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Contracting with USDA

Thank you for your interest in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contracting – we're glad you’re here! USDA encourages businesses of all sizes and socio-economic categories to contract with us to provide the products and services necessary for USDA to fulfill its mission. This page provides valuable information aimed at helping businesses contract with USDA.

Why should I contract with USDA?

USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management. USDA’s vision is to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation's natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.

If your business is also passionate about these priorities and wants to support USDA’s mission, we encourage you to explore opportunities to contract with USDA using the resources provided on this site.

  • Learn more about USDA’s overall mission, vision, and strategic plan: About USDA.
  • Learn more about the individual Mission Areas and agencies within USDA: USDA Mission Areas.
What does USDA typically buy?

USDA buys a wide variety of products and services, ranging from agricultural products and research supplies to information technology and professional services. A summary of the types of products and services that USDA Mission Areas typically purchase can be found in the PDFs linked below. USDA buys a lot more than agriculture commodities – please read the summaries to find out more!

You can learn more about what USDA and other Federal agencies buy at, an open data source for Federal spending information. To find USDA-specific contracting information, select “Contracts” and “Contract IDVs” in the “Award Type” search field, and type “Department of Agriculture” into the “Agency” search field.

USDA also manages the Federal government’s BioPreferred program. For additional information on this program, please visit the BioPreferred web site.

What are the most common ways USDA buys what it needs?

The following generally applies across USDA Mission Areas and agencies. In some locations, the buying limits for purchase card holders may differ, as noted in the Mission Area summaries provided under the question “What Does USDA Typically Buy?” above.

  • Requirements up to $10,000 for supplies, $2,500 for services, and $2,000 for construction may be filled directly by government purchase card (GPC) holders. These purchase requirements do not usually go through the contracting office. To be considered for these purchases, companies are encouraged to submit their capability statements to the USDA Vendor Capability Submission Portal which can be accessed by all USDA purchase card holders, small business specialists, and contracting staff.
  • For requirements over $10,000 and up to $25,000, the program and contracting office will garner a minimum of three quotes to ensure reasonable competition.
  • Proposed contract actions expected to exceed $25,000 are synopsized on the SAM Contract Opportunities page (unless an exception applies) or use established sources such as those identified below. Before proposed contract actions over $25K are synopsized, they are often forecasted on the USDA Procurement Forecast (up to three years in advance of the need).
    • Government-wide contract vehicles frequently used by USDA include:
      • General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedules (MAS)/ Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) for categories such as facilities, industrial products and services, information technology, office management, professional services, scientific management and solutions, etc. Contract opportunities on the Schedules and other GSA vehicles are typically available on GSA’s eBuy tool.
      • Information Technology (IT) Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) including:
        • GSA GWACs
        • NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP)
        • NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC)
    • USDA and other Federal agencies often establish ordering agreements like Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) vehicles or Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) that can be used whenever a need that fits the IDIQ or BPA scope is identified. You can look for IDIQ and BPA opportunities on the SAM Contract Opportunities page.
How do I find current opportunities to contract with USDA?

The USDA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) posts USDA’s Forecast of Business Opportunities (also called the Procurement Forecast) showing a range of procurement opportunities at USDA. Each opportunity has an associated point of contact you may reach out to, to express interest in a procurement opportunity.

Additionally, businesses may submit capabilities statements through the USDA OSDBU Vendor Capability Submission Portal and/or directly to specific Mission Area Small Business Specialists.

Businesses are encouraged to respond to Requests for Information posted to SAM and to market research requests they may receive from USDA contracting offices.

Proposed contract actions valued at more than $25,000 are posted to the SAM Contract Opportunities page unless an exception applies. These notices, or contract opportunities, cover announcements through official solicitations in the pre-award process. Businesses interested in contracting with the government can use this system to research active opportunities.

Businesses can read USDA’s Vendor Communication Plan (PDF, 565 KB) and a memo on Communicating with Industry (PDF, 354 KB) for additional information on how USDA communicates with businesses (vendors) and what types of communication are allowable.

Businesses may submit unsolicited proposals to USDA at any time. For instructions regarding unsolicited proposals, see FAR 15.6. Unsolicited proposals should be sent to the appropriate Mission Area POC (PDF, 79.7 KB) for consideration in accordance with USDA policy.

I am new to government contracting - how do I contract with USDA?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides useful information and guidance if you are new to working with the Federal Government. Many of these resources apply to businesses of any size (not just small): Become a Federal Contractor.

All businesses that are interested in becoming Federal contractors must register in the System for Award Management (SAM). Follow the steps identified for Entity Registration on to complete this requirement.

APEX Accelerators (formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) provide technical assistance to businesses interested in selling products or services to Federal, state, and local governments. They provide local assistance, with locations across the country. Use SBA’s APEX Accelerator search (linked above) to find an APEX Accelerator near you.

