Who's buying? The USDA, and it needs practically everything.
Say U.S. Department of Agriculture, and most people think food. But when it comes to purchasing, this agency buys more than just wheat and corn. In fact, one-third of its $3 billion procurement budget is allocated to buying nonfood products. Among the items the USDA regularly purchases are pens, paper, computers, software, tents, shovels, airplanes, fuel and medical equipment.
Conforming to mandates that government agencies purchase more from small businesses, the USDA has set a goal of obtaining at least 45 percent of all its products from small firms and 5 percent each from woman-owned and disadvantaged businesses. To help small firms navigate the procurement waters, the USDA has set up an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
For more information about selling to the USDA, call (202)720-7117 for a set of guidelines or download the information from the agency's Web site at http://www.usda.gov/da/smallbus/sbonline5.htm
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