U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today highlighted new opportunities to boost Michigan's emerging bio-based manufacturing industry through the USDA Biopreferred initiative. Senator Stabenow and Under Secretary Tonsager held a roundtable with Michigan bio-based manufacturing business leaders and stakeholders at Landaal Packaging Systems in Burton. The USDA Biopreferred initiative promotes the certification, labeling and purchasing of bio-based products- manufactured products that use agriculture goods instead of petroleum-based plastics and other materials.
The new opportunities to spur bio-based manufacturing reflect ideas from Senator Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here Initiative, which is part of her bipartisan Farm Bill that passed the Senate yesterday with a 64-35 vote. Senator Stabenow's Farm Bill improves the marketing of bio-based products, increases access to capital for bio-based manufacturers, and spurs the commercialization of new agricultural innovations to create new jobs. Bio-based manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan's agriculture industry, which is Michigan's second largest industry, supporting nearly one out of every four jobs.
Senator Stabenow said, "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and these new opportunities through USDA and efforts in the Senate-passed Farm Bill will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in Michigan."
Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager said, "Senator Stabenow's initiative to strengthen the BioPreferred program is a great effort to create jobs in rural America, reduce our dependence on foreign oil. President Obama's efforts to promote sustainable procurement throughout the Federal government are right in line with the Senator's efforts, and USDA is a key player in those efforts as the agency charged with the certification of biopreferred products.
Steve Landaal, President of Landaal Packaging Systems said, "Landaal Packaging Systems is honored to host Senator Stabenow and the Under Secretary of Agriculture Dallas Tonsager. We appreciate the Senator's support for Michigan Bio Products and firms like ours."
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. 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. Using American-grown bio-based products displaces foreign petroleum, reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.
Landaal Packaging Systems is a bio-based manufacturer that is a leader in biodegradable packaging and recently announced plans to open a packaging innovation center in downtown Flint.