NB_440_19_10 - NB 440-19-10 PGM – Actions Required to Provide Equal Access to RCPP Partnership Agreement Renewal Authority Included in 2018 Farm Bill
NB 440-19-10 PGM – Actions Required to Provide Equal Access to RCPP Partnership Agreement Renewal Authority Included in 2018 Farm Bill
National Bulletin: 440-19-10 Date: April 26, 2019
Subject: PGM – Actions Required to Provide Equal Access to RCPP Partnership Agreement Renewal Authority Included in 2018 Farm Bill


   
 
Purpose.  Directs State conservationists to evaluate the expiration potential of all Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) partnership agreements. Agreements set to expire in FY 2019 or the first three quarters of fiscal year (FY) 2020 must be offered a 1-year no-cost extension to maintain eligibility for a project renewal.   
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2019
 
Background.  The 2018 Farm Bill directs the Secretary to develop a process for providing noncompetitive renewals of RCPP projects. NRCS has determined that renewals will first be offered in FY 2020. Furthermore, a renewal may only be processed if a project agreement has not yet expired.

To provide all unexpired agreements a fair opportunity to be considered from renewal, State conservationists are directed to review all active RCPP agreements to determine if they qualify for renewal, and upon confirmation of partner interest, work with grants and agreements staff to process a 1-year no-cost extension

Specific criteria and processes for noncompetitive renewals are currently under development and are expected to be in place early in FY 2020. The 2018 Farm Bill states that projects that have met or exceeded project goals may be eligible for renewal.
 
Explanation.  Cooperative agreements (CAs) and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) are used as vehicles for RCPP partnership agreements. This bulletin applies to both CA and MOU projects.

Actions:

1) States review 100 percent of RCPP agreement expiration dates. Projects expected to expire prior to June 30, 2020, are listed in attachment A. These expiration dates are pulled from the RCPP Portal. Due to potential discrepancies with data held by States, please ensure that the list is accurate and send any errors to the RCPP national inbox.

2) For any agreement where State records indicate expiration prior to June 30, 2020, States must complete the following steps:

a. Determine if the project has been previously extended for any length of time; if so, the project is not eligible for a second extension as the 2014 Farm Bill only allows a single extension.
b. Evaluate agreement performance, including required reporting submission; underperforming agreements may not be extended for the purpose of bringing them up to date with performance.
c. If agreements have not been previously extended and agreement review supports the conclusion that any underperformance issue would otherwise be managed without the necessity for an agreement extension, State conservationists must offer lead partners a 12-month extension to allow for potential applications for future noncompetitive renewal of their RCPP project.
d. If an extension is desired, States must submit a no-cost extension amendment request to the FPAC Business Center Grants and Agreements Division through the FPAC ServiceNow system. The request must include an extension request letter from the partner (see page four of attached general terms and conditions for necessary letter content) and a decision template (attached). The Grants and Agreements Division will process an amendment, generating a notice of award to be signed by the partner and the State conservationist that will notify the partner of the extension approval.
e. Once any extensions are completed, States must submit copies of the extension amendment sent to partners to the RCPP inbox so that we can maintain accurate records.

RCPP team review of extension requests, required for all amendments per National Bulletin 440-19-5, is waived for this purpose only.

 
Contact.  Please direct questions on this bulletin to the RCPP inbox.
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs

 
 

Attachment A – RCPP Portal Agreement Expiration Dates

Attachment B – Grants and Agreements Division Decision Template

Attachment C – General Terms and Conditions (for partner request letter content)

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