What Are Subpart X Final Agency Determinations?
A 1998 law (the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998)
required RMA to set up a system to respond within 90 days to requests for final agency
interpretation of any portion of the Federal Crop Insurance Act or any regulation made under
the Federal Crop Insurance Act. In response, RMA created a process to handle these requests,
and created "Subpart X" -- a new section within the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation's
general administrative regulations -- to inform the public of this process and how it works.
RMA provides final agency determinations for regulations in effect for the current crop
year and the three previous crop years. Final determinations may be made only for statutory and regulatory
issues that have general program applicability. For instance, RMA can interpret regulatory provisions associated
with different crop policies or plans of insurance.
However, RMA will not interpret any specific factual situation or case. We will not interpret the actions of
individual producers under the terms of their crop insurance policies, or the actions of insurance companies
under the terms of their reinsurance agreements with RMA.
What Impact Will Final Agency Determinations Have?
The law provides that all final agency determinations RMA issues will be final and
binding on all participants in the Federal crop insurance program. You are considered a participant if you have applied for crop insurance or are a producer with a valid crop insurance policy. Private insurance companies with reinsurance agreement with RMA, and their agents, loss adjustors, employees, and contractors are also considered participants.
Because all final agency determinations are considered matters of general program applicability, they are not appealable to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Appeals Division (NAD). Anyone who wants to challenge a particular final determination must receive an administrative decision from the NAD Director regarding whether the final determination is generally applicable before they seek judicial review.
How Do I Submit A Request for a Final Agency Determination?
There are three ways that you may submit a request for a final agency determination to RMA:
In writing, sent by certified mail, and addressed to the Associate Administrator, Risk Management Agency,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop Code 0801, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-0801,
By fax to fax phone number (202) 690-9911,
By e-mail to RMA at RMA.CCO@rma.usda.gov.
What Information Should I Include in the Request?
Requests for a final agency determination must include several specific pieces of information for RMA to
start processing the inquiry. They must:
State that they are being submitted under Section 506(r) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act,
Identify and quote the specific provision of the Federal Crop Insurance Act or regulations for which
a final agency determination is requested,
State the crop year for which the interpretation is sought,
State the name, address, and telephone number of a contact person associated with the request,
Contain a detailed description of the requestor's interpretation of the regulation,
Inform RMA whether the request for a final agency determination will be used in a lawsuit or
settlement of a claim.
You may not ask for several final agency determinations within the same written letter, fax message, or e-mail
message. Each inquiry submitted to RMA must contain only one request for an interpretation.
How Will RMA Handle the Request?
- If RMA determines that a request for a final agency determination is unclear, ambiguous, or
incomplete, we cannot process it. However, we will notify you within 30 days of the day we receive your
request of the reason(s) that we are unable to provide an interpretation.
- RMA will return unclear, ambiguous, or incomplete requests to give the requestor an opportunity to submit a
more detailed and complete inquiry. Once we receive a complete request that meets all of the information requirements,
we will immediately begin processing it.
- Final agency determinations will be provided to the requestor in writing within 90 days of the date RMA
receives the request. The law allows RMA to choose the format that we will use to send the reply. RMA may send
the final determination to the requestor through regular mail, by fax machine, or by e-mail message.
If RMA does not provide a final agency determination within 90 days, the requestor may assume that his or
her interpretation is correct for the applicable crop year.
All final agency determinations will be published on the RMA website.