GSA’s Sell to the Government site provides helpful resources for businesses that want to learn about government contracting rules and how to contract with the government.

Once you have completed the required steps to become a Federal contractor, use the resources provided above under “How Do I Find Current Opportunities to Contract with USDA?” to identify USDA-specific opportunities that are a good fit for your business.

I am a small business - are there additional resources you’d recommend for me?

USDA has a long history of awarding over half of its contract dollars to small businesses. You can view USDA’s small business obligation percentages from Fiscal Year 2023 in USDA’s Small Business Scorecard (use the filter at the top of the page to select “Department of Agriculture” then click “Submit”.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides information for small businesses who want to contract with the Federal government: SBA Federal Contracting Guidance. Small businesses should evaluate the various small business contracting assistance programs to register (and obtain certification, where applicable) in various small business categories such as Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Women-Owned Small Business, HubZone Business, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and other programs. The government often identifies specific small business categories when soliciting new requirements, so your business will be eligible to compete for more contract opportunities if you participate in as many contracting assistance programs as apply to your business.

The USDA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) provides outreach and support to small businesses looking to work with USDA. Please visit the USDA OSDBU site for information on USDA outreach events, conferences, and other resources for small businesses interested in working with USDA.

USDA Small Business Specialists are available to help you find small business opportunities in USDA Mission Areas and to answer any questions you may have about contracting with USDA.

APEX Accelerators (formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) provide technical assistance to businesses interested in selling products or services to Federal, state, and local governments. They provide local assistance, with locations across the country. Use SBA’s APEX Accelerator search (linked above) to find an APEX Accelerator near you.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides programs, services, and initiatives focused on helping Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) grow and prepare for industry needs of the future.

What resources can USDA provide for large businesses interested in subcontracting / small businesses interested in being a subcontractor?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides helpful information, resources, and links for businesses interested in prime and subcontracting. Generally, a large business is the prime contractor and small businesses are the subcontractors. The prime contractor is the government contract-holder, and subcontractors work for and are paid by the prime contractor. This allows small businesses that are not prepared to work directly with a Federal agency to participate in Federal procurements.

Special contract clauses may be included contracts with “other than small” businesses that require the prime contractor to maximize the participation of small businesses through subcontracting opportunities. Businesses can view subcontracting opportunities across the government on SBA’s Directory of Prime Contractors with Subcontracting Plans.

Are there USDA-specific contracting policies and procedures?

Please visit the USDA Policies and Regulations web page for links to USDA-specific policies and procedures including the Federal Acquisition Regulation and associated deviations, the Agriculture Acquisition Regulation (AGAR), and the USDA Contracting Desk Book.

To help navigate the many acronyms in government contracting, please also reference the OCP Definitions and Acronyms list.

What are the vendor qualification requirements? (applies to specific goods and services only)

USDA has vendor qualification requirements on competitions for certain goods and services. These requirements can be found here: Vendor Qualification Requirements

Who are USDA’s contracting points of contact?

USDA’s procurement and contracting activity is led by Donald Baker, Jr., who holds the role of Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and Director of the Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP). To view more information on OCP and its leadership, you may visit the Office of Contracting and Procurement page.

USDA’s Mission Area leadership in contracting (called Mission Area Senior Contracting Officials, or MASCOs) and program management (called Mission Area Senior Program Managers, or MASPMs) are listed on the Mission Areas and Agency Procurement Organizations page.

USDA’s Mission Area Small Business Specialists are listed on the Small Business Specialists page.

Other Helpful Resources

OCP Presentation to American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance (ARPTA) Resource, 1006 Cooperator Network (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Federal Acquisition Required Postings

The information in this section is required to be posted to the USDA website per federal regulations. This information is generally NOT applicable to new federal contractors.

FAR 36.211(b) provides information regarding USDA’s definition of equitable adjustments for change orders under construction contracts.

Time to definitize after receipt of an adequate change order definitization proposal under construction contracts

Number of change order proposals definitized under construction contracts

30 days or less


31 to 60 days


61 to 90 days


91 to 180 days


181 to 365 days


366 or more days


After completion of contract performance via a contract modification addressing all undefinitized equitable adjustments received during contract performance


USDA Service Contract Inventories

The information in this section is required to be posted to the USDA website per federal regulations. This information is generally NOT applicable to new federal contractors.

Service Contract Inventories are posted in accordance with section 743(a) of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), which requires agencies to report annually to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on activities performed by service contractors. Section 743(a) applies to executive agencies, other than the Department of Defense (DoD), covered by the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (Pub. L. 105-270) (FAIR Act).

Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act

The information in this section is required to be posted to the USDA website per federal regulations. This information is generally NOT applicable to new federal contractors.

The Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 require agencies to prepare inventories of the commercial and inherently governmental activities performed by Federal employees. One of the main components of the inventory is to classify Federal positions as inherently governmental or commercial in nature. You may view USDA’s FAIR Act Inventories.