The term 'biobased product' as defined by Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA), means a product determined by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to be a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed), that is composed in whole or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forestry materials.
In short, biobased industrial products are produced from renewable plant and animal sources, and are generally presumed to be more environmentally benign than their petroleum based counterparts. They are usually biodegradable and can be returned to the earth at the end of their useful life or recycled and used again.
Examples of products composed of biobased contents include anything from Chap Stick to clothing to bed linen to lubricants.
BioPreferred was created through the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) to require all federal agencies to give preference to biobased products, unless those products are 1) not reasonably available; 2) fail to meet performance standards; or 3) are available only at an unreasonable price.
BioPreferred collects voluntary company and product information from manufacturers/vendors of biobased products to aid federal agencies in their selection of these products.
The USDA/CIRAS has assembled a list of possible biobased items that will be used for designation under BioPreferred. These items were developed and prioritized for designation by evaluating them against program criteria established by the USDA in conjunction with other government agencies, private industry groups and independent manufacturers. The following considerations are made for products within an item:
In addition to these primary concerns, the USDA then considers the following points:
Before qualifying for preferred procurement, the items that the secretary has to designate have to be considered for their availability and their economic and technological feasibility, including life cycle costs. The statute also requires the secretary has to provide information on the availability, the relative price, the technical performance, the environmental affects and the public health affects and where appropriate, recommended level of biobased material to be contained in the items.
The BioPreferred program received $1.9 million this year for its budget.
Funding is used to conduct biobased testing, revisions and improvements to the information system and collection of product data.
As a result of this work, the following will be generated:
An electronic list of biobased product manufacturers and testing facilities, an electronic list of the biobased products tested in the program, results of tests, item summaries supporting the designation process, a list of information system problems identified and corrected, a completed OMB certification and accreditation requirements documentation, updates to website informational pages, annual OCIO (Office of the Chief Information Officer) information system reports as required by OMB, an electronic list of individuals from Federal agencies, manufacturers, and the public contacted as part of the testing program, minutes of significant meetings held with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), scientific committees and manufacturers, and copies of papers and publications developed as part of this activity.
Who is eligible to participate? Are companies/manufacturers picked at random to participate in the tests?
Any manufacturer or vendor who may have a biobased product can participate.
It creates a preferred federal market for biobased products. It’s going to acquaint federal users with product characteristics. It is also going to help to make biobased products economically viable in consumers markets and spur development of new products as more are being purchased in the federal marketplace.
USDA - BioPreferredSM Program
BioPreferred is based out of our program at Iowa State
A description of the BioPreferred program and a list of products that currently qualify for preferred procurement status through BioPreferred can be found at the BioPreferred website, http://www.biopreferred.gov/.