Request for response: apr improvement Program



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REQUEST FOR RESPONSE: APR Improvement Program

MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES


RFR No. AGR-AIP11-2
Due Date: June 30, 2010
This Request for Response (RFR) contains three sections; Section I - Program Description, Section II - Application, Section III - Financial Statement. Those responding (Responders) must complete Sections II and III and return to the Department of Agricultural Resources by 4:00 P.M. on June 30, 2010 in order to be considered for participation in the program.


SECTION I – PROGRAM DESCRIPTION



(1) Purpose:

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (“Department”) invites responses from Massachusetts’ farmers with APR land who wish to participate in the APR Improvement Program. Farmers must be willing, in Phase I, to commit sufficient time to properly participate in the business planning process, and if they advance to Phase II, farmers must be willing to agree to implement agreed upon components of a business plan, and to enter a Service Contract. All awards pursuant to this Program are contingent upon legislative authorization and administrative appropriation.

The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (“Program”) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. The Program will provide technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity and to enhance the significance of farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. The Program will assist with issues that may enhance the long-term continued use of the agricultural resource, which may include but are not limited to: economic viability, environmental sustainability, resource conservation, ownership/control, succession planning, and infrastructure improvement. A Business Plan (“Plan”) will be developed by a team comprised of farmers and other agricultural, economic and environmental consultants engaged by the Department.

Farmers who develop Plans with the Department in Phase I are eligible to participate in Phase II of the Program upon a declaration of interest by the farmer and upon a favorable decision of the Department. Phase II of the Program requires the execution of a Service Contract between the Department and the farmer. The contract provides the farmer with funding to implement specified portions of the Plan. Participation in Phase II is based, in part, on the financial needs of the Participant and/or the Plan’s ability to improve the economic viability and environmental integrity of the agricultural operation. The Plan must identify strategies that will achieve at least one of the following objectives for a participating farmer to be eligible for implementation funding: improve the economic viability of the farm; retain or create private sector jobs and tax revenue either directly or indirectly associated with a farm business; improve farm productivity and competitiveness; expand farm facilities as part of a business plan; support renewable energy or environmental remediation projects on farms; or expand and support markets and infrastructure to strengthen the farming industry.

The earliest possible payment under Phase of Program is February 2011 but most payments to qualifying farms will be submitted in May or June 2011. The schedule is as follows: Review of responses to this RFR July 1 through September 30, 2010. Pending the availability of funds, notification of acceptance into Phase I is expected by October 22, 2010. Orientation for farmers that are accepted into the Program will be in early November 2010. The Plans will be developed between December 1, 2010 and April 30, 2012 (Phase I). Executing contract documents in preparation of payment in Phase II then takes approximately four to six weeks from the time the Plan is accepted. Depending on the availability of funds, Department approval of Contracts and release of funds is expected to take place between February, 2011 and June, 2011. Costs incurred prior to contract execution in Phase II cannot be reimbursed and will not qualify as Program expenditures. Should additional funds become available, the Department may select other Responders, not initially chosen for participation, to participate in the Program at any time during Fiscal Year 2011.

(2) Contract and Performance Specifications:

A. Eligibility

To be eligible for participation in the Program, a Responder must own, or be a Co-Responder with the owner, land enrolled in the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, which must be in active agricultural use and have been managed as a commercial agricultural enterprise by the Responder for at least the three previous years. Responders must have an NRCS Farm Conservation Plan dated no earlier than 2004, or be actively involved in a planning process with the County Conservation District and prior to responding to this RFR have signed a Co-operator’s Agreement with the District showing intent to complete an up-to-date Conservation Plan by April 1, 2011. Responders do not have to submit a copy of their Farm Conservation Plan or their Co-operator’s Agreement with their application but will be asked to present this information to representatives of the Department at the beginning of Phase I. Current owners who are the original owners of the APR are eligible if their APR was closed or recorded on or before December 31, 1999. Successors in title to the original APR owner are also eligible if successors have owned the APR since December 31, 2004 or before. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for this Program. Prior recipients of AIP funding are ineligible to reapply to the AIP Program.

B. Criteria for Selection

Applications will be evaluated and selected based on the following criteria.

They are listed in order of importance.

