The U.S. Internal Revenue Service moved on Tuesday to ease the tax burdens of private equity portfolio companies and heavily indebted industries. Under new rules, the IRS loosened a 2017 restriction that had capped tax deductions for debt interest payments at 30% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA. The announcement reflects a temporary bump in the cap to 50% through year-end, as enacted by Congress in its March stimulus bill.Prior to President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax-code overhaul, interest expenses were generally fully deductible. With the new arrangement, laid out in 575 pages, the Treasury also no longer applies a limit on some transactions that don’t officially take the form of a loan, but potentially could be used to skirt the deduction cap. Included in that classification are debt-issuance costs, commitment fees and some hedging gains and losses.
The program will provide $50M in grants for small businesses that have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible small businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $15,000. Grants will be calculated based on whether the business is in a severely impacted industry, the number of full-time employees, and the degree of revenue loss.
Detailed eligibility requirements, Frequently Asked Questions, a grant estimator calculator, and a list of required documents needed for applying can be found on www.commerceri.com. If you have any questions or require assistance completing the application, please call the Rhode Island Commerce Hotline at (401) 521-HELP.
The next round of stimulus got underway yesterday, with Senate Republicans releasing their proposal and Democrats meeting with White House officials, reports The Washington Post (subscription). Some highlights of the new proposal:
Five-year COVID-19-related liability protections for businesses, health care providers and schools.
$100 billion or more for the Paycheck Protection Program, which benefits small businesses.
Another round of $1,200 checks for Americans and financial support for schools. A reduction in emergency employment benefits from $600 to $200 per week, until states can set up their own unemployment programs to pay 70% of income. (A reminder: the current benefits run out very soon.)
- Payroll tax cut: “The administration is eyeing structuring the payroll tax cut in the legislation as a deferral rather than an outright cut, which would keep down the technical cost of the overall bill, according to the person briefed on the package, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Such a deferral could require Americans to pay back the tax cut at a later date, but lawmakers could later decide to waive the repayment entirely.
- Liability protection: “The emerging GOP legislation will also contain liability protections for businesses, health-care providers and others, which McConnell has repeatedly described as a red line for him.”
The NAM has prioritized securing liability protections for manufacturers subject to baseless COVID-19-related lawsuits. Our plan and advocacy campaign has set the stage for congressional action, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addressed it on the Senate floor today as he spoke about upcoming COVID-19 legislation, saying:
“The American people will not see their historic recovery efforts gobbled up by trial lawyers who are itching to follow this pandemic with a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits. . . .Gross negligence will still be actionable, but we’re creating a safe harbor for institutions that make a good-faith effort to follow the guidelines available to them.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the SAFE TO WORK Act yesterday. It’s part of Senate Republicans’ larger proposed COVID-19 relief package and mirrors the NAM’s “Pandemic Liability Policy Recommendations.” It would protect businesses from lawsuits that seek to take advantage of the confusion and evolving landscape of federal, state and local health and safety guidance on COVID-19.
Manufacturing production rebounded for the second straight month, rising by 3.8% and 7.2% in May and June, respectively. In June, all 19 major manufacturing sectors had increases in production, as the industry attempts to recover from steep declines since February. Yet, it will take a while for output to get back to prerecession levels. On a year-over-year basis, manufacturing production has declined 11.2%, with durable and nondurable goods output down 14.3% and 7.4%, respectively. Manufacturing capacity utilization registered 60.0% in April, the lowest rate in the data’s history, which dates to January 1948, and it increased to 62.3% in May and 66.9% in June. It registered 75.2% in February
Because human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, Rhode Islanders are reminded to take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.
- Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
- Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
- Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.
software developer IFS released a research study involving 600 ERP executives
and managers in a wide variety of business sectors worldwide, revealing that an
overwhelming majority — about 90% of the total — have some plans to implement
artificial intelligence (AI) in their organizations. Industrial automation us
the most likely object of AI investment, for 44.6% of the respondents; customer
relationship management (CRM) and inventory planning and logistics shared for
the second rank among respondents, at 38.9%.
they plan to use AI, 60.6% of respondents reported they expect the technology
to help current workers to become more productive. Almost half of respondents,
47.9%, said they would use AI to add value to products and services they sell
unemployment rate remained near 50-year lows, even after inching up from 3.5%
to 3.6%. Encouragingly, the rise in the unemployment rate stemmed from an
acceleration in the labor market participation rate, up from 63.2% to 63.4%,
the best reading since June 2013. Nonfarm payrolls increased by a solid 225,000
Yet, manufacturing employment fell by 12,000 workers in January, dropping for the third time in the past four months. Indeed, over that four-month time frame, hiring in the sector was essentially stagnant. That suggests that, while there have been some signs of stabilization in other indicators, manufacturing job growth has lagged that progress. We still expect to see improvements moving forward, especially considering greater trade certainty and some economic progress globally.
