Last year, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) bought 1.1 billion pounds of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits and vegetables. These healthy, American-grown foods help feed tens-of-millions of school children and are also distributed to food banks, disaster areas, and other are-as where the need exists.
The Agricultural Marketing Service's Commodity Procurement Staff purchase a variety of food products in support of the National School Lunch Program and other food assistance programs. These purchases also help to stabilize prices in agricultural commodity markets by balancing supply and demand.
USDA buys many varieties of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other specialty crops. USDA foods like these are often low in fat, sugar, and sodium and are always grown and processed in the United States.
For more details about what USDA buy, a Purchase Summary Report is posted on the AMS Commodity Procurement Web site. The report is updated frequently with year-to-date procurement totals (pounds and dollars) for the current fiscal year (FY) and includes historical totals back to FY 2007.
Think you need to be big to sell to the USDA? Think again! USDA buys product from qualified companies of all sizes, in volumes of several truckloads to several hundred truckload. USDA encourages small, socially disadvantaged, women and veteran owned businesses to consider selling to USDA as well. So, regardless of the size of your operation, AMS would like to do business with you!
Vendors wishing to sell fruit and vegetable products to USDA can access all necessary documents through the Internet under the "Vendor Selling Kit" section of the Commodity Procurement Web site. If you are new to USDA, you will want to view the New Vendor Information page for a complete description of the steps necessary to begin selling to USDA. In addition, Commodity Procurement has a new subscription service that automatically sends alerts about order solicitations and other important announcements. Subscribe here.
If you have questions about vendor requirements or how to start selling to USDA, please contact me by phone at (202) 720-4237 or by email to Dianna.Price@ams.usda.gov. Dianna Price is the Small Business Coordinator for the AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program's Commodity Procurement Division.