attached to AD-112s for items reported stolen or damaged as a result of vandalism.

(iii)  USDA Headquarters Complex.—Report thefts to the Federal Protective Service (FPS).  FPS will file a stolen property report and handle the investigation.  After notifying FPS, APOs must complete Form AD-112, including the specific date FPS filed a report, and forward the completed form to PMO.

(iv)  Beltsville Office Facility (BOF).—Report thefts to the BOF Physical Security.  Physical Security will coordinate the investigation with FPS.   The APO must then complete Form AD-112, including the specific date FPS filed report, and forward the completed form to the PMO.

405.25  Exchange or Trade-In

Documentation of all exchanges and trade-ins of accountable personal property must be retained. The documentation must include the item description, manufacturer, model number, serial number, property identification number, and the exchange or trade-in amount.  The items must be recorded in PROP.  

405.26  Transfers

A.  Transfers of accountable property between APOs within the PMO organizational structure (e.g., NRCS-Alabama) must be documented on Form AD-107.  The losing APO must sign the form and forward to the receiving APO.  The receiving APO accepts responsibility for the property by signing the form and forwards the form with both signatures to the PMO for updating in PROP by the person appointed to perform the personal property data entry function.  The form must include the following:

(1)  Item description

(2)  Manufacturer name and model number, if known

(2)  Serial number

(3)  Property identification number

(4)  Acquisition dates and cost, if known

(5)  Signatures of both APOs

B.  PMO approval is not required for transfers of personal property within their organizational area of responsibility.  For example, the PMO for NRCS-Alabama does not need to approve transfers between APOs in Alabama.  However, in accordance with AGPMR 104-43.309, the PMO is required to approve all AD-107s for property transfers to other PMOs or other USDA agencies. The gaining agency is responsible for completing the transfer in PROP once the forms are properly executed.

C. Subpart B contains the process for transfers of excess property to or from other agencies.

D. NRCS is not authorized to transfer excess property directly to soil and water conservation districts or other non-Federal recipients. 

405.27  Donations

A.  Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 102-37 establishes the guidelines for the GSA donation program.  After excess property passes Federal screening and utilization, the property becomes surplus property.  Surplus property is personal property that is no longer required for the needs of the Federal Government.  GSA will make this property available during the donation screening cycle.

B.  GSA’s Federal surplus property donation program enables certain non-Federal organizations to obtain Federal surplus property.  The law requires each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa to establish a State agency for surplus property (SASP) to distribute Federal surplus property.  The SASP advises applicants of the eligibility requirements and acquisition procedures and the conditions and restrictions involved.  GSA has sole authority to approve donations of surplus property to SASPs and their eligible recipients.  FMR 102-37.130 establishes that the major categories of organizations eligible to receive surplus property through GSA under the SASP are—

(1)  Public agencies.

(2)  Nonprofit educational activities.

(3)  Nonprofit public health activities.

(4)  Public programs for the elderly.

C.  GSA prepares the necessary documents and notifies the holding agency or appropriate PMO.  The holding activity will not release the item until after receiving confirmation from GSA.

405.28  Sales

A.  FMR 102-38 establishes the guidelines for the sale of personal property.  The APO is responsible for the continued care and handling of surplus property during the sale process.  The appropriate PMO will work with the APO to—

(1)  Provide accurate descriptive information to GSA for the sale advertisement.

(2)  Provide an inspection period for prospective bidders.

(3)  Provide facilities and assistance when required by GSA.

(4)  Assist in selecting and grouping like items to be sold. 

(5)  Transport property to a consolidated sales site acceptable to both the holding agency and GSA, if necessary.

B.  GSA will process the sales transactions and notify the holding activity or the PMO of sales results.  Property will not be released to the awardees until notification of payment from GSA.

C.  Upon receipt of purchaser authority to receive property, the awardee’s signature must be obtained and the documentation forwarded to GSA.  GSA will retain a portion of the proceeds to cover the costs associated with the sale.

D.  GSA reserves the right to reoffer the property for sale if the sale results in a no bid, or if the awardee or successful bidder fails to make payment or remove the property within the time prescribed by the terms and conditions of the sale.  If it is uneconomical for GSA to reoffer the property for sale following a no bid or a failure to pay and remove, GSA will provide a disposition letter advising the owning agency to dispose of the property in accordance with the "Abandonment/Destruction" guidelines listed in the FMR.      

E.  If the property sold is accountable property, copies of the release documentation, including the sale price, must be forwarded to the appropriate PMO, who will ensure that the property records in PROP are updated by the person performing the personal property data entry function.

F.  AGPMR 110-38.170 prohibits any USDA employee who was accountable or used the property, or was any way connected to it being declared as excess, condemnation, or sale, from purchasing the property.

405.29  Abandonment and Destruction

A.  FMR 102-36.305 establishes the guidelines for property disposal by abandonment and destruction.  Abandonment and destruction is of extreme interest to auditors.  AGPMR 104- 45.302 prohibits employees from acquiring, for personal use, any article of departmental property that has been ordered abandoned or destroyed.

B.  Criteria.—PMOs may authorize abandonment or destruction when—

(1)  Property has no commercial value, either as an individual item or as scrap.

(2)  Following utilization and donation cycle, the cost of care, handling, and preparation of sale would be greater than the expected sales proceeds.

(3)  Laws or regulations require abandonment or destruction.

(4)  Written instructions authorized by the proper authorities (e.g., health, safety, security) direct abandonment or destruction.

C.  APOs must prepare Form AD-112 as the written justification for abandonment or destruction.  Once approved by the PMO, the APO and a witness will sign Form AD-112 certifying that the items listed on the form were abandoned or destroyed according to Federal regulations.  Upon receipt of the signed AD-112, the PMO will then ensure that the property records in PROP are updated by the person performing the personal property data entry function.

D.  FMR 102-36.325 Public Notice.—APOs must post a public notice of intent to abandon or destroy property.  The public notice will include an offer to sell the property to any interested parties on a first-come, first-served basis.

E.  A public notice of abandonment or destruction is not required when—

(1)  The item has an original acquisition cost under $500.

(2)  Immediate abandonment or destruction is required because of health, safety, or security reasons.

(3)  The value of the item is so little and the cost of care and handling is so great that retaining for sale, even as scrap, is not economical.

405.30  Gifts

A.  Departmental Regulation 5200-3 establishes regulations for accepting gifts.

B.  Gifts of personal property may be accepted by the Chief or Deputy Chief for Management (NHQ).  Refer any offers of personal property to the State administrative officer.

405.31  Removing Property From Government Offices

A.  AGPMR 104-50.109 requires agencies to document removal of property from Government offices.  Based on the office location, APOs, supervisors, or responsible officials will approve the removal of property by issuing a property pass.  Property passes help APOs account for, audit, and control the removal of property assigned to their custody.  The following documents may serve as a property pass:

(1)  Form AD-873, “Property Pass”

(2)  OF-130, “Personal Custody Property Receipt”

(3)  A memorandum

B.  The following information is needed on a property pass:

(1)  Description of property

(2)  Serial number

(3)  Property identification number

(4)  Name of employee removing property

(5)  Return date

(6)  Signature of official authorizing the removal

405.32  Removing Property From the National Headquarters Complex

A.  Employees in the USDA National Headquarters complex will use Form AD-873 when removing property from USDA facilities.  This includes Government property, commercial property, and an employee’s personal property that may be perceived as Government property.  NRCS has authorized specific individuals to approve property passes.  USDA’s Physical Security Branch and each security station maintains a list of the names and signatures of the agency’s approving officials.  The Management Services Division maintains a list of NRCS approving officials and is responsible for updating the list as appropriate.  Employees will check within their division or program for the appropriate approving official. 

B.  Employees who remove the same laptop computers or other equipment on a regular basis may request that their division's property pass issuing officer prepare a memorandum to the Physical Security Branch instead of completing Form AD-873.  This memorandum is valid for up to 1 year and can be renewed after it expires.  The Physical Security Branch will keep a copy of the memorandum on file at the security guard station.  However, the employee is responsible for maintaining a copy to show to the security guard when leaving the building.  Once the security guard verifies the serial number, the employee may remove the item from the building.

    

   

   
    

[GM_120_405_C_April 2013 - Amend. 126 - ]

Subpart D - Motor Vehicle Management: Acquisition

405.50  Acquisition of Motor Vehicles

Passenger automobiles and light trucks acquired by NRCS must meet the statutory fleet average fuel economy standards prescribed in Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 102-34.55.  Requests for waiver exemptions to those standards must be submitted in writing to USDA’s Office of Procurement and Property Management, Property Management Division, detailing the number and vehicle types to which this waiver request applies.  NRCS State Offices must direct waiver requests to the Acquisition Division at National Headquarters.  All exemptions will be granted by the General Services Administration (GSA).

