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USDA/RBS RIN: 0570-AB10 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: 7 CFR Part 4280 Subpart E Amending Tribes and Tribal Business References to Provide Equitable Access 

The Rural Business Cooperative Service (RBCS) of USDA Rural Development offers programs to help businesses grow as well as job training for people living and working in rural communities. Such programs include loans and grants to nonprofit entities, public bodies, and Indian Tribes, who utilize the funds to assist in the development of private businesses and other economic development activities. For specific reasons expressed through Tribal consultation and direct applicant feedback, by multiple Tribes, certain Tribes have been unable to apply, or have chosen not to apply, for Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG). Tribes and tribally owned businesses, corporations and enterprises have faced recurring challenges and barriers in accessing the RBDG program due to outdated, misinformed and irrelevant definitions and regulatory language in regard to how Tribes and Tribally owned businesses are actually defined and structured. Tribes are sovereign nations and often have complex and unique business, corporate and community structures that are often incorporated under Tribal codes and laws. Currently, the RBDG regulation protects the interest of the Federal Government by preventing pass through funds for public bodies and nonprofits to for-profit businesses. This program stipulation has negatively impacted Tribes ability to utilize the RBDG program.

This planned regulatory revision will assist Tribes and Tribally owned businesses in removing unnecessary barriers providing equity to access the RBDG program’s regularly allocated funds and RBDG set aside funds for Tribes and tribally owned businesses - such as Native American RBDG grant funds and RBDG Native American Persistent Poverty grant funds. 

Specifically, RBCS plans to reduce barriers to access for Tribes in the RBDG program by amending Tribal applicant definitions, Tribal applicant references, conflict of interest language, and appearance of conflict of interest and affiliation language as it relates to Tribes in the RBDG regulation 7 CFR part 4280 subpart E. RBCS has obtained feedback from Tribes through Tribal Consultation.  Comments and feedback received will be addressed in the final rule.  

Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 4280   
Legal Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1989(a)    7 U.S.C. 2008s   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Proposed Rule  05/24/2023  88 FR 33552   
Proposed Rule Comment Period End  07/24/2023 
Final Rule  01/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Will Dodson
Branch Chief, Intermediary Programs
Department of Agriculture
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone:202 768-0592