USDA marks 20 years of biobased initiative

September 29, 2022 / Categories: Uncategorized

As stakeholders and Congress continue developing the 2023 Farm Bill, the USDA is celebrating 20 years of their BioPreferred Program, which was included in 2002 Farm Bill and expanded as part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

The program has two primary components: mandatory purchasing requirements for federal agencies and their contractors and voluntary labeling initiatives for biobased products. The goal of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the development, purchase and use of biobased products, effectively reducing the nation’s reliance on petroleum and reducing environmental and health impacts.

Since its inception, the BioPreferred Program has certified over 6,200 biobased products, has over 7,000 products eligible for federal purchasing preference and saw a 536% increase in the certification of upstream materials between 2015 and 2022. With participation from more than 1,500 businesses across 47 countries, there is an increase in reporting of biobased purchases by federal contractors and in applications for certifications through the program.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, program participants deemed as “BioPreferred Program Champions” received “Champion” promotional badges to use in marketing and communication efforts. BioPreferred Champions are recognized for their “long-term commitment to using renewable materials, reducing our reliance on petroleum, supporting the bioeconomy and bettering the planet.”

BioSpan Technologies, a company the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) works closely with, is one program participant that received a “Champion” badge. BioSpan Technologies is the creator of and holds the patent for RePlay, a biobased road sealant product that was recently highlighted by MSR&PC in Becker County.

Programs such as the USDA’s BioPreferred Program are important to MSR&PC. As MSR&PC works to expand markets for Minnesota soybean farmers through wise checkoff investments, the BioPreferred Program is just one way to see this goal to fruition. If you know of companies or local government representatives who are looking for biobased products, please direct them to USDA’s website.

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