            405.51  Acquisition of Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV)

NRCS AFV acquisitions must adhere to guidance issued in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) and Executive Order 13149, Greening the Government through Federal Fleet and Transportation Efficiency (April 21, 2000).  Requirements for the acquisition of AFVs are as follows:

(1)  NRCS will develop, document, and implement aggressive plans to fulfill the AFV acquisition requirements established by EPAct.  In accordance with EPAct requirements, 75 percent of all light-duty vehicle acquisitions in metropolitan statistical areas with populations of 250,000 or more must be AFVs.  NRCS may acquire AFVs by buying and leasing from GSA, commercially leasing, or through a combination of these methods.

(2)  Although NRCS AFV acquisition requirement plans must be based on existing and requested funds, they are not exempt from the requirements of EPAct or Executive Order 13149 due to limited appropriations.

405.52  Determination of Vehicle Need

A.  Public Law 99-272, the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, Subtitle C, “Federal Motor Vehicle Expenditure Control,” requires agencies to conduct cost comparisons to determine the most economical way of providing vehicle needs before a vehicle is acquired.

B.  NRCS State offices must compare the cost of ownership to leasing from GSA and to leasing commercially to determine which method is most cost effective.  The vehicle would then be acquired in the most economical way available funds allow.  For example, if the cost comparison shows that ownership is the least costly and that funds are not available to procure a vehicle, the agency should acquire the vehicle from the next most economical source.

C.  The vehicle acquired should achieve maximum fuel efficiency and be limited to the minimum body size, engine size, and optional equipment necessary to meet agency requirements.

405.53  Purchase of Vehicles

The first step in purchasing a vehicle is using AutoChoice, GSA’s online vehicle ordering program.  GSA is a mandatory source for vehicles under Federal Property Management Regulation (FPMR) 101-26.501.  The purchasing process is as follows:

(1)  All vehicles are delivered to a nearby courtesy dealership chosen by NRCS while completing the vehicle order.  If the dealership block is not identified in AutoChoice, the vendor will choose the dealership the vehicle will be delivered to, based on the ZIP code provided by NRCS.  If consignee delivery (option code CNS) was chosen during completion of the order, the vehicle will be delivered to the delivery address assigned to the vehicle order.  Copies of vehicle documentation should be retained in the vehicle file.

(2)  A copy of the AutoChoice “Requisition Detail” screen with the internal financial data and Form AD-700 should be forwarded to the purchasing office’s procurement and finance staff.    

(3)  GSA bills each NRCS office.  GSA’s finance office will communicate with the National Finance Center, which, in turn, requires an obligating document in the agency’s financial system to process the collection.

(4)  In accordance with FPMR 101-26-501-1, when NRCS determines that requirements for passenger motor vehicles and trucks indicate the need for procurement by buying activities other than GSA, a request for waiver justifying the procurement must be submitted in writing to the General Services Administration.

(i)  GSA will notify NRCS in writing whether a waiver has been granted.  Justification may be based on the urgency of need or the fact that the vehicle has unique characteristics, such as special-purpose body or equipment, requiring NRCS personnel to closely supervise installation of the equipment by the contractor.  Requests for procurement through sources other than GSA will be handled on an individual basis, provided that full justification is submitted.

(ii)  When GSA determines that its procurement of an NRCS requirement would offer no advantage over local purchase of the item, it may grant NRCS authority for local purchase.  The order then will be returned to NRCS with written authority for local purchase.

405.54  Purchase of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

A.  Procurement of ATVs is restricted to four-wheel types or larger.  Three-wheeled ATVs already on hand are classified as “dangerous property” and may not be resold (see FPMR 101-45.004 for disposal methods).

B.  Employees operating ATVs must be trained or instructed on their proper use and safe operation.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recommended ATV training through the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, of Costa Mesa, CA. 

C.  The U.S. Forest Service (FS) has developed a 2-day training seminar on the proper use of all ATVs.  Information may be obtained by contacting any FS area, district, or regional office.

405.55  GSA Vehicle Leasing Procedures

A.  The first step in leasing a vehicle from the GSA fleet is to contact a GSA regional office or local servicing Fleet Management Center.  If a suitable vehicle is not immediately available, the request will be logged onto a waiting list.  Requests that cannot be filled locally may be sent in writing to GSA’s Fleet Central Office at the following address:  Office of Motor Vehicle Management, Washington, DC 20406.  The Office of Motor Vehicle Management telephone number is (703) 605-5630.

B.  A copy of the request to GSA should be forwarded to the servicing procurement and finance staff, using Form AD-700.  However, if vehicles are being replaced as required by GSA under a current arrangement, the initial request is sufficient.

C.  After NRCS receives confirmation of the availability of the requested vehicle(s) from the local GSA office, NRCS picks up the vehicle(s).  At the time of pick-up, NRCS signs GSA Form 1152, which outlines terms of the lease, including the vehicle’s description and pricing.  Copies of vehicle documentation should be retained in the vehicle file, maintained by the acquisitions team.

D.  Upon receiving the vehicles and copy of GSA Form 1152, a copy of the signed Form AD-700 must be forwarded to the finance staff as supporting documentation for the obligation.  Form AD-700 must be provided to the finance staff on an annual basis for as long as the GSA vehicle lease arrangement continues.  The estimated amount must be supported by a summarized list by billed office address code of charges from GSA.

E.  State procurement staff is required by GSA to report activity on leased vehicles through GSA systems.

405.56  Classification of Passenger Automobiles

According to FMR 102-34.45, passenger automobiles are classified in accordance with the following table:

Figure 405-D1:  Vehicle Classifications

Sedan Class

Station Wagon Class

Descriptive Name

I

I

Subcompact

II

II

Compact

III

III

Midsize

IV

IV

Large

V  

Limousine

 

405.57  Size of Motor Vehicles That May be Purchased

The following vehicles may be purchased:

(1)  Select motor vehicles that will achieve maximum fuel efficiency

(2)  Motor vehicle body size, engine size, and optional equipment limited to what is essential to meet NRCS mission requirements

(3)  Midsize (class III) or smaller sedans, except of motor vehicles used by the President and Vice President, or for security and essential needs

(4)  Large (class IV) sedans (both for purchase and lease), only when such motor vehicles are essential to NRCS’s mission

405.58  Fleet Average Fuel Economy Standards

Fuel economy standards are set forth in 49 U.S.C. Section 32917, Standards for Executive Agency Automobiles, and Executive Order 12375, Motor Vehicles.  These standards have two categories:

(1)  Average fuel economy standard for all passenger automobiles

(2)  Average fuel economy standard for light trucks

405.59  Minimum Fleet Average Fuel Economy Standards

Both 49 U.S.C. Section 32917 and Executive Order 12375 require that each executive agency meet the fleet average fuel economy standards in place as of January 1 of each fiscal year.  The standards for passenger automobiles are prescribed in 49 U.S.C. Section 32902(b).  The Department of Transportation publishes the standards for light trucks and amendments to the standards for passenger automobiles at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

405.60  Calculating the Average Fuel Economy for NRCS’s Fleet

A.  Due to the variety of motor vehicle configurations, you must take an average of all motor vehicles by the category (passenger automobiles or light truck) purchased, which are leased and operated by NRCS during the fiscal year.

B.  This calculation is the sum of passenger automobiles or light trucks, divided by the sum of the fractions representing the number of motor vehicles of each category by model, divided by the unadjusted city and highway miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings for that model, as developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for each fiscal year.  The EPA rating for each motor vehicle make, model, and model year http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/feg2000.htm.

C.  For example:  Six hundred light trucks are acquired in a specific year.  These are broken down into 200 six-cylinder automatic transmission pickup trucks with an EPA rating of 24.3 miles per gallon (mpg), 150 six-cylinder automatic transmission minivans with an EPA rating of 24.8 mpg, 150 eight-cylinder automatic transmission pickup trucks with an EPA rating of 20.4 mpg, and 100 eight-cylinder automatic transmission cargo vans with an EPA rating of 22.2 mpg.  Using the formula provided in section 405.60B, the fleet average fuel economy for light trucks in this case is 23.0 mpg (see figure 405-D1)

Figure 405-D1:  Example Fuel Economy Calculation 

Click here for a copy of an Example Fuel Economy Calculation 

405.61  Requesting an Exemption from the Fuel Economy Standard

A.  According to FMR 102-34.65, requests for exemption from the fuel economy standards must be submitted in writing to the following address:

General Services Administration

Attention:  Deputy Associate Administrator,

Office of Travel, Transportation and Asset Management

Washington, DC 20405

B.  Include all relevant information necessary to permit review of the request that the vehicles be exempted based on energy conservation, economy, efficiency, or service.  Exemptions may be sought for individual vehicles or categories of vehicles.

C.  GSA will review the request and advise of its determination within 30 days of receipt.  Passenger automobiles and light trucks exempted under the provisions of this section must not be included in calculating the fleet average fuel economy.

405.62  Maintaining Completed Calculations of Fleet Vehicle Acquisitions

A.  In accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration General Records Schedule 10, Item 4, “Motor Vehicle Report Files,” the agency must maintain on file the average fuel economy data for each year’s vehicle acquisitions.  Exemption requests and their disposition must also be maintained with the average fuel economy files.

