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Stabenow and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Highlight Emerging Michigan Industry

Press Release

Location: Lansing, MI

Michigan Biotechnology Institute Helping to Boost Bio-based Manufacturing

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today toured the Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI) in Lansing. At MBI, the Senator and Secretary saw firsthand how innovative research is helping start-up companies produce new bio-based products and create jobs in Michigan. Bio-based manufacturing is an emerging industry where Michigan is poised to lead-- using Michigan-grown goods in Michigan-made products.

"When we make things and grow things in Michigan, we create jobs in Michigan. Thanks to the important research at MBI, bio-based manufacturers are using products grown in Michigan to make products here in Michigan. By replacing imported petroleum for plastics, foam car seats, and other materials that we use every day with crop-based products, we will spur new job growth and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Michigan is at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and I am fully committed to expanding this new and growing industry to create new jobs," Senator Stabenow said.

Secertary Vilsack added, "Biobased products are not only good for the environment, they're creating jobs here in Michigan and across the country. In Michigan alone, dozens of companies are producing a wide range of new items. Nationwide, this rapidly-growing initiative is already responsible for an estimated over 100,000 jobs."

Doug Buhler, Interim Dean of MSU's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources said, "The USDA and MSU have had a wonderful partnership for many years. The expansion of the partnership to include bio-based technologies is a very exciting development that we expect to benefit Michigan and the entire nation. We are especially grateful to Senator Stabenow and Secretary Vilsack for the leadership they have shown in the area of bio-based research."

Building on the work of agricultural pioneers, innovators and entrepreneurs are processing Michigan-grown crops for use in advanced manufactured goods and materials, replacing imported traditional petroleum products. Michigan State University has a close alliance with MBI, a not-for-profit company dedicated to the advancement of these cutting-edge biotechnologies. This unique partnership speeds up the commercialization of break-through research and brings new products, such as renewable fuels, plastics, and chemicals, to the marketplace.

Last month, Senator Stabenow held a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to examine the job-creation potential of bio-based manufacturing in Michigan and across the country. Stabenow helped author the 2008 Farm Bill, which expanded and strengthened efforts to increase the government and commercial purchases of bio-based products and a voluntary labeling initiative for the broad-scale marketing of these products. In Michigan alone, there are over 80 companies manufacturing bio-based products and even more using bio-based materials in their products. Bio-based products have the potential to displace foreign petroleum, redirect investment into domestic operations and strengthen American manufacturing and agriculture.

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