NB_440_20_38 - NB 440-20-38 PGM – Closeout of 2014 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Partnership Agreements
NB 440-20-38 PGM – Closeout of 2014 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Partnership Agreements
National Bulletin: NB 440-20-38 Date: September 18, 2020
Subject: PGM – Closeout of 2014 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Partnership Agreements


 
Purpose.  To update guidance given to States in National Bulletin 440-20-36, dated September 11, 2021, on how to close RCPP partnership agreements, including identification of appropriate uses of any remaining financial assistance (FA) and technical assistance (TA).   
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2021
 
Background.  This national bulletin summarizes the programmatic and financial requirements for closeout of partnership agreements and management of open obligations associated with covered programs for projects executed under the 2014 Farm Bill.
 

Explanation.  Following expiration of RCPP partnership agreements, closeout must occur in a timely fashion to maintain program and fiscal integrity. Closeout procedures must follow relevant RCPP and FPAC Business Center Grants and Agreements Division (GAD) policy. States are encouraged to use the attached closeout checklist to ensure all closeout steps are followed.

1) For projects governed by cooperative agreements, lead partners must submit the following to the point of contact in the lead State office within 90 days of project expiration:

  • Final RCPP project report.
  • Final Standard Form (SF)-270. “Request for Advance or Reimbursement” (if applicable). 
  • Final SF-425, “Federal Financial Report.”

The NRCS State office must also complete the Project Completion Questionnaire (PCQ) in the RCPP portal.

For FY 2018 projects only, required documentation (final report, SF-270 and SF-425) must also be uploaded to ezFedGrants.

2) For projects created through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the lead partner must complete reporting requirements as specified in their MOU.

Once all documentation has satisfactorily been submitted, the lead State office must submit a closeout request to GAD through the ServiceNow portal using the GAD “Specific Request” link. Follow GAD guidance on how to submit a closeout request.

GAD then processes the closeout, submitting a closeout request to FPAC Business Center’s Payment Operations to financially close the agreement and deobligate any remaining obligated partner TA funds (and remaining FA tied to alternate funding arrangement agreements). GAD sends a letter to the partner indicating that the agreement is closed.

In addition, the following guidance applies to expired RCPP agreements:

  • No TA may be obligated or expended for use by the lead partner following the agreement expiration date.
  • No new FA contracts may be signed related to expired agreements. States may retain up to 5 percent of the total project FA for legitimate project purposes (e.g., cost overruns, easement due diligence, etc.). 
  • NRCS staff may use any remaining covered program TA only to support ongoing activities (e.g., compliance checks and additional contract maintenance). States may maintain a limited amount of TA needed to manage active program contracts. 
  • Following GAD closeout and completion of the PCQ, if there are any unused and unneeded TA (partner or NRCS) and/or FA funds that need to be returned to National Headquarters, notify the RCPP team using the “Funds Assessment” section of the Financial Assistance Programs Division (FAPD) SharePoint. 
  • Public Law-566 and Healthy Forest Reserve Program awards should not have been written and must not be amended to extend beyond the expiration date of the partnership agreement with which they are associated. Other covered program contracts and easements do not have this limitation and may be managed in accordance with their normal rules and any approved adjustments of terms.

States should use the attached checklist to ensure project closeouts are correctly processed.    

 
Contact.  Please direct questions on this bulletin to the “Program Requests” section of the FAPD SharePoint.
 
 


 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs  

      

 
Attachment - RCPP Closeout Checklist
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