B.  Agencies are responsible for monitoring their own compliance with fuel economy standards for motor vehicles they obtain.

C.  Agencies report to GSA their leases and purchases of passenger automobiles and light trucks.  GSA keeps a master record of miles per gallon for passenger automobiles and light trucks acquired by each agency during the fiscal year.  GSA verifies that each agency’s passenger automobile and light truck leases and purchases achieve the fleet average fuel economy for the applicable fiscal year, as required by Executive Order 12375.

D.  The GSA Federal Vehicle Policy Division issues information about EPA’s mpg ratings to executive agencies at the beginning of each fiscal year to help agencies with their acquisition plans.

[GM_120_405_D - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart E - Motor Vehicle Management: Identifying and Registering Motor Vehicles

405.70  Motor Vehicle Identification

A.  All motor vehicles owned or leased by the Government must display motor vehicle identification unless exempted under Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Parts 102-34.160, 102-34.175, or 102-34.180.

B.  Motor vehicles with rear windows must display the following:

(1)  A “For Official Use Only” sign, with letters one-half of an inch to three-quarters of an inch high

(2)  A “U.S. Government” sign, with letters three-quarters of an inch to 1 inch high

(3)  The full name of the Department, agency, establishment, corporation, or service owning or leasing the motor vehicle (in letters 1 inch to 1½ inches high) or a title that describes the activity in which it is operated (if the title readily identifies the Department, agency, establishment, corporation, or service concerned)

C.  Motor vehicles without rear windows must display the types of motor vehicle identification specified in Section 405.70(B), but must use—

(1)  Letters 1 inch to 1½ inches high in colors contrasting to the motor vehicle.

(2)  Letters one-half of an inch to three-quarters of an inch high if using subsidiary words or titles of subordinate units.

(3)  A decal of elastomeric pigmented film type, which is the preferred material for ease of application and removal.

D.  Position of Markings

(1)  On most motor vehicles, position on the left side of the rear window, 1½ inches or less from the bottom of the window. 

(2)  On motor vehicles without rear windows or where identification on the rear window would not be easily seen, position centered on both front doors or in any appropriate position on each side of the motor vehicle.

(3)  On trailers, position centered on both sides of the front quarter of the trailer in a conspicuous location.

E.  NRCS is responsible for acquiring its own decals.  Replace the motor vehicle identification when necessary due to damage or wear.

405.71  Agency Identification

A.  All vehicles purchased or leased by USDA must be marked “U.S. Department of Agriculture” without reference to the departmental agency, unless the agency’s identification is required as an integral part of the motor vehicle mission or for safety reasons.  Similarly, motor vehicles must not be repainted for the sole purpose of changing the factory-delivered color, unless such repainting is required for mission purposes or is essential to safety.  This is to enhance the sharing of motor vehicles.

B.  Justification and approval of the need for agency identification or painting must be documented at NRCS National Headquarters and kept in a central location for audit purposes.  When approved for use, individual agency identification decals must be obtained through the agency forms acquisition procedures.

405.72  Display of Unauthorized-Use Decals

A.  A Form AD-185 decal that states the penalty for unauthorized use must be conspicuously displayed on the instrument panel of each motor vehicle that has the “For Official Use Only” legend.

B.  The decal is not required on motor vehicles that are assigned motorcycle tags if impractical because of the configuration of the vehicle.  Decals are not necessary if the vehicle uses the new USDA license plates produced by Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR), because they contain the USDA logo.

405.73  Removal of U.S. Government Tags

A.  Whenever a motor vehicle is removed from Government service or transferred to another Department or Government activity outside USDA, the official U.S. Government tags must be removed and destroyed and records appropriately annotated.  A replacement vehicle should be issued new official U.S. Government tags. 

B.  Before transferring the title or delivering a motor vehicle, all identification must be removed.

405.74  Registering Government Motor Vehicles

A.  Government-owned or -leased motor vehicles displaying U.S. Government license plates and motor vehicle identification that is regularly based or operated outside the District of Columbia does not have to be registered in a State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.  However, you must register it in the Federal Government Motor Vehicle Registration System.  GSA Fleet may register motor vehicles leased from them.

B.  Motor vehicles exempted under FMR Parts 102-34.160, 102-34.175, or 102-34.180 must be registered and inspected in accordance with the laws of the State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States where the motor vehicle is regularly operated.

405.75  Obtaining U.S. Government License Plates

All official USDA tags for vehicles must be obtained directly from UNICOR’s Web-based license plates system (LPS).  The NRCS Fleet Program coordinator has access to the LPS and may designate other agency users to access it for tag ordering.  For more information on ordering license plates, visit USDA License Plate Ordering Process Web site.

405.76  Displaying License Plates on Motor Vehicles

A.  Official U.S. Government license plates must be displayed on the front and rear of all motor vehicles owned or leased by the Government.  The exception is two-wheeled motor vehicles, which require rear license plates only.

B.  Official U.S. Government license plates must be displayed on the motor vehicle to which the license plates were assigned.

C.  U.S. Government license plates must be displayed until the motor vehicle is removed from Government service or is transferred, or until the plates are damaged and require replacement.

405.77  Lost or Stolen License Plates

Lost or stolen license plates must be reported, as follows:

(1)  Report lost or stolen U.S. Government license plates to your local security office (or equivalent) and local police.

(2)  Report lost or stolen District of Columbia or State license plates to your local security office (or equivalent) and either the District of Columbia Department of Transportation or State agency, as appropriate.

(3)  Report lost or stolen the license plate number of all U.S. Government tags, lost or stolen to the responsible Local Fleet Program Coordinator (LFPC) maintaining current records of all tags; the issuing authority; and local, State, and Federal police, with the property officer reporting the tag number as lost or stolen to the National Fleet Program Coordinator; USDA’s Office of Procurement and Property Management Division.

(4)  The LFPC is also responsible for reporting lost or stolen license plates through UNICOR.

405.78  Records of License Plates

A.  LFPCs must keep a central record of all U.S. Government license plates for their program’s motor vehicle purchases and leases.  The record must identify—

(1)  The motor vehicle to which each set of plates is assigned.

(2)  The complete history of any reassigned plates.

(3)  A list of lost, stolen, destroyed, or voided license plate numbers.

B.  When vehicles are replaced, the old license plates should be destroyed and new license plates issued.  A new fleet credit card should also be issued for the new vehicles.

405.79  Coding and Numbering of U.S. Government License Plates

A.  U.S. Government license plates numbers are preceded by a letter code that designates the owning agency for the motor vehicle.  The agency letter codes are listed in GSA Bulletin B-11.  (FMR bulletins are located at GSA Bulletins)

B.  To obtain a new license place code designation, e-mail vehicle.policy@gsa.gov or contact the General Services Administration.

[GM_120_405_E - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart F - Motor Vehicle Management: Official Use of a Government Motor Vehicle

405.80  Definition of “Official Use”

Official use of a Government motor vehicle means using a Government motor vehicle to perform the NRCS mission, as authorized by the agency.  These requirements apply to vehicles on loan to conservation partners through a written agreement.

405.81  Responsibility of Vehicle Operator

A.  Vehicle operators may use Government-owned or -leased vehicles for official purposes only.  Operators must avoid, when possible, any situation that may convey an impression to the public that the vehicle operator is using the assigned vehicle for an unofficial purpose.

B.  Operators must immediately report any safety or mechanical deficiency to the local Fleet Program coordinator (LFPC) and are not to operate vehicles with known mechanical problems or safety deficiencies.  The LFPC must correct deficiencies as soon as possible. 

405.82  Supervisory Responsibilities

Supervisory responsibilities include the following:

(1)  Advising employees of the regulations governing the use of Government-owned or -leased vehicles.

(2)  Establishing prior approval procedures for using vehicles at irregular hours or under circumstances in which using motor vehicles may create an unfavorable public reaction (for example, during a Federal holiday or after a tour of duty has ended).

(3)  Ensuring that all NRCS vehicle operators possess a valid driver’s license.

(4)  Exploring opportunities to share resources such as vehicles with other USDA agencies.

405.83  License Requirements

All persons operating a NRCS motor vehicle must possess a valid State driver’s license and must carry it while operating a Government-owned or leased vehicle.

405.84  Safety

A.  In accordance with Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Part 102-34.250, employees must use all safety devices and follow all appropriate motor vehicle manufacturer safety guidelines when operating vehicles owned or leased by the Government.  The use of seat belts by NRCS operators and passengers is mandatory when vehicles are in motion.

B.  NRCS vehicle operators must notify their supervisors immediately if any unsafe conditions exist or any repairs are needed.

405.85  No Smoking in Vehicles

A.  Departmental Regulation (DR) 4400-006 states that smoking at USDA facilities (including vehicles) is prohibited except in areas that meet the conditions stipulated under section 5b of the regulation and are specifically designated smoking areas by authorization of the head of the facility’s lead agency.  This regulation is in compliance with 41 CFR Part 102-74 and FMR Bulletin 2009-B1, Protecting Federal Employees and the Public from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke in the Federal Workplace.