(1) Have the highest potential for increased profitability and sustainability as a result of the Commonwealth’s new investment

(2) Clearly defined barriers to ongoing viable farm operations and detailed opportunities for resource enhancement, diversification, expansion of production, or marketing improvement that will contribute to continued success of the farm enterprises

(3) Need assistance with generational farm transfer issues that would be facilitated by the Commonwealth’s investment

(4) Have a significant but reversible risk due to low income, debt, family ownership/control or management problems, or other threats to the continuance of farm operations

(5) Demonstrated directly relevant agricultural experience and training of Responders

(6) Activities proposed in the application meet the purposes of the Program

C. Funding For Plan Implementation – Phase II

In order to receive funding, the successful responder must participate in a technical assistance (TA) and business planning process (Phase I) that identifies farm improvement strategies that will be implemented with program funds. TA and planning efforts will conclude with the completion of one of the following Plan options:



  1. A business plan

  2. An enterprise analysis

  3. Option 1 or Option 2 above, and a farm transfer/succession plan

Following completion of Phase I the farm operator may be offered funding to implement those strategies developed in a Plan that achieve at least one of the following requirements mandated by the legislation for this program:

1) improve the economic viability of the farm;

2) retain or create private sector jobs and tax revenue either directly or indirectly associated with a farm business;

3) improve farm productivity and competitiveness;

4) expand farm facilities as part of a modernization or business plan;

5) support renewable energy or environmental remediation projects on farms; or

6) expand and support markets and infrastructure to strengthen the farming industry.

Funding from the Program is optional and awards may be rescinded at anytime during the technical assistance and business plan development phase. Both the farmer and the Department must agree upon which selected elements from the Plan will be implemented prior to proceeding on to Phase II.

Funds will be used primarily for identified capital improvements that will support or enhance the APR farm property. Examples include investment in new or improved farm buildings such as farmstands, livestock housing, processing facilities, or storage barns. Other examples of uses include soil resource improvement or restoration, fencing, underground irrigation, or renewable energy projects. Up to 10% of the grant award may be available for non-capital uses, for marketing, production or legal needs.

The level of funding shall vary depending on the number of acres in an eligible applicant’s farm that are currently enrolled in the APR Program, the significance and productivity of the farm as determined by the operation’s gross farm income over the past two years (Schedule F, line 11, 1120S line 6, or other relevant statements) and the projected farm income following the completed strategy implementation. Depending on the availability of funding, the Department may offer the Participants one of four funding options, which are determined as follows:
(1) Owners with an APR of any size and up to $50,000 gross farm income may receive up to $25,000

(2) Owners with over 25 acres under APR and minimum $50,000 gross farm income may receive up to $50,000

(3) Owners with at least 50 acres under APR and minimum $100,000 gross farm income may receive up to $75,000

(4) Owners with over 100 acres of APR land and over $150,000 gross farm income may receive up to $100,000, if funding is available. In addition, Participant farms must meet the following objectives and criteria in order to qualify for $100,000:

a) Agricultural Significance – Does the Plan forecast an annual gross income from farm operations in excess of $150,000 for the next three years?

b) Sharing Risk – Does the Plan of the Participant farm show the farm operator’s investment in additional capital to the total implementation cost, which is at least one half the amount of the award amount (at least $50,000)?

c) Impact on Industry – Does the Plan of the Participant farm create an opportunity, or help solve a problem, that will have an impact on other farm operations? Is this impact significant to the States’ agricultural industry?

d) Farmer Commitment – Does the Plan of the Participant farm address the long-term viability of the farm including succession issues for long-term management and ownership? The Plan of the Participant farm must show an intensity of use on the farm that is substantial enough so that it

encourages ongoing use of the resource.

e) Success Stories –Following implementation of Farm Viability Plan strategies, operators of participating farms must be willing to share their experiences, which may benefit other farm operators, with the Department at sponsored farmer meetings, tours, or press events. Participants must be willing to release financial data to the Department that demonstrates the success of their farm business. The Department will strive to keep all such financial data confidential.

Responders will be informed which option the Department intends to offer when notified of acceptance into Phase I. However, a final determination will be made at the completion of Phase I. Determination of which option is offered to a Responder rests solely with the Department.
D. Reporting and Documentation (Phase III)

(1) Program Participants must provide the Department with all the records and receipts of the expenditures made with the funds received at a date specified in the service contract.

