About Final Agency Determinations
- What Are Subpart X Interpretations of Statutory Provisions, Policy Provisions, and Procedures?
A 1998 law (the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998) required FCIC to set up a system to respond within 90 days to requests for final agency determination of any portion of the Federal Crop Insurance Act or any regulation made under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. In response, FCIC created a process to handle these requests, and created "Subpart X"—a new section within the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation's general administrative regulations.
In 2018, FCIC revised the Regulation to incorporate interpretations of procedures previously issued and administered in accordance with Manager’s Bulletin MGR-05-018, and to provide a mechanism for interpretations of policy provisions that are not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations. The effect of this action is to provide requestors with information on how to request a final agency determination or an interpretation of FCIC procedures within one administrative regulation and bring consistency and clarity to the processes used and existing provisions. FCIC will not provide an interpretation for any request that contains any specific factual situation or case. FCIC will not interpret the actions of individual producers under the terms of their crop insurance policies, procedure, or the actions of insurance companies under the terms of their reinsurance agreements with FCIC. The Risk Management Agency (RMA) will process and respond to requests for final agency determinations and interpretations of policy provisions not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations and procedures on behalf of FCIC.
- What Impact Will Agency Determinations and Interpretations Have?
Final Agency Determinations
The law provides that all FCIC final agency determinations 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.FCIC Interpretations
A FCIC interpretation, is an interpretation of a policy provision not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations or any procedure used in the administration of the Federal crop insurance program. FCIC interpretations are only applicable to the parties in the dispute. You may request an administrative review and file in accordance with 7 CFR part 400, subpart J. If you seek an administrative review from FCIC, your request must be submitted in accordance with § 400.767(a).
- How Do I Submit A Request for Agency Determination or Interpretation?
There are ways that you may submit a request for an agency determination or interpretation to RMA:
- In writing by certified mail or overnight delivery, to the Deputy Administrator, Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, Beacon Facility, Stop 0801, Room 421, P.O. Box 419205, Kansas City, MO 64141-6205;
- By electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What Information Should I Include in the Request?
Requests must include specific pieces of information and fulfill the Requestor Obligations in Subpart X § 400.767 for FCIC to start processing the inquiry.
You may not ask for several interpretations within the same written letter, fax message, or e-mail message. Each inquiry submitted to FCIC must contain only one request for an interpretation. For example, if there is a dispute with the interpretation of section 3 of the Loss Adjustment Manual, then one request for an interpretation is required. If there is a dispute with the interpretation of section 3 of the Loss Adjustment Manual and section 2 of the Macadamia Nut Loss Adjustment Standards Handbook, then two separate requests for an interpretation are required.
- How Will FCIC Handle the Request?
- Requests sent to RMA are processed by RMA on behalf of FCIC.
- It is important to be clear, complete, and not include factual situations or cases in your request. If FCIC determines that a request is unclear, ambiguous, or incomplete, we cannot process it. However, we will notify you within 30 days of the day we receive your request and the reason(s) that we are unable to provide an interpretation.
- FCIC will give you an opportunity to submit a more detailed and complete inquiry. Once we receive a complete request that meets all the information requirements, we will immediately begin processing it.
- A response with FCIC’s interpretation will be provided to you in writing within 90 days of the date FCIC receives the request. The 90-day time-period for FCIC to provide a response is stopped on the date FCIC notifies you. On the date FCIC receives a clear, complete, and unambiguous request, FCIC has the balance of the days remaining in the 90-day time-period to provide a response to you. The law allows FCIC to choose the format that we will use to send the reply. FCIC may send the response to the requestor through regular mail or by e-mail message.
- If FCIC does not provide a response within 90 days of receipt of your request, you may assume your interpretation is correct for the applicable crop year. However, your interpretation shall not be considered generally applicable and shall not be binding on any other program participants. Additionally, in the case of a joint request for a final agency determination or a FCIC interpretation, if FCIC does not provide a response within 90 days, neither party may assume their interpretations are correct.
- All final agency determinations will be published on the RMA website.
- All accepted requests for FCIC interpretations will not be published on the RMA website, but a letter with the FCIC interpretation will be sent to you.