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USDA enhances resources for business contracting

With a new dedicated website and enhanced portal features, businesses can now navigate USDA procurement opportunities with greater ease and efficiency.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced significant resource enhancements to simplify and streamline access to contracting information for businesses interested in selling their products and services to the USDA. The updates include new, targeted contracting information on USDA.gov and improved functionality to make it easier for businesses to find and access procurement opportunities. A new portal allows businesses to share the scope of their capabilities with the USDA more easily.

"Doing business with the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be straightforward, particularly for our nation's small businesses," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. "Unfortunately, researching and identifying relevant procurement opportunities can be extremely challenging, confusing, and time-consuming. That's why the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new tools and resources that will make it easier to contract with the USDA to serve American farmers and all of us who count on the food they grow."

Spearheaded by USDA’s Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) in collaboration with the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), these improvements include:

  • New contracting site: The “Contracting with USDA” site provides information, resources, and links for businesses wanting to contract with USDA in a helpful Q&A format. It addresses common questions such as “What does USDA typically buy?” and “How do I find current opportunities to contract with USDA?”
  • Vendor capability submission portal: This updated portal allows suppliers and merchants to submit their business capabilities to USDA via a web form. Submissions are shared with contracting officers across the Department.
  • Procurement forecast tool: Launched in June 2023, this tool now has a user-friendly way to search and filter nearly 6,000 planned contract opportunities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024.

“USDA has a long history of contracting with a wide variety of businesses to help us deliver our mission to the American people. In addition, we have an unwavering support for businesses, large, mid-size, and small. We hope the deployed contracting resources will help even more businesses navigate the complex process of contracting with the federal government,” said Malcom Shorter, USDA Assistant Secretary for Administration.

In FY 2023, USDA obligated more than $11 billion in 67,000 contract activities across various industries and contract types. For FY 2024, USDA estimates a comparable obligation amount and contract awards to industry partners.

USDA's purchasing extends beyond agricultural commodities. Last fiscal year, the Department awarded contracts worth $4.9 billion in food, $4.2 billion in services, $1.7 billion in Information Technology, half a billion in goods, and nearly half a billion in construction.

The Department strongly supports procurement initiatives promoting equity and removing barriers to opportunities. USDA aims to award 57.5% or more of its contract dollars to small businesses this year, including 27.85% to small, disadvantaged businesses. USDA's efforts garnered an A+ Rating on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s FY2023 Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

Businesses interested in contracting with USDA should visit the “Contracting with USDA” page for access to these and other resources.

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