Updated 10/17/19

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 become a USDA Foods Vendor, please read this information:  https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food/becoming-approved

OR  2.  Read below:

Below are six recommended steps for becoming a USDA approved vendor.  We strongly recommend that prospective vendors explore the resources and documents below prior to submitting an application package.

Tools to Become a USDA Foods Vendor

If you have any questions or concerns about  the lists, please email NewVendor@ams.usda.gov
Step 1: Stay informed by subscribing & registering.
  1. Subscribe to the AMS CP News to receive email notification of solicitations and awards (Note: receiving solicitations via AMS CP News does not make a vendor qualified to submit an offer.) Subscription is voluntary and you may unsubscribe at any time.

Step 2: Understand the Master Solicitations. 

Review the Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurement (pdf) to understand the federal regulations, clauses, and provisions that affect USDA commodity contracts.

Step 3: Review the current purchase schedule & understand the purchase process. 

Read through the list of current and past solicitations and award information. Also, read How the Process Works.

  • Current Purchase Schedule for Fruits, Vegetables, Poultry, Eggs, Red Meat and Fish
  • Current Purchase Schedule for Dairy, Bakery, Pasta, Grains, Cereals, Peanut and Vegetable Oil Products

Step 4: Review USDA commodity specifications and technical requirements. 

These specifications and supplemental documents explain the production and processing requirements for USDA Foods.

Many AMS purchase programs require that suppliers and subcontractors undergo a technical approval process before they can supply raw materials or finished products under USDA contracts. This process may involve submission of production plans and/or technical proposals, product samples for evaluation, and on-site assessments of facilities and procedures. Information regarding the supplier eligibility process is contained in Supplements to the Master Solicitation, which accompany the product specifications:

  • Product Specifications & Technical Requirements

Step 5: Learn the qualification requirements for being a vendor of:

  1. New Vendor Qualification Requirements (pdf)

Step 6: Submit a Vendor Application Package 

Each application package must include the following information (as detailed by the documents in Step 5 above):

  1. System for Award Management (SAM) registration
  2. Business Status (as indicated in SAM)
  3. Completed WBSCM Vendor Registration Form
  4. Company Letter (certifying ability to perform)
  5. Three (3) Letters of Reference (from customers your company provided similar products to)
  6. Business Type (and similar details)
  7. Most Recent Audited Financial Statements

Completed application packages should be submitted via email.

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The valid OMB control number for this information collection is 0581-0273. The time required to complete this information collection is estimated to average 15 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

Vendor Approval

The AMS Contracting Officer evaluates the Vendor Application Package and approves the applicant. If approved, the new vendor will be provided a WBSCM Corporate Vendor Administrator role and a Vendor Offer role. If denied, the reason(s) for denial shall be provided and the applicant must correct the issues if he/she wishes to re-apply.

Please Note: As described in Step 4 above, many purchase programs require that suppliers undergo a technical approval process before they can participate. The technical approval process is separate from—and in addition to—the Qualification Requirements and application process described in Steps 5 and 6 above. 

Additional Resources

Qualified Bidders List

Have Questions?

At any time during the process, questions may be directed to:

Andrea Lang
New Vendor/Small Business Coordinator
USDA, AMS Commodity Procurement Staff
NewVendor@ams.usda.gov
202-720-4237