Created by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the USDA BioPreferred program’s purpose is to spur economic development, create new jobs and provide new markets for farm commodities. The BioPreferred program commissioned the independent Economic Impact of the Biobased Product Industry report, which is primarily authored by Dr. Jay Golden, Director of Duke University’s Center for Sustainability & Commerce, and Dr. Robert Handfield, Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management.

Biobased product is defined as a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that is composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products, including renewable domestic agricultural materials and forestry materials; or an intermediate ingredient or feedstock.

USDA is required to designate categories of biobased products. Federal agencies and their contactors are then required to give preferential consideration to products in these designated categories when making purchases.

The law provides that Federal agencies and their contractors must procure biobased products within each USDA-designated category unless the agency determines that the items are not reasonably available within a reasonable period of time, fail to meet applicable performance standards, or are available only at an unreasonable price.