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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $500 million contract aimed at modernizing its business process systems so the agency can deliver services and benefits to U.S. farmers more efficiently.
The seven-year contract, awarded to Fairfax, Va.-based SRA International, is for the implementation of the Farm Service Agency's Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems, or MIDAS, project, according to the USDA.
Stan Sloane, SRA's president and CEO, said the project is key to supporting the USDA's mission of delivering more than $96.5 billion in public services through its 300 programs.
"USDA's enterprise modernization will empower the nation's agricultural sector... significantly improving delivery of farm programs, reducing improper payments, and increasing opportunities for better customer service in the rapidly changing agriculture community," he said.
MIDAS is aimed at modernizing how the FSA delivers farm program services and benefits to producers, farmers, and ranchers through its more than 2,200 offices in the United States, according to SRA.
Specifically, MIDAS will update how the FSA delivers benefits by streamlining business processes and replacing obsolete technology.
It also will consolidate several local, disparate IT systems into one public-facing Web-based system that will integrate customer self service, farm program management, financial management, and other business processes, according to SRA. SAP enterprise resource planning software will be one of the main components of the new system, according to SRA.
The contract awarded to SRA is what is called an "application transformation and modernization system integrator blanket purchase agreement" contract, funded partially by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The USDA is one of the first government agencies to award this contract for an IT project, it said in a press statement.