(2) In order to evaluate the impact of the Program and upon request from the Department, Participants must submit information and financial data pertaining to their farming operation to the Department for a period of up to five years following the termination date specified on the contract. All such financial data shall be considered confidential.
(3) Instructions for Submission of Responses

Anyone interested in submitting a response to this Request for Response must submit the completed Section II - Application and a completed Section III - Financial Statement. In addition to Section II and Section III, a Responder must submit (1) a USGS topographic map and (2) an aerial photo, with the farm property bounds outlined on each. Topographic maps and aerial photos are available online, or can be prepared by your USDA-NRCS field office as a free service to farmers. To receive this service from NRCS, Responders need to provide them with an outline of your farm’s boundaries. Responders should contact NRCS as soon as possible as it may take several weeks before you receive these materials. If you already have an up-to-date NRCS Farm Conservation Plan (completed in 2004 or later), you can submit copies of maps and aerial photos from this plan.

A. Application Evaluation

A staff review team (“Review Team”) will consider all complete responses and rank them according to the stated criteria. The Review Team will be comprised of Agricultural Resources staff and Program consultants. Their ranking and recommendations will be conveyed to an Advisory Committee of 10 to 15 members, appointed by the Department of Agricultural Resources, that are representative of a cross-section of the business and agricultural sectors, including employees of the Department. The Advisory Committee will consider the rankings and then convey recommendations to the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources for final decisions. The Department will make notifications of acceptance and rejection to applicants in writing. A Responder can withdraw a response at any point. The Department reserves the right to consider geographic distribution of awards and/or agricultural diversity as additional criterion. All acceptances will be conditional upon the availability of funding.

B. Deadline for Responses

Responses (Section II and Section III) with all requested supporting documents (USGS topographical map with your property location outlined as indicated in Section II 5.a., aerial photograph with your farm property outlined, and any narrative attachments) must be received no later than 4:00 P.M on June 30, 2010 at the following address:


Melissa Adams

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

101 University Drive Suite C4

Amherst, MA 01002.



Electronic copies and Facsimiles will not be accepted.
(4) RFR Attachments:

The following forms will need to be completed as part of the process for applicants selected in to the Program, but do not need to be completed or submitted as part of the response to this RFR.

A. At the beginning of Phase I, assistance will be provided to Participants to complete the following two forms:

1. Commonwealth Terms and Conditions. If the Bidder already has executed and filed the Commonwealth Terms and Conditions, please indicate this in your Response. The Commonwealth Terms and Conditions shall be incorporated by reference into any Contract for Commodities and Services executed pursuant to this RFR. A Bidder is required to execute the Commonwealth Terms and Conditions only once.

2. Verification of Taxation Reporting Information (W-9) Form.

At the beginning of Phase II, a Participant must be willing to execute a Contract and must complete the following:



3. Commonwealth Standard Contract.

4. Electronic Funds Transfer Form (EFT) (Optional)

5. Contractor Authorized Signatory Listing

6. Affirmative Market Program Plan form


7. Executive Order 481 – Contractor Certification

8. Scope of Services and Budget

9. Consultant Contractor Mandatory Submission Form

Once a Responder has been selected to be a Participant in the Program, The Department will provide a copy of these Attachments to the Participant for completion and execution in the contract approval process.


(5) Notice to Responders:

Responders shall not alter the RFR language or any RFR component files. Responders must respond in accordance to the RFR directions and complete only those sections that prompt the Responder for Response. Modifications to the body of this RFR, specifications, terms, and conditions, or which change the intent of this RFR are prohibited. Any unauthorized modifications will disqualify a Response.


(6) Contract Type: Maximum Obligation

(7) Acquisition Methods: Purchase\Fee for Service

(8) Number of Vendors Required (Single or Multiple): Multiple

(9) Single or Multiple Department Users: Single. Only Agricultural Resources may contract under AGR-AIP11-2.

(10) Anticipated Contract Duration: Through December 31, 2012, with 1 (one) 1 year option to renew.

(11) Anticipated Expenditures, Funding or Compensation: Maximum of $100,000 per

Program Participant.


