1) Program Overview
The 2016 Non-Competitive program is very similar to the 2014 Non-Competitive program, with a few minor changes. Rye grass has been added as an eligible crop; and tenants are no longer eligible for mitigation on most fields (with the initiation of the Farm Unit fallowing program in July 2014, tenants receive a portion of the fallowing payment).
Like the 2014 program, the Local Entity designates the crop(s) for each fallowed field based on recent history of the field. There is no need to rely on a third party to determine what crop might have been grown on a fallowed field. If an applicant can show that they provided an eligible product or service to a field during a specified period of time in a field’s recent history (called the invoice period), the applicant may file a claim. The master list of fields will show the assigned crop(s) and the invoice period(s) for each field included in the program.
The application process officially opens Oct. 3, 2016 and closes Dec. 5, 2016.
Applications can be submitted at any time between these dates. No applications will be accepted after 5 p.m. Dec. 5, 2016.
Applications must be hand delivered to IID’s Water Administration office at 333 E Barioni Blvd. in Imperial. Be sure to get a receipt showing that your application packet was received.
This program covers fields that were fallowed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2017.
2) Application Process
There are separate crop designations for hay crops and combination hay/seed crops. Hay/seed crop forms allow for mitigation of hay-related services as well as seed-related services. Annual rates for these services take into account the different frequency and yields of hay harvest on seed fields.
Submitted claims may be subject to public records act provisions. Applicants may black out or redact proprietary information on their invoices or Schedules of Moveable Equipment that is not relevant to the claim.
Please be cautious when redacting information and ensure that the visible information remaining is sufficient to verify the validity of the document and to reasonably demonstrate that the applicant completed the claimed activities during the invoice period.
Do I need to provide copies of every single invoice for a product or service I provided during a season?
For products or services that are generally provided more than once during a crop season (e.g. hay harvesting or some pesticide applications), you only need to provide one of the invoices for that season with your claim. The Local Entity reserves the right to request copies of all invoices from a season at its discretion.
Annual mitigation rates are calculated based on average rates throughout the local industry. These rates take into account average frequency and rates of application, and average harvest frequency and yield.
Only the entity that provided a product or service to a field during the invoice period listed on the claim form may file a claim.
If more than one applicant files a claim on a field for the same product or service during the same invoice period, the Local Entity may require all the applicants to provide additional documentation, may reject some or all of the claims or may resolve the conflict in another manner.
If an applicant is determined by the Local Entity to have submitted fraudulent documentation or otherwise purposely attempted to deceive or defraud the program, all claims submitted by that applicant will be denied and the applicant will be barred from receiving funding under all future Local Entity programs.
Displaced tenants may only file claims on fields that were enrolled in the 2014 Calendar Year fallowing program. These fields are identified on the 2014 Calendar Year Fallowing Program list.
In order to file a claim, the tenant must have provided the product or service they are claiming during the invoice period listed on the claim form(s) for that field, and must provide a copy of their Schedule of Moveable Farm Equipment to demonstrate that they possess the necessary equipment.
Tenants may not file a claim on land owned by Imperial Irrigation District or land that they or their immediate family members had any ownership interest in. Farm Unit Managers are not eligible to file a claim on any fields within their Farm Unit.
The USB drive contains the field list, the RFP and all the forms you’ll need to file your claim.
You can pick up a drive at IID’s Water Administration office at 333 E. Barioni Blvd. in Imperial during business hours, after Monday, September 26, 2016.
Application packets should contain the following:
All completed claim forms: A claim form should be completed for each field and each fallowing year for which you wish to receive mitigation. All completed claim forms must be saved on the USB device, and a printed and signed copy must be included in the application packet.
A claim summary form: Each applicant must complete a claim summary form. That summary form must itemize each claim submitted. The completed claim summary form must be saved on the USB device, and a printed and signed copy must be included in the application packet.
W-9: Applicants must complete and submit a W-9. To avoid delays in payment, be certain that the information entered on the W-9 matches IRS records exactly. A completed copy of the W-9 must be saved on the USB device, and a printed and signed copy must be included in the application packet.
