U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Mar 25, 2023
§ 789.10 - Delegations of authority.
(b) Within USDA, authority to administer APAS has been delegated to the Administrator, Farm Service Agency, through the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. (See §§ 2.16(a)(6) and 2.42(a)(5) of this title.) The Farm Service Agency Administrator will coordinate APAS implementation and administration through the Director, USDA Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination, as delegated by the Assistant Secretary for Administration. (See §§ 2.24(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 2.24(a)(8)(v); 2.95(b)(1)(i) and 2.95(b)(4) of this title.)
§ 789.11 - Priority ratings.
(a) Levels of priority. Priority levels designate differences between orders based on national defense including emergency preparedness requirements.
(1) There are two levels of priority established by APAS, identified by the rating symbols “DO” and “DX.”
(2) All DO-rated orders have equal priority with each other and take precedence over unrated orders. All DX-rated orders have equal priority with each other and take precedence over DO-rated orders and unrated orders. (For resolution of conflicts among rated orders of equal priority, see § 789.14(c).)
(3) In addition, a directive regarding priority treatment for a given item issued by the resource agency with priorities jurisdiction for that item takes precedence over any DX-rated order, DO-rated order, or unrated order, as stipulated in the directive. (For more information on directives, see § 789.42.)
(b) Program identification symbols. Program identification symbols indicate which approved program is being supported by a rated order. The list of currently approved programs and their identification symbols are listed in Schedule I. For example, P1 identifies a program involving food and food resources processing and storage. Program identification symbols, in themselves, do not connote any priority. Additional programs may be approved under the procedures of Executive Order 13603 at any time.
(c) Priority ratings. A priority rating consists of the rating symbol DO or DX followed by the program identification symbol, such as P1 or P2. Thus, a contract for the supply of livestock feed will contain a DO-P1 or DX-P1 priority rating.
§ 789.12 -
(a) Each rated order must include:
(1) The appropriate priority rating (for example, DO-P1 for food and food resources processing and storage);
(2) A required delivery date or dates. The words “immediately” or “as soon as possible” do not constitute a delivery date. Some purchase orders, such as a “requirements contract,” “basic ordering agreement,” “prime vendor contract,” or similar procurement document, bearing a priority rating may contain no specific delivery date or dates if it provides for the furnishing of items or services from time-to-time or within a stated period against specific purchase orders, such as calls, requisitions, and delivery orders. Specific purchase orders must specify a required delivery date or dates and are to be considered as rated as of the date of their receipt by the supplier and not as of the date of the original procurement document;
(3) The written signature on a manually placed order, or the digital signature or name on an electronically placed order, of an individual authorized to sign rated orders for the person placing the order. The signature or use of the name certifies that the rated order is authorized under this part and that the requirements of this part are being followed; and
(4) A statement as follows:
(i) A statement that reads:
This is a rated order certified for national defense use, and you are required to follow all the provisions of the Agriculture Priorities and Allocations System regulation in 7 CFR part 789.
(ii) If the rated order is placed in support of emergency preparedness requirements and expedited action is necessary and appropriate to meet these requirements, the following sentences should be added following the statement specified in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section:
This rated order is placed for the purpose of emergency preparedness. It must be accepted or rejected within six (6) hours after receipt of the order if the order is issued in response to a hazard that has occurred; or within the greater of twelve (12) hours or the time specified in the order, if the order is issued to prepare for an imminent hazard, in accordance with 7 CFR 789.13(e).
§ 789.13 - Acceptance and rejection of rated orders.
(a) Mandatory acceptance. A person must accept a rated order in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Except as otherwise specified in this section, a person must accept every rated order received and must fill such orders regardless of any other rated or unrated orders that have been accepted.
(2) A person must not discriminate against rated orders in any manner such as by charging higher prices or by imposing different terms and conditions than for comparable unrated orders.
(b) Mandatory rejection. Unless otherwise directed by USDA for a rated order involving food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, or the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer:
(1) A person must not accept a rated order for delivery on a specific date if unable to fill the order by that date. However, the person must inform the customer of the earliest date on which delivery can be made and offer to accept the order on the basis of that date. Scheduling conflicts with previously accepted lower rated or unrated orders are not sufficient reason for rejection in this section.
(2) A person must not accept a DO-rated order for delivery on a date that would interfere with delivery of any previously accepted DO- or DX-rated orders. However, the person must offer to accept the order based on the earliest delivery date otherwise possible.
(3) A person must not accept a DX-rated order for delivery on a date that would interfere with delivery of any previously accepted DX-rated orders, but must offer to accept the order based on the earliest delivery date otherwise possible.
(4) If a person is unable to fill all of the rated orders of equal priority status received on the same day, the person must accept, based upon the earliest delivery dates, only those orders that can be filled, and reject the other orders. For example, a person must accept order A requiring delivery on December 15 before accepting order B requiring delivery on December 31. However, the person must offer to accept the rejected orders based on the earliest delivery dates otherwise possible.
(5) A person must reject the rated order if the person is prohibited by Federal law from meeting the terms of the order.
