Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Terms & Conditions
All Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) grants awarded in 2021 are subject to the following program-specific terms and conditions, which are incorporated into Attachment D of each grant agreement. For terms and conditions applicable to a grant awarded prior to 2021, refer to Attachment D of your grant agreement.
- FEDERAL AWARD TERMS & CONDITIONS: This Grant is funded through a federal award (0021SCBPVT1054) from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the requirements of the federal award apply to this Grant. This Grant is subject to 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Grantee must review and comply with all applicable provisions in the 2021 AMS Grants Division General Terms and Conditions, which are incorporated by reference into this Grant as if fully set forth herein.
- GRANTEE NONCOMPLIANCE, ERRORS AND OMISSIONS: (1) Any noncompliance with the terms of this Grant, or material errors and omissions in the work product of Grantee must be corrected by Grantee at no cost to the State, and Grantee may be liable for the State's costs and other damages resulting from its errors or deficiencies. (2) The State’s review, approval or acceptance of, and/or payment to Grantee under this Grant shall not be construed to operate as a waiver of any rights of the State or of any cause of action arising out of this Grant. (3) For the avoidance of doubt, the State will have, as against Grantee, all of the same rights and remedies in the event of noncompliance with this Grant as are available to AMS under the above-referenced General Terms and Conditions. (4) The rights and remedies of the State provided for under this Grant are in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law or elsewhere in the Grant.
- WORK PRODUCT OWNERSHIP: All documents submitted by Grantee for purposes of reporting become the sole property of the State and the State may use them for program marketing and reporting. This may include photographs, videos, narrative responses, and other materials.
IMPORTANT PROVISIONS: Several applicable provisions in the 2021 AMS Grants Division General Terms and Conditions are described below; however, as stated above, Grantee is responsible for reviewing and complying with all applicable provisions in the 2021 AMS Grants Division General Terms and Conditions.
- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: Recipients are required to meet the standards and requirements for financial management systems set forth or referenced in 2 CFR § 200.302 Financial management. The adequacy of a recipient’s financial management system is integral to their ability to account for grant expenditures and track matching resources. The recipient must use Federal funds in a responsible manner and apply adequate internal controls and cash management practices consistent with the requirements outlined in 2 CFR § 200.303 Internal controls. Recipients must expend and account for funds under an award in accordance with their own State laws and procedures. Financial management systems and related records, of the grant recipient, and of any other entity involved in the grant, must be sufficiently detailed to prepare reports, trace funds, and demonstrate that fund management complies with Federal statutes, regulations, and these general and other program-specific terms and conditions. The State is required to notify AMS when financial management problems are discovered. Deficiencies in the Grantee’s financial management may result in the imposition of special award conditions, such as a high-risk designation or increased monitoring. Grantee shall notify the State, no less than 60 days prior to the grant end date, if any SCBGP funds awarded under this agreement will not be expended. Timely notification of unexpended funds ensures judicious use of SCBGP funding to enhance the competitiveness of Vermont specialty crops. Failure to notify the State of unexpended grant funds may affect future award consideration. Grantee remains obligated to return funds due because of later refunds, corrections, or other transactions, and the Federal government may recover amounts based on the results of an audit covering any part of the period of grant support.
- CHANGES REQUIRING PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL: As a project progresses, budgets may need to be modified to accomplish project objectives. Grantees have some flexibility to re-budget within and between budget categories to meet unanticipated needs and to make other types of changes. However, in some cases, Grantees are required to request prior written approval from the State. Requests for prior approval must be submitted via email to the SCBGP Coordinator, who will confirm receipt of the request, review, and communicate with the Grantee if there are questions or concerns before submitting a request to USDA-AMS. Grantee may revise the request to address questions or concerns. Contact the SCBGP Coordinator and consult “Changes Requiring Prior Written Approval” in the 2021 General Terms and Conditions for additional guidance.
a. Change in Key Personnel/Time Devoted to the Project: Grantee must request prior written approval if there is a change in key personnel, such as the project director, or if key personnel disengage from the project for a period of more than 3 months; reduces the time devoted to managing the project by 25 percent (25%) or more; or severs his/her connection to the grant.
The request must contain (1) the name of the individual being replaced and the new individual name and contact information; (2) the qualifications of the new individual; (3) the capacity in which the new individual will serve; (4) written notification from the new individual signifying his/her willingness to serve on the project; (5) any changes to the project narrative, budget and/or timeline due to the change; and (6) the effective date.
b. Change in Scope or Objectives: Grantee must request prior written approval when it is necessary to modify the scope or objectives of the project or program, including adding new project(s) or discontinuing project(s). Written approval is required even if there is no associated budget revision that would require prior written approval. Grantee must use the same format/template to present this information that was used in the approved application with changes noted.
The request must include (1) a description of the change in the scope or objectives including any activities the new work replaces; (2) a revised narrative for the relevant portion of the approved project; (3) a description of any changes to the outcome measures; (4) a revised budget and narrative using the respective program templates; (5) any change to the approved timeline; (6) any change in matching fund source; and (6) proposed dates of implementation (MM/YYYY – MM/YYYY).
c. One-Time Extension: If the project cannot be completed within the time frame established in the grant agreement, Grantee may request prior written approval to extend the end date of the grant agreement (no-cost extension of time). The request must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the end date of the grant agreement. The fact that funds are expected to remain unobligated at the end of the award is not in itself sufficient justification to receive a no-cost extension of time. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis according to justification provided. Grants cannot be extended beyond 9/29/2024.