B.  Any exceptions must be published in writing, be approved by the head of the facility’s lead agency, and provide for the protection of nonsmokers from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. 

405.86  No Texting While Driving

A.  DR 5400-007 bans text messaging by all USDA employees when driving a Government-owned vehicle or driving a privately owned vehicle while on official Government business and bans using electronic equipment supplied by the Government when driving any vehicle (even during off-duty hours).  It also encourages contractors to adopt similar policies.

B.  DR 5400-007 also requires the agency to take appropriate disciplinary action for violation of the ban on texting, up to and including removal from Federal service, as outlined in section 9 of that regulation.

C.  Departmental policy encourages USDA employees, contractors, and their families to refrain at all times from texting or engaging in other behavior that distracts attention from driving safely.

[GM_120_405_F - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart G - Motor Vehicle Management: Replacement of Motor Vehicles

405.90  Motor Vehicle Replacement Standards

A.  Motor vehicle replacement standards specify the minimum number of years in use or miles traveled at which an executive agency may replace a Government-owned motor vehicle.  These are prescribed in Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 102-34.280.

B.  NRCS may replace a Government-owned motor vehicle if it needs body or mechanical repairs that exceed the fair market value of the motor vehicle.  The fair market value is determined by adding the current market value of the motor vehicle plus any capitalized motor vehicle additions (such as a utility body or liftgate) or repairs.  The Local Fleet Program Coordinator must review the replacement in advance.

C.  The replacement standard is a minimum only, and therefore, NRCS may keep a Government-owned motor vehicle longer than shown in section FMR 102-34.280 if the motor vehicle can be operated without excessive maintenance costs or substantial reduction in resale value.

405.91  Motor Vehicles

NRCS must keep its owned or leased motor vehicles for at least the years or miles (whichever occurs first) shown in Figure 405-G1.

             Figure 405-G1:  Minimum Replacement Standards

Motor Vehicle Type

Years

Miles

Sedans and Station Wagons

3

60,000

Trucks:

   Less than 12,500 pounds GVWR

   12,500-23,999 pounds GVWR

   24,000 pounds GVWR and over

   4- or 6-wheel drive motor vehicles

 

6

7

9

6

 

50,000

60,000

80,000

40,000

 

[GM_120_405_G - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart H - Motor Vehicle Management: Scheduled Maintenance of Motor Vehicles

405.100  Scheduled Maintenance Program

A.  A scheduled maintenance program for each owned or leased motor vehicle is required.  This applies to motor vehicles operated in any State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, and the District of Columbia.  The General Services Administration (GSA) Fleet will develop maintenance programs for GSA Fleet vehicles.

B.  The scheduled maintenance program must—

(1)  Meet Federal, State, and local emission standards

(2)  Meet manufacturer warranty requirements

(3)  Ensure the safe and economical operating condition of the motor vehicle throughout its life

(4)   Ensure that inspections and servicing occur as recommended by the manufacturer or more often if local operating conditions require

           
            405.101  Scheduled Maintenance Guidelines

In addition to the general requirements contained above, NRCS must maintain its motor vehicles as described below.

(1)  Tires must be checked at least weekly to ensure that the correct air pressure (as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer in the owner’s manual and on the driver’s door) is maintained at all times, unless conditions dictate otherwise.  Maintaining proper tire pressure will reduce fuel consumption and tire wear.

(2)   Owned and commercially leased motor vehicles should have mechanical inspections performed by a qualified licensed mechanic in accordance with State and local requirements or manufacturer-recommended schedules.  Visual safety inspections do not have to be performed by a qualified licensed mechanic; these inspections must be conducted annually by the local fleet program coordinators or other designees.

(i)  Visual inspections should include, at a minimum, checking safety belts, parking brakes, head and parking lights, tail lights, backing-up lights, tag lights, hazard lights, brake lights, turn signals, horns, windshield wipers and washers, rear and side view mirrors, tire pressure, and tire tread wear.

(ii)  NRCS employees may request an inspection any time it is believed an unsafe condition exists.

(3)  Form AD-187, “Operation and Utilization Record,” contains a maintenance and inspection record available for optional use.  The record’s checklist is the pullout page attached to the back of the record book.  Local fleet program coordinators (LFPCs) using these forms must complete them annually and include each inspection.  LFPCs not utilizing the forms may develop their own inspection checklist, with the inspection items contained in the back of the record book as a minimum requirement for items to be inspected.  These checklists should be kept with vehicle records for audit purposes.

(4)  When feasible, Government-operated maintenance shops must be used in lieu of more expensive alternatives.  As appropriate, NRCS will negotiate support agreements with other Federal Departments to obtain maintenance support at the lowest overall cost.

(5)  In areas where GSA maintenance support is inadequate due to problems involving policy matters, agencies should document the problems encountered and submit them to Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM), Property Management Division (PMD) for forwarding to GSA headquarters for corrective action.

405.102  State Inspections

Motor vehicles must pass State inspections where mandated.

(1)  When required by State motor vehicle administrations or State environmental departments, motor vehicles owned or leased by the Government must pass federally mandated emission inspections in the jurisdictions in which they operate.  GSA will pay the cost of these inspections for motor vehicles leased from the GSA fleet.

(2)  Motor vehicles owned or leased by the Government that are exempt from the display of U.S. Government license plates and motor vehicle identification must comply with emission and mechanical inspection programs of the State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States (including the District of Columbia) in which they are regularly operated.  NRCS must pay for these inspections, unless the fee is waived.  Payments for inspections for motor vehicles leased from the GSA fleet are also the responsibility of NRCS.

405.103  Retread Tires

A.  As part of USDA’s monitoring program, NRCS must procure retread services (retread existing tires in the system) or retread tires (replacement tires) to the maximum extent feasible.

B.  If any of the following circumstances apply, the use of retread tires or retreading services is not required:

(1)  Unavailable within a reasonable period of time

(2)  Unable to meet the required performance specifications

(3)  Unavailable at a reasonable price

(4)  Prohibition under 49 CFR Section 393.75(d) of regrooved, recapped, or retreaded tires on the front wheels of buses

405.104  Reporting

Annual review and monitoring of the effectiveness of the affirmative procurement program for EPA-designated items are required.  NRCS must maintain logs or other records necessary to provide reporting data.  These logs or records must be available upon request and must contain the following information, at a minimum:

(1)  The total dollar amount of new tires (excluding aircraft tires) purchased by the agency during the fiscal year.

(2)  The total dollar amount of retread tires (excluding aircraft tires) purchased by the agency during the fiscal year.

[GM_120_405_H - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart I - Motor Vehicle Management: Motor Vehicle Accident Reporting

405.110  Forms

The following GSA forms are used to report an accident in any State, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, and in the District of Columbia.  The forms should be carried in any motor vehicle owned or leased by the Government.

(1)  Standard Form (SF)-91, “Motor Vehicle Accident Report.”—The motor vehicle operator should complete this form at the time and scene of the accident, if possible, even if damage to the motor vehicle is not noticeable.

(2)  Form SF-94, “Statement of Witness.”—This form should be completed by any witness to the accident. 

405.111  Sending Accident Reports

A.  If the motor vehicle is owned or leased by USDA, the local fleet program coordinator must send copies of the accident report to senior administrative staff for consideration and must retain a copy.  (See Agricultural Property Management Regulations (AGPMR), Subchapter N, 104.50.108 for reporting requirements.)

B.  If the motor vehicle is managed by the GSA Fleet, report the accident to GSA in accordance with Federal Management Regulation 110-34.305, Accident Reporting Forms and Their Use. 

[GM_120_405_I - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart J - Frieght Management: Purpose

405.120  Purpose

A.  This part prescribes the policies and procedures governing the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) 102-117 as it relates to NRCS State and field offices.  It provides guidance to NRCS’s State and field offices on supply management and transportation.  It also supplements the Federal Management Regulation.

B.  This part covers freight management regarding the delivery of personal property, including equipment, among the agency’s national, State, and local offices.  It provides guidance to ensure prompt payment for these services.

405.121  References


Freight management references can be found by clicking on Transportation Management FMR 102-117.


 

[GM_120_405_J - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart K - Freight Management

405.130  Transportation Management Services Solution (TMSS)

The General Services Administration (GSA) offers freight and household goods transportation services for Federal civilian agencies.  Transportation options are accessed through GSA’s Web-based TMSS system.  TMSS provides the following:

(1)  Comprehensive, online freight and household goods transportation

(2)  An approved electronic bill of lading (BL)

(3)  Shipment booking online feature

(4)  Volume-discounted negotiated government rates

(5)  An efficient transportation system that streamlines the transportation process

(6)  Ease of use

405.131  GSA’s Electronic Bill of Lading

A.  GSA’s electronic BL provides documentation and authorization of an agency’s shipments of freight and household goods.  It is offered exclusively through TMSS.  Using TMSS, shippers can easily book a shipment online, complete the BL, and print a single copy to accompany the shipment.

