Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Is a DUNS and SAM number Needed for Federal Agency Cost-Share Programs?

If you are a farm business or legal partnership, and you are interested in enrolling in USDA farm programs, you will need to register for a DUNS number and on the website to receive any government contract. This includes Farm Bill conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or Conservation Stewardship Program.

Obtaining a DUNS Number and registering in SAM is absolutely FREE. There is  no cost associated with registering on SAM or obtaining a DUNS number.   Beware of businesses that offer to provide this service as they may charge fees for what is a free process.

Recently, farmers around the state of Wisconsin have been approached and in some cases paid significant fees for assistance in registering their farm business in SAM.

“There are private businesses that pay to have their businesses listed first on Internet searches, and they may appear to be representing the Federal government,” according to Joe Smetak of the Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI). These organizations appear in the list before the actual website. “While it is ultimately your choice to pay a third party to register for you, please note that the federal government does not charge for registering on this system.”

The federal government requires a DUNS and SAM for all applicants using a federal Taxpayer Identification Number. SAM (System for Award Management) is the official U.S. Government system for registration for grants and contract recipients.  

However, if you apply as an individual and use your Social Security number instead of a Tax ID number, you do not need a DUNS or SAM registration.

Please keep in mind these helpful hints when registering with SAM:
  • Does the website end in ‘.gov’?  Official government websites will end in ‘.gov’ or ‘.mil’ rather than ‘.com’.
  •  Generally speaking, there is no fee to do business with the federal government (there are a few exceptions to this rule). If you are unsure if someone is actually representing a government agency or function, contact your county federal agency.

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