Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated eight new biobased product categories for preferred Federal procurement. The announcement furthers the goals of last year's presidential memorandum designed to increase rural job creation through procurement of biobased products and increase the number of biobased product categories and individual products eligible for preferred purchasing. There are now 97 designated categories representing approximately 10,000 unique types of products.
"Every day, companies across the nation are creating incredible new products from crops grown here at home, expanding markets for agriculture and growing job opportunities in rural America," said Vilsack. "The designation of these new categories underlines the Obama Administration's commitment to strengthening the biobased economy, and to be sure that the Federal government uses homegrown biobased products whenever possible."
USDA has designated the following new categories: aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products, engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils. A full list was published in the June 11, 2013 Federal Register.
The Biopreferred Program also has reopened the web portal for companies to apply for the voluntary USDA Certified Biobased Product label. Thus far about 900 individual products have received the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.
Later this year the BioPreferred program is expected to finalize a rule that will extend to designating intermediate ingredients so products made from them could be part of the preferred Federal procurement process. That regulation would also allow for the designation of complex assemblies that contain one or more components from biobased ingredients.
The Biopreferred Program was authorized in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. Secretary Vilsack noted that a long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is critical to continuing USDA's investment in the BioPreferred Program. "A Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help grow opportunity for the creation of biobased products across rural America - expanding manufacturing, and creating jobs," said Vilsack. "This is just one more reason why we need a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible."
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.