B.  GSA is committed to developing a total, end-to-end solution to meet all transportation needs.  The electronic BL is one step toward fulfilling that commitment.  One-time-only shipments can now use the electronic bill of lading for TMSS.

405.132  Freight Management

A.  Federal customer agencies have benefited from GSA’s actions to provide agencies with standardized and cost-effective transportation services.  GSA’s standard tender of service establishes a uniform basis for buying freight transportation through its rules and accessorial services.

B.  GSA’s solicitation and acceptance of rates and charges, which in many cases includes rates specific to an agency’s facility and traffic characteristics, provides highly competitive pricing.  TMSS helps ensure that agencies receive the most accurate, up-to-date rate information in a timely manner through its automated cost comparison system.

C.  Federal agencies are required to sign a transportation services agreement (TSA) prior to shipping freight using the Freight Management Program’s (FMP) standard tender of service. 

By signing the TSA, Federal agencies agree to remit to GSA an industrial funding fee against the total transportation charges paid to a transportation service provider to cover GSA’s administrative management costs.

D.  After the TSA is signed and the Federal customer agency account is set up, the agency can contact its GSA regional representative to tap into a whole realm of freight transportation expertise and experience to reach worldwide destinations.  To establish an account, contact GSA’s Center for Transportation Management, 2200 Crystal Drive, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22202, or call (703) 605-5618.

405.133  Freight Management Program (FMP)

FMP provides a framework for fulfilling the domestic freight shipping requirements of Federal agencies.  The program offers rate management services nationally for general commodity freight transportation.  FMP provides the following:

(1)  Online booking of shipments through TMSS

(2)  Significant savings off commercial rates

(3)  More than 450 participating transportation service providers

(4)  Expert assistance and guidance available from transportation management associates

(5)  Standards and requirements of standard tender of service

[GM_120_405_K - Amend. 93 - September 2010]

Subpart L - Motor Vehicle Management: Disposal of Motor Vehicles

405.140  General Disposal Guidance

A.  After meeting the replacement standards under subpart G of this part, NRCS Local Fleet Program Coordinators (LFPCs) may dispose of a Government-owned motor vehicle in any State, commonwealth, territory, district, or possession of the United States by transferring the motor vehicle title or manufacturer’s certificate of origin to the new owner. 

B.  Detailed instructions for the disposal of government motor vehicles can be found in the Agriculture Property Management Regulations:

(1)  Chapter 110-35, Disposal Process

(2)  Chapter 110-36, Transfer of an Excess Motor Vehicle to another Federal Agency

(3)  Chapter 110-37, Donation of Surplus Motor Vehicles

(4)  Chapter 110-38, Information for the Sale of Motor Vehicles

(5)  Chapter 110-39, Information on Exchange/Sale Authority

(i)  Process of disposing of NRCS owned motor vehicles

·          All mentioned disposal methods of NRCS motor vehicles are to be processed using GSAXCess.

·          NRCS LFPCs are to request access into GSAXCess through the agency National Fleet Program Coordinator.

(ii)  Transfer Forms

·          NRCS LFPCs are to use Form AD-107 when transferring excess vehicles between USDA agencies.

·          To complete transactions of sale and title transfer of NRCS motor vehicles to a purchaser, a Standard Form (SF)-97 must be prepared by GSA or USDA’s / Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM) (for donations).

--  Original copy of the SF-97 must be issued to the purchaser or donee.

--  Copy to be forwarded to NRCS LFPCs and maintained on file.

[GM_120_405_L - Amend. 107 - February 2011]

Subpart M - Motor Vehicle Management: Motor Vehicle Fueling

405.150  Fuel for Motor Vehicles

NRCS Local Fleet Program Coordinators (LFPCs) may obtain fuel for any motor vehicle owned or leased by the Government by using any of the following:

(1)  A Government-issued fleet charge card

(2)  A Government agency fueling facility

(3)  Personal funds and obtaining reimbursement from the agency (least preferred)

405.151  Purchases of Fuel and Motor-Vehicle-Related Services

The Government fleet charge cards are specifically issued for this purpose.  These cards are designed to collect motor vehicle data at the time of purchase.  Where appropriate, State sales and motor fuel taxes are deducted from fuel purchases by the fleet charge card services contractor before the agency is billed.  The General Services Administration (GSA) contractor-issued fleet charge card is the only Government-issued charge card that may be used for NRCS fleet motor vehicles and GSA leased motor vehicles.  For further information on acquiring these fleet charge cards and their use, contact the NRCS National Fleet Program Coordinator.

405.152  Type of Fuel to Use in Motor Vehicles

A.  Use the type of fuel and grade (octane rating) of fuel that is specified or recommended by the motor vehicle manufacturer when fueling motor vehicles owned or leased by the Government.

B.  Do not use premium-grade gasoline in any motor vehicle owned or leased by the Government unless the motor vehicle manufacturer specifically requires premium-grade gasoline.

C.  Use unleaded gasoline in all Government-owned or -leased motor vehicles designed to operate on gasoline and used overseas unless—

(1)  Such use would be in conflict with country-to-country or multinational logistics agreements

(2)  Such gasoline is not available locally

405.153  Use of Ethanol and Biodiesel Fuels in USDA Vehicles

USDA has established a preference policy for the use of fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, which are made from renewable agricultural products.  NRCS must adhere to the following USDA policy:

(1)  USDA agencies that maintain diesel fuel tanks for their fleet vehicles, off-road vehicles, marine vessels, and other motorized diesel equipment must buy and use blends of 20 percent (B20) or higher biodiesel fuel where practicable and reasonable in cost.  USDA agencies that do not maintain diesel fuel tanks will seek out opportunities to fuel at nearby Federal or commercial fueling facilities that offer B20 biodiesel at a reasonable cost.

(2)  USDA agencies that maintain gasoline fueling facilities will buy and use ethanol-blended fuels containing at least 10 percent domestically produced ethanol or other alcohol to the extent practicable where the fuel is readily available and reasonably priced compared with unleaded gasoline.

(3)  USDA agencies that use commercial fueling stations will buy these fuels when they are readily available and at reasonable cost.

(4)  Where flex-fuel vehicles operate in geographic areas that offer E-85 fueling sites, USDA agencies must strive to fuel the vehicles routinely with E-85.  Consistent with mission requirements, USDA agencies will also purchase or lease alternative fuel vehicles, including E-85 flex-fuel vehicles, for placement in geographic areas that offer alternative fueling stations as part of overall compliance with alternative fuel acquisition requirements of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct).

(5)  In accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality Executive Order 13423 implementing instructions and Secretary Memorandum 5500-002, “Implementing Executive Order 13423,” dated September 17, 2007, NRCS must carry out the following mandates:

(i)  USDA agencies will make annual increases in alternative fuel use by 10 percent measured against the prior year’s alternative fuel usage level.  If NRCS fails to attain the 10 percent increase in any year, in the following year it must attain both the percentage missed and the 10 percent increase due for that year.

(ii)  USDA agencies will reduce covered petroleum use by 2 percent annually measured relative to the baseline year 2005 petroleum usage levels.  In planning for petroleum use reductions, NRCS must assess its petroleum needs, taking into account mission needs, and make adjustments where necessary to attain the 2-percent goal on average for the entire agency.  If NRCS fails to meet the 2-percent petroleum reduction goal in any year, in the following year it must reduce both the percentage it missed and the percent reduction due for that year.

(iii)  NRCS must strive to reduce vehicle miles traveled through such methods as trip consolidation practices, increased use of videoconferencing and Web conferencing, and the use of mass transportation and agency shuttles.

(iv)  Each USDA agency must increase overall fleet fuel economy through acquisition of more economical vehicles (e.g., smaller-sized vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and other advanced technology vehicles).

(v)  NRCS must “right-size” its fleet, employing the most fuel efficient vehicle for the required task and having the appropriate number of vehicles relative to mission.

(vi)  NRCS will implement practices and procedures to ensure alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) maximize alternative fuel use.

(vii)  NRCS must assess locations for highest demand of alternative refueling stations and—

·          Identify optimal locations for placing AFVs

·          Identify and address other critical issues that inhibit the use of alternative fuels

(viii)  NRCS must employ efficiency strategies, such as low-rolling resistant tires, synthetic oil, and other technologies.

405.154  Self-Service Fuel Pumps

A.  Self-service fuel pumps must be used to the fullest extent possible.

B.  It is USDA policy to rely upon commercial sources to the extent practicable and economical.  An agency of the Department will not own or operate fuel-dispensing facilities, unless that agency can justify a need and cost effectiveness for owning such a facility.  Current Environmental Protection Agency and State regulations governing operation of underground storage tanks and their removal must be followed.

[GM_120_405_M - Amend. 107 - February 2011]

Subpart N - Motor Vehicle Management: Federal Motor Vehicle Fleet Report

405.160  Federal Motor Vehicle Fleet Report

The Federal Motor Vehicle Fleet Report is compiled by the General Services Administration (GSA) annually from information submitted by Federal agencies on motor vehicle inventory, cost, and use.  GSA supplies copies of the report to Congress, Federal agencies, and other organizations upon request.  Recipients of this report use it to evaluate and analyze operations and management of the Federal motor vehicle fleet.

