Updated 4/8/16

To: California Raisin Packers and Processors regarding the USDA Commodity Purchase Program

USDA spends $2 billion per year on commodity purchases for the National School Lunch Program, food banks/pantries, etc., including $530 million for fruits and vegetables, which represents an ongoing sales opportunity for California Raisins.

To become a Qualified Vendor for this program, follow these instructions:

Vendor Registration: All USDA commodity purchases are conducted with solicitations. This includes bonus buys as well as year-round commodity purchases for schools and food banks. All packers must complete AMS’s registration process to become a qualified vendor before they can bid on the solicitations. Helpful information for vendor qualification instructions, including USDA contacts is provided below for RAC packers:

USDA Qualifications and Requirements to become a USDA Vendor

  1. To be fully informed of all requirements before starting the New Vendor Application process, please read documents 1-3:
    1. Commodity Specifications for Dried Fruit document, as amended go to: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5102292
    2. AMS Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements document go to: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5103328
    3. Vendor Qualification Requirements document go to: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5076259
  2. For instructions on how to become a qualified vendor*,
    • After reviewing the requirements in Section A (above), go to: www.ams.usda.gov/commoditypurchasing Scroll down to: Vendor Selling Kit and Click on: Vendor Qualification RequirementsIn summary (of the 6 pages of instructions), the following tasks must be completed:
      1. Register with System for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov
      2. Submit a WBSCM** Vendor Registration Form.
      3. Submit a Vendor Capabilities letter.
      4. Submit 3 letters of reference.
      5. Submit a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Credit Advisory Report.
      6. Plant facility inspection by USDA inspector.*Becoming a qualified vendor is required before bidding solicitations.**WBSCM is USDA’s AMS website through which all bids, awards, invoicing and payments are made.
    • Food Defense Requirements – all required contractors and subcontractors must have a documented and operational food defense plan that provides for the security of a plant’s production processes and includes the storage and transportation of pre-production raw materials and other ingredients and post-production finished products. Contacts for each commodity are found on the AMS website at www.ams.usda.gov/isaap under “Contact Us.”
    • Pre-Award Plant Inspection Requirements- specific pre-award plant survey/assessment requirements are referenced in the Supplement and/or Commodity Specification(s) applicable to the commodities the prospective vendor is interested in supplying. These documents can be found on the Commodity Purchasing website at www.ams.usda.gov/commoditypurchasing.
  3. To subscribe to AMS CP NEWS (and receive notices, RFPs, bonus buys, etc.),
  4. Websites of interest:
    www.ams.usda.gov/commoditypurchasing – all required reading documents can be found here
    http://www.commodityfoods.org
    http://www.schoolnutrition.org/
  5. Key Contacts at USDA: