Note: The information provided below is subject to change.
Q1. Do prospective contractors have to bid on the full volume offered in the solicitation?
A1. No. You may bid on as much or as little of the total volume as you would like. We typically make multiple awards on our solicitations.
Q2. What quantities are solicited? How big is a truckload?
A2. We solicit in full truckload quantities, meaning a full commercial truckload weighting approximately 40,000 lbs. Some truckloads include what we call “split loads,” meaning it is a full commercial truckload that includes delivery to multiple stops. There are typically no more than 3 stops on a split load. Offerors will be required to bid on all stops on the split load.
Q3. Why would someone choose to have a desk audit versus USDA audit? Is it faster or easier to obtain?
A3. The choice to have a desk audit versus a USDA GAP/GHP audit for Trade Mitigation purchases is intended to provide flexibility for vendors who have completed GFSI benchmark audits. View the Trade Mitigation Program Food Safety Requirements (pdf)
Q4. After vendors are accepted to be qualified vendors, do they then have to get a USDA audit?
A4. Vendors must have an audit completed, but they can choose between having USDA SCI complete a GAP/GHP audit or have their GFSI audit paperwork desk-audited by USDA SCI. Desk audits will be submitted for review to SCAudit@ams.usda.gov.
Q5. Is the new desk audit flexibility available for USDA AMS other purchase programs?
A5. No. The desk audit option is for Trade Mitigation purchases only.
Q7. Can you tell us up front when an inspection office in a certain state does not have the capability to perform required audits? We’ve incurred costs from having to bring in inspectors from other states.
A7. It is advisable that you contact the regional inspection for your state prior to bidding to ensure that your local/state inspection office can perform all the required audits. Vendors will be provided with contact information for the Regional Specialty Crop Inspection offices upon request
Q8. The notice indicates WA Fancy pears, are you eliminating other states to be able to bid on Bosc for pears bids?
A8. No, the specification calls for WA fancy or equivalent, there are no restrictions on who can bid.
Q9. Are US number 2 Okay? Even though we are doing Oregon Fancy? Why is the requirement even necessary?
A9. Refer to the specification when it is issued for specific details about what grades will be accepted.
Q10. What is the average time a desk audit will take? How soon should they be submitted?
A10. The time to complete desk audits will vary. It is recommended to submit them as early as possible as they are required to be submitted at the time bids are due.
Q11. Do we have to submit audited or reviewed financial statements to become a new vendor?
A11. You may submit either audited or reviewed.
Q12. On pear varieties, are you not asking for Bartlett?
A12. At this time we are not planning to purchase Bartlett under the Trade Mitigation program. We do purchase Bartlett pears as part of our regular purchase programs.
Q13. Do prospective contractors have to bid on the full volume offered in the solicitation?
A13. No. You may bid on as much or as little of the total volume as you would like. We typically make multiple awards on our solicitations.
Q14. What quantities are solicited? How big is a truckload?
A14. We solicit in full truckload quantities, meaning a full commercial truckload weighting approximately 40,000 lbs. Some truckloads include what we call “split loads,” meaning it is a full commercial truckload that includes delivery to multiple stops. There are typically no more than 3 stops on a split load. Offerors will be required to bid on all stops on the split load.
Q15. Are you only buying 3 lb bags of pears?
A15. At this we are only planning to purchase 3 lb bags.
Q16. In order to participate in the Trade Mitigation program, must we go through the new Vendor process?
A16. Unless you are already a current AMS Commodity Procurement vendor, you must go through the new vendor registration process to participate in Trade Mitigation programs.
Q17. How long does it take to become an approved vendor after the forms are completed and submitted?
A17. It takes approximately 5 business days. It is recommended to submit the paperwork as early as possible. The SAM.gov registration process should also be completed as early as possible, because USDA has no control over that system.
Q18. As far as prerequisites, I’ve heard rumors of affirmative actions, eVerify, etc. Will those requirements apply to these solicitations?
A18. These requirements vary based on business size. Please refer to the Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements, available on our website. You may also contract the Small Business Administration or Department of Labor for information about government contract requirements.
Q19. If we are qualified as a vendor under the Unprocessed Pilot Program, are we already qualified?
A19. No, you would have to register and become approved as a new vendor in order to participate.
Q20. Should a 3rd party, for example my growers/suppliers submit my audit paperwork for the desk audit?
A20. Paperwork for the desk audit should be submitted by the USDA vendor or prime contractor.