Small business vendors who are interested in selling food to USDA should contact the New Vendor/Small Business Coordinator for assistance.
USDA, AMS, Commodity Procurement Staff
Small Business Set-Asides
AMS may assist small businesses through solicitation “set-asides.” A set-aside is when AMS designates all or part of a solicitation for competition among approved small business vendors only. AMS currently has set-aside programs in the categories of Small Business and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. AMS evaluates its purchase programs regularly to identify potential SB set- aside opportunities.
SBA 8(a) BD Program
AMS may offer noncompetitive awards to firms participating in the Small Business Administration (www.SBA.gov) 8(a) Business Development Program. The SBA regulation for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses detailed at 13 CFR 121.406 states: “Non-manufacturers. (b) (ii) Is primarily engaged in the retail or wholesale trade and normally sells the type of item being supplied; (iii) Takes ownership of possession of the item(s) with its personnel, equipment or facilities in a manner consistent with industry practice.” The SBA regulation for 8(a) BD firms detailed at 13 CFR 124.108 states: “(d) Brokers. Brokers are ineligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program. A broker is a concern that adds no material value to an item being supplied to a procuring activity or which does not take ownership or possession of or handle the item being procured with its own equipment of facilities.” To determine compliance with the above SBA regulations, AMS requires additional qualification documentation from Small Business concerns as part of the Vendor Application Package. Learn more about becoming a USDA approved vendor.
Other Small Business Opportunities
Another small business opportunity is in subcontracting to large federal contractors. Federal regulations require that contractors classified as large businesses and awarded federal contracts exceeding $650,000 (aggregated over the calendar year) must implement a subcontracting plan to provide maximum practical utilization of small businesses, including disadvantaged, service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, and women-owned small businesses. Subcontracting directories can be obtained from USDA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).