405.161  Necessary Records to Keep

A.  For owned motor vehicles, NRCS Local Fleet Program Coordinators (LFPCs) are responsible for developing adequate accounting and reporting procedures to ensure accurate reporting of inventory, cost, and operational data needed to manage and control motor vehicles.

B.  All LFPCs or their designated staff must enter inventory, cost, and operating data on all motor vehicles into the Personal Property Management System (PROPS).

405.162  How and When to Report Motor Vehicle Data

A.  The Federal Automotive Statistical Tool (FAST) is a Web-based system developed to measure the compliance of Federal agencies with the Department of Energy’s Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 (as amended in 2005), the Energy Conservation Reauthorization Act of 1998, and Executive Order 13423.

B.  FAST generates the annual Standard Form (SF)-82, “Federal Motor Vehicle Report,” that Federal agencies must submit to GSA and the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) and AFV waiver requests that are required by the Department of Energy.

C.  NRCS must populate the FAST database annually for each of these reports using information maintained and provided by the LFPCs, and other systems that detail motor vehicle-related information.

D.  The data will be uploaded by the NRCS National Fleet Manager (NFM) into the FAST System.  

E.  Upon completion of the NRCS FAST report, the USDA FAST administrator will review the reports for accuracy prior to final submission.

F.  NRCS must adhere to the following instructions in preparation for FAST reporting:

(1)  The NRCS NFM will collect States’ information pertaining to vehicle inventory, acquisition, disposal, fuel and other related motor vehicle data.  The information will be collected using the FAST upload template and instructions provided.

(2)  The NFM will forward the template to State offices upon receipt from USDA’s Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM).  The template and instructions will be transmitted by a National Bulletin establishing the procedure and deadline for submission.

(3)  The NFM will upload information in FAST no later than the deadline established by OPPM.

(4)  The FAST information is also used to populate the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11 Agency Motor Vehicle Fleet Report (AMVFR) data and submitted to the NRCS budget office in August each year for submission to USDA’s Office of Budget & Program Analysis for NRCS budget projections.

[GM_120_405_N - Amend. 107 - February 2011]

Subpart O - Segregation of Duties for Accountable Personal Property

405.170  Purpose

To enable proper segregation of duties related to the acquisition and inventory of accountable personal property. Accountable personal property is defined as property with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or greater, and for this directive includes capitalized property.

405.171  Background

A.  During recent financial audits and site visits, it has been determined that NRCS lacks adequate  segregation of duties for acquiring  and inventorying its accountable personal property.  This process is also referred to as the asset management process.

B.  Inadequate segregation of duties occurs when one person is assigned more than one role in the asset management process, thus enabling the individual to potentially acquire personal property, modify the records in the property management system, and/or certify the completeness of the personal property inventory.

C.  Failure to properly segregate these responsibilities presents a risk that discrepancies related to the completeness and existence of property may not be identified, and the property line on the NRCS balance sheet and related disclosures may be misstated.

405.172  Scope

A.  This directive establishes the requirements for NRCS segregation of duties and accountability for personal property. “Accountability” for purposes of this directive means the ability to provide a complete audit trail for accountable property transactions, from receipt to final disposition.   

B.  NRCS must maintain internal controls over its accountable property.  The foundation for adequate segregation of duties is based on the roles, responsibilities and system accesses of the individuals charged with managing NRCS personal property. Responsibilities that must be separated include acquiring property, recording transactions in the property system and ledgers (PROP), and conducting the actual physical inventory.

405.173  Roles and Responsibilities

A.  Purchasing Agent (PA).  Responsibilities of the purchasing agent role include, but are not limited to, the purchasing or acquisition of personal property through established procurement procedures including the creation, revision, and access to records in the Integrated Acquisition System (IAS).  The PA role is primarily performed by a procurement specialist, contracting specialist, or a contracting officer, although exceptions exist.  The PA cannot have roles that require the ability to enter, update, or delete records within PROP, or roles for conducting and verifying the physical inventory.  The systems access restriction ensures proper separation of responsibilities between IAS (purchasing) and PROP (record-keeping).

B.  Property Certifying Officer (PCO).  The PCO enters, revises, and removes assets in the PROP system, and certifies that all updates have been entered into PROP with proper documentation.  The PCO cannot have another role in the asset management process. This restriction ensures proper segregation of duties between record-keeping and the responsibilities of procurement and verification of physical inventory.  

C.  Accountable Property Officer (APO).  APOs conduct the physical inventory and sign off on the PROP 302 certification, verifying that all property is accounted for at the location listed on the property ledger. The APO cannot have another role in the asset management process. This restriction ensures an individual responsible for conducting and verifying the physical inventory cannot procure property or update the property records.

D.  Property Management Officer (PMO). The Administrative Officer is the PMO.  The PMO is responsible for property for the entire State or organizational unit (e.g., NHQ), and for ensuring that all required physical inventories for all offices in the State or organizational unit are performed on a timely basis.  The PMO certifies the completed physical inventory confirmed by the APO, and approves the forms for inventory transfers, disposals, etc. The PMO cannot have another role in the asset management process. This provides an independent review by an individual who does not procure property, update physical inventory records, or verify the physical inventory. 

405.174  Additional Requirements

A.  The ability to create, update, review, or similar actions must be limited between IAS and PROP.  One individual cannot have create and update accesses in both systems.  For example, an individual may not have the ability to create records in IAS and update capabilities within PROP.  However, an individual may have full access to IAS and “read only” access to PROP. 

B.  The segregation of duties among the purchasing agent, property certifying officer, accountable property officer and property management officer ensures that one individual does not have multiple roles in the asset management process.

C.  These roles and responsibilities must be staffed and performed by separate employees in the various organizational offices. In situations where the pool of employees within the various organizational offices is limited, physical property inventories can be scheduled to allow an employee from another office to perform these duties. This is appropriate only when the appointee has no other role or responsibilities in the asset management process.  For example, an administrative assistant, soil conservationist, or other staff member in an area or field office can be assigned to conduct the physical inventory and sign off on the PROP 302 certification.  

D.  States and NHQ divisions are also required to monitor the segregation of duties. Effective July 2011, and annually thereafter, NHQ Accounting will request that each State/division provide the names of employees assigned to each of these roles for each office, and the State Conservationist/Division Director must certify the information.  As the staff changes due to employee turnover (i.e., promotions, transfers, retirements, etc.), the State, area, field and other offices must modify the document as needed, and retain the revised document until the next certification.

E.  NHQ Accounting will work with the IT Data Security group to obtain a listing of employees and their respective accesses for the IAS and PROP systems; annually NHQ will review for incompatible roles or responsibilities and notify the States or divisions of any needed corrective action. 

[GM_120_405_O - Amend. 109 - May 2011]

Part 406 - Acquisitions
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Subpart A - Purpose and Scope

406.0 Purpose

406.1 Delegation of Authority

406.2 Policy and Procedure

Subpart B - Cancelled

Subpart C - Use of Government Purchase Cards


406.20  General


406.21  References


406.22  Background


406.23  Procedures


406.24  Roles and Responsibilities


406.25  Internal Control Requirements


406.26  Special Instructions


406.27  Acquisitions of Products and Services Sold by Mandatory Sources



406.28  Changes to Spending Limits

406.29  Complex Requirements and Use of the Purchase Card


406.30  Use of a Purchase Card or Related Alternative Payment Methods for Disaster, Continuity of Operations, Indemnity, and Other Program Payments



406.31  Administrative Actions


406.32  Separation of Duties


Subpart D - Cancelled


Subpart E - Cancelled


Subpart F - Reserved


Subpart G - Cancelled


Subpart H - Cancelled


Subpart I - Cancelled


Subpart J - Cancelled


Subpart K - Cancelled


Subpart L - Cancelled


Subpart M - Cancelled


Subpart N - Contracts and Agreements Numbering System


406.160 Purpose


406.161 Policy

Subpart O – Use of Government Fleet Cards


406.170 Purpose


406.171 References


406.172 Background


406.173 Procedures


406.174 Roles and Responsibilities


406.175 Internal Control Requirements


406.176 Special Instructions


406.177 Separation of Duties






[GM_120_406 - ]

Part 407 - Real Property
  

Part 407 - Real Property is replaced by FPAC-N 5120-001 Lease Administration https://myfpac.usda.gov/Assets/myFPAC/agency-resources/directives/pdfs/fpac-n-5120-001.pdf 

   

     
   

[GM_120_407.0 - ]

Part 408 - Records
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Subpart A – General

408.0 Purpose
408.1 Scope
408.2 Authorities
408.3 Records Management Responsibilities
408.4 Records Management Program Compliance

Subpart B – Managing Federal Records

408.20 Purpose
408.21 Scope
408.22 Authorities
408.23 Definitions
408.24 Records Creation
408.25 Records Maintenance and Use
408.26 Disposition of Records
408.27 Records Management Requirements
408.28 NRCS Internal Evaluation

