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    PROPANE EDUCATION & RESEARCH COUNCIL
    Request for Proposals 
    Agricultural Propane Usage and Opportunity Survey
    Posted August 3, 2007


     Download  Request for Proposals Agricultural Propane Usage and Opportunity Survey 

    General Information

    The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a non-profit 501(c) 6 trade organization authorized by the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 (PERA), Public Law 104-284.  PERC was created “to enhance consumer and employee safety and training, to provide for research and development of clean and efficient propane utilization equipment, and to inform and educate the public about safety and other issues associated with the use of propane.”   This Request for Proposals (RFP) is not subject to any federal or state procurement law or regulation.

    A 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association governs PERC. 

    Background

    In 2002, the Propane Education & Research Council commissioned a research study to determine the attitudes and usage of propane in production agriculture. 

    Since 2002, market trends and energy alternatives have significantly changed.  With the development of both bio-based fuels as well as an aggressive effort for adoption of wind energy, the Agriculture Committee is interested in gaining current market feedback in regard to the perception of propane and its usage in production agriculture.

    Project Overview

    Conduct a quantitative assessment of agriculture producers and propane dealers to ascertain propane utilization patterns and identify new opportunities for propane growth. The study should be fielded in January 2008 with reporting completed in March 2008.  The study will have two components:

    • Agriculture Producers/Growers – Minimum 800 interviews
    • Rural Propane Dealers – Minimum 200 interviews

    Component #1 - Propane Attitude and Usage Study – Producers/Growers

    The primary purpose of this study is to assess current and potential propane usage in the production agriculture industry.  The producer sample should contain an adequate sampling of both conventional and organic producers.  Furthermore the study should contain a subset of small farms from the growing rural lifestyle population representing operations ranging from approximately 3-99 acres. 

     

    Specific topical issues will include:

    • Assess awareness level (unaided and aided) of advertising, promotional messages, or news stories about propane.
    • Identify energy associated with the phrase, “Exceptional Energy”.
    • Determine perceptions or knowledge level of propane and its attributes, (i.e. clean-burning, environmentally friendly, good value/energy content, portability).
    • List and quantify types of energy sources used and the amount spent on each sources
    • Quantify the use of propane by category among users (greenhouses, engines, grain drying, building heating, livestock heating, etc.)
    • Determine likelihood of expanding use of propane in new applications
    • Identify barriers to adopting propane in new applications
    • Identify key factors that influence the choice of energy used in agriculture
    • Identify sources of information agriculture producers use to learn about new products

     In order to meet the objectives of this study, a minimum of 800 growers/producers will need to participate representing the following production categories:

    • Vineyard, orchard, and bramble crops
    • Row crops (irrigated, and non-irrigated, corn, soybean, or cotton producers)
    • Horticulture, produce, or other fruit & vegetables (greenhouse and outdoor)
    • Irrigated alfalfa hay
    • Nursery and landscape (producers of turf and ornamental plants)
    • Swine
    • Dairy
    • Beef
    • Poultry
    • Equine

    Component #2 - Propane Attitude and Usage Study – Propane Dealers

    The primary purpose of this component is to assess the potential for propane usage in the agricultural industry, through the eyes of propane dealers.  PERC recommends a comprehensive analysis to determine the perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for propane in a broad range of agriculture applications.

    Specific topical issues will include:

    •  Identify reasons producers and growers use or do not use propane instead of other energy sources
    • Factors which would encourage growers and producers to expand propane utilization
    • Define current market dynamics: changes in propane sales volumes, change in number of propane customers/farmers, change in usage among categories (i.e., livestock heating, building heating, grain drying, greenhouses, etc.)
    • Determine barriers that prevent companies from selling more propane to the agriculture industry
    • Determine the observed perception of propane and its advantages relative to bio-fuels
    • Identify or determine if additional support is needed from the propane industry for propane dealers to better serve this market
    • Identify new or improved products/technology that could expand propane utilization in this market

    In order to meet the objectives of this study, a minimum of 200 propane dealers will need to be surveyed.  Propane marketers should be screened to select a sample is broad range of agriculture customers in both traditional and non traditional production.  The propane marketers surveyed should represent a national sampling of marketers who service a broad range of agriculture clients.