(12) RESERVES:

This RFR is an open enrollment solicitation, which means the Department of Agricultural

Resources reserves the right to re-open this solicitation and add new contractors at any time during the

life of this contract (which includes any options to renew). Open enrollment solicitation will have a

defined open period during which a bidder may submit a response.

This solicitation may be re-open for the following reasons;

1. For special projects that are compelling and that happen “out of cycle” for the program. Special

projects may be very large tracks of land, individual emergencies or disasters, or special opportunities

for agricultural development to an industry or region. Out of cycle projects will be subject to the same

review of staff, will be required to meet all thresholds of the APR Improvement Program, and

will be subject to the same approval of the Commissioner.

2. Increased Funding.

3. Changing needs of the department.


(13) RFR required Specifications

In general, most of the required contractual stipulations are referenced in the Standard Contract Form and Instructions

and the Commonwealth Terms and Conditions (either version). However, the following RFR provisions must appear in all

Commonwealth competitive procurements conducted under 801 CMR 21.00:

The terms of 801 CMR 21.00: Procurement of Commodities and Services (and 808 CMR 1.00: Compliance, Reporting

and Auditing for Human and Social Services, if applicable) are incorporated by reference into this RFR. Words used in

this RFR shall have the meanings defined in 801 CMR 21.00 (and 808 CMR 1.00, if applicable). Additional definitions

may also be identified in this RFR. Unless otherwise specified in this RFR, all communications, responses, and

documentation must be in English, all measurements must be provided in feet, inches, and pounds and all cost proposals

or figures in U.S. currency. All responses must be submitted in accordance with the specific terms of this RFR.

Items with the text, "�� Required for POS Only" specify a requirement for Purchase of Service (POS) human and social

services procured under 801 CMR 21.00, Procurement of Commodities or Services, Including Human and Social Services

and 808 CMR 1.00, Compliance, Reporting and Auditing for Human and Social Service.

Affirmative Market Program (AMP). Massachusetts Executive Order 390 established a policy to promote the award of

state contracts in a manner that develops and strengthens Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) that

resulted in the Affirmative Market Program in Public Contracting. M/WBEs are strongly encouraged to submit responses

to this RFR, either as prime vendors, joint venture partners or other type of business partnerships. All bidders must follow

the requirements set forth in the AMP section of the RFR, which will detail the specific requirements relating to the prime

vendor’s inclusion of M/WBEs. Bidders are required to develop creative initiatives to help foster new business

relationships with M/WBEs within the primary industries affected by this RFR. In order to satisfy the compliance of this

section and encourage bidder’s participation of AMP objectives, the Affirmative Market Program (AMP) Plan for large

procurements greater than $50,000 will be evaluated at 10% or more of the total evaluation. Once an AMP Plan is

submitted, negotiated and approved, the agency will then monitor the contractor’s performance, and use actual

expenditures with SOMWBA certified contractors to fulfill their own AMP expenditure benchmarks. M/WBE

participation must be incorporated into and monitored for all types of procurements regardless of size, however,

submission of an AMP Plan is mandated only for large procurements over $50,000.

This RFR will contain some or all of the following components as part of the Affirmative Market Program Plan submitted

by bidders:

• Sub-contracting with certified M/WBE firms as defined within the scope of the RFR,

• Growth and Development activities to increase M/WBE capacity,

• Ancillary use of certified M/WBE firms,

• Past Performance or information of past expenditures with certified M/WBEs and

• Additional incentives for bidders to commit to at least one certified MBE and WBE in the submission of AMP

plans.

A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), M/Non-Profit, or W/Non-Profit, is defined



as such by the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA). All certified businesses that are

included in the bidder’s AMP proposal are required to submit an up to date copy of their SOMWBA certification letter.

The purpose for this certification is to participate in the Commonwealth’s Affirmative Market Program for public

contracting. Minority- and Women-Owned firms that are not currently certified but would like to be considered as an

M/WBE for the purpose of this RFR should submit their application at least two weeks prior to the RFR closing date and

submit proof of documentation of application for consideration with their bid proposal. For further information on

SOMWBA certification, contact their office at 1-617-973-8692 or via the Internet at mass.gov/somwba.

