So Much Red Tape

amanda huberAs of this writing, the Farm Bill is working its way through Congress with much posturing on all sides, but that is fairly usual for any piece of legislation. In the meantime, Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue is continuing his work to remove burdensome regulations plaguing family farms.

The latest item involves eliminating the requirement for producers to obtain Data Universal Number System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) numbers to participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs.

“I’m pleased Congress helped us to achieve one of our regulatory goals of cutting red tape for producers utilizing conservation programs by exempting them from SAM and DUNS requirements,” Perdue says. “These numbers were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families.

These changes help streamline the customer experience for farmers, which is a top priority at USDA.”

Despite the rule change, DUNS and SAM registration is still required for the following:

• Partnership agreements entered through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

• All agreements with eligible entities under the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP).

• Agreements under the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component of ACEP.

• Partnership agreements under the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) component of ACEP Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).

• Watershed operations agreements with project sponsors.

• Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) agreements with project sponsors, including Recovery and Floodplain Easements.

• All cooperative, contribution, interagency or partnership agreements of Federal contracts used by NRCS to procure goods or services.

It would seem that USDA has a lot more red-tape cutting to do. Further, NRCS advises participants in its programs to ignore any emails, phone calls or other communications from third-party vendors offering assistance for registering in SAMS or applying for a DUNS number. For additional information, go to www.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local FSA office.