This morning I participated in an online training webinar/conference call for the Risk Management Agency’s online application submission and reporting system. The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), operating through the Risk Management Agency (RMA), recently announced a funding opportunity titled, “Risk Management Education Partnerships Program.” After reading the announcement, I felt that this targeted a rather large College of Ag base – basically, anyone with an outreach component in Crop and Soils, Horticulture, Rangeland and Animal Sciences (and beyond) could benefit from this opportunity. But, more on the specifics below.

If you feel this may be an opportunity for you, let’s talk. The submission system and the way they want applications put together lays far outside the typical process. You must use their online submission system and there is a heavy emphasis on “Proposed Results” (which are what the participants will do), “Audience Emphasis” and the “Teams and Partners.” To give this some perspective, the narrative section is limited to 400 words.

This is definitely a time where you want to get your proposal put together well before the deadline and submit several days ahead of time. Yes, I know that all agencies recommend this, but in this case you really should submit early given the way their online system operates.

Summary: The purpose of this competitive cooperative partnership agreement program is to deliver crop insurance education and risk management training to U.S. agricultural producers to assist them in identifying and managing production, marketing, legal, financial, and human risk.

Here are the priority commodities they are targeting with this program –

  1. Agricultural commodities limited to commercial crops that are not covered by catastrophic risk protection crop insurance, are used for food or fiber (except livestock), and specifically include, but are not limited to, floricultural, ornamental nursery, Christmas trees, turf grass sod, aquaculture (including ornamental fish), and industrial crops.
  2. Specialty crops that may or may not be covered under a Federal crop insurance plan and include, but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, syrups, honey, roots, herbs, and highly specialized varieties of traditional crops.
  3. Underserved commodities which includes: (a) Commodities, including livestock and forage, that are covered by a Federal crop insurance plan but for which participation in an area is below the national average; and (b) commodities, including livestock and forage, with inadequate crop insurance coverage.

“For the 2013 fiscal year, the FCIC Board of Directors and the FCIC Manager are seeking projects that (1) address one or more of the Priority Commodities (as defined above), (2) provides Crop Insurance Education on FCIC approved policies, or (3) address one or more of the five (5) areas of risk described as Production, Legal, Financial, Marketing or Human Risk.”

Award range is $20,000 – $99,000 for up to one year; submission deadline is July 22, 2013. You can find more detail here.

As I mentioned above; if this is something that interests you, contact me. Or if you’ve used the system before, I’d like to have some firsthand knowledge of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

P.S. Yes, this would still need to go through our internal Cayuse system but only CayuseSP (i.e. the electronic proposal transmittal form); the Sponsored Programs folks are also aware of the unique submission requirements for this particular opportunity.