(c) Optional rejection. Unless otherwise directed by USDA for a rated order involving food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, or the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer, rated orders may be rejected in any of the following cases as long as a supplier does not discriminate among customers:
(1) If the person placing the order is unwilling or unable to meet regularly established terms of sale or payment;
(2) If the order is for an item not supplied or for a service not capable of being performed;
(3) If the order is for an item or service produced, acquired, or provided only for the supplier's own use for which no orders have been filled for 2 years prior to the date of receipt of the rated order. If, however, a supplier has sold some of these items or provided similar services, the supplier is obligated to accept rated orders up to that quantity or portion of production or service, whichever is greater, sold or provided within the past 2 years;
(4) If the person placing the rated order, other than the Federal Government, makes the item or performs the service being ordered;
(5) If acceptance of a rated order or performance against a rated order would violate any other regulation, official action, or order of USDA, issued under the authority of the Defense Production Act or another relevant law.
(d) Customer notification requirements. A person in receipt of a rated order is required to provide to the customer placing the order written or electronic notification of acceptance or rejection of the order.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a person must accept or reject a rated order in writing or electronically within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of a DO-rated order and within ten (10) working days after receipt of a DX-rated order. If the order is rejected, the person must give reasons in writing or electronically for the rejection.
(2) If a person has accepted a rated order and subsequently finds that shipment or performance will be delayed, the person must notify the customer immediately, give the reasons for the delay, and advise of a new shipment or performance date. If notification is given verbally, written or electronic confirmation must be provided within 5 working days.
(e) Exception for emergency preparedness conditions. If the rated order is placed for the purpose of emergency preparedness and includes the additional statement as specified in § 789.12(a)(4)(ii), a person must accept or reject a rated order and send the acceptance or rejection in writing or in an electronic format:
(1) Within 6 hours after receipt of the order if the order is issued in response to a hazard that has occurred; or
(2) Within the greater of 12 hours or the time specified in the order, if the order is issued to prepare for an imminent hazard.
§ 789.14 - Preferential scheduling.
(a) A person must schedule operations, including the acquisition of all needed production items or services, in a timely manner to satisfy the delivery requirements of each rated order. Modifying production or delivery schedules is necessary only when required delivery dates for rated orders cannot otherwise be met.
(b) DO-rated orders must be given production preference over unrated orders, if necessary to meet required delivery dates, even if this requires the diversion of items being processed or ready for delivery or services being performed against unrated orders. Similarly, DX-rated orders must be given preference over DO-rated orders and unrated orders. (Examples: If a person receives a DO-rated order with a delivery date of June 3 and if meeting that date would mean delaying production or delivery of an item for an unrated order, the unrated order must be delayed. If a DX-rated order is received calling for delivery on July 15 and a person has a DO-rated order requiring delivery on June 2 and operations can be scheduled to meet both deliveries, there is no need to alter production schedules to give any additional preference to the DX-rated order.)
(c) For conflicting rated orders:
(1) If a person finds that delivery or performance against any accepted rated orders conflicts with the delivery or performance against other accepted rated orders of equal priority status, the person must give precedence to the conflicting orders in the sequence in which they are to be delivered or performed (not to the receipt dates). If the conflicting orders are scheduled to be delivered or performed on the same day, the person must give precedence to those orders that have the earliest receipt dates.
(2) If a person is unable to resolve rated order delivery or performance conflicts as specified in this section, the person should promptly seek special priorities assistance as provided in §§ 789.20 through 789.24. If the person's customer objects to the rescheduling of delivery or performance of a rated order, the customer should promptly seek special priorities assistance as specified in §§ 789.20 through 789.24. For any rated order against which delivery or performance will be delayed, the person must notify the customer as provided in § 789.13(d)(2).
(d) If a person is unable to purchase needed production items in time to fill a rated order by its required delivery date, the person must fill the rated order by using inventoried production items. A person who uses inventoried items to fill a rated order may replace those items with the use of a rated order as provided in § 789.17(b).
§ 789.15 - Extension of priority ratings.
(a) A person must use rated orders as necessary with suppliers to obtain items or services needed to fill a rated order. The person must use the priority rating indicated on the customer's rated order, except as otherwise provided in this part or as directed by USDA.
(b) The priority rating must be included as necessary on each successive order placed to obtain items or services needed to fill a customer's rated order. This continues from contractor to subcontractor to supplier throughout the entire procurement chain.
§ 789.16 - Changes or cancellations of priority ratings and rated orders.
(a) The priority rating on a rated order may be changed or canceled by:
(1) An official action of USDA; or
(2) Written notification from the person who placed the rated order.
(b) If an unrated order is amended so as to make it a rated order, or a DO rating is changed to a DX rating, the supplier must give the appropriate preferential treatment to the order as of the date the change is received by the supplier.
(c) An amendment to a rated order that significantly alters a supplier's original production or delivery schedule constitutes a new rated order as of the date of its receipt. The supplier must accept or reject the amended order according to the provisions of § 789.13.
