Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today toured a Midwest facility that is using plant-based materials to manufacture ingredients used in dietary supplements and in personal care products for Americans, as well as in agriculture. Kemin is working to add six new manufacturing facilities, three new research facilities and a new corporate headquarters building, creating nearly 100 new jobs. This is an example of how manufacturing products from biobased materials is creating jobs across the country and--coupled with a broader Obama administration effort to promote an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy"--is reducing our reliance on foreign oil.
"Promoting production of biofuels and embracing biobased products have helped reduce dependence on foreign oil to less than 50 percent and will continue to help reduce our reliance for years to come," said Vilsack. "Innovative companies like Kemin are part of a broader biobased economy that supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs producing the energy and goods that the world needs from renewable resources grown here at home. If we are able to produce more energy here at home and build a manufacturing economy producing biobased goods, we'll generate middle-class jobs and strengthen our economy in the long run."
Creating new markets for the nation's agricultural products through biobased manufacturing is one of the many steps the Administration has taken over the past three years to strengthen the rural economy. Since August 2011, the White House Rural Council has supported a broad spectrum of rural initiatives including a Presidential Memorandum to create jobs in rural America through biobased and sustainable product procurement, a $350 million commitment in SBA funding to rural small businesses over the next 5 years, launching a series of conferences to connect investors with rural start-ups, creating capital marketing teams to pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors interested in making rural and making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council -- chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack -- the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.