Subpart C - Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act

408.40  Scope
408.41  Purpose of the Acts and New Requirements
408.42  Open Government Act of 2007
408.43  FOIA Service Center and Public Liaisons
408.44  Distinguishing and Handling Requests under FOIA
408.45  Processing FOIA Requests
408.46  Privacy Act of 1974
408.47  Privacy Act System of Records – Owner, Operator, Producer, or Participant Files - USDA/NRCS

Subpart D – NRCS File Plan

408.60 Primary Subjects, Title Numbers, and Symbols
408.61 Numerical List of File Codes and Related File Subjects
408.62 NRCS Records Guide
408.63 Index
408.64 Glossary

Subpart E – Managing Electronic Records

408.80 Purpose
408.81 References
408.82 Definitions
408.83 NRCS Responsibilities for Electronic Records Management
408.84 Records Management Controls for Records in Electronic Information Systems
408.85 Protecting Records Against Technological Obsolescence
408.86 Recordkeeping Systems for Electronic Records
408.87 Managing Electronic Mail Records
408.88 Managing Unstructured Electronic Records
408.89 Maintaining Electronic Information Systems
408.90 Selecting and Maintaining Electronic Records Storage Media for Permanent Records

Subpart F – Managing Vital Records

408.100 Purpose
408.101 Abbreviations
408.102 References
408.103 Definitions
408.104 Policy
408.105 Responsibilities
408.106 Identifying Vital Records
408.107 Program Elements
408.108 Storage
408.109 Records Disposition



[GM_120_408_ - 1st Ed., Amend. 137, March 2018 - ]

Part 409 – Removal of Official Records by Employees and Political Employees

Part 409 – Removal of Official Records by Employees and Political Employees

Subpart A - General                


 

409.40  Purpose

A.  This part provides NRCS policy and guidance for removal of official records from the custody of the NRCS and access to the documentary material by departing employees, former employees, and political appointees.

B.  This part applies to all NRCS employees, political appointees, contractors, and staff offices of NRCS, regardless of the type or duration of appointment.

409.41  References

A.  Authorities

(1)  44 U.S.C. Chapter 21, National Archives and Records Administration

(2)  44 U.S.C. Chapter 31, Records Management by Federal Agencies

(3)  44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, Coordination of Federal Information Policy

(4)  7 CFR Section 2.37, Delegations of Authority to the Chief Information Officer

B.  Other References

(1)  Departmental Regulation (DR) 3090-001, Records Management

(2)  Departmental Regulation (DR) 3095-001, Vital Records Management

(3)  DR 3090-001, Litigation Retention Policy for Documentary Materials Including Electronically Stored Information

(4)  36 CFR Chapter 12, Subchapter B (Records Management)

(5)  36 CFR Section 1222.24 (Removal of Records)

(6)  36 CFR Section 1222.19 (Removal of Nonrecord Materials)

(7)  44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, National Archives and Records Administration

(9)  44 U.S.C. Chapters 29, Records Management by the Archivist of the United States and the Administrator of General Services

(9)  44 U.S.C. Chapters 31, Records Management by Federal Agencies

(10)  44 U.S.C. Chapters 33, Records Management

(11)  44 U.S.C. Section 3106 (Unlawful Removal, Destruction of Records)

(12)  44 U.S.C. Section 35 (Coordination of Federal Information)

(13)  44 U.S.C. Section 22 (Presidential Records)

(14)  19 U.S.C. Section 641 (Public Money, Property, or Records)

(15)  19 U.S.C. Sections 793 (Gathering, Transmitting, or Losing Defense Information) and 799 (Disclosure of Classified Information)

(16)  19 U.S.C. Section 2071 (Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation Records)

(17)  Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a

(19)  7 CFR Section 2.37 (Delegations of Authority from the Secretary to the Chief Information Officer)

409.42  Definitions

A.  Access.—Opportunity to review documents on Government premises or at another agreed-upon location.

B.  Agency Records Officer.—The person assigned responsibility by the agency head for overseeing an agencywide records management program.

B.  Classified Information.—Information that requires protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interest of national security and that is within the scope of Executive Order 12959, as amended.

C.  Departing Employee.—One who leaves or is preparing to leave the agency’s employment.  This does not include changing jobs within the agency.

C.  Departmental Records Officer.—The person responsible for the leadership, coordination, and oversight of the USDA-wide records management program.

D.  Documentary Material.—All Federal records, nonrecord material, and personal papers (see sections 409.42F, 409.42I(1). and 409.42J), regardless of medium, method, or circumstances of recording.

E.  Employee.—The term “employee” refers to anyone appointed to a position within NRCS.

F.  Federal Records.—All books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are made or received by an agency of the U.S. Government under Federal law, or in connection with the transaction of public business, and that are preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them (44 U.S.C. Section 3301).  Electronic communications, such as electronic mail messages, are included in this definition..

G.  Records Liaison. —A person responsible for overseeing a records management program activity in a headquarters or State office in cooperation with the agency records management officer.

H.  Former Employee.—An individual who has left the employment of the agency.

I.  Nonrecord Materials

(1)  Those federally owned documentary materials that do not meet the legal or statutory definition of records (44 U.S.C. Section 3301) or that are excluded from the coverage by the definition.  Excluded materials are extra copies of documents kept only for reference, stocks of publications and processed documents, and library or museum materials intended solely for reference or exhibit. (36 CFR Section 1222.19).

(2)  Documentary materials not owned by the Federal Government, including documentary materials (or any reasonably segregable portion thereof) of a private or nonpublic character that do not relate to, or have an effect upon, the conduct of agency business.  These are defined as “personal papers” by NARA regulations (36 CFR Section 1222.36).

J.  Personal Papers.—Personal papers are documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, of a private or nonpublic character that do not relate to, or have an effect upon, the conduct of agency business. If information about private matters and agency business appears in the same document, the document must be copied at the time of receipt, with the personal information deleted, and treated as a Federal record.

K.  Removal.—Permanent removal from the custody of NRCS.  This does not include the withdrawal of materials for official business by authorized employees.

L.  Senior Official.—Senior officials include the Secretary of Agriculture, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretaries, Deputy Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Associate Assistant Secretaries, heads of NRCS components and staff offices and their deputies and assistants, principal regional officials, anyone acting in any of the above positions, and political appointees.

409.43  Policy

A.  Certification

A certification (see Form AD-3001, “Documentary Materials Removal/Nonremoval Certification and Non-Disclosure Agreement”) must be made by the departing employee, contractor, volunteer, or political appointee that all Federal records, regardless of media (including social media), have been identified and transferred to the records management liaison or custodian, contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR), or have been reassigned to another employee.  The departing employee and the agency records officer, records liaison, and program manager must sign the certification.

B.  Maintaining Documentary Materials

The following guidance helps to ensure that only appropriate documentary materials may be removed:

(i)  Separation of Personal Papers.—Personal papers (as defined in section 409.42) must be clearly designated as such and must at all times be maintained separately from the agency’s records.

(ii)  Partial Federal and Personal Record.—If information about personal matters and NRCS business appears in the same document, the document must be copied with the personal information deleted, and the remaining material treated as a Federal record or nonrecord material, as appropriate (see section 409.42).

 (iii)  Use of Labeling.—Documentary materials labeled “personal,” “confidential,” “private,” or similarly designated, used in the transaction of public business and which meet the definition of a record, are Federal records or nonrecord materials subject to the provisions of pertinent laws and regulations. The use of a label such as “personal” is not sufficient to determine the record status of documentary materials.

C.  Removing Documentary Materials

(1)  The following types of documentary materials may never be removed:

(i)  Any Federal record

(ii)  The only copy of any documentary materials involved in the conduct of the affairs of NRCS or any other components of the Federal Government, whether or not judged to be records (including any copy that is unique, for example, because it contains the signature or initials of the writer, reviewers, or concurring parties)

(iii)  Any documentary materials (whether or not judged to be records) the removal of which will create such a gap in the files as to impair the completeness of essential documentation. Indexes, or other finding aids, necessary for the use of the official files may not be removed

(iv)  The only copy of indexes or other finding aids (whether or not judged to be records) that are necessary to the use of office files

(v)  Portions of documentary materials (whether or not judged to be records) that constitute classified information

(vi)  Portions of documentary materials (whether or not judged to be records) that constitute information subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a

(vii)  Portions of other documentary materials (whether or not judged to be records) that constitute information the disclosure of which is prohibited by law, such as grand jury, tax, and trade secret information

(2)  All other types of nonpublic federally owned documentary materials, including privileged materials, may be removed only with specific approval from the agency records officer.

(3)  Departing or former employees of NRCS may request the following:

(i)  Removal of, or access to, documentary materials that are reasonably related to the requester’s official responsibilities while an employee.

(ii)  Maintenance of assembled documentary materials for a specific period of time, not to exceed 1 year following departure from NRCS employment, during which he or she may request removal or access pursuant to section 409.43C(1).

