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United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture - USDA/NIFA

Note:  Grants, cooperative agreements and special project awards for research, education, and the extension are subject to NIFA General Terms and Conditions.   USDA/NIFA awards are subject to OMB Uniform Guidance  2 CFR 200, dated December 26, 2014, (UG).  Implemented and subsequently revised by the Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) June, 2017.  For prior approval matrix see Appendix A Prior Approval Matrix June 30, 2017.      

Summary of Standard Terms

Period of Perfomance Extensions

  • May incur pre-award costs up to 90 days prior to the award date without prior NIFA approval
  • Initiation of first no cost extension is processed by the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) by the Research Administrator (RA). Written notice to NIFA is sent no later than 10 days prior to expiration and must include a reason and a revised end date that does not exceed 12 months
  • Subsequent extensions require NIFA approval. PI requests must be submitted to the OCG RA  
    • 30 days prior to the award end date
    • PI request must provide the following information
      • revised end date
      • estimate of award balance with brief budget justification
      • describe current progress and remaining scope of work
      • reason the extension is needed
    • OCG RA will prepare a formal letter to NIFA, PI and RA must sign, letter is uploaded as an attachment and sent to

Personnel Changes

  • Change of any key person named in the award requires prior NIFA approval
  • Disengagement of the PI for 3 months requires NIFA prior approval
  • A 25% reduction in effort by the PI requires prior NIFA approval

Restrictions on Allowable Costs

  • Faculty salary rates exceeding Executive Level IV (Jan, 2017) require prior NIFA approval
  • Postage, sundry office items, cost of memberships, subscriptions or other professional activities require a project specific justification sent to the OCG RA for approval and retained for audit
  • Participant support only allowed when identified in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
  • Costs of entertainment, amusement diversion and social activities, and any costs directly associated with such costs (meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities) are not allowable costs
  • NIFA funds may not be used to pay for coffee breaks for intramural meetings including laboratories, departments and centers
  • UH/OCG has established steps that the PI will need to following in order to justify refreshments and or working meals on USDA/NIFA sponsored workshops or conferences. Contact your OCG/RA should you need those details  

Cost Sharing

  • May use unrecovered indirect, including indirect on cost sharing, as matching
  • Deviation from the approved cost sharing budget requires prior NIFA approval

Re-budgeting Authority

  • Participant support (in/out of budget line item) requires NIFA approval
  • Carry-forward between the years is allowed without prior NIFA approval
  • Any change to the approved cost sharing budget requires prior NIFA approval
  • Re-budgeting between direct cost categories is allowed without prior NIFA approval as long as the scope of work is not altered
  • Should it be necessary to submit a budget revision the PI must send a justification with the budget adjustments to the RA. Each change must be clearly discussed, but a budget form is not necessary.  0A formal letter with a pdf attachment will be sent to the Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) to           


Payments are made through electronic funds transfer (EFT) using the Automated Standard Applications for Payment System (ASAP) – USDA NIFA Letter of Credit.


  • Prior written approval for unbudgeted special purpose equipment costing $5,000 (unit cost) is waived. Capital equipment must be an approved budget line item.  PI should contact OCG and provide details to ensure OCG RA has the appropriate PeopleSoft budget nodes and account codes set up.  This is very important so the voucher will process correctly and indirect will calculate correctly.   Equipment must be appropriately prorated among benefitted activities
  • Title to property vests to UH, however the award may specifically address disposition of federally owned property        


  • Use of US Carriers required per the Fly America Act
  • Exceptions may be made for certain airlines and routes under “Open Skies” agreements
  • Domestic, foreign and conference travel must be itemized and justified in the approved budget

Program Income

  • USDA/NIFA utilizes the additive method to further project objectives, however program income may be used for cost sharing
  • All efforts should be made to avoid having unexpended program income at the end of the grant    


Press Announcements and Media Interviews

  • PIs are requested to coordinate all public announcements with NIFA’s Communication Staff at
  • Simultaneous announcement by NIFA and PI is preferred
  • PI should acknowledge NIFA support during media interviews
  • Recipients must include an acknowledgement of the Government’s support when publishing material based on or developed under the award. [Including news releases, articles, manuscripts, brochures, advertisements, interviews, audiovisual (with a direct production cost to the recipient of over $5,000), pictures, speeches, and symposia.]   
  • “This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number xxxxxx-xx-x-xxxx”
  • NIFA’s official identifier is expected in all publications, posters websites, and presentations
  • All materials (including World Wide Web pages) based on or developed under this award, except scientific articles or papers appearing in scientific, technical or professional journals, contains a disclaimer. (This includes news releases, articles, manuscripts, brochures, advertisements, still and motion pictures, speeches, trade association’s proceedings and symposia.)   
  • “Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Copies to Sponsor:

  • PI shall provide a copy to the NIFA Representative as designated on the NIFA Award  


  • Prior approval required for all unbudgeted subcontracting
  • Fly America requirements must be included in all subcontracts


    • Information is required upon project initiation for all new awards
    • Information will be requested by the NIFA Program Manager
  • Technical reporting should be submitted as follows:
    • Annual reporting is due within 90 days of the award’s anniversary date
      • Include accomplishments compared to established goals
      • Include reasons for slippage if goals are not met
      • Include additional pertinent information: analysis, explain cost overruns, etc.
    • Final report covering the entire project is due 90 days after expiration
      • Describe progress made during entire timeframe of project
      • Include identity of equipment purchased with grant funds and its usage
    • All reporting is submitted through REEport
    • NIFA is NOT implementing the 120 days mentioned in the RTC
  • Financial reports are submitted by OCG Research Financial Services (RFS)
    • Annual financial reports, using SF 425, are due 90 days after the anniversary date  
    • Final financial reports, using SF 425, are due within 90 days of expiration
    • All financial reports are submitted as a pdf attachment to an email sent to
    • Final drawdown must be made within 90 days after expiration before the final SF 425 is submitted   
  • Patents and Inventions Including Plant Variety Protection
    • Point of Contact:
      Planning, Accounting and Reporting Staff 
      National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
      STOP 2213
      1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20250-2213
      Tele:  (202) 720-5623; E-mail:
    • Disclosure of invention to NIFA within 2 months of discovery through iEdison
  • Property is addressed through technical reporting
  • Accidents or Releases Involving Recombinant DNA
    • Accidents or releases involving rDNA used in NIFA funded research are to be considered a serious adverse event and must be reported. Time frames for expedited reports see NIH guidelines.  Incidents should be reported to NIFA within 48 hours, but not later than 7 calendar days in the case of fatal or life threatening incidents.  Copies of the initial reports and subsequent monitoring or remediation reports and documentation must be sent to: Agency Research Integrity Officer (ARIO) 
    • Contact your OCG RA