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Chairwoman Stabenow Announces New "Grow it Here, Make it Here" Initiatives to Advance Emerging Michigan Industry in Holland

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Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced new Grow it Here, Make it Here initiatives 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. Last fall, Stabenow announced her first Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative, which would create a new tax cut for Michigan companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. Senator Stabenow's new initiatives would increase access to capital for bio-based manufacturers, improve marketing of bio-based products, and spur the commercialization of new agricultural innovations to create new jobs.

Stabenow announced her initiatives at a news conference at Michigan State University's Bioeconomy Institute in Holland, where she was joined by representatives from Michigan State University, Lakeshore Advantage, Eco Composites Inc., and the Bio Alliance Council. Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiatives include a new effort to increase the number of Biopreferred products, products that are certified and labeled so consumers can choose to purchase goods made of agriculture materials. Yesterday, she joined with President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to call for a 50% increase in government purchases of new bio-based products.

Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Thanks to the important research at MSU's Bioeconomy Institute, bio-based manufacturers like Holland's Eco Composites are using products grown in Michigan to make products here in Michigan. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and my initiatives will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in America."

Carey Boote, President of Eco-Composites said: "Eco-Composites LLC believes in bio-based products, having developed marketable products from sustainable and bio-based materials since 2002. With ongoing research and USDA SBIR grant support, Eco-Composites has created a group of bio-fiber based products utilizing waste bio-fiber from dairy operations. Products are currently being commercialized, with a new processing operation under construction. I want to thank Senator Stabenow for her continued support for bio-based manufacturers like ours."

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.

The MSU Bioeconomy Institute is a 138,000-square-foot facility that complements and extends MSU campus research to support the emerging bioeconomy, including biofuels, bio-based specialty chemicals and biomaterials. Last year, a consortium between MSU, Lakeshore Advantage, Prima Civitas Foundation and the NewNorth Center for Design won one of six competitively awarded i6 Green Challenge grants through the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant helped create a proof of concept center at the Institute to drive the commercialization of bio-based technologies and help companies obtain U.S. Department of Agriculture Biopreferred designations.

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 initiatives 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.

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