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biobased product label

Secretary's Column: New Progress Toward a Thriving Biobased Economy

Across the United States, the potential to use homegrown crops in new ways holds tremendous promise to revitalize the rural economy. Innovators across the country – from small businesses to global companies – are creating amazing new biobased products that we use every day. Everything from cleaning products to packaging materials are now made from crops grown right here at home by America’s farmers.

In recent years, USDA has taken steps to support these efforts through the “BioPreferred” program, designed to help companies market biobased products. Additionally, under President Obama, the Federal government has prioritized these biobased products for procurement and use.

Secretary's Column: Furthering the Biobased Economy

As drought continues across America, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help farmers and ranchers. Last week, at the President’s direction, I convened a meeting of the White House Rural Council to ensure we’re doing all we can – and we’ll meet again to discuss drought in the coming days.

We’ll also continue to call on Congress to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible, to give USDA more tools to help and to give more certainty to producers in this difficult time.

Meanwhile, at USDA we continue our work to help grow the economy and create jobs. This includes our support for innovative producers and rural businesses who are already working hard to boost the emerging bio-economy.

From household products made of homegrown crops, to remarkable advanced biofuels that are powering America’s ships and aircraft, the bio-based economy is strengthening our nation while bringing more jobs and economic security to rural America.

Today, more than 3,000 companies are producing more than 25,000 biobased products made from renewable sources grown here at home, and supporting 100,000 American jobs.  These companies are developing a wide variety of products – from cleaners and paints to construction materials – for use at home, at work, and by industry.

Secretary's Column: Creating Jobs by Strengthening the Bio-Based Economy

At USDA, we’re working every day to create jobs and support the American agriculture sector.   One important piece of this effort is our support for a bio-based economy that will help increase business opportunities for farmers and ranchers, and create jobs across our nation.

Today, there are more than 3,000 American companies producing more than 25,000 bio-based products made from renewable sources grown here at home. In turn, their innovation is supporting more than 100,000 American jobs.

Developing a Measurement for Biobased Products

A new white paper titled Developing of a Purchasing Manager’s Index for Biobased Products was written by Iowa State University through a cooperative agreement with USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses.  The authors explore the development of a measurement for biobased products, which are defined as those composed either in whole or in significant part of renewable agricultural or forestry materials, including commercial and industrial products as well as feedstocks.  They discuss various types of composite indicators, trends in the overall biobased products sector, and the feasibility of using purchasing managers’ expectations to discern performance.

Several methodological and administrative issues involved in moving from a pilot study to a full-scale biobased products purchasing managers’ survey are considered.  Recommendations are offered to support development and implementation of a composite index that charts the strength of the biobased product sector.  USDA-sponsored research provides a foundation for more detailed analysis of growth in biobased products industries. 

Growing Jobs in Rural America

In President Obama’s July 11 press conference, he asked us all to look at the steps we can take short term in order to put folks back to work.  At the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), we have been promoting the domestic biobased industry because we know green jobs represent a growth investment.  On July 14, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a public hearing during which biobased product manufacturer representatives will testify about how they are trying to help the United States win the future by investing in and creating domestic job growth.

As defined by USDA, biobased products are goods – other than food or feed – that are made from biological ingredients, including renewable domestic agricultural materials, forestry products, or intermediate chemicals.  The USDA BioPreferred® program, established by the 2008 farm bill, encourages the development, purchase, and use of innovative biobased products through preferred Federal Agency procurement and a voluntary biobased product labeling program.

USDA Biobased Product Label Launches Today

In today’s market, consumers have high expectations for the products they purchase.  Beyond performance and pricing, consumers like the opportunity to make educated purchasing decisions for their families, and increasingly, decisions that that have an impact. USDA’s new biobased product label will enable consumers to do just that.

Initially, USDA’s Biopreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and was intended to help increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the Federal government and the commercial market. In 2008, Congress voted to reauthorize the program in an attempt to expand the reach of this successful program and to further promote the sale of biobased products.