Along those lines, the Institute for Supply Management® reported that manufacturing activity rebounded, up from 47.8 in December to 50.9 in January, starting 2020 off on a stronger note after contracting for five straight months at the end of 2019.
New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8% in December, skewed by significant gains for both defense aircraft and parts and ships and boats. Excluding defense sales, orders fell 0.6%. New orders for core capital goods-a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy-declined 0.8% in December. Nonetheless, core capital goods spending has risen 0.9% over the past 12 months, the best year-over-year reading since June.
The bulk of
the sentiment surveys and economic data described below predate recent worries
about the novel coronavirus outbreak. Manufacturers in the United States and
elsewhere are experiencing production disruptions and lost sales.
Nonetheless, the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI expanded for the third straight month, rising to a nine-month high. Respondents were also the most upbeat in their assessments for future output since August 2018.
Eight of the
top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods experienced stronger manufacturing
activity in January than in December, continuing the stabilization trend seen
in recent months.
than three years of work, manufacturers began 2020 by focusing on the following
final U.S. government approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,
with full implementation expected later this year
signing of a “Phase One” U.S.-China deal while urging that intensive
talks continue on the many remaining issues as part of a broader bilateral
3. Working to
ensure that the seven-year reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank is
fully utilized by manufacturers across the country
remain focused on several other important trade priorities:
forward a positive agenda at the critically important World Trade Organization
a strong Miscellaneous Tariff Bill in 2020 to eliminate tariffs on products not
produced or available in the United States
congressional activity relating to sanctions:
- Manufacturing production edged down 0.1% in January after inching up by 0.1% in December. Overall, the data continued to reflect weakness in the sector, even as activity has stabilized somewhat in the past three months. Over the course of the past 12 months, manufacturing production has declined 0.8%, up from 1.3% year-over-year in the previous release.
- Nonetheless, my forecast for manufacturing production growth in 2020 is currently 0.5%, representing some progress from essentially stagnant average annual growth in 2019.
- Job openings in the manufacturing sector weakened once again. They went down from 381,000 in November to 360,000 in December, the slowest pace since May 2017. Despite softer data at the end of the year, manufacturing job postings remained elevated over much of 2019, averaging more than 462,000 per month, including the all-time high reached in June (515,000).
Washington, Feb. 14,
Washington is ready to slap tariffs on countries that
weaken their currency to obtain an unfair cost advantage. A new rule from
the Commerce Dept. allows U.S. companies to file complaints about imported
goods from countries that manipulate the values of their currencies. If the
feds agree with the charge, they will impose countervailing duties on the
offending country’s imports.
And the policy faces potential legal challenges. Critics say it is ripe for abuse and may also run afoul of World Trade Org. rules. But it continues the trend of cracking down on unfair trade practices that has been a White House priority.
Mergers and acquisitions are going strong, following a bumper year for dealmaking in 2019. Companies are optimistic about the economy and willing to lay out large sums to increase their geographic and market reach. M&A has been particularly brisk in tech and health care. 2019 saw a 23% boost in deals worth $5 billion or more, mostly in those two sectors. Expect more in 2020.
Prepare for Coronavirus, Don’t Panic
Public health experts recommend preparedness over panic when it comes to the coronavirus. Right now, the coronavirus is mainly overseas, but in our interconnected world, experts predict we will see it spread in the U.S.
Here’s what you can do: The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) recommends that people take cautionary steps such as getting a
flu vaccine, regularly washing your hands and taking everyday preventive
actions to help stop the spread of germs, stockpiling three days’ worth of food
and water as you would for any potential disaster, and seeking medical care if
you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. More information from the CDC about the
coronavirus can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html.
