"Every day, companies across the nation are expanding markets for agriculture and growing job opportunities in rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The inclusion of innovative wood products furthers our commitment to strengthening the biobased economy and ensures that the Federal government uses home American grown products whenever possible."
The ruling establishes a procedure to designate “intermediate ingredients” so products derived from them can be included in the “preferred” federal procurement process. The rule establishes procedures for designating “complex assemblies” that contain one or more components made from biobased ingredients.
The rule, initially proposed in 2012, revises the Biobased Products Federal Procurements Guidelines to incorporate changes made in the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills.
The 2014 Farm Bill required the BioPreferred program to “promote biobased products, including forest products, that apply an innovative approach to growing, harvesting, sourcing, procuring, processing, manufacturing, or application of biobased products regardless of the date of entry into the marketplace."
With the final rule, USDA deletes text previously found in the guidelines that excluded products considered to be mature market products.
USDA is currently developing a process to evaluate the eligibility of biobased products for the BioPreferred program.
The USDA BioPreferred program works to increase the purchase and use of designated biobased products through a preferred procurement initiative for federal agencies.
Designated products may also carry the voluntary consumer label. The label is designed to promote biobased products to consumers. As of July 2014, USDA said it has 1,800 certified biobased products in more than 187 product categories.
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