Affirmative Market Program Subcontracting Policies. Prior approval of the agency is required for any subcontracted

service of the contract. Agencies may define required deliverables including, but not limited to, documentation necessary

to verify subcontractor commitments and expenditures with Minority- or Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs)

for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing compliance of subcontracting commitments made in a bidder’s Affirmative

Market Program (AMP) Plan. Contractors are responsible for the satisfactory performance and adequate oversight of its

subcontractors.

Agricultural Products Preference (only applicable if this is a procurement for Agricultural Products) - Chapter 123 of the

Acts of 2006 directs the State Purchasing Agent to grant a preference to products of agriculture grown or produced using

locally grown products. Such locally grown or produced products shall be purchased unless the price of the goods

exceeds the price of products of agriculture from outside the Commonwealth by more than 10%. For purposes of this

preference, products of agriculture are defined to include any agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural or horticultural

commodities, the growing and harvesting of forest products, the raising of livestock, including horses, raising of

domesticated animals, bees, fur-bearing animals and any forestry or lumbering operations.

Best Value Selection and Negotiation. The Procurement Management Team (PMT) may select the response(s) which

demonstrates the best value overall, including proposed alternatives that will achieve the procurement goals of the

department. The PMT and a selected bidder, or a contractor, may negotiate a change in any element of contract

performance or cost identified in the original RFR or the selected bidder’s or contractor’s response which results in lower

costs or a more cost effective or better value than was presented in the selected bidder’s or contractor’s original response.
Bidder Communication. Bidders are prohibited from communicating directly with any employee of the procuring

department or any member of the PMT regarding this RFR except as specified in this RFR, and no other individual

Commonwealth employee or representative is authorized to provide any information or respond to any question or inquiry

concerning this RFR. Bidders may contact the contact person for this RFR in the event this RFR is incomplete or the

bidder is having trouble obtaining any required attachments electronically through Comm-PASS.

Comm-PASS. Comm-PASS is the official system of record for all procurement information which is publicly accessible

at no charge at www.comm-pass.com. Information contained in this document and in each tab of the Solicitation,

including file attachments, and information contained in the related Bidders’ Forum(s), are all components of the

Solicitation.

Bidders are solely responsible for obtaining all information distributed for this Solicitation via Comm-PASS, by using the

free Browse and Search tools offered on each record-related tab on the main navigation bar (Solicitations and Forums).

Forums support Bidder submission of written questions associated with a Solicitation and publication of official answers.

All records on Comm-PASS are comprised of multiple tabs, or pages. For example, Solicitation records contain

Summary, Rules, Issuer(s), Intent or Forms & Terms and Specifications, and Other Information tabs. Each tab contains

data and/or file attachments provided by the Procurement Management Team. All are incorporated into the Solicitation.

It is each Bidder’s responsibility to check Comm-PASS for:

• Any addenda or modifications to this Solicitation, by monitoring the “Last Change” field on the Solicitation’s

Summary tab, and

• Any Bidders’ Forum records related to this Solicitation (see Locating a Online Bidders’ Forum for information

on locating these records.

The Commonwealth accepts no responsibility and will provide no accommodation to Bidders who submit a Response

based on an out-of-date Solicitation or on information received from a source other than Comm-PASS.

Comm-PASS SmartBid Subscription. Bidders may elect to obtain an optional SmartBid subscription which provides

value-added features, including automated email notification associated with postings and modifications to Comm-PASS

records. When properly configured and managed, SmartBid provides a subscriber with:

• A secure desktop within Comm-PASS for efficient record management

• A customizable profile reflecting the subscriber’s product/service areas of interest

• A customizable listing in the publicly accessible Business Directory, an online “yellow-pages” advertisement

• Full-cycle, automated email alert whenever any record of interest is posted or updated

• Access to Online Response Submission, when allowed by the Issuer, to support:

• paperless bid drafting and submission to an encrypted lock-box prior to close date

• electronic signature of OSD forms and terms; agreement to defer wet-ink signature until Contract award, if any

• withdrawal of submitted bids prior to close date

• online storage of submitted bids

Every public purchasing entity within the borders of Massachusetts may post records on Comm-PASS at no charge.

Comm-PASS has the potential to become the sole site for all public entities in Massachusetts. SmartBid fees are only

based on and expended for costs to operate, maintain and develop the Comm-PASS system.

