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12:42 PM

Contracting to Managing the Farmers Market EBT Equipment Program

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has posted a Request for Information to determine the feasibility of a small business set-aside to provide Farmers Market Support Services on behalf of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

It is the intention of the Food and Nutrition Service of USDA to issue a procurement for the subject requirement in Fiscal Year 2018. The Service is seeking statements of capability from interested parties who might potentially submit an offer to provide the subject requirement.

This will be a small-business set-aside for a businesses that demonstrate the experience and staffing to perform the subject requirement as stated in its capability statement.

The Government is seeking responses from qualified small businesses able to providing "performance-based contractual support for the Electronic Benefit Transfer Equipment Program".

The contractor will be responsible for administering the distribution of EBT Electronic-Payment terminals and services to Farmers Markets and farmers who sell directly to the public and who are authorized to be reimbursed by USDA for the cost of eligible food covered by the SNAP (Nee Food Stamp) program.

The Request for Information number is P-18-011. Interested vendors can find the RFI through the federal business opportunities website,, by searching for this number.

The NAICS number for this procurement is 522320, financial transaction processing. The small business threshold is 38.5 million dollars.

There is a very specific set of requirements which you are advised to read before submitting an offer.

If you are interested in this opportunity, questions are due to the agency by Friday, December 1. Email your questions to with a copy to
12:31 PM

Negotiating Government Contracts

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Negotiating Government Contracts

The following advice is based of 30 years of experience negotiating contracts with government agencies. The basic rule that many contractors forget is that contractors and their client agencies are on the same side of the table. The agency is not the adversary. The adversary on the other side of the table is the status quo. The agency has a problem to solve and you presumable have the solution. Or what you believe is the solution.

Sure, both the contractor and the agency want to cut a deal that best benefits it. But government contracting is not a zero-sum game. Neither should want to irreparably harm a mutually beneficial relationship. If the agency overpays for the solution the contract could be voided and the agency could go back out to bid. If the negotiations result in a contract that fails to cover your costs and a reasonable profit given what other buyers are paying for the same product or service in the same market, you will probably walk away from the opportunity and welcome a second bite at the apple in a rebid.

So, we recommend that contractors avoid adversarial posturing and accept the fact that both they and their client agency are on the same side of the negotiating table and that the adversary is not the agency but the status quo, which contractor and agency want to vanquish.

One frustrating aspect of government contracting, of which many would-be contractors may not be aware, is the bifurcation between the contracting agency and the purchasing agency. In most state governments the purchasing agency is responsible for procuring the goods and services that the other departments require in order to operate.

So the agency that will use your product or service won’t be the agency with which you will negotiate.

Another fact of which would-be contractors should be aware is that government contracts are of a specified durations such as 1, 3, or 5 years. Short durations protect the agency in the event that technological changes render your solution obsolete during the term of your contract.

So, if the initial term of the contract is up, be ready with Rev. 2 of your offering.