Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the United States and represents an important segment of the nation’s economy. In some states, agriculture is a major contributor to the local economy as well, and agriculture businesses tend to be major employers in those states. This is especially true in the state of Indiana.
In Indiana, agriculture contributes about $31.2 billion to the state economy annually, with about 107,500 jobs supported by the industry.[i] Indiana ranks 11th in agricultural sales in the United States: the state has 14.7 million acres of farmland and sold $9.9 billion worth of agricultural commodities in 2016, with the top-selling commodities being corn, soybeans, poultry and eggs, meat animals and dairy.[ii] Corn production alone counts for $3.16 billion in sales annually,[iii] with a specialty in popcorn - the state produces 402 million pounds of shelled popcorn every year, making Indiana the number two state in the nation for popcorn production.[ii]
Because agriculture in Indiana is such a big part of the state’s economy, the state has given preference to local agriculture vendors when it comes to bidding on government contracts. The price preference afforded to local producers in Indiana allows local vendors to compete for state bids by reducing their proposed price by a certain percentage, therefore allowing the local vendor to increase their chances of winning the bid. The price preference for agricultural products in Indiana is 10%.[iv]
At any given time the state may publish bid opportunities for any type of agricultural product, whether for food, dairy products, machinery or parts and equipment. To find out about these specific opportunities and to do business with the state of Indiana the first thing to do is to establish yourself as a registered state vendor.
How to Sell to the State of Indiana
In Indiana, the Department of Administration (IDOA) is in charge of all state purchases. To become a vendor with the state you will need to first register with the department; you may also register with the Auditor of the State and the Indiana Secretary of State. When a vendor registers with the IDOA a profile is created and the vendor will be given a unique ID for their business. This ID will be used for supplier diversity certificates and for contract monitoring. The benefits of registering with the IDOA include gaining access to a notification system whereby vendors will receive bid notices and will be listed on the Buy Indiana Directory that agencies can use to find specific vendors and use the contact information to contact them directly.
(Source: Indiana Department of Administration. Procurement. Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Requirements to do Business with the State)
Indiana Procurement Programs
In Indiana there are a variety of programs that can help vendors be successful in doing business with the state. These programs include Buy Indiana, Veteran Owned Small Businesses, Small Business Set-Aside, MWBE, One Indiana, and Ability Indiana.
The Buy Indiana program was created to help the state’s economy by investing in local businesses. Indiana has set a goal that requires state agencies to procure ninety cents of every dollar from a business operating in the state of Indiana.[v] The state requires a business to meet one of five conditions in order to be considered an Indiana business. The conditions are:
- The principal place of business must be in Indiana
- The majority of the business’ payroll must go to residents of Indiana
- The majority of the employees must be state residents
- The business has a minimum capital investment of $5 million in plant and/or equipment, or $2.5 million in annual lease payments
- The business has a positive economic impact for the state
To qualify your business for Buy Indiana, you must email an inquiry to the IDOA and identify which condition your business meets. You will then receive a response of whether or not you qualify and, if you do, you will have qualification status for one year. You then can update your registration to acknowledge the condition which you qualified for.
(Source: Indiana Department of Administration: Programs and Preferences. Buy Indiana)
Veteran Owned Small Business
To promote growth and entrepreneurship, Indiana has set specific goals to buy from vendors who are certified as Veteran-Owned small businesses. The procurement goal for IVOSB’s is set at 3% of all state contract dollars, allowing Veteran-owned businesses to increase their chances at procuring a contract with the state.[vi]
Small Business Set-Aside
Indiana will purchase commodities worth $5,000 to $25,000, and printing purchases worth $5,000 to $15,000, from business who are certified as a small business to help promote growth and success for those businesses.
