Agricultural Marketing Service Expects Federal Government Shut-Down to Have Minimal Effect on Purchasing Activities

December 27, 2018

Beginning December 22, 2018, due to the lapse in federal government funding, many federal offices have been required to close or severely cut staffing and services. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Commodity Procurement Program is receiving inquiries from suppliers and contractors asking how this shutdown affects contracting, contract performance, and invoicing/payments.

We would like to assure our business partners that AMS expects this shutdown to have minimal impact on most commodity procurement activities.

For domestic food assistance programs: Many employees of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Food Distribution Division staff will not be able to work due to the lapse in appropriations.  However, AMS remains in contact with essential FNS staff as well as State contacts, should any delivery issues arise during this time.

For international food assistance programs: Employees at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and AMS’ International Commodity Procurement Division will not be able to work due to the lapse in appropriations.  However, two employees will be on call for emergency issues with vessel loadings or foreign discharge surveys.

Other AMS Commodity Procurement and other activities are impacted as follows:

  • For previously awarded contracts that have already been funded, AMS expects suppliers and contractors to continue to produce and deliver as required under current contracts for both domestic and international food assistance programs.
  • USDA inspection and fee-for-service (grading and certification) services are uninterrupted.
  • WBSCM is operational. Some pathways to the log-in site may be nonfunctioning due to agency website shutdowns, including AMS and FNS. Should you have difficulty accessing WBSCM, use this path:
  • AMS will review and approve invoices submitted via WBSCM according to normal procedure.
  • Contract payments may be not be made until the office that issues payments has reopened. This may lead to a few payment delays should the Federal government shutdown be prolonged. According to the terms of the Prompt Payment Act (reference the appropriate Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements), USDA will pay interest on those invoices affected.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact AMS at 202-720-4517.

We appreciate your cooperation and support as we do our very best to continue providing service to the millions of Americans relying on the Federal food assistance programs every day.