Here’s my concern: I don’t think that the President is acting
aggressively enough to prepare for the coronavirus. Thankfully, there’s still
time for him to take the following steps:
- Support upwards of $8
billion in immediate emergency funding for
the CDC, state public health agencies, and vaccine research;
- Appoint a scientist or public
health professional as the point-person to lead its response;
- Get functioning and
accurate testing kits to Rhode Island and other states; and
- Reverse his approval of
junk health insurance plans that do not cover coronavirus testing and other
needed health services.
I am hopeful that the President will work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion on these steps because potential epidemics, like the coronavirus, affect not only public health but also our economic activity with the rest of the world. Now is the time to prepare rather than wait, and you can be assured I will keep up my efforts to respond to this public health threat.
United States Senator
Senator Whitehouse – Energy, Environment, Oceans News
Funding And Other Opportunities
Please let us know if your RI-based entity submits an application for a federal grant. If you send us a narrative/summary with grant details, we can submit letters of support. We will continue to send FYIs about grant opportunities as we see them.
Department of Energy
Advanced Vehicle Technologies
The Department of Energy announced up to $133 million in new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity supports projects in advanced batteries and electrification in support of the recently announced DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge. This FY 2020 funding opportunity also supports priorities in advanced engine and fuel technologies including technologies for off-road applications, lightweight materials, new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations. Concept papers for this funding opportunity are due February 21, 2020, and full applications will be due April 14, 2020. For more information and application requirements, please visit the EERE Exchange website or Grants.gov.
$96 million in funding is available for bioenergy research and development. Topic areas within this FOA will advance DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office’s objectives of reducing the price of drop-in biofuels, lowering the cost of biopower, and enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources. The application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Concept papers are due on March 5, 2020 and full applications are due on April 30, 2020.
For more information, read the full FOA.
Solar Technologies Office
The Department of Energy announced up to $125.5 million in new funding to advance solar technology research. Through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Office, DOE continues to advance research and development of solar technologies that reduce the cost of solar, increase the competitiveness of American manufacturing and businesses, and improve the reliability of the grid. Sign up HERE to learn more about this funding opportunity at an upcoming webinar.
Water Resource Recovery Prize
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a $1 million Water Resource Recovery Prize to accelerate resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States. Through this two-phased competition, DOE is accepting proposals for novel, systems-based solutions to stimulate resource recovery at small-to-medium-sized water resource recovery facilities. This effort can help lower the cost of wastewater treatment.
In the first phase of competition, teams will be required to submit an engineering schematic and business case that demonstrate the potential for cost-effectiveness and viability of resource recovery. DOE anticipates selecting up to 10 winning teams for cash prizes of $50,000 each as part of phase one. Submissions are due no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Teams selected during phase one will move into phase two, in which one to two teams will be selected to receive $250,000 cash prizes. DOE expects to give teams one year from phase one selection to submit final phase two materials. Only small- and medium-sized facilities (those with flows of up to 50 million gallons per day) are eligible to participate. Specific rules governing phase two submissions will be released at the conclusion of phase one in spring 2020. View the submission instructions and participant eligibility for both phases of the competition HERE.
Environmental Protection Agency
The Climate Resilience & Stormwater Management Workshop Series
Workshop 1 – Preparing for Success: Funding Climate Resilience Initiatives
February 20, 2020 at theStormwater Innovation Center, Roger Williams Park Casino, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI 02907
Pollution Prevention (P2) Grant Program
Pollution Prevention (P2) Grants provide technical assistance to businesses in order to help them develop and adopt source reduction practices (also known as “pollution prevention” or “P2”). P2 means reducing or eliminating pollutants from entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal. In keeping with the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, EPA is encouraging P2 because implementing these approaches can result in reductions in toxic pollutants, the use of water, energy and other raw materials, while also lowering business costs. P2 grants are awarded to States, colleges and universities (recognized as instrumentalities of the state), and federally-recognized tribes and intertribal consortia. Applications are due March 31, 2020.
EPA anticipates awarding approximately $9.38 million in total federal pollution prevention grant funding over a two-year funding cycle ($4.69 million in FY 2020 funds and approximately $4.69 million in FY 2021 funds). Individual grant awards may potentially be in the range of $40,000-$500,000 for the two-year funding period (or between $20,000 – $250,000 incrementally funded per year).
EPA’s national P2 Program will host two informational webinars for potential applicants and interested stakeholders. The first webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST. To register, please go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8522288642270023693. This webinar will review information about the P2 Grant program and the application process to help potential applicants submit a high-quality application to EPA for consideration. Time will be provided on the webinar for questions and answers. The second webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST to review and answer questions on the NEAs for this grant competition cycle. To register, please go to: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4696774328423521549.