Backup documentation: All documents used to validate claims must be submitted with your application packet. For each product or service claimed on a field, an invoice must be submitted showing that you provided the product or service to the field during the invoice period, or for tenants, a schedule of moveable equipment must be submitted showing that you had the appropriate equipment to complete the work claimed during the invoice period. Copies of this documentation must be attached to the relevant claim form and submitted with your application packet. It is not required, but strongly encouraged that you include a scanned copy of this documentation on the USB device in addition to including the hard copies with your packet.
Proof of business location: All applications must include a business license or other documentation showing that the applicant maintained a principal place of business within the IID water service territory. It is not required, but strongly encouraged that you include a scanned copy of this documentation on the USB device in addition to including the hard copies with your packet.
USB device: The USB device must include all completed claim forms, your completed claim summary form and your completed W-9. It is not required, but strongly encouraged that you also include scanned copies of your backup documentation and proof of business location on the USB device. It is also strongly encouraged that you keep copies of your completed files and documentation for your own records.
Claims can be verified by providing an invoice that shows the applicant provided the product or service to the field and billed the grower for that product or service. The information on the invoice(s) must be sufficient to show the product or service that was provided, the field it was provided on, and the date(s) the product or service was provided. The date(s) must be within the invoice period listed on the claim form(s) for that field. The Local Entity may, at its discretion, request proof of payment of any or all invoices submitted.
Products or services provided before or after the invoice period may be eligible if it can be reasonably demonstrated that it was directly related to the same crop and season as the invoice period.
Tenants filing claims on a field from the 2014 Calendar Year Fallowing Program list may instead choose to provide a copy of the Schedule of Moveable Equipment (Form 571-F Schedule D) filed with their property taxes for the invoice period. This document should show that the tenant owned the appropriate equipment to do the work being claimed.
Each claim form, along with the claim summary and W-9 forms, must be signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the applicant. There is no need for any third party to sign your claim forms.
Why should I submit scanned copies of my backup documentation if I’m already submitting hard copies with my application?
Your application packet may contain a large number of documents. If just one document is inadvertently left out of your packet when it is submitted, one or more of your claims may be rejected as a result. If you include scanned copies in addition to hard copies it is less likely that a document will be misplaced or inadvertently left out of both the hard copies and the scanned copies.
The Local Entity may, at its discretion, request additional documentation from applicants. Applicants may be required to submit proof of payment of the invoices submitted for verification. Proof of payment must reasonably demonstrate that the grower responsible for paying the invoice paid the applicant for the work provided.
Applicants who submitted one invoice for a product or service that was provided multiple times during a season may be required to submit all invoices for that season. Other additional documentation may be requested at the discretion of the Local Entity.
3) Claim Review & Payment
There are several reasons a claim might not be accepted. Claims are accepted at the discretion of the Local Entity. Reasons that a claim may not be accepted include (but are not limited to) the following:
Claim forms are not filled out completely or are not signed.
Validation documents are not submitted or do not reasonably demonstrate that the applicant completed the work being claimed during the invoice period.
Multiple applicants submit claims for the same work on the same fields during the same invoice periods.
Once all claim applications have been submitted, Local Entity coordinators and staff will review and process all applications for completeness, accuracy, and adherence to the program guidelines. Any conflicting or overlapping claims, and claims that are incomplete, inaccurate or do not adhere to program guidelines may be rejected.
After the initial recommendation to accept and/or reject claims has been presented to the Local Entity Board of Directors, an appeal process will be opened for claims that were rejected. At the conclusion of the appeal process, the Local Entity board will vote on the recommendations to accept or reject claims.
No payments can be processed until the appeals process is complete and all claims submitted have been reviewed and either accepted or rejected by a vote of the Local Entity Board of Directors.
Once a claim is approved, it is still subject to award proration and payment caps.
Award Proration: All approved claims for each fallowing year will be added up and compared with the total amount of funds available for that fallowing year. If the total amount of approved claims is more than the funds available for that fallowing year, all claims for that year will be prorated based on the amount of funds available compared with the total amount of approved claims.
Payment Caps: No entity may receive more than $100,000 for any single fallowing year during the initial funding process. Initial awards will be subject to the per-applicant funding cap of $100,000 per fallowing year. Subsequent awards may be issued which exceed this cap, if funding is available after the initial awards are disbursed, subject to authorization by the Local Entity and at its sole discretion.
4) Other Questions