The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers may receive financial and technical assistance for planning, designing and implementing conservation management practices that contribute to agricultural and forestry improvements, water quality and quantity improvements, soil and plant health, wildlife habitat improvements and other natural resource enhancements. Applicants will be responsible for assisting NRCS with Farm Bill EQIP application processing and customer assistance necessary to plan and implement conservation practices to assist farmers and ranchers dealing with natural resource issues.
NRCS expects to award up to four cooperative agreements estimated to cost between $15,000 and $40,000 based on proposals submitted and benefits derived for the current fiscal year. Funds available for the current fiscal year are approximately $98,000 and may be distributed as follows: $12,000 for Eastern Siskiyou County (Butte Valley), $31,000 for Central Siskiyou County (Shasta Valley), $40,000 for Western Siskiyou County (Scott Valley), and $15,000 for Yolo County (Woodland).
Any agreements resulting from this solicitation will have a one-year base period and three one-year options. Activities under these cooperative agreements will be carried out from approximately March 15, 2005 through September 30, 2005. Please note that not all counties need to be addressed in a proposal; therefore, please specifically identify the county/counties you are interested in carrying out the work in when submitting your proposal.
The successful applicant(s) will be responsible for:
Assisting with approximately 35-400 Fiscal Year 2005 and prior year Farm Bill applications and contracts based on the number of counties awarded to an applicant.
Providing quantitative interpretations of EQIP contract data to document cooperators? technical assistance needs utilizing NRCS software programs for the purpose of ranking applications and establishing and administering contracts.
Providing field office managers with requested reports to document the status of application and contracts at all phases from application to completion.
Generating correspondence to producers, applicants and program participants and providing assistance to accelerate Farm Bill program implementation.
Coordinate local work group meetings and stakeholder input for Farm Bill programs.
Monitoring and documenting cooperators? progress in implementing practices agreed to in EQIP contracts.
Tracking and updating local costs for practices installed for the EQIP cost list.
Produce EQIP contract related maps and project site plans for clients developing conservation plans with NRCS.
Other products to be delivered may include: maintaining NRCS resource data (GIS topography, county parcels data, aerial photos, land user application and contract folders, etc.)
The approximate anticipated number of Farm Bill EQIP applications by county or region of a county for Fiscal Year 2005 is as follows: Eastern Siskiyou (Butte Valley) ? 301; Central Siskiyou (Shasta Valley) ? 85; Western Siskiyou (Scott Valley) ? 55; and Yolo ? 20.
The approximate number of active contracts (Fiscal Years 2001-2004) that potentially could have conservation practices scheduled for implementation by county or region of a county in the current fiscal year is as follows: Eastern Siskiyou (Butte Valley) ? 325; Central Siskiyou (Shasta Valley) ? 70; Western Siskiyou (Scott Valley) ? 60; and Yolo ? 20.
All services provided in Farm Bill EQIP application processing and customer assistance must meet USDA-NRCS standards and specifications as set forth in Departmental manuals, handbooks, and guides. The selected applicant shall report to NRCS the appropriate data elements associated with the services provided to EQIP participants so that the data can be entered into the conservation accomplishments tracking system.
NRCS anticipates being substantially involved in carrying out the work covered by this/these cooperative agreement(s). NRCS will also provide a representative to participate in the planning and management of the cooperative agreement(s) and coordinate activities. NRCS will provide training, at no cost to the grantee, in specific California EQIP program procedures and administrative contract development. NRCS will provide program oversight and will provide agency software, necessary forms and other resource information.
Evaluation Criteria?Listed In Descending Order of Importance
1. Organizational Capabilities?the adequacy of organizational resources and experience to successfully manage and perform the project. Share in a common mission that supports the natural resource conservation efforts with local land users in achieving the objectives within the required time frame.
2. Location in the general geographical area of the project and knowledge of the locality of the project; provided, that application of this criterion leaves an appropriate number of qualified firms, given the nature and size of the project.
3. Understanding the intent of EQIP and other USDA cost share programs?the applicant?s recognition of the value and need of the project and the full understanding of the intent of EQIP.
4. Ability to demonstrate past history and credibility of working with local land users in the county. Ability to be certified by NRCS to receive clearance for network access as well as client data files.
Each proposal will be evaluated and ranked in accordance with the evaluation factors listed above. Discussions may be held with each applicant regarding the applicant?s experience, the proposed plan of action or alternative courses of action. After selection, NRCS will enter into negotiations with the selected applicant to discuss cost and the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement to be signed.