Contract Expansion. If additional funds become available during the contract duration period, the department reserves the

right to increase the maximum obligation to some or all contracts executed as a result of this RFR or to execute contracts

with contractors not funded in the initial selection process, subject to available funding, satisfactory contract performance

and service or commodity need.

Costs. Costs which are not specifically identified in the bidder’s response, and accepted by a department as part of a

contract, will not be compensated under any contract awarded pursuant to this RFR. The Commonwealth will not be

responsible for any costs or expenses incurred by bidders responding to this RFR.

Debriefing. �� Required for POS Only. This is an optional specification for non-POS RFRs. Non-successful bidders may

request a debriefing from the department. Department debriefing procedures may be found in the RFR. Non-successful

POS bidders aggrieved by the decision of a department must participate in a debriefing as a prerequisite to an

administrative appeal.

Debriefing/Appeals: Administrative Appeals to Departments. �� Required for POS Only. Not applicable to non-POS
bidders. Non-successful bidders who participate in the debriefing process and remain aggrieved with the decision of the

department may appeal that decision to the department head. Department appeal procedures may be found in the RFR.

Debriefing/Appeals: Administrative Appeals to OSD. �� Required for POS Only. Not applicable to non-POS bidders.

Non-successful bidders who participate in the department appeal process and remain aggrieved by the selection decision

of the department may appeal the department decision to the Operational Services Division. The basis for an appeal to

OSD is limited to the following grounds:

1. The competitive procurement conducted by the department failed to comply with applicable regulations and

guidelines. These would be limited to the requirements of 801 CMR 21.00 or any successor regulations, the policies

in the OSD Procurement Information Center, subsequent policies and procedures issued by OSD and the

specifications of the RFR; or

2. There was a fundamental unfairness in the procurement process. The allegation of unfairness or bias is one that is

easier to allege than prove, consequently, the burden of proof rests with the bidder to provide sufficient and specific

evidence in support of its claim. OSD will presume that departments conducted a fair procurement absent

documentation to the contrary.

Requests for an appeal must be sent to the attention of the State Purchasing Agent at Room 1017, One Ashburton Place,

Boston, MA 02108 and be received within fourteen (14) calendar days of the postmark of the notice of the department

head’s decision on appeal. Appeal requests must specify in sufficient detail the basis for the appeal. Sufficient detail

requires a description of the published policy or procedure which was applied and forms the basis for the appeal and

presentation of all information that supports the claim under paragraphs 1 or 2 above. OSD reserves the right to reject

appeal requests based on grounds other than those stated above or those submitted without sufficient detail on the basis

for the appeal.

The decision of the State Purchasing Agent shall be rendered, in writing, setting forth the grounds for the decision within

sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the appeal request. Pending appeals to the State Purchasing Agent shall not prohibit

the department from proceeding with executing contracts.

Electronic Communication/Update of Bidder’s/Contractor’s Contact Information. It is the responsibility of the prospective

bidder and awarded contractor to keep current the email address of the bidder’s contact person and prospective contract

manager, if awarded a contract, and to monitor that email inbox for communications from the PMT, including requests for

clarification. The PMT and the Commonwealth assume no responsibility if a prospective bidder’s/awarded contractor’s

designated email address is not current, or if technical problems, including those with the prospective bidder’s/awarded

contractor’s computer, network or internet service provider (ISP) cause email communications sent to/from the

prospective bidder/awarded contractor and the PMT to be lost or rejected by any means including email or spam filtering.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). All bidders responding to this RFR must agree to participate in the Commonwealth

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) program for receiving payments, unless the bidder can provide compelling proof that it

would be unduly burdensome. EFT is a benefit to both contractors and the Commonwealth because it ensures fast, safe and

reliable payment directly to contractors and saves both parties the cost of processing checks. Contractors are able to track and

verify payments made electronically through the Comptroller’s Vendor Web system. A link to the EFT application can be

found on the OSD Forms page (www.mass.gov/osd). Additional information about EFT is available on the VendorWeb site

(www.mass.gov/osc). Click on MASSfinance.

Successful bidders, upon notification of contract award, will be required to enroll in EFT as a contract requirement by

completing and submitting the Authorization for Electronic Funds Payment Form to this department for review, approval

and forwarding to the Office of the Comptroller. If the bidder is already enrolled in the program, it may so indicate in its

response. Because the Authorization for Electronic Funds Payment Form contains banking information, this form, and all

information contained on this form, shall not be considered a public record and shall not be subject to public disclosure

through a public records request.

