USDA will invest $10 million in biobased production

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to invest $10 million to encourage the development of low-carbon biobased manufacturing to enhance the use of renewable agricultural resources and develop new revenue streams for farmers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday.

As part of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Bioproduct Pilot Program instructs USDA to engage with one or more institutions or private sector partners to scale up sustainable bioproduct production.

Proposed items and methods should deliver at least one of the following benefits: cost savings relative to other frequently used alternative materials, reductions in GHG emissions, enhanced lifetime features, landfill quality and waste-management reductions, or other, similar initiatives.

Potential partners are encouraged to submit their applications by August 31. In 2022 and 2023, accepted candidates will receive $5 million per year.

“This program will help farmers take field residues and waste products and turn them into value-added products that create wealth and drive economic development in rural areas,” said Secretary Vilsack, who announced the program at a farm in Iowa.

Biotech already creates alternative materials from agricultural products, such as using plant sugars to make bio-BDO, a replacement for fossil-fuel-based butanediol (BDO), a chemical used to make plastics, fibers, and solvents, or recycling carbon to create more sustainable fashion and beauty products.

Companies interested in applying can register for USDA’s July 14 webinar for potential applicants, and learn more here.

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