Tips for Finding the Logger’s Share of Recovery Funds – Funds designated for hundreds of hazardous fuels reduction, forest health protection, road maintenance, eco-systems improvement, and watershed restoration projects.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes many benefits for those in the forest products industry – over $485 million worth to be exact. And your company could receive a share.
Funds have been designated for hundreds of hazardous fuels reduction, forest health protection, road maintenance, ecosystems improvement, and watershed restoration projects planned across the United States through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These are just some of the projects that give logging and land clearing companies an exceptionally good chance of qualifying for Recovery Act funds.
Participation in Recovery Act projects is open to businesses of all sizes regardless of former involvement in government projects. Small businesses should not ignore this opportunity as they are in a good position to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Recovery Act. Not only are they given priority on a number of projects, they are also eligible to be subcontractors under larger companies already holding federal contracts. Prime contractors who receive logging or land clearing contracts valued over $550,000 are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses. Subcontracting is a good way for small businesses to participate in government contract opportunities that they could not otherwise be awarded.
Several avenues are available to find Recovery Act projects although dealing with these contracts may not be a quick process. If it results in a profitable contract thinning federal forest lands or removing biomass, it may be well worth the time it takes.
Recovery projects have included a $1.5 million hazardous fuels reduction project in Alaska, a $6 million wildland fire management project in Idaho, a $1 million forest thinning project in Kentucky and an $835,000 mechanical thinning project in South Carolina.
For companies interested in Recovery jobs, the ARRA Web site, www.recovery.gov, is a good starting point. This site has information on how funds have been allocated by state, agency, and category. This can be used for ideas on where to look for specific projects. Once you have information on where funds have been allocated, you can search those agencies as well.
Searching by location is the best way to find opportunities in your area. Not all of the ARRA funds will be distributed directly through federal agencies. A large amount will go directly to states for distribution through contracts, grants, subsidies and other programs. Each state has a Recovery Web site that can provide unique information relevant to that state’s Recovery Act funds and projects. Links to all of the states’ recovery Web sites are provided on the ARRA Web site.
Don’t completely ignore the federal projects though. There are many opportunities for loggers to work on projects directly under federal agencies. These projects are located across the United States and vary in scope. One of the best agencies to search for logging related jobs is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As the umbrella agency for the Forest Service, it is one of the top government agencies for forest related projects. A state-by-state listing of ARRA projects related to forestry can be found on the U.S. Forest Service’s Web site, www.fs.fed.us.
To apply for a federal project, use the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, www.FedBizOpps.gov. All federal government contracting opportunities expected to exceed $25,000 are announced on this site. Application and contact information for federal projects can also be found there. This site can be searched by agency or keywords. It also has a separate link that lists just the Recovery Act opportunities, both those related and unrelated to the wood industry. Each listing gives a description of the project, the location, and contact information for those interested in applying for the project. Small businesses should remember to check the set asides, as some projects listed here are classified as small business set-asides.
Before applying for a federal government contract, your company must have a registered Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and complete the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). DUNS numbers are issued by Dun & Bradstreet and receiving one is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government. Your company’s DUNS number can be requested online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform or by phone at 1-866-705-5711. Information required to receive a DUNS number includes the company’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code and the number of employees.
After receiving your company’s DUNS number, you can complete the CCR. This can be done online at www.ccr.gov. Beyond the DUNS number, you will also need to know your company’s Tax Identification Number (TIN), number of employees and average receipts over the last three completed fiscal years.
Though wading through government paperwork can be a daunting task, it should not discourage small business owners from exploring these government projects. Free assistance is available to help small businesses unfamiliar with the federal contracting process obtain government contracts. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) for the agency in charge of a project can be useful resources for small logging companies looking for Recovery Act projects. Using the resources available to your company will assist you in finding and obtaining federal projects as well as saving your company valuable time.
The SBA holds a plethora of information to help small business owners through the maze of government contracting. It provides training on winning government contracts, instructions on the application process, a directory of prime contractors with plans and goals to use small business subcontractors, and assists with the certification process. It also has at least one district office in each state allowing it to provide more localized service. More information on these services can be found on the SBA Web site, www.sba.gov.
The OSDBU is the main point of contact for small businesses within any government agency. It provides guidance and technical assistance for small businesses looking to work on agency specific projects as either prime or subcontractors. The USDA’s OSDBU meets personally with companies to determine the best way to help them obtain USDA projects.
An emphasis of the ARRA is that all projects be “shovel ready.” An ability to provide quick implementation is vital. All of these projects are expected to begin over the next two years. However, the lengths of time required for the projects range widely. Some may last as little as one month; others could be extended to several years.
Like the rest of the country, the forest products industry has to contend with the current economic downturn. However, the range of opportunities available through the Recovery Act could help fill the varying needs of many forest products companies during this time.
Agency Contact Information USDA
Dun & Bradstreet