Cooperative agreements will be awarded on a fiscal year basis. It is anticipated that approximately $98,000 for Northern California will be available for FY2005 for similar agreements. The available funding for subsequent years is not fixed and may vary considerably. Amendments to agreement may be developed upon availability of funding in follow-on years.
Procedures for Applying for Assistance:
Applications for assistance must include a program narrative statement that addresses the following as a minimum.
a. A description of the resources and experience of the organization necessary to successfully perform these services.
b. An itemized budget and detailed narrative in support of the form SF-424 for the overall project period. Applicants should include budgets for the base year and each option year. Show all funding sources and itemized costs by the following line items on the budget form: personnel, equipment, material and supplies, travel, contractual, other costs, and indirect costs. Hourly costs and number of hours should be included for personnel. Funds may be requested under any of the line items listed above provided that the item or service for which support is requested is identified as necessary for successful conduct of the proposed project, is allowable under the authorizing legislation and the applicable Federal cost principles, and is not prohibited under any applicable Federal statute. Salaries of project personnel who will be working on the project may be requested in proportion to the effort that they will devote to the project. Show any non-federal costs that the applicant indicates will be contributed in support of this project.
c. The organization?s level of commitment in terms of the staff, equipment resources, and/or funding support necessary to leverage the project.
d. A description of the capabilities to fulfill the terms of the cooperative agreement, including a brief description of the organizational entity and of the qualifications, current responsibilities, and proposed level of effort for the project coordinator, and staff responsible for implementation. Qualification Statement for key personnel should be included.
e. List of past experience with provided technical services; include list of contacts and phone numbers
f. The application may include an appendix. Material should be included only when necessary to support information provided in the narrative. Copies of documents, brochures, etc., are encouraged to demonstrate experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.
g. The following forms are required and can be obtained from the web sites listed below:
Standard Form 424 Application for Federal Assistance
Standard Form 424A Budget Information - Non-construction Programs
Standard Form 424B Assurances ? Non-construction Programs
Applicants must submit one copy of their proposal to Raymond Miller, Contract Specialist, USDA, NRCS, 430 G St. # 4164, Davis, CA 95616-4164.
Authority: Federal Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127, as amended; Food Security Act of 1985, Subtitle D, Title XII, 16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Section 708, limits indirect costs under cooperative agreements between USDA and non-profit institutions, including institutions of higher education, to ten percent of the total direct costs of the agreement. Applicants must document the indirect cost percentage requested.
The applicant shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, Executive Orders and other generally applicable requirements, including those set out in 7 CFR 3015, 3016, 3017, 3018, 3019, and 3052 which will be incorporated in the agreement by reference and such other statutory provisions as are specifically set forth in the agreement.
The applicant, by signing or submitting this application, is providing a certification set forth in Appendix C to 7 CFR 3017; Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements.
The OMB Circulars will be incorporated by reference and made a part of each agreement awarded under this process. Applicants are encouraged to review the appropriate circulars prior to requesting federal funds. OMB circulars may be viewed on-line at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/index.html. Failure of a cooperator to comply with any provision may be the basis for withholding payments for proper charges made by the cooperator and for termination of support.
(a) Agreements with colleges and universities shall be in accordance with the following OMB circulars:
? Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
? Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations
? Circular A-133, Audits of Institutions of Higher Learning and Other Non-Profit Institutions
(b) Agreements with State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments shall be in accordance with the provisions of the following OMB circulars:
? Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments
? Circular A-102, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements with State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments
? Circular A-133, Audits of State, Local, and Non-Profit Organizations
(c) Agreements made with non-profit organizations shall be in accordance with the following OMB circulars:
? Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations
? Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations
? Circular A-133, Audits of Institutions of Higher Learning and Other Non-Profit Institutions
(d) Agreements with organizations other than those indicated above shall be in accordance with the basic principles of OMB Circular A-110, and cost principles shall be in accordance with Part 31 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Who can apply:
Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments
Native American Organization
Non-Government - General
Nonprofits Having A 501(C)(3) Status With The IRS, Other Than Institutions Of Higher Education
Nonprofits That Do Not Have A 501(C)(3) Status With The IRS, Other Than Institutions Of Higher Education
Other Private Institution/Organization
Private Institutions Of Higher Education
Private Nonprofit Institution/Organization (Includes Institutions Of Higher Education, Hospitals)
Public And State Controlled Institutions Of Higher Education
Quasi-Public Nonprofit Institution/Organization
Small Business (Less Than 500 Employees
Special District Governments
State (Includes District Of Columbia; Includes Institutions Of Higher Education And Hospitals)
Eligible functional categories:
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, California State Office