Frequently Asked Questions for Hatch Projects

A Hatch Project is fundamentally a “plan of work” for Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) faculty and serves as an umbrella for all research activities of AAES faculty members. The funding sources (i.e., federal Hatch/Multistate funds and the required state matching dollars) require AAES faculty to have plans of work in the form of a Hatch Project. Such projects provide a means for administrative oversight of (1) progress on research conducted at AAES facilities and (2) suitability of research conducted through the AAES in line with the experiment station mission of agricultural research. Hatch Projects are initiated by faculty members, reviewed by departmental Hatch Project committees, approved by the AAES Director, and then filed with the CRIS system for U.S. Department of Agriculture approval. Upon USDA approval, a Hatch Project becomes official.

You need a Hatch Project if you are a faculty member with an AAES appointment. Through Hatch funding, AAES provides opportunities for funding research projects, travel, and equipment. A Hatch Project or official participation in a Multistate Project is required of AAES faculty for application for such funding.

The first step in getting a Hatch Project approved is submitting a proposal or plan of work to your departmental Hatch Project committee. Once the project proposal is reviewed through the departmental Hatch Project committee, the proposal is submitted through the REEport system to the AAES for review and approval. The Hatch Project is approved or disapproved by the AAES Director. Once approved by the AAES administrator, the project is assigned a number and submitted to USDA for approval. In most cases, USDA approves the projects, but the approval process can take several months.

No. Hatch Projects are “plans of work.” Proposing and receiving approval for a Hatch Project is not directly linked with award of funding to conduct the proposed research. Funds for conducting research of Hatch Projects should be sought through various other sources such as AAES seed funding and research grants from federal, regional, state, and local funding agencies.

A Hatch Project is not official until it is approved by USDA, which is the final step in getting a Hatch Project (see question 3). The Hatch Project approval process can take a significant amount of time, so please start early.

Usually, Hatch Projects are active for five years. It is the responsibility of faculty members to make sure that their Hatch Projects are active. To check on the status of Hatch Projects, use the REEport system to search for your project. It will either be listed in active projects or terminated projects.  Your project should be active if you are not past the termination date.

You must make an annual progress report through the REEport system if you have a Hatch Project, AAES-supported research project, or USDA-supported project.

Federal laws and regulations require an annual progress report of all federally approved research projects, including Hatch Projects, AAES-funded projects, and USDA-funded projects. If you fail to make a report, your project is flagged in the REEport system for a report.

Progress reports are due annually, usually on Jan. 31. The report period covers Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the previous year. If you have a project active in this period, you are required to file a report. To file the required report, use the REEport system. Click on Annual Report, and enter your last name to search for any outstanding reports. All of your projects should be listed. Pay attention to the Reporting Period End Date, and file a report for any project that has a date for the previous year.

If the termination date for your project has passed, the project report should be a Final (termination) Report. If the project is still active, the report is a Progress Report. To file the Final Report, click on FINAL report in REEport, and find your Final Report in Draft.

It is the responsibility of all AAES faculty members to make timely annual reports of their projects. Consequences of not reporting may include loss of eligibility for AAES funding, withdrawal of AAES funding, incorporation of reporting noncompliance into faculty performance evaluations, or suspension of pay for any part of a salary paid from AAES funds.