Federal Manager's Daily Report

The Department of Agriculture has not done enough to

implement the 2002 farm bill requirements for purchasing


bio-based products, considered to be products such as coal

or timber but not food, in part because it lacks a

comprehensive management plan to carry it out, the General

Accounting Office has said.

It said USDA procurement guidelines do not fully address

the farm bill requirements for designating items as bio

and recommending practices, although USDA expects to issue

final guidelines soon and a blueprint for the model

procurement program by September.

The lack of a management plan describing the tasks,

milestones, resources, coordination, and reporting needed

to complete this work has slowed USDA in issuing guidelines,

and consequently, purchasing agencies do not yet have a

basis for planning their procurement programs, which has

limited their purchases of bio-based products, said GAO.

GAO said USDA should execute a management plan for

completing the work, identify and allocate the staff and

financial resources needed, and prioritize it.

While USDA said a management plan was unnecessary, it

agreed with other recommendations.