USDA expands BioPreferred purchasing program, adding over 600 new products

By Agri-Pulse Staff

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Washington, Oct. 20 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designed eight new biobased product categories Wedneday, expanding eligibility for federal purchasing preference. With the Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred Program's Round 6 finalization, more than 600 additional biobased products will be offered for preferred purchasing consideration by all federal government agencies and contractors.

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“This is part of an ongoing effort to increase the use of agricultural commodities to make renewable, sustainable, biobased products that will enhance rural economic opportunities,” Vilsack explained. “Including previously designated items, there are now more than 5,100 products qualifying for preferred procurement under the BioPreferred program.”

The Oct. 20 final rule as published in the Federal Register is part of a series of rules to designate, or approve, biobased items. The new product categories designated under Round 6 include: disposable tableware, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam recycling products, heat transfer fluids, ink removers and cleaners, mulch and compost materials, multipurpose lubricants, topical pain relief products, and turbine drip oils.

Biobased products are composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients - renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. A BioPreferred designated item is one that meets or exceeds USDA-established minimum biobased content requirements.

The BioPreferred program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) as a preferred procurement program to increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the federal government. The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) expanded the program's scope to promote the sale of biobased products in other sectors.

BioPreferred is comprised of a preferred procurement program for federal agencies and a voluntary labeling program being developed for expanded marketing of biobased products. For more information on the Round 6 final rule and the BioPreferred program, e-mail: biopreferred@usda.gov. For a complete list and detailed description of each BioPreferred designated item, and items for future designation, go to: www.biopreferred.gov or follow BioPreferred at http://twitter.com/BioPreferred

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