Alan N. Oakes | Contract Specialist | USDA-Farm Service Agency

Small Business Success Tips Podcast (episode 15)

Summary: Alan Oakes offers perspective on the contract review process within USDA-FAM and how to seek small business opportunities within the agency.

Guest Bio: Alan N. Oakes is a Small Business Specialist with the USDA-Farm Service Agency and has a background with contracts and various micro purchases. The contracting function at USDA is highly decentralized with 11 major contracting agencies and more than 200 field procurement offices. The majority of large procurements requiring a subcontracting plan take place at the headquarters levels or at major designated procurement centers. 

Approximately 50% of USDA’s procurement budget purchases food commodities in support of various domestic and export feeding programs. It is not surprising, therefore, that the largest percentage of the subcontracting activity is carried out by food commodity contractors. This trend is slowly changing as more and more large contracts are awarded in the technical and administrative support areas. 

In this episode, Alan Oakes discusses: 

  • the importance of making your company fully visible in government contracting sites including, DSBS, with accurate DUNS number, CAGE and NAICS codes
  • the importance of having streamlined capability statements which quickly and concisely convey the critical components
  • key elements of effective capability statements 
  • how his office maintains company profiles on in-house spreadsheets to track prospective contract venders
  • the importance of responding to Sources Sought do demonstrate qualified small business candidates
  • how the lack of responses can be interpreted by contracting officers as lack of interest from small businesses
  • the importance of integrity in the process and offering realistic quality services
  • doing business with the USDA


Guest Host: Jim White, Executive Director, HUBZone Chamber of Commerce

Jim is committed to helping HUBZone companies in communities across America through enhanced and strategic collaboration, education and motivation.

The Small Business Success Tips podcast series offers key information and tips to help small businesses gain insight into government agencies and large prime contractors and develop strategies to effectively present services.



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