On November 19, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule (referred to as “Round 9”) adding 12 designated biobased product categories to the existing list of designated biobased items afforded federal procurement preference. The product categories are: agricultural spray adjuvants; animal cleaning products; deodorants; dethatcher products; fuel conditioners; leather, vinyl, and rubber care products; lotions and moisturizers; shaving products; specialty precision cleaners and solvents; sun care products; wastewater systems coatings; and water clarifying agents. The final rule, as it appeared in the Federal Register notice (77 FR 69381), is viewable here.

Designated product categories are afforded a Federal purchasing preference under Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
USDA has designated the following 12 product categories along with a minimum biobased content for each.

Product Categories Minimum Biobased Content
Agricultural Spray Adjuvants


Animal Cleaning Products






Fuel Conditioners


Leather, Vinyl, and Rubber Care Products


Lotions and Moisturizers


Shaving Products


Specialty Precision Cleaners and Solvents


Sun Care Products


Wastewater Systems Coatings


Water Clarifying Agents



Agricultural Spray Adjuvants – Agricultural spray adjuvants are products mixed in the spray tank with the herbicide, pesticide, or fertilizer formulas that will improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the chemicals including sticking agents, wetting agents, etc.

Animal Cleaning Products – Products designed to clean, condition, or remove substances from animal hair or other parts of an animal.

Deodorants – Products that are designed for inhibiting or masking perspiration and other body odors and that are often combined with an antiperspirant.

Dethatchers – Products used to remove non-decomposed plant material accumulated in grassy areas.

Fuel Conditioners – Products formulated to improve the performance and efficiency of engines by providing benefits such as removing accumulated deposits, increasing lubricity, removing moisture, increasing the cetane number, and/or preventing microbial growths within the fuel system.

Leather, Vinyl, and Rubber Care Products – Products that help clean, nourish, protect, and restore leather, vinyl, and rubber surfaces, including cleaners, conditioners, protectants, polishes, waxes, etc.

Lotions and Moisturizers – Creams and oils used to soften and treat damaged skin.

Shaving Products – Products designed for every step of the shaving process, including shaving creams, gels, soaps, lotions, and aftershave balms.

Specialty Precision Cleaners and Solvents – Cleaners and solvents used in specialty applications. These materials may be used in neat solution, diluted with water, or in hand wiping applications.

Sun Care Products – Products including sunscreens, sun blocks, and suntan lotions that are topical products that absorb or reflect the sun’s ultraviolet radiation to protect the skin.

Wastewater Systems Coatings – Coatings that protect wastewater containment tanks, liners, roofing, flooring, joint caulking, manholes and related structures from corrosion. Protective coatings may cover the entire system or be used to fill cracks in systems.

Water Clarifying Agents – Products designed to clarify and improve the quality of water by reducing contaminants such as excess nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, ammonia, and built-up sludge from decaying waste and other organic matter.

Compliance Date

Federal agencies and contractors will be required to give a procurement preference for each of the Round 9 designated product categories no later than November 19, 2013.

Also, by that date, Federal agencies that have the responsibility for drafting or reviewing specifications for products to be procured must ensure that the relevant specifications require the use of the designated biobased products.


USDA includes exemptions from the preferred procurement requirement for (1) products or systems designed or procured for combat or combat-related missions, and (2) spacecraft systems and launch support equipment. However, USDA states that this exemption does not extend to contractors performing work other than direct maintenance and support of the spacecraft or launch support equipment or combat or combat-related missions. In addition, USDA notes that agencies may purchase biobased products wherever performance, availability and reasonable price indicates that such purchases are justified.