(4)  All records, original and copies, are under the control of NRCS, regardless of how and by whom they were created or obtained.  Removal of documentary material must be approved in accordance with the preceding provisions to ensure that NRCS’s ability to claim privilege in litigation, to claim Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions, and to protect sensitive and classified information is not weakened.

(5)  No documentary material, even though judged to be nonrecord material, may be withdrawn if this will create such a gap in the files as to impair the completeness of essential documentation.  Indexes, or other finding aids, necessary for the use of the official files may not be removed.

(6)  Personal diaries, which are really private records of public activities, are private property and may be removed.  When matters dealt with in work aids, such as office diaries, logs, memoranda of conferences and telephone calls, are covered elsewhere by adequate records, such work aids may be removed provided they do not contain information otherwise prohibited from removal.  This applies to personal papers created or maintained on paper as well as in electronic format.

(7)  Extra reference copies may be removed under certain circumstances.  Prior to removal, it must be determined that no legal or policy reason exists that would prevent removal and that the record copy, or other necessary copies, are available in the agency.  If the copy is of a document originating with another agency, the requirements of the originating agency must be determined.

(9)  Records will not be disposed of while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, subpoena, litigation, or lawsuit under the FOIA or the Privacy Act.

409.44  Responsibilities

A.  Agency records officer and records liaisons must—

(1)  Ensure that nonrecord material being removed by a departing employee or official is examined by the agency records officer or records liaison for the purpose of

providing the appropriate protection for information that is restricted from release under the Privacy Act or other statutes, regulations or executive orders.

(2)  Obtain and maintain signed form: “Documentary Materials Removal/Non-Removal Certification and Non-Disclosure Agreement” (Form AD-3100).

(3)  Ensure that the signed agreement and related documentation are retained in a centralized file by the agency records officer or records liaison.

(4)  Receive the detailed inventory list of records and nonrecords to ensure that no departing official, employee, contractor or volunteer removes records or nonrecord materials relating to any pending or contemplated civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding, FOIA or Privacy Act request or appeal, or subpoena without clearance of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) or relating to another program activity without clearance of the responsible program official.

B.  Agency heads and staff office heads must—

(1)  Implement policies and procedures ensuring that current employees, political appointees, departing employees, consultants, contractors and volunteers do not remove documentary materials from the custody of the agency without authorization.

(2)  Ensure that the departing employee turns over official agency records, including social media and records maintained in a home office or on employee personal computing devices such as Blackberry, hard drive, CD-ROM, flash drive, or other media (including social media).

(3)  Ensure that each official, employee, contractor or volunteer is made aware of such policies and procedures, and that each departing individual is provided a copy of the guidance in sections 409.46 A and B.

C.  FOIA official must—

Ensure that nonrecord material being removed by a departing employee or official is examined to ensure agency business and records subject to a FOIA request are retained.

D.  Program managers must—

(1)  Ensure that the departure dates of departing employees, contractors, and volunteers are identified as soon as possible and these individuals are made aware of their records responsibilities.

(2)  Ensure that nonrecord material that is the subject of a request for removal or access by a departing individual is examined by the agency head (or his or her designee) for the purpose of providing the appropriate protection for information that is privileged or restricted from release under the Privacy Act or other statutes, regulations, or Executive orders.

(3)  Decide upon requests made for removal of, or access to, documentary materials other than a request that is covered under section 409.43C.

(4)  Ensure the departing or former employee’s request is for copies of or access to only documentary materials that are reasonably related to the requester’s official responsibilities while an employee.  Requests for other documentary materials are outside the scope of this manual.

(5)  Ensure the request by a former employee for copies of or access to documentary materials pursuant to this manual is received no more than 1 year after the employee leaves the agency’s employment.  Any requests for documentary materials after such date may be submitted in accordance with the FOIA.

(6)  Obtain the signed copy of the “Documentary Materials Removal/Non-Removal Certification and Non-Disclosure Agreement” (Form AD-3001) from all departing employees, contractors or volunteers. Ensure that the signed agreement and related documentation (including requests or authorizations for removal or access) are retained by the agency.

 

 

(7)  Approve or disapprove every request for records.  Requests must be in writing and must be in sufficient detail to identify which documents may be removed or accessed, under what conditions or restrictions, and for which documents removal or access is denied.  Each decision must be provided to the requester.

(9)  Authorize removal of, or access to, documentary materials issued under section 409.43B(iii) subject to concurrence with the Office of General Counsel (OGC).

(9)  Ensure the departing employee only removes personal papers (defined in section 409.42J) that have been properly segregated in accordance with section 409.43B(i).  Any question as to whether materials constitute personal papers or are publicly available should be referred to the agency records officer and the OGC.

E.  NRCS records officer or office records liaison must—

(1)  Ensure that nonrecord material being removed by a departing employee or official is examined by the NRCS records officer or office records liaison for the purpose of providing the appropriate protection for information that is restricted from release under the Privacy Act or other statutes, regulations or Executive orders.

(2)  Obtain and maintain signed Form AD-3001 Documentary Materials Removal/Non-Removal Certification and Non-Disclosure Agreement.”

(3)  Ensure that the signed agreement and related documentation are retained in a centralized file by the NRCS  records officer or office agency records liaison.

(4)  Ensure that no departing official or employee removes records or nonrecord materials relating to any pending or contemplated civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding or other program activity when the information, if released, would impair or prejudice the outcome of the proceeding or Government policy determinations, decisions, or other actions.

F.  Senior Officials and Political Appointees

(1)  Although Federal records may not be removed, departing senior officials are allowed to create a limited number of duplicate copies of unclassified documents for personal use when warranted by the level of the position or significance of the work or research.  Such copies are considered nonrecord material and must be reviewed and approved by the NRCS records officer or office records liaison before they may be removed.  An accounting must be made of all nonrecord and personal papers that are removed.  Classified and Privacy Act documents may not be duplicated or removed from Federal custody.

(2)  Prior to departure, senior officials and political appointees must identify Federal records of which they have custody.

(3)  Records regardless of media must be inventoried and those on file servers, hard drives, and in electronic mail systems must be copied and removed or reassigned.

(4)  Inactive records must be transferred to a records management custodian and active records must be reassigned to another employee.

(5)  All file searches for which the employee has been tasked must be completed or reassigned, such as FOIA, congressional, or litigation-related document requests.

G.  Employees, Contractors, and Volunteers

(1)  Prior to departure, employees, contractors and volunteers must identify Federal records for which they have custody.

(2)  Records, regardless of media, must be inventoried and those on file servers, hard drives, and in email systems must be copied and removed or reassigned.

(i)  Inactive records must be transferred to a records management custodian and active records must be reassigned to another employee.

(ii)  Depending on the status of the contract, the departing contractor employee’s records must be reassigned to another contractor or Federal employee or incorporated into the agency’s official files.

(iii)  All file searches for which the employee has been tasked must be completed or reassigned, such as FOIA, congressional, or litigation-related document requests.

(3)  Maintain record and nonrecord documentary material according to prescribed Agency policy and procedures.

(4)  Safeguard records until they are authorized for disposition.  The unauthorized removal, concealment, falsification, mutilation, or disposition of official records is prohibited by law and is subject to penalty (19 U.S.C. Section 2071).

(5)  Clearly designate as personal those papers of a private or nonofficial nature pertaining solely to their personal affairs.  Those papers must be filed separately from the records of the office.

(6)  Report any apparent instances of unauthorized disposition to his or her supervisor and the mission area, agency, or staff office records officer.

(7)  Request permission to remove copies of materials prior to leaving NRCS.  The request must be submitted in writing to the head of the component in which the requester is or was employed.  The request must describe the documentary materials with sufficient detail to permit their retrieval.  Departing employees are encouraged to assemble the requested materials and attach them to the request, or, if the materials are voluminous, explain how the requested materials may be readily assembled.

(9)  Meet with their Federal supervisor or COTR and the agency records officer or office records liaison prior to departing NRCS (see section 409.46B).

409.45  Statutory Penalties and Requirements

A.  The disposal of Federal records in agency custody is governed by specific provisions of 44 U.S.C. Chapter 33 (Disposal of Records).

B.  Criminal penalties are provided in 19 U.S.C. Sections 641 (Public Money, Property, or Records) and 2071 (Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation of Records) for the unlawful removal or destruction of Federal records.

C.  Criminal penalties are provided in 19 U.S.C. Sections 793 (Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information) and 799 (Disclosure of Classified Information) for the unlawful disclosure, loss, or destruction of certain information pertaining to national defense or national security.

D.  Other criminal and civil penalties may apply for unlawful disclosure of statutorily confidential information.

The Secretary is required by 44 U.S.C. Section 3106  (Unlawful Removal, Destruction of Records) to notify the Archivist of the United States of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of Federal records in the custody of the agency.  

   

Exhibit 1 

Exhibit 2 

Exhibit 3 

Exhibit 4  


   
    

[GM_120_409 - 1st Ed., Amend. 132, Aug. 2014 - ]

Part 410 – Suspension and Debarment for Nonprocurement Transactions
[GM_120_410 - 1st Ed. Amend 135, May 2017 - ]