The requirement to use EFT may be waived by the PMT on a case-by-case basis if participation in the program would be

unduly burdensome on the bidder. If a bidder is claiming that this requirement is a hardship or unduly burdensome, the

specific reason must be documented in its response. The PMT will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis and

communicate the findings with the bidder.

Environmental Response Submission Compliance. In an effort to promote greater use of recycled and environmentally

preferable products and minimize waste, all responses submitted should comply with the following guidelines:

• All copies should be printed double sided.

• All submittals and copies should be printed on recycled paper with a minimum post-consumer content of 30% or on

tree-free paper (i.e. paper made from raw materials other than trees, such as kenaf). To document the use of such

paper, a photocopy of the ream cover/wrapper should be included with the response.

• Unless absolutely necessary, all responses and copies should minimize or eliminate use of non-recyclable or non reusable

materials such as plastic report covers, plastic dividers, vinyl sleeves and GBC binding. Three ringed binders,

glued materials, paper clips and staples are acceptable.

• Bidders should submit materials in a format which allows for easy removal and recycling of paper materials.

• Bidders are encouraged to use other products which contain recycled content in their response documents. Such

products may include, but are not limited to, folders, binders, paper clips, diskettes, envelopes, boxes, etc. Where

appropriate, bidders should note which products in their responses are made with recycled materials.

• Unnecessary samples, attachments or documents not specifically asked for should not be submitted.

Filing Requirements. �� Required for POS Only. Not applicable to non-POS bidders. Successful bidders must have filed

their Uniform Financial Statements and Independent Auditor's Report (UFR), as required for current contractors, with the

Operational Services Division via the Internet using the UFR eFiling application for the most recently completed fiscal

year before a contract can be executed and services may begin. Other contractor qualification/risk management reporting

requirements and non-filing consequences promulgated by secretariats or departments pursuant to 808 CMR 1.04(3) may

also apply. In the event immediate services are required by a department, a contract may be executed and services may

begin with the approval of OSD and the appropriate secretariat. However, unless authorized by OSD and the appropriate

secretariat, the contractor will not be paid for any such services rendered until the UFR has been filed.

HIPAA: Business Associate Contractual Obligations. Bidders are notified that any department meeting the definition of

a Covered Entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) will include in the RFR

and resulting contract sufficient language establishing the successful bidder’s contractual obligations, if any, that the

department will require in order for the department to comply with HIPAA and the privacy and security regulations

promulgated thereunder (45 CFR Parts 160, 162, and 164) (the Privacy and Security Rules). For example, if the

department determines that the successful bidder is a business associate performing functions or activities involving

protected health information, as such terms are used in the Privacy and Security Rules, then the department will include in

the RFR and resulting contract a sufficient description of business associate’s contractual obligations regarding the

privacy and security of the protected health information, as listed in 45 CFR 164.314 and 164.504 (e), including, but not

limited to, the bidder's obligation to: implement administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that reasonably and

appropriately protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the protected health information (in whatever form it

is maintained or used, including verbal communications); provide individuals access to their records; and strictly limit use

and disclosure of the protected health information for only those purposes approved by the department. Further, the

department reserves the right to add any requirement during the course of the contract that it determines it must include in

the contract in order for the department to comply with the Privacy and Security Rules. Please see other sections of the

RFR for any further HIPAA details, if applicable.

Minimum Bid Duration. Bidders responses/bids made in response to this RFR must remain in effect for at least 90 days

from the date of bid submission.

Pricing: Federal Government Services Administration (GSA) or Veteran’s Administration Supply. The Commonwealth

reserves the right to request from the successful bidder(s) initial pricing schedules and periodic updates available under

their GSA or other federal pricing contracts. In the absence of proprietary information being part of such contracts,

compliance for submission of requested pricing information is expected within 30 days of any request. If the contractor

receives a GSA or Veteran’s Administration Supply contract at any time during this contract period, it must notify the

Commonwealth contract manager.

