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USDA designates 10 biobased items for federal procurement

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials today announced a fourth proposed rule designating 10 more biobased product categories (representing over 480 biobased products) that must receive special purchasing consideration by all federal agencies. The designations are part of the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program, which is being renamed “BioPreferred” as part of an effort to educate federal purchasers.

“Adding 10 more biobased product categories to this comprehensive effort underscores its importance for the federal community and its potential to expand consumer choices in the future,” said USDA Chief Economist, Dr. Keith Collins. “Once these rules are final, agency purchases will increase demand for existing biobased products, create incentives for new products, and generate new economic opportunities for biobased product producers, including our farmers and ranchers.”

Today’s proposed rule adds over 480 biobased products to a list designated for preferred purchase. In an effort to streamline the program for general use among purchasing officials within the federal government, USDA also today announced the new name, “BioPreferred,” and a training initiative to promote the program.

“Our goal is to help our counterparts at federal agencies to understand their obligations and the broad benefits associated with the BioPreferred program,” said USDA Assistant Secretary for Administration, Boyd Rutherford. “This program helps to protect our environment while enhancing our nation’s energy security by replacing petrochemical-based products with those manufactured from biobased materials.”

USDA has previously issued final guidelines for the biobased procurement program and developed a model procurement program of training and education to help federal procurement officials and users of biobased products identify and purchase qualifying biobased products. Information on the guidelines and training program for BioPreferred is available at

Today’s proposed rule, published in the Federal Register, is part of a series of rules to designate biobased items. The new items include: bath and tile cleaners; clothing products; concrete and asphalt release fluids; cutting, drilling, and tapping oils; deicers; durable films; firearm lubricants; floor strippers; laundry products; and wood and concrete sealers.

USDA encourages interested parties to submit comments on the proposed rules during the 60-day public comment period following their publication. The web site also contains a catalog listing the qualifying biobased products that manufacturers have posted under each grouping of products designated by final rulemaking.

The program is authorized by the 2002 farm bill. USDA published the first final rule designating six items (about 200 biobased products) for preferred procurement in March 2006. Federal agencies must give preference to designated biobased products in government purchases within one year of publication of the final designation rule.

Additional information on the final rule and the program may be obtained by contacting: Marvin Duncan, USDA, Office of the Chief Economist, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Room 4059, South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., MS-3815, Washington, DC 20250-3815 or by email to: [email protected].

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