FAQ: I'm interested in buying biobased products made from U.S. produced corn and soybeans. What is available? I've heard USDA has a list of such products being sold commercially. Where can I get that information?
Answer: USDA recently announced it has designated eight new biobased product categories for preferred federal procurement. The announcement furthers the goals of last year's presidential memorandum designed to increase rural job creation through procurement of biobased products and increase the number of biobased product categories and individual products eligible for preferred purchasing. There are now 97 designated categories representing approximately 10,000 unique types of products.
In a recent press speech in Iowa, U.S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said: "Every day, companies across the nation are creating incredible new products from crops grown here at home, expanding markets for agriculture and growing job opportunities in rural America. The designation of these new categories underlines our commitment to strengthening the biobased economy, and to be sure that the federal government uses homegrown biobased products whenever possible."
USDA has designated new categories for biobased products
USDA has designated the following new categories: aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products, engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils. A full list was published in the June 11, 2013 Federal Register.
The Biopreferred Program also has reopened the web portal for companies to apply for the voluntary USDA Certified Biobased Product label. Thus far about 900 individual products have received the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.
Later this year the BioPreferred program is expected to finalize a rule that will extend to designating intermediate ingredients so products made from them could be part of the preferred Federal procurement process. That regulation would also allow for the designation of complex assemblies that contain one or more components from biobased ingredients.
Biopreferred Program needs to be continued in new 2013 Farm Bill
The Biopreferred Program was authorized in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. Secretary Vilsack noted that a new 2013 long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is critical for Congress to pass and be signed into law, to continuing USDA's investment in the BioPreferred Program. "A Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help grow opportunity for the creation of biobased products across rural America expanding manufacturing, and creating jobs," said Vilsack. "This is just one more reason why we need a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible."
Says Vilsack: "USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. We are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities."
He adds, "USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration -- the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible."