USDA Undersecretary Doug O’Brien says there is a lot of potential for bio-based manufacturing in rural America, especially now. At a Senate Ag subcommittee hearing on regional approaches to rural development, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown asked about it, especially in places like Ohio, Indiana and other areas of the Midwest where standard manufacturing jobs are going away, “What do we do there? How do we plug that in – what that does for rural America, obviously with bio-based manufacturing – what it can do to build a manufacturing base in small town Midwest?
O’Brien agrees that bio-based manufacturing of plastics, resins, asphalt and the like, should and will be supported by leveraging funds under new provisions of the Farm Bill, “We think our responsibility is to support those local businesses and now, more and more, those local, regional strategies that are created from the grassroots and support them through our financing.”
Leveraging funds to build up rural communities is part of the new farm bill and O’Brien says the regional approach will help.