    Requirements

     It is anticipated that this study will be fielded in January 2008 and a full report will be completed by March 1, 2008.  Applicants should include in their proposal costs to cover travel to attend one propane industry meeting to present results.  The selected contractor will collaborate with PERC and its other research partners to develop survey instruments.  PERC will provide information and assistance to the selected contractor as appropriate. 


    Qualifications

    PERC is seeking a reputable research firm with a proven ability to conduct national surveys of this type. The successful contractor will demonstrate the ability to assemble a project team that combines the proper balance of relevant research expertise and related knowledge of applicable agriculture production practices in order to carry out the aforementioned project.  Contractors are encouraged to provide evidence of similar work.

    Matching funds and in-kind contributions are not required.

     

    PERC anticipates this project will be awarded in December 2007, with contracting to follow.  The completion date should be proposed by the applicant based on the anticipated collection of data, analysis, and reporting requirements.  Our anticipated completion date is March 1, 2008.

     

    Other Requirements

    Responding proposals must include the following administrative specifications:

    1. The contractor will submit a proposed budget covering the entire project period on a separate budget page.  The proposed budget will provide a cost breakdown in sufficient detail by the following cost categories, where applicable:
      • Personnel
        • Wage rates, salaried rates, hourly rates, etc.
        • Briefly specify the duties of the professionals to be compensated under this project.
        • State the total amount of compensation for each position for the total project.
      • Fringe Benefits
        • Explain how the fringe benefit rate is computed and what base (i.e., labor costs or labor hours, or other) it is applied to.
      • Administrative
        • General and administrative overhead, facilities capital cost of money, etc.
      • Travel
      • Supplies
        • Itemize supplies as to the types, quantities, unit price, and total price.
      •  Contractual
        • Describe the purpose of each sub-recipient/subcontractor and why they are required.
      • Other (must detail)
    2. The contractor will include a description of the background and qualifications of all subject matter experts and individuals that would be performing the work.
    3. The contractor will provide a client list and completed project list.  Documented experience in producing and supporting a similar project is highly desired.

    Notices

    1. Given the various skill sets and requirements surrounding this RFP, PERC may divide the work between more than one vendor.  In so doing, PERC may elect to designate one offeror as the general contractor and other(s) as sub-contractor(s).
    2. PERC, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to not award to any contract on the proposals received.
    3. PERC may request additional information from any offeror.
    4. Neither this RFP nor the submission of any proposal creates any contract or obligation on the part of PERC.
    5. Should PERC identify a proposal(s) suitable for award, the offeror(s) will be required to sign a written agreement for the services sought.  This contract will be an indefinite quantity contract which will permit PERC to order the successful offeror(s)’ review of as few as one program.  The quantity ordered beyond the minimum set forth in any resulting contract shall be at the discretion of PERC.
    6. PERC will not accept any information in any proposal that is designated confidential or proprietary or contains confidential or proprietary information.  PERC cannot and will not guarantee that should such information be submitted that it would be maintained as confidential.  Should an offeror’s desire to submit proprietary or confidential information, it should contact PERC in advance to discuss whether and how such information may be effectively submitted.

    Additional Information

    Please send all questions regarding this request for proposals in writing via email to Mark Leitman at mark.leitman@propanecouncil.org.

    For copies of the following PERC documents, please visit our web site at www.propanecouncil.org.  For specific agriculture information, please visit www.agpropane.com.

    1. Propane Education and Research Act
    2. Fact sheets
    3. Press releases
    4. Propane Agriculture Roadmap

    Submitting Proposals

    Proposals are required to be contained in a single file and must be sent in electronic Microsoft Word format to mark.leitman@propanecouncil.org.  Supporting information such as work samples can be sent as separate files, in alternative formats.  Proposals are due to Mark Leitman or by physical delivery to PERC’s office no later than noon Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2007.   A disk may be express mailed to:

    Mark Leitman, Director of Agriculture Programs
    Propane Education & Research Council
    1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1075
    Washington, DC 20036
    202-452-8975 (phone)