An opportunity to reach a new market is a big deal for any company, but this is especially true when it comes to our nation’s 23 million small businesses. In their search to reach new markets, they not only compete against each other they also compete with larger establishments. To help them meet their goals, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) offers some contracts exclusively for small businesses. This allows companies with less than 500 employees to compete against similar sized organizations to provide a service or product to the government. Small businesses are the glue that holds our economy together and AMS is committed to supporting them.
Our Commodity Procurement Staff (CPS) recently purchased 25 million pounds of fresh russet potatoes in one of our small business procurements. While reducing a potential surplus in the market caused by a nearly 9 percent increase in U.S. potato production from the previous year, the purchase also enabled small businesses to sell products to the USDA. These companies sent their products to food and nutrition programs like the National School Lunch Program and food banks.
AMS, along with other agencies in USDA, has employees dedicated to help small businesses understand federal procurement programs. Whether you are new to federal contracting or just learning about opportunities within USDA, there are a number of resources to help your business successfully compete for a contract.
Companies looking to sell products to AMS should visit our Commodity Procurement website to see the list of foods the agency purchases and how they can become an approved vendor. All offers to supply products need to be placed through our Web-based Supply Chain Management System (WBSCM). This online tool houses all of the business processes for our procurements including: orders, solicitations, bids, awards, deliveries, invoices, and payments. Last year, the system was used to purchase 10 billion pounds of food. This includes $170 million worth of protein items from our nation’s producers — many of which were small businesses — who were devastated by the drought.
AMS remains committed to creating opportunities for small companies looking to do business with our agency. After you become an approved vendor, get training on the WBSCM system by checking out the schedule of upcoming training courses. New vendors should go to the new vendor page and become approved. Anyone can obtain tailored information from our CP News to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world of commodity procurement.