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

January 12, 2005

USDA Publishes Rules for Federal Purchasing of Bioproducts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on January 9th the publication of a final rule to implement the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program, which requires all federal agencies to preferentially purchase biobased products. The program, authorized by section 9002 of the 2002 Farm Bill, gives the USDA the authority to decide which products are eligible as biobased products. The rule was published in the January 11th issue of the Federal Register, and federal agencies have one year to comply with it.

"This rule promotes energy independence and the use of environmentally sustainable energy from biological sources, while at the same time creating new demand for agricultural commodities and new business investment and job growth in rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

USDA plans to soon begin issuing a series of proposed rules that will designate specific items for program eligibility. After considering public comments, final rules will be promulgated. This process of designating items by rulemaking is expected to extend over the next three years. See the USDA press release, the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program Web site, and the full text of the final rule as published in the Federal Register.