Minority & Women Owned Business Enterprises
The IDOA also gives preference to MWBEs. To participate, the IDOA as well as the Minority & Women’s Business Enterprise Division requires the vendor to submit a letter acknowledging their level of participation; the letter must be signed and submitted on the business’s letterhead and accompanied with the MWBEs participation plan. Failure to do so will result in the agency denying participation points to the vendor.[vii]
The One Indiana program was created to help improve the state’s sourcing. The program has four key goals:
- Identify and improve the way the state buys goods and services through agency collaboration;
- Identify and create savings for taxpayers through negotiations that will allow agencies to buy better quality goods at lower prices;
- Evaluate specification of products and services purchased to warrant optimal use of state dollars;
- Effectively put in place and share knowledge of procurement best practices.
By allowing agencies to purchase off of the state negotiated contracts, these agencies will be able to save costs and reduce waste.[viii] This program will allow vendors to be part of a program where they can be contacted directly by government agencies throughout the state at any time.
Ability Indiana is a program that encourages agencies to buy goods and services from certified Ability Indiana businesses without going through the competitive bidding process, therefore promoting employment, independence and training for people with disabilities.[ix]
Types of Procurement
The state of Indiana has several types of procurement, including:
Quantity Purchase Agreement (QPA): An agreement with a selected vendor who will provide an estimated quantity of products and services at an agreed-upon price for a specific time frame. The agency may use a Purchase Order for the goods or services.
Requests for Quotation (RFQ): Agencies use RFQs for purchases that cost anywhere between $500 and $75,000. Vendors may be contacted directly by the agency either by phone or in writing. At least three vendors need to be contacted in order for the RFQ to be awarded and then a purchase order will be issued.
Procurement Greater than $75,000
Negotiated Bidding: These bids are used for purchases made by the agency’s Executive Branch and are not opened publicly. The agency will conduct discussions about the bid and scope of work with vendors prior to the award under a fair competition process.
Request for Proposal (RFP): Agencies use an RFP when they need more information regarding the scope of work other than price. RFPs are only used when an agency can determine the use of competitive bidding is not practicable or advantageous.
Request for Information (RFI): An agency will use an RFI to gain more information, such as specifications, pricing, scope of work, and types of products or equipment needed to be used for a given project. If the agency feels they received adequate information, the RFI can then be updated to an RFP and an award can be made. An RFI in no way means the agency will publish a bid or award a contract.
Emergency Purchases: An agency will use an emergency purchase when unique circumstances arise, such as in a case of emergency maintenance or if no other vendors at the time can provide the goods or services.
(Source: Indiana Department of Administration: Procurement. Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. How the State of Indiana Buys. IDOA Procurement Processes)
Find More Opportunities with a Bid Intelligence Service
Subscribing to a bid intelligence company can help your business find targeted bids more easily. When you use a bid intelligence company like BidNet, you will receive daily notifications about the specific bids you choose to submit proposals to.
BidNet makes finding bid opportunities easy and convenient for vendors by using keywords and commodity/service codes to sift through thousands of bids and providing members with only the relevant opportunities related to the services they offer.
It can be time-consuming to evaluate hundreds or even thousands of bids to find the one relevant opportunity for your business. This is where BidNet can help! As an interested vendor, receiving a daily bid notification listing these opportunities along with the accompanying documents can help reduce time and costs for your business and allow you to focus on submitting a winning proposal.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com
[i] Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Industries. Agribusiness. Web 6 Feb. 2019
[ii] Indiana State Department of Agriculture. About Indiana Agriculture. Indiana Agriculture – By the Numbers. Web. 6 Feb. 2019
[iii] Indiana State Department of Agriculture. About Indiana Agriculture. Top 5 Indiana Commodities. Web. 6 Feb. 2019
[iv] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. Preferences. Web. 21 Jan. 2019
[v] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. Buy Indiana. Web. 21 Jan. 2019
[vi] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. Indiana Veteran Owned Small Business Program. Web. 21 Jan. 2019
[vii] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Division. Web. 21 Jan. 2019
[viii] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. One Indiana. Web. 21 Jan. 2019
[ix] Indiana Department of Administration: Vendor and Supplier Resource Center. Programs and Preferences. Ability Indiana. Web. 21 Jan. 2019