U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced her new Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative to advance Michigan's emerging bio-based manufacturing industry. Bio-based manufacturing, using agriculture goods to make value-added products, is an industry poised to grow and create jobs in Michigan. The Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative includes several provisions to support Michigan bio-based manufacturers and innovators to spur new job growth.
Stabenow announced her initiative at a news conference at the Henry Ford Soybean Lab Agricultural Gallery at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Senator Stabenow pointed out that Henry Ford was one of Michigan's greatest bio-manufacturing pioneers, building his research laboratory in Greenfield Village in 1930 to discover how he could use Michigan-grown soy and other agriculture products in his automobiles. Today, there are once again cars rolling down assembly lines across America being built with parts made from agricultural products: seats, interior panels, armrests, sunshades, soy wire coatings, carpets, and structural foam. Stabenow was joined by representatives from Ford Motor Company, the Henry Ford, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, and the Bio Alliance Council.
Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things in Michigan, we create jobs in Michigan. Henry Ford knew this over 80 years ago when he discovered how to use agriculture products in his automobiles. Today, Michigan innovators are building off of his work to make things with Michigan-grown products. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and my initiative will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in America."
John Viera, Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters at Ford Motor Company said: "The use of soy grown in the Mid-West, which is then used to build Ford vehicles here at home, is a win-win for the environment and American jobs. We want to thank Senator Stabenow for her leadership and designing legislation that will help provide incentives for the use of biomaterials in manufacturing."
Keith Reinholt, Field Operations Director of the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee said: "On behalf of Michigan soybean producers, we would like to commend Senator Stabenow on being such a strong advocate of the bio-based market development programs which creates jobs in Michigan and benefits the environment. This support is especially meaningful to the soybean industry as the vast majority of the new bio-based products are formulated with soybean oil."
Tracey Maroney, Director of the Bio Alliance Council, a partnership between Michigan Works! and Prima Civitas Foundation said: "Michigan has geographic advantages over other states in terms of diverse feedstocks, vast agricultural supply chains and bio research facilities. Michigan has the ability to shape its own future and has significant opportunities to expand its bio-based industry and advance its position in the global bioeconomy market. I want to thank Senator Stabenow for her commitment to growing Michigan's bio-based economy and creating new jobs."
Senator Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here Initiative consists of four parts:
Strengthens the Biopreferred Program, which certifies and labels products so consumers can choose to purchase goods made of agriculture materials, and provides a preference for these products for government purchases. Her initiative also calls for greater accountability in the initiative, including auditing and compliance activities to ensure the integrity of the certified label. USDA's Biopreferred Program offers over 8,900 bio-based products, including 540 products made by 90 Michigan companies.
Spurs the commercialization of new agricultural innovations by streamlining and focusing resources to help new bio-based projects move from the development to the commercialization phase, also known as the "valley of death" since far too many good ideas do not make it out of this phase. Her initiative focuses the USDA's Biomass Research and Development Initiative on the commercialization of bio-based products-bridging this gap to help accelerate the bio-based industry.
Increases access to capital for bio-based manufacturers by expanding the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Biorefinery Loan Guarantee Program, so bio-based manufacturers have access to loans to help finance new operations or expand existing ones.
Creates a new tax cut for Michigan companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. Specifically, her initiative will allow companies to qualify for up to a 30% tax credit to help finance investments in new, expanded, or re-equipped bio-based manufacturing, creating new jobs. Only companies that manufacture these products in America will be eligible for this incentive.
Last Wednesday, Chairwoman Stabenow convened a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to examine the job-creation potential of bio-based manufacturing in Michigan and across the country. From car parts to cleaning products, soaps, insulation, plastics, foam goods, and fabrics, bio-based products are finding their way into a wide variety of sectors in our economy. Now Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative would help this emerging industry expand and grow throughout the state, and the country.
Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs are processing Michigan-grown crops such as wheat, sugar, corn and soy for use in advanced manufactured goods across the state. Bio-based manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan's agriculture industry. Agriculture is Michigan's second largest industry, supporting one out of every four Michigan jobs.
Using American-grown bio-based products displaces foreign petroleum, reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil. This redirects investment into domestic operations rather than sending wealth abroad (often to nations hostile to America's interests) and strengthens American manufacturing and agriculture. Currently, bio-based products represent 4% of the market for the plastic and chemical industries, replacing petroleum based products. Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis puts the potential market share of bio-based plastic and chemical products in excess of 20% by 2025 with adequate federal policy support. Studies show that if that 20% threshold is realized, it would create over 100,000 American jobs. Other forms of bio-based manufacturing would create even more.