Final Rule: TEFAP Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
The Farm Bill was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018 (PL 115-334). Section 4018 of the 2018 Farm Bill included TEFAP-specific provisions and modified the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 (7 U.S.C. 7501-7516) (EFAA). This rule codifies new statutory requirements included in the 2018 Farm Bill by amending TEFAP regulations at 7 CFR part 251. Upon publication, this rulemaking makes the following changes:
(1) Revises TEFAP state plan requirements; and
(2) establishes the requirements for projects to harvest, process, package, or transport donated commodities for use by TEFAP EFOs, also known as Farm to Food Bank Projects.
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) at 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2) specifically exempts rules involving grants and benefits from notice-and-comment requirements, giving FNS the authority to issue final rules in grants and benefits programs, like TEFAP. FNS does, however, retain the discretion to issue a final rule with a request for comments, and FNS welcomes comments on the specified sections below. The Department is issuing this final rule with request for comments to ensure that the provisions in this rulemaking are implemented as timely as possible to distribute funds to TEFAP state agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The Department determined that prolonging the implementation of these provisions would negatively impact state agencies that administer TEFAP by delaying their ability to access the funds provided by the 2018 Farm Bill. As previously stated, if the Department, upon consideration of the comments received, decides to amend any provisions of the rule, the Department will publish a new final rule in the Federal Register with an explanation of the changes.
Effective Date: This rule is effective Oct. 4, 2019.