WASHINGTON, October 27, 2014 ─ As part of the continued rapid implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced proposed new actions to include new forest products in the BioPreferred® program. The proposal also includes other traditional biobased products and other mature market products, which have been produced in innovative ways. USDA seeks public comment for 60 days on the proposed rules published in today’s Federal Register.
“Today, small businesses and global companies alike have harnessed the power of America’s farms and forests to create new and innovative biobased products that are used all around the world,” said Vilsack. “The expanding bioeconomy means more than just additional consumer choices, it also means new jobs.”
The proposed action responds to new requirements in the 2014 Farm Bill for USDA to promote biobased products, including forest products, that apply an innovative approach to growing, harvesting, sourcing, procuring, processing, manufacturing, or application of biobased products regardless of the date of entry into the marketplace. The proposed rules provide the framework for implementing the new requirements, and will replace previous regulatory provisions excluding mature market products. The action further revises the definition of “biobased product” to state that the term includes forest products that meet biobased content requirements, notwithstanding the market share the product holds, the age of the product, or whether the market for the product is new or emerging.
USDA’s BioPreferred program works to increase the purchase and use of designated biobased products through a preferred procurement initiative for Federal agencies. Designated products may also carry the voluntary “USDA Certified Biobased Product” label, which is designed to promote the broad-scale marketing of biobased products to consumers. Certified and designated products include construction, janitorial, and groundskeeping products purchased by Federal agencies, to personal care and packaging products used by consumers every day.
Today’s announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.