Klobuchar, Ernst, Stabenow, Ricketts Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen American Biomanufacturing

Source: By Offices of Senators Klobuchar, Ernst, Stabenow, Ricketts • Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Introduced the Biomanufacturing and Jobs Act to strengthen the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred program.

“Biomanufacturing is crucial for  developing new commodity markets, driving economic growth, and creating jobs,” said Klobuchar. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to support our farmers while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels with Senator Ernst, Senator Ricketts, and Senator Stabenow, who has been a longtime champion for the Biopreferred program.”

“For too long, we’ve allowed China and the European Union to eat our lunch in biomanufacturing,” said Ernst. “As leaders in corn and soybean production, Iowa’s farmers are uniquely positioned to supply the ag feedstocks used to make biobased products. I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan effort to re-shore biobased business to the U.S., reduce our reliance on our adversaries, and support our farmers and jobs in Iowa.”

“In Michigan, we make things and grow things. Since I first launched my Grow It Here, Make It Here initiative over a decade ago, U.S. biobased products have grown into a $470 billion industry that supports more than 4.6 million good paying, American jobs. We are positioned to lead the world in biobased innovation through new renewable chemicals, biobased plastics, and other products that reduce our dependence on petroleum and create new markets for our farmers and growers. The Biomanufacturing and Jobs Act will build on this progress by improving federal purchasing of biobased products and providing a stable market for our nation’s farmers,” said Stabenow.

“Nebraska is home to bold innovation and leadership in biomanufacturing,” said Ricketts. “The opportunities to produce homegrown bio-based products will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and mining. The expansion of this industry will add value to our crops and create more American jobs.”

“The introduction of the Biomanufacturing and Jobs Act is a huge step forward for the plant-based products industry and will help the U.S. remain competitive on a global scale. The BioPreferred program is the ag bioeconomy’s leading voice across the federal government and these updates, which we have championed since our inception in 2019, will go far to promote our goal of creating a more circular bioeconomy through greater adoption of renewable, plant-based materials. We are particularly optimistic about the new opportunity for public-private partnerships to promote bioproducts to the public at large. PBPC thanks Senators Klobuchar, Ernst, Stabenow, and Ricketts for introducing this important legislation,” Jessica Bowman, Executive Director, Plant Based Products Council.

 “Corn refiners are grateful to Senators Klobuchar, Ernst, Stabenow, and Ricketts for prioritizing investment in the modernization of USDA’s BioPreferred program. America’s food and agriculture industries are responsible for nearly 20% – or $8.6 trillion – of the nation’s economic activity. Agriculture-based manufacturing is driving new job opportunities nationwide and the biobased products industry is an important contributor to that growth. The ag bioeconomy presents one of the most promising and innovative opportunities to bolster rural economic development, while simultaneously addressing supply chain and climate challenges,” John Bode, President and CEO, Corn Refiners Association.

 “The Ag Bioeconomy Coalition is delighted to have Senators Klobuchar, Ernst, Stabenow, and Ricketts leading the effort to modernize USDA’s BioPreferred program. USDA is an essential partner alongside our country’s farmers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in growing the U.S. biobased products industry. A revitalized BioPreferred program is a crucial tool in promoting a diverse, robust ag bioeconomy domestically and in expanding U.S. bioeconomy competitiveness globally,” Robin Bowen, Ag Bioeconomy Coalition.  

“At its core, a bushel of corn or soybeans is the equivalent of a barrel of oil – raw material that can be used to make any number of bio-based products. Iowa is already the undisputed national leader in biofuels production, but the sky’s the limit on how many additional bio-based products can be made for consumers here and around the world,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “The bipartisan efforts of Senators Ernst and Klobuchar could lead to new bio-based products and markets, which will add more value to our crops and create new jobs and businesses in Iowa.”

“It’s time to transition our nation towards more sustainable, homegrown sources for the products and materials that we use every day,” said Christophe Schilling, Geno Founder and CEO. “Innovative technologies like ours, which are also developed and researched in the U.S., utilize the abundance and availability of corn, wheat and other plant-based feedstock produced by farmers in our heartland. We celebrate the introduction of the Biomanufacturing and Jobs Act, and the leadership of Senators Ernst, Klobuchar, Stabenow and Ricketts to ensure that our federal government prioritizes biobased products, domestic biomanufacturing, and the Americans involved at every step along the supply chain.”

This legislation is endorsed by, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Clean Fuels Alliance American, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Industrial Hemp Council of America, National Hemp Association, Plant Based Product Council and Renewable Fuels Association.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  1. Strengthen markets for farmers while also supporting good-paying manufacturing jobs.
  2. Allow the Secretary of Agriculture to set acceptable price premiums under the program.
  3. Require each federal agency to increase their procurement of biobased-only contracts or biobased volume purchased under those contracts.
  4. Improve reporting of biobased products that are purchased through online federal procurement systems.

In November 2022, at a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hearing, Klobuchar highlighted the importance of biofuels and showed support for the BioPreferred Program.

In February 2022, Klobuchar and Stabenow led a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture to invest in biobased products.