On January 2, 2020, EPA announced the availability of its revised document, “‘TSCA New Chemical Determinations: A Working Approach for Making Determinations under TSCA Section 5.’’ The initial version of this document was published in 2017, where EPA also sought public feedback. In response, EPA intends to clarify and provide additional details on its approaches and practices related to the review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) in its updates to the document. Comment deadline is February 18, 2020.
Read the updated document and submit comments here.
FEMA is accepting comments for the new draft policy regarding Section 1206, “Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement” of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act. Comments must be submitted using the accompanying comments matrix. Comments received during this period will be reviewed and considered for the final version of the guide. The draft policy and accompanying comments matrix is located on the FEMA website. If you have any questions, contact FEMA-Recovery-PA-Policy@fema.dhs.gov.
National Dam Safety Program
The 2020 Dam Failure Life Loss Consequence Workshop will take place August 19-20 in Washington, DC. The workshop has been developed to provide dam owners, emergency managers, regulators and other relevant stakeholders with a forum to discuss the needs of the industry in better estimating potential life loss consequence from dam failure. Better understanding of the risks from this potential consequence will enable owners to operate more safely; regulators to have confidence in the evolving industry practice; and practitioners to have suitable tools to respond to the needs of the industry.
The workshop will highlight the importance of defining dam failure scenarios and assessing life loss consequences through the presentation of tools and case studies. The full range of social, institutional, and environmental consequences will be addressed during the workshop, including a focus on direct and indirect economic consequences and loss of life estimation.
Spots are still available. To register for the workshop visit click here!
This course is intended for dam owners, professional staff of dam safety and dam security programs, emergency managers at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels, and dam safety, dam security, and incident management personnel from the private sector who need to define and estimate consequences of dam failure scenarios.
For additional information on FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program please visit: https://www.fema.gov/national-dam-safety-program
Youth Preparedness Council
FEMA is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council. The council offers an opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Youth Preparedness Council offers an opportunity for young leaders to complete a youth preparedness project of their choosing while learning about youth disaster preparedness from FEMA leadership and other national organizations. During their two-year term, council members will complete a national-level group project and share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions, and questions with FEMA and other preparedness organizations.
Students in 8th through 11th grade are eligible to apply. Youth interested in applying to the council must submit a completed application form, two letters of recommendation, and their academic records. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, March 8, 2020. To access the application materials, read about the current council members, and for more general information about the Youth Preparedness Council visit www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness-council.
Federal Transit Administration
Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) Initiative
The USDOT announced its Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative, which supports and advances innovation in the transit industry. The AIM initiative includes $11 million in challenge grants to help transit agencies experiment with new ways of doing business, such as exploring new service models that provide more efficient and frequent service.
AIM challenge grants will be detailed in an upcoming FTA Notice of Funding Opportunity. The initiative will establish a national network of transit agencies that will test and share project results and use FTA’s technical assistance centers to promote promising innovations. Also, FTA’s Fiscal Year 2020 competitive grant programs, which will total $615 million, will highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria.
Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of up to $130 million in competitive grant funds through FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program. The Low-No Program helps project sponsors purchase or lease low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for transit revenue operations, including related equipment or facilities. FTA will award the grants to eligible applicants, which include public transit agencies, state transportation departments, and tribes, on a competitive basis. Projects will be evaluated by criteria defined in federal law and in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), including the applicant’s demonstration of need, the project’s benefits, project implementation strategy, and capacity for implementing the project. The NOFO also includes criteria regarding rural challenges and innovation, in accordance with the R.O.U.T.E.S. and Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiatives. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website and in GRANTS.GOV (funding opportunity FTA-2020-005-LowNo). Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by March 17, 2020.
Passenger Ferry Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for approximately $30 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 competitive grant funding for passenger ferry projects nationwide. The Passenger Ferry Grant Program is authorized by Congress for projects that develop and support ferry service on many of the nation’s waterways, including the purchase, repair, and modernization of ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities that communities depend on. The NOFO also encourages applicants to demonstrate how their proposed projects are consistent with the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (R.O.U.T.E.S.) and Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiatives. Projects will be evaluated and selected based on criteria outlined in the NOFO, including the need for improvements, demonstration of benefits to transit service, and integration with local and regional long-term planning. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m., Eastern time, March 30, 2020. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website and GRANTS.GOV (funding opportunity FTA-2020-008-FERRY). Links:
Passenger Ferry Grant Program FY 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity
Passenger Ferry Grant Program Web site
FTA will hold a public meeting of the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2020 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2020 at the National Highway Institute, 1310 North Courthouse Road, Arlington, Virginia. Anyone wishing to participate by phone or in person should notify FTA at TRACS@dot.gov. A conference call number will be available on the FTA TRACS website. Written materials may be submitted to TRACS@dot.gov at any time.
