USDA Leads Efforts To Streamline Procurement Of Biobased Products
Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner today said that USDA is updating the federal procurement of biobased products under the BioPreferred Program. The update will clarify the preference process in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which will in turn make it easier for procurement officials and manufacturers to participate in the program.
“The new BioPreferred program will help increase the demand for biobased products, help reduce our dependence on petroleum, and help create value-added jobs in rural communities,” Conner said. “This is part of the federal government’s focus on using renewable, sustainable resources.”
The BioPreferred program, managed by USDA, requires federal buyers and their contractors to give preference to qualified biobased products. The program was enacted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. Biobased products are made from agricultural, forestry or marine materials. USDA’s Assistant Secretary for Administration and the Office of the Chief Economist are jointly responsible for the USDA’s procurement activities and BioPreferred implementation.
The FAR, which outline the uniform policies for federal procurement, are the single most important guidelines to procurement officials and contractors.
Creating market opportunities for biobased products is a high priority at USDA, and the BioPreferred Program is one of the primary tools it uses to advance this growing industry. USDA is working aggressively to increase the number of products eligible for preferred procurement through the Program.
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 qualifications for preferred procurement. 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.
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