The Biobased Products Coalition (BPC) commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture's introduction of the "USDA Certified Biobased Product" voluntary labeling program. It is an important milestone toward greater use of biobased products by government agencies as well as the many businesses and consumers seeking American-made products that reduce dependence on foreign oil and benefit the environment.
Senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., coauthored the biobased provisions in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. That landmark legislation recognized the benefits of biobased products for America's environment, energy security and economy, particularly the rural economy. It called on federal agencies to buy biobased products, which would serve as a market driver for the nation's transition to these products that use renewable agricultural resources to reduce the petroleum content in thousands of products.
The farm bill also required USDA to work with other government agencies to launch a labeling program for biobased products that would increase awareness of the products as well as make it easier to identify them for purchase.
The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 expanded the federal biobased program. It also directed USDA to designate intermediate ingredients and feedstocks that are or can be used to produce items (including complex products such as furniture with biobased foam, vehicle parts with biobased plastics, electronic products with biobased casings) that will be eligible for the biobased purchasing preference.
The federal biobased initiative is also an important model for state and other governments. Arkansas, Indiana and Ohio have legislation that requires state agencies to buy biobased products that are designated through the federal biobased program. Midwestern Governors have launched a biobased procurement initiative and counties across the nation have started using biobased products as well.
Biobased product manufacturers and allied organizations launched the Biobased Products Coalition in 2007 to focus and coordinate industry efforts to improve the federal biobased program and promote other favorable federal policies. The BPC provides a forum for biobased manufacturers of all sizes as well as farmer and other trade associations to present a unified industry voice on federal policy.