All funding opportunities here.
NOAA Fisheries announced that for fishing year 2020, the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 40 percent of all groundfish sector trips subject to the at-sea monitoring program. For more information, please read the agency’s letter to the New England Fishery Management Council and the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY 2020. Per direction in 2020 appropriations, we have funds allocated for reimbursing industry for its at-sea monitoring costs. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will continue to administer the reimbursement program for 2020 as in prior years.
Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan
NOAA Fisheries Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Modifications to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan. To get all the details on these proposed modifications, read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register.
The comment deadline is March 6, 2020. Please submit comments either through the online e-rulemaking portal or by mailing your comments to:
Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator
National Marine Fisheries Service
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA, 01930.
Please mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on the Proposed Rule for Skate Framework 8.”
Aquaculture: Addressing Economic and Market Needs of the U.S. Aquaculture Industry
Subject to the availability of funding, Sea Grant anticipates approximately $5,000,000 will be available for research projects and programs that will significantly advance the understanding of the economics of aquaculture businesses in the U.S. and address gaps regarding important market information. The overall goal is to advance business management towards development of a sustainable marine and Great Lakes aquaculture industry in the U.S. Successful proposals will address geographic and/or topical needs and will fully integrate research, extension, and education. Proposals that will support broad, non-proprietary research to address critical gaps with respect to aquaculture economics and market needs; make that information available to U.S. aquaculture businesses and management agencies; and build the capacity of Sea Grant and its partners, including Sea Grant aquaculture extension personnel and industry stakeholders, are preferred. These investments are consistent with Sea Grant’s focus area of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA) and the Sea Grant Network’s 10-year Aquaculture Vision, both which support NOAA and Department of Commerce aquaculture goals.
All proposals to this competition must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. Other interested entities must submit proposals in partnership with and through a relevant Sea Grant Program.
Notices of intent to submit due February 26, 2020
Full proposals due April 22, 2020
American Lobster Research Program
This program will support research to address critical gaps in knowledge about how the American Lobster and its fishery is being impacted by environmental change. It is informed by listening sessions with regional fishing industry stakeholders, state and federal fisheries managers, and university, state and federal fisheries researchers.
Deadline to apply: March 19, 2020
United States Coast Guard
Port Access Route Study – Offshore Wind Areas – MA and RI
The Federal Register Notice requesting comments on the draft report of the Port Access Route Study: The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (MARI PARS) was published. The comment period will close on March 16th, 2020. The Federal Register Notice can be accessed at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/01/29/2020-01522/port-access-route-study-the-areas-offshore-of-massachusetts-and-rhode-island
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Small Business Innovation Research Program – Phase II
All USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II projects must have previously completed a successful Phase I project before applying for a Phase II grant. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing along with alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all 2018 SBIR topic areas. SBIR’s flexible research areas ensure innovative projects are consistent with USDA’s vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water. Read the full SBIR request for funding application for more information.
Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research
The Aquaculture Research program supports the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States. This program generates new science-based information and innovation to address aquaculture industry constraints. Over the long term, results of these projects may help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, provide markets for U.S. produced grain products, increase domestic aquaculture business investment opportunities, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America. For more information, read the full Aquaculture Research program request for applications funding opportunity. Closing date is Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the deadline to March 20, 2020, to submit public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). NRCS is asking for public feedback on two additional questions and made several clarifying changes to the rule preamble. NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through March 20 on the Federal Register. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0006. All written comments received also will be publicly available on regulations.gov. For more information on how to sign up for ACEP, visit your state website at nrcs.usda.gov, or contact your local NRCS field office.
NRCS seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps partners develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect on publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill made RCPP a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding. NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through April 13 on the Federal Register. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0012. All written comments received will be publicly available on regulations.gov as well.
US Fish & Wildlife
North American Wetland Conservation Act Grant Deadline, 2/21/2020 and 10/15/2020.