WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing the economic benefits of the biobased industry in the United States. The in-depth report, which Stabenow called for in her 2014 Farm Bill, found that four million American jobs are related to the biobased industry, contributing $369 billion to the economy.
Additionally, USDA announced today changes to the BioPreferred program as well as a proposed expansion of the former Biorefinery Assistance Program to help accelerate the creation of more advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased product manufacturing in the United States. The program has also been renamed the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program. Both additions were made possible by Stabenow’s 2014 Farm Bill.
“To have a strong economy we must grow things and make things and biobased products are the perfect combination of both,” Ranking Member Stabenow said. “That’s why the Farm Bill created new opportunities, like those announced today, to support biobased manufacturing. With four million Americans benefiting from this industry and our economy seeing $365 billion in added value, we must continue moving forward with policies that grow this sector and support these jobs.”
The report, entitled An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry, is the first federally-sponsored report evaluating the impact of the biobased industry on the U.S. economy. Currently, biobased products are involved in seven of the largest economic sectors of the economy, they are: agriculture and forestry, biorefining, biobased chemicals, enzymes, bioplastics bottles and packaging, forest products, and textiles. The report also included data pointing to the benefit of the bio-economy in individual states. More information can be found here.
Today’s announcement is also a major step forward in providing manufacturers with assistance in diversifying the bio-economy. Now, thanks to Stabenow’s efforts in the Farm Bill, the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program will provide loan guarantees of up to $250 million for the construction and retrofitting of facilities to enable the production of renewable chemicals and other products in addition to advance biofuels.
Stabenow has been a steadfast advocate for expanding support to biobased companies. In June 2014, Stabenow held a hearing in the Agriculture Committee entitled Grow it Here, Make it Here: Creating Jobs through Biobased Manufacturing. Following that hearing, Stabenow sponsored more than 35 biobased companies and organizations from 25 states to provide firsthand insights into how important biobased manufacturing has been in growing their manufacturing operations.