This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 14, 2007

USDA Moves Ahead on Federal Procurement of Biobased Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating the federal procurement of biobased products under its BioPreferred Program. The update will clarify the preference process in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which will in turn make it easier for federal procurement officials and manufacturers to participate in the program. The regulations, which outline the uniform policies for federal procurement, are the single most important guidelines to procurement officials and contractors. With the update to the FAR, agencies across the federal government and their contractors will be required to give procurement preference to biobased products that meet certain qualifications. According to USDA research, more than 10,000 biobased products are commercially available for purchase. USDA rulemaking will seek to speed the qualification of as many of these products as possible for federal procurement preference. See the USDA press release.

The USDA's BioPreferred Program requires federal buyers and their contractors to give preference to qualified biobased products, which are made from agricultural, forestry, or marine materials. Biobased products often displace petroleum-based products, so they provide a way to lessen U.S. dependence on petroleum. The program was enacted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. See the BioPreferred Program Web site.