Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will hold a series of small business conferences to launch the Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America initiative. The initiative is designed to enable rural economic growth by increasing small business contracting participation in rural areas of the country. USDA intends to help small farmer-owned cooperatives and small rural businesses to better compete for government and commercial contracts at the department.
USDA officials expect 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 products and who set and establish policy and standards; and Learn how to increase and meet demand for their products and services within local food systems, USDA, and other Federal agencies.
The first Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America Conference will take place on Nov. 9 at Albany State University in Albany, Ga. Registration will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., with the conference running between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.