The request must include: (1) the length of additional time requested, and the new end date requested; (2) justification for the extension; and (3) a summary of progress to date in terms of the project timeline and objectives. The summary may reference the most recent Performance Report and indicate how circumstances have changed since then; (4) an estimate of the amount of remaining funds, the amount of matching resources yet to be expended and a description of how they will be used in the remaining time; and (5) a new timeline for completing the project.
d. Budget Change: Grantees have some flexibility to re-budget within and between budget categories to meet unanticipated needs and changes. Grantee should contact the SCBGP Coordinator for additional information on how this may affect the award.
e. Pre-Award Costs: Pre-award costs are costs incurred prior to the effective date of the Federal award in accordance with, and in anticipation of, the Federal award where such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of work. Such costs are allowable only to the extent that they would have been allowable if incurred after the date of the Federal award. Grantee may incur pre-award costs up to 90 calendar days before the effective date of the Federal award.
Expenses more than 90 calendar days pre-award require prior approval. These costs and associated activities must be included in the recipient’s project narrative and budget justification. All costs incurred before the award are at Grantee’s own risk. The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of an award imposes no obligation on AMS or the State of Vermont to award funds for such costs.
The request for prior written approval for allowable pre-award costs must include a brief description of the pre-award activities completed and an updated budget, using the same budget format as the approved application, clearly indicating the associated dollar amount of award funds and/or the value of any matching resources expended during the pre-award period.
f. Contracting or Subawarding for Activities Central to the Award’s Purpose: Grantee must request prior written approval for a change that involves subawarding, transferring, or contracting out of any work under a Federal award or executing a fixed amount subaward. This provision does not apply to the acquisition of supplies, material, equipment, or general support services.
The following information must be included in the request: (1) A brief description of and justification for the change; (2) a brief description of the non-Federal entity’s qualifications and how their work will fulfill the project goals; (3) if a budget modification is required, (a) a description of the proposed modification, (b) the last approved budget, and (c) an updated budget of the affected cost categories using the format of the approved application with changes noted; and (4) if the third party was not identified in the original application, a description of the third party’s qualifications, how their work will fulfill the project goals, and an itemized budget (if applicable) showing cost categories with justification.
g. Specific Allowable Costs Prior Approvals: Grantee must request prior written approval for allowable costs that were not included in the approved project and/or the latest budget. The request must include: (1) A description of and justification for the cost including how it furthers the objectives of the project; and (2) If applicable, a comparison between the most recent budget and the proposed budget as well as an updated budget narrative of the affected cost categories. Grantee must use the same format for presenting the budget information that was used in the approved application with changes noted. Consult “Allowable and Unallowable Costs and Activities” in the 2021 General Terms and Conditions for details on these costs.
h. Changes to Recipient Name or Address: If Grantee is contemplating changing the name of their organization or address, they should contact the SCBGP Coordinator for instructions. Grantee is responsible for properly updating their registration within both the DUNS and SAM.gov systems. Grantee must inform the State of any pending changes in its legal status, divesture, or bankruptcy. The request must include the new name or address of the Grantee organization and the effective date of change.
i. Cost-Share or Match – Changes in the Amount: If the award has specific cost-sharing or matching requirements, Grantee must request prior written approval to change the amount of the approved cost-share or match or to change the amount of approved cost-sharing or match provided by a project partner or by a subrecipient.
The request should use the same format for presenting the budget information that was used in the approved application and include (1) a justification for the change; (2) match contribution/commitment per year by source and total match per year (Break items down into the same categories used in the approved project budget.); (3) a description of how the required match will be met including the source of the match, the amount of the match to be provided, and the composition of the match; and (4) a description of the change that includes a comparison between the latest budget and the proposed budget as well as an updated budget narrative of affected cost categories to demonstrate that the overall required match will be met.
- PROGRAM INCOME: Program income, as defined in 2 CFR § 200.1, means gross income earned by the non-Federal entity that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a result of the Federal award during the period of performance and includes, but is not limited to (1) income from fees for services performed, (2) the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award (including items sold at cost if the cost of producing the item was funded with grant funds), and (3) registration fees for conferences, workshops, etc. Royalties or equivalent income earned from patents, inventions, trademarks, and copyrighted works are not subject to this section. The additive method (2 CFR § 200.307(e)(2)) will be used to dispose of program income. Program income generated during the grant period must be used, for the purposes and under the conditions of the Federal award, to further the objectives of the grant project. Grantee is not accountable for program income earned after the grant period.
- PROCUREMENT: Grantee may acquire commercially available goods or services in connection with a grant project. Grantee must use their own documented procurement procedures which may reflect applicable State, local, and tribal laws and regulations, provided that the procurements conform to applicable Federal law and 2 CFR § 200.318 General procurement standards through 2 CFR § 200.327 Contract provisions. Requirements of the Federal award also apply to any subcontract. Contracts made in connection with this project must contain the applicable provisions in Appendix II of 2 CFR § 200.
- PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: If property (equipment or intellectual) was acquired or developed by a subrecipient through this Grant Agreement, Grantee must follow the applicable property standards found at 7 CFR § 3016.32 (equipment) and 37 CFR § 401 (intellectual property). When a Grantee no longer needs equipment with a current per unit fair market value of $5,000 or more, Grantee must contact the Vermont SCBGP for disposition instructions. When there is residual inventory of unused supplies exceeding $5,000 in total aggregate value upon termination or completion of the project, and the supplies are not needed for any other Federal award, Grantee may retain the supplies for other activities or sell them, but must, in either case, compensate the Federal Government for its share. Consult “Property Management” in the 2021 General Terms and Conditions for details and contact the Vermont SCBGP Coordinator for guidance.