Pricing: Price Limitation: The bidder must agree that no other state or public entity customer within the United States of

similar size and with similar terms and conditions shall receive a lower price for the same commodity and service during

the contract period, unless this same lower price is immediately effective for the Commonwealth. If the Commonwealth

believes that it is not receiving this lower price as required by this language, the bidder must agree to provide current or

historical pricing offered or negotiated with other state or public entities at any time during the contract period in the

absence of proprietary information being part of such contracts.

Prompt Payment Discounts (PPD). All bidders responding to this procurement must agree to offer discounts through

participation in the Commonwealth Prompt Payment Discount (PPD) initiative for receiving early and/or on-time payments,

unless the bidder can provide compelling proof that it would be unduly burdensome. PPD benefits both contractors and the

Commonwealth. Contractors benefit by increased, usable cash flow as a result of fast and efficient payments for

commodities or services rendered. Participation in the Electronic Funds Transfer initiative further maximizes the benefits

with payments directed to designated accounts, thus eliminating the impact of check clearance policies and traditional mail

lead time or delays. The Commonwealth benefits because contractors reduce the cost of products and services through the

applied discount. Payments that are processed electronically can be tracked and verified through the Comptroller’s Vendor

Web system. The PPD form can be found under the Forms and Terms tab of this solicitation.

Bidders must submit agreeable terms for Prompt Payment Discount using the PPD form within their proposal, unless

otherwise specified by the PMT. The PMT will review, negotiate or reject the offering as deemed in the best interest of the

Commonwealth.

The requirement to use PPD offerings may be waived by the PMT on a case-by-case basis if participation in the program

would be unduly burdensome on the bidder. If a bidder is claiming that this requirement is a hardship or unduly

burdensome, the specific reason must be documented in or attached to the PPD form.

Provider Data Management. �� Required for POS Only. Not applicable to non-POS bidders. The Executive Office of

Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has established a Provider Data Management (PDM) business service that is

integrated into the Virtual Gateway. PDM is accessible by providers with current POS contracts. Departments may

require that bidders with current POS contracts submit certain RFR-required documents through PDM. These documents

have been specified in the RFR. When submitting documents via PDM, bidders are required to print and sign a PDM

Documentation Summary. PDM users should verify that all information is accurate and current in PDM. Bidders are

required to include the signed PDM Documentation Summary in their RFR response.

Public Records. All responses and information submitted in response to this RFR are subject to the Massachusetts Public

Records Law, M.G.L., c. 66, s. 10, and to c. 4, s. 7, ss. 26. Any statements in submitted responses that are inconsistent

with these statutes shall be disregarded.

Reasonable Accommodation. Bidders with disabilities or hardships that seek reasonable accommodation, which may

include the receipt of RFR information in an alternative format, must communicate such requests in writing to the contact

person. Requests for accommodation will be addressed on a case by case basis. A bidder requesting accommodation must

submit a written statement which describes the bidder’s disability and the requested accommodation to the contact person

for the RFR. The PMT reserves the right to reject unreasonable requests.

Restriction on the Use of the Commonwealth Seal. Bidders and contractors are not allowed to display the Commonwealth

of Massachusetts Seal in their bid package or subsequent marketing materials if they are awarded a contract because use

of the coat of arms and the Great Seal of the Commonwealth for advertising or commercial purposes is prohibited by law.

Subcontracting Policies. Prior approval of the department is required for any subcontracted service of the

contract. Contractors are responsible for the satisfactory performance and adequate oversight of its

subcontractors. Human and social service subcontractors are also required to meet the same state and

federal financial and program reporting requirements and are held to the same reimbursable cost

standards as contractors.


The Department of Agricultural Resources is an Affirmation Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Women, Minorities, Veterans

and Handicapped persons are encouraged to apply.

This RFR is available in alternative formats upon request.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSE – AGR-AIP11-2
MASACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES

APR Improvement Program
Section II - APPLICATION
It is important that you read Section I entitled Program Description before completing this Section II entitled Application. Key information is contained in Section I. In this Section, special instructions are in bold and Italics. Please read and respond to each question carefully. . Up to 2 pages of extra sheets with additional information may be attached to respond to these questions (letter size paper, font size no smaller than 12).
Please type or print clearly in ballpoint pen. Date ________


Municipality:

Date received: (official use only)

County:


Received by: (official use only)




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