(d) The following amendments do not constitute a new rated order:
(1) A change in shipping destination;
(2) A reduction in the total amount of the order;
(3) An increase in the total amount of the order that has a negligible impact upon deliveries;
(4) A minor variation in size or design; or
(5) A change that is agreed upon between the supplier and the customer.
(e) If a person no longer needs items or services to fill a rated order, any rated orders placed with suppliers for the items or services, or the priority rating on those orders, must be canceled.
(f) When a priority rating is added to an unrated order, or is changed or canceled, all suppliers must be promptly notified in writing.
§ 789.17 - Use of rated orders.
(a) A person must use rated orders as necessary to obtain:
(1) Items that will be physically incorporated into other items to fill rated orders, including that portion of such items normally consumed or converted into scrap or by-products in the course of processing;
(2) Containers or other packaging materials required to make delivery of the finished items against rated orders;
(3) Services, other than contracts of employment, needed to fill rated orders; and
(4) MRO needed to produce the finished items to fill rated orders.
(b) A person may use a rated order to replace inventoried items (including finished items) if such items were used to fill rated orders, as follows:
(1) The order must be placed within 90 days of the date of use of the inventory.
(2) A DO rating and the program identification symbol indicated on the customer's rated order must be used on the order. A DX rating must not be used even if the inventory was used to fill a DX-rated order.
(3) If the priority ratings on rated orders from one customer or several customers contain different program identification symbols, the rated orders may be combined. In this case, the program identification symbol P4 must be used (that is DO-P4).
(c) A person may combine DX- and DO-rated orders from one customer or several customers if the items or services covered by each level of priority are identified separately and clearly. If different program identification symbols are indicated on those rated orders of equal priority, the person must use the program identification symbol P4 (that is DO-P4 or DX-P4).
(d) For combining rated and unrated orders:
(1) A person may combine rated and unrated order quantities on one purchase order provided that:
(i) The rated quantities are separately and clearly identified; and
(ii) The four elements of a rated order, as required by § 789.12, are included on the order with the statement required in § 789.12(a)(4)(i) modified to read:
This purchase order contains rated order quantities certified for national defense use, and you are required to follow all the provisions of the Agriculture Priorities and Allocations System regulation in 7 CFR part 789 only as it pertains to the rated quantities.
(2) A supplier must accept or reject the rated portion of the purchase order as provided in § 789.13 and give preferential treatment only to the rated quantities as required by this part. This part must not be used to require preferential treatment for the unrated portion of the order.
(3) Any supplier who believes that rated and unrated orders are being combined in a manner contrary to the intent of this part or in a fashion that causes undue or exceptional hardship may submit a request for adjustment or exception as specified in § 789.60.
(e) A person may place a rated order for the minimum commercially procurable quantity even if the quantity needed to fill a rated order is less than that minimum. However, a person must combine rated orders as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, if possible, to obtain minimum procurable quantities.
(f) A person is not required to place a priority rating on an order for less than $75,000 or one-half of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (as established in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (see 48 CFR 2.101) or in other authorized acquisition regulatory or management systems) whichever amount is greater, provided that delivery can be obtained in a timely fashion without the use of the priority rating.
§ 789.18 - Limitations on placing rated orders.
(a) General limitations. Rated orders may be placed only by persons with the proper authority for items and services that are needed to support approved programs.
(1) A person must not place a DO- or DX-rated order unless authorized by USDA to do so under this part.
(2) Rated orders must not be used to obtain:
(i) Delivery on a date earlier than needed;
(ii) A greater quantity of the item or services than needed, except to obtain a minimum procurable quantity. Separate rated orders must not be placed solely for the purpose of obtaining minimum procurable quantities on each order;
(iii) Items or services in advance of the receipt of a rated order, except as specifically authorized by USDA (see § 789.21(c) for information on obtaining authorization for a priority rating in advance of a rated order);
(iv) Items that are not needed to fill a rated order, except as specifically authorized by USDA or as otherwise permitted by this part;
(v) Any of the following items unless specific priority rating authority has been obtained from USDA or the Department of Commerce, as appropriate:
(A) Items for plant improvement, expansion, or construction, unless they will be physically incorporated into a construction project covered by a rated order; and
(B) Production or construction equipment or items to be used for the manufacture of production equipment. For information on requesting priority rating authority, see § 789.21; or
(vi) Any items related to the development of chemical or biological warfare capabilities or the production of chemical or biological weapons, unless such development or production has been authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
(b) Jurisdictional limitations. (1) Unless authorized by the resource agency with jurisdiction (see § 789.10), the provisions of this part are not applicable to the following resources:
(i) All forms of energy (Resource agency with jurisdiction - Department of Energy);
(ii) Health resources (Resource agency with jurisdiction - Department of Health and Human Services);
(iii) All forms of civil transportation (Resource agency with jurisdiction - Department of Transportation);
(iv) Water resources (Resource agency with jurisdiction - Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers);
(v) All materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials for which the authority has not been delegated to other agencies under Executive Order 13603 (Resource agency with jurisdiction - Department of Commerce); and
(2) The priorities and allocations authority in this part may not be applied to communications services subject to Executive Order 13618 of July 6, 2012 (3 CFR, 2012 Comp., p. 273).