USDA is organizing its fifth conference aimed at boosting contracting opportunities for rural America. This next event is set for Dec. 7 in Gettysburg, Penn. The event is the fifth in a series of small business conferences aimed at increasing USDA's Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America.
Kathleen Merrigan, agriculture deputy secretary, explains: "The food commodity contracting intiative is a great example of USDA working with small businesses to create jobs, build capacity and provide opportunities for producers throughout rural America."
USDA intends to help small farmer-owned cooperatives and small rural businesses to better compete for government and commercial contracts at the department. Each year USDA purchases more than $5.2 billion in goods and services essential to meeting the needs of its customers and the various missions of the Department. About 50% of these dollars are spent on food commodities. USDA's Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, and Agricultural Marketing Services are co-hosting the conferences and at least four additional events will be held in other regions of the country.
The conference will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Gettysburg Hotel, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is free. On-site registration will take place between 8 and 8:45 a.m. Space is limited so email or fax your name, company name, full address, telephone number and email address to: [email protected] or fax: 202-720-3001, or phone: 202-720-7380 or 202-205-5949.
Officials expect that small farmer-owned cooperatives and small rural businesses attending the conferences will:
- Become aware of necessary capabilities and certifications to participate in Federal food commodity procurements
- Learn about USDA resources for business development and technical assistance.
- Establish relationships with key USDA personnel who purchase food projects and who set and establish policy and standards
- Learn how to increase and meed demand for their products and services within local food systems, USDA and other Federal agencies.