U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jun 05, 2023
(a) Eligibility. To be eligible to receive a grant, a State's Certified Mediation Program must:
(1) Be certified as described in § 785.3; and
(2) Submit an application for a grant with its certification or re-certification request as set forth in this section.
(b) Application for grant. A State requesting a grant will submit the following to the Administrator:
(1) Application for Federal Assistance, Standard Form 424 (available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/);
(2) A budget with supporting details providing estimates of the cost of operation and administration of the Certified Mediation Program. Proposed direct expenditures will be grouped in the categories of allowable direct costs under the Certified Mediation Program as specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section;
(3) Other information pertinent to the funding criteria specified in § 785.7(b); and
(4) Any additional supporting information requested by FSA in connection with its review of the grant request.
(c) Grant purposes. Grants made under this part will be used only to pay the allowable costs of operation and administration of the components of a qualifying State's Certified Mediation Program that have been certified as specified in § 785.3(a)(2). Costs of services other than mediation services to covered issues and covered persons within the State are not considered part of the cost of operation and administration of the Certified Mediation Program for the purpose of determining the amount of a grant award.
(1) Allowable costs. Subject to applicable cost principles in 2 CFR part 200, subpart E, allowable costs for operations and administration are limited to those that are reasonable and necessary to carry out the State's Certified Mediation Program in providing mediation services for covered issues and covered persons within the State. Specific categories of costs allowable under the State's Certified Mediation Program include, and are limited to:
(i) Staff salaries and fringe benefits;
(ii) Reasonable fees and costs of mediators;
(iii) Office rent and expenses, such as utilities and equipment rental;
(iv) Office supplies;
(v) Administrative costs, such as workers' compensation, liability insurance, employer's share of Social Security, and travel that is necessary to provide mediation services;
(vi) Education and training of participants and mediators involved in mediation;
(vii) Security systems necessary to assure confidentiality of mediation sessions and records of mediation sessions;
(viii) Costs associated with publicity and promotion of the program; and
(ix) Financial advisory and counseling services for parties requesting mediation (as reasonable and necessary to prepare parties for mediation) that are performed by a person other than a state mediation program mediator and as approved under guidelines established by the state mediation program and reported to FSA.
(2) Prohibited expenditures. Expenditures of grant funds are not allowed for:
(i) Purchase of capital assets, real estate, or vehicles and repair, or maintenance of privately-owned property;
(ii) Political activities;
(iii) Routine administrative activities not allowable under 2 CFR part 200, subpart E; and
(iv) Services provided by a State's Certified Mediation Program that are not consistent with the features of the Certified Mediation Program as specified in this part including advocacy services on behalf of a mediation participant, such as representation of a mediation client before an administrative appeals entity of the USDA or other Federal Government department or Federal or State Court proceeding.
(d) Covered issues. Covered issues include:
(1) Agricultural loans, regardless of whether the loans are made or guaranteed by USDA or made by a third party—mediation services must be provided; and
(2) The following issues for which mediation services may be provided to covered persons that are involved in one or more of the following:
(i) Wetlands determinations;
(ii) Compliance with farm programs, conservation programs, and the National Organic Program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990;
(iii) Rural water loan programs;
(iv) Grazing on National Forest System lands;
(vi) Lease issues, including land leases and equipment leases;
(vii) Family farm transition;
(viii) Farmer-neighbor disputes;
(ix) Such other issues as the Secretary or the head of the Department of Agriculture of each participating State considers appropriate for better serving the agricultural community and persons eligible for mediation; or
(x) Credit counseling:
(A) Prior to the initiation of any mediation involving the USDA; or
(B) Unrelated to any ongoing dispute or mediation in which the USDA is a party.