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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Small Fry Farmers Uncle Sam Wants Your Food

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the 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.

“The Obama Administration is committed to renewing America’s promise in rural areas, and we hope small businesses and co-ops from throughout the country will grow and create jobs by doing business with the federal government,” Vilsack said. “This new food commodity contracting initiative is a great example of USDA working to help small businesses build capacity and creating new opportunities for producers throughout rural America.”

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. Approximately 50 percent of these dollars are spent on food commodities. USDA’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization and USDA’s Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, and Agricultural Marketing Services are co-hosting the conferences and at least five additional events will be held in other regions of the country.

The first Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America conference will take place on November 9 at Albany State University in Albany, Ga., 504 College Drive, Albany, Ga. Registration will take place between 8 and 8:45 a.m., with the conference running between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Registration for the conference is free. Space is limited so email or fax your name, company name, full address, telephone number and email address to: or fax: 202-720-3001, or phone: 202-720-7380.

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 projects 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.
Topics: cooperatives, economic development, Economy, Food Commodity Contracting Opportunities for Rural America initiative, Governance, Rural America,

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