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USDA Celebrates Inaugural National Biobased Products Day

Charron Culp
Release Date

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 8, 2023 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today kicked off the inaugural National Biobased Products Day and highlighted the accomplishments of people and organizations working to improve sustainability within the federal government. 

By designating March 8 as National Biobased Products Day, we honor the 20 years of progress the BioPreferred Program has achieved,” USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said. “As we look to the future, rural communities are at the forefront of addressing climate change by using biobased innovations to convert feedstocks, such as commodities and agricultural waste, into a multitude of products that will create sustainability, promote job growth and revitalize our rural economies.”

USDA’s ongoing work includes the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative programs, which fund research that advances climate-smart agriculture and forestry and strengthens the bioeconomy. In line with President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy, these programs develop sources of clean energy and power, biomass systems and high-value biobased products from agricultural feedstocks to foster economic development. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funded innovative new USDA programs like NIFA’s $9.5 million Bioproduct Pilot Program, which supports research into the benefits of using materials derived from agricultural commodities to manufacture construction and consumer products. The projects have special emphasis on benefits to underserved communities.   

“Scientific innovation is paramount to address agricultural issues impacting Americans from the field to the fork,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “By driving ag innovation with a keen focus on delivering solutions to everyday people, we have the opportunity to transform our nation’s food system in real and meaningful ways while creating new revenue streams and increasing productivity for more people in the rural economy.”

National Biobased Products Day is an annual celebration on March 8 to raise awareness of the benefits of biobased products. The day recognizes the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to use the vast array of federal resources to combat climate change and help rural communities address its impacts. The day also aligns with President Biden’s Federal Sustainability Plan and Executive Order #14057, which focuses on making the federal government carbon-neutral by 2050 and reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030.

A key component of these federal sustainability efforts is USDA’s BioPreferred® Program, which Congress created under the 2002 Farm Bill. The program is the Federal government’s official advocate and market accelerator for biobased products. 

Rural producers use innovative techniques to create biobased products derived from plants and other agricultural, marine and forestry materials. Examples include construction materials made using cashew nut, castor and canola; cleaning products made from sugarcane, agave plants and microbial cultures; and tires made from soy. 

USDA congratulates the four winners of the BioPreferred® Program’s “Excellence in Procurement Award” for 2022 for reducing their respective agencies’ environmental impact by using biobased products and championing farmers in rural America. They are:

  • The Department of Energy’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee;
  • Christina Graves with USDA’s Forest Service;
  • Brian McCabe with the National Park Service, and
  • Brooke Siegel with the FBI.

To learn more about each award winner, visit www.biopreferred.gov.

All of these efforts support President Biden’s Executive Order to advance U.S. biotechnology and biomanufacturing. USDA is supporting this effort by providing tools, resources, and scientific research to ensure American farmers and producers remain globally competitive.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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