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American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment Program

  • Granting Agency: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
  • Appropriation Amount: $25,000,000
  • Grant Amount: Technical Assistance
  • Announcement Date: March 9, 2022
  • Closing Date: July 1, 2022

Learn more here.

Purpose: The ARP Technical Assistance Investment Program ensures improved understanding of and equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs and services among underserved farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and operators through supporting the organizational delivery of technical assistance projects and establishment of technical assistance networks. USDA is authorized to support and facilitate the establishment of technical assistance projects toward this goal. Projects must provide a range of technical assistance services to underserved agricultural producers. The term “agricultural producer” is used to refer to agricultural farmers, ranchers, and private forest land owners and operators.

Eligible Expenditures:

This is technical assistance. For the purposes of this program, technical assistance is defined as targeted services and support
collectively designed to improve understanding of and equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs and services among underserved farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and operators through a range of activities, including but not limited to: strategies to identify unique needs and gaps in access, knowledge, and services; specialized consultation; training; coaching; capacity building; and mentoring focused on relevant topics including effectively accessing USDA programs and personnel, agricultural production, agriculture credit, rural development, financial literacy, risk management, mediation, cooperative development, land access. Such technical assistance may be delivered at the individual and organizational levels through one-onone consultation, small group facilitation, or large group meeting via in person or by phone, email, or other online methods such as Web-conferencing.

Outreach, in contrast, helps the target audience identify the programs and services at USDA that are appropriate for their farming, ranching or forest land operations. Technical assistance, as described above, more deeply connects the programs and services to the needs of the producer and their operation and goes beyond merely identifying available services. The applicant may build in ongoing needs assessments of their target audience as an output/activity of their funded project.

To increase the likelihood of effectiveness, the development of the proposed technical assistance activities should be guided by the following set of principles:
1. Collaborative. Foster engagement and close collaborations with community leaders, agricultural organizations, and relevant stakeholders to develop and implement targeted activities. The applicant will determine their relevant stakeholder communities and connect community needs to targeted activities. The project will also embed collaboration with USDA in new ways to meet the needs of the targeted audience.
2. Systematic. Utilize a sequential, progressive approach to service delivery that addresses the needs of the target audience as identified through on-going technical support.
3. Targeted. Determine where technical assistance will have the greatest impact.
4. Adaptive. Allow for flexibility in service delivery as new needs or challenges emerge.
5. Customized. Respond to the unique needs of the targeted audiences and organizations.
6. Results-driven. Identify measures that indicate success toward goals that will lead to greater success of the target audience to be served by the activities and to greater access to USDA programs and services over time.

Underserved producers include those individuals and communities who have not received benefits and USDA program access equitably as determined by the Secretary, per the Act. Applicants are encouraged to consider and include youth-related and/or beginning farmer and rancher activities within the scope of their project, where applicable.

Eligible Applicants:

Applicants must be domestic nonprofit entities or institutions for higher education (see Definitions in Part VIII, D). A letter stating the nonprofit status should be included as an attachment to Field 12, Other Attachments (Part IV.B.). Only the applicant must meet the eligibility requirement. Project partners and collaborators need not meet the eligibility requirement. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the successful completion of the project, with the exception of individuals and non-domestic entities. Current Cooperators under Section 1006 of the Act are not eligible to apply as a lead applicant to this funding opportunity, but may serve as cooperators, collaborators and sub-contractors to lead applicants, provided their activities are new, non-duplicative activities. Individuals, non-domestic entities and private, for profit organizations are not eligible to apply to this funding opportunity. Applicants for the American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment Program must meet all the requirements outlined in this RFA. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline will result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award. For those new to Federal financial assistance, NIFA’s Grants Overview provides highly recommended information about grants and other resources to help understand the Federal awards process. Duplicate or Multiple Submissions – duplicate or multiple submissions are not allowed. Only one submission is allowed per eligible organization. NIFA will disqualify both applications if an organization submits duplicate or multiple submissions.

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