USDA report: biobased industry benefits economy, jobs, and environment

A recent USDA report has found that the biobased industry benefits the economy, jobs, and the environment.  

USDA defines biobased products as commercial or industrial products composed of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural or forestry materials.

In 2017, the industry supported 4.6 American jobs through direct, indirect, and induced contributions; contributed $470 billion to the U.S. economy; and generated about 2.8 million jobs in other sectors of the economy for every biobased job.

United Soybean Board Vice Chair Ralph Lott, a farmer from Seneca Falls, New York, says the report shows the economic benefits of plant-based products like soy.

“It proves that what we can grow as farmers in this country can be used to support this country and make things more sustainable for everybody and a greener environment,” he says.

The report was highlighted recently by USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson during Farmers on the Green, an educational event with soybean growers and students at the Harlem Boys and Girls Club in New York City.

Maxson said biobased products have a substantially lower impact on the environment compared to petroleum-based and other non-biobased products.

“Beyond being more responsible alternatives, these products are produced by an industry responsible for nearly 5 million jobs in the United States alone,” he says. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is playing a key role in labeling biobased products so that consumers can make educated decisions for themselves, their families and their places of work.”

Plant Based Products Council Executive Director Jessica Bowman says they were pleased to see the overall growth of the biobased products industry.  

“The report confirms what we already see happening in the broader economy, which is a growing interest in more sustainable products and biobased products are a key part of that,” she says. “We have members supporting broader adoption of products that are made from renewable inputs. We’re seeing a lot of interest in their products and growth in member companies and that’s reflective of what we see in this new report out of the USDA.”

She says there’s a growing recognition of “the role that the products that we use every day play in a potential impact to the environment and how we can be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by making products from renewable inputs as you do with bio- or plant-based products. It’s very timely and fits into that conversation that we’re seeing happening.”

Other findings include:
-biobased products displace about 9.4 million barrels of oil a year
-biobased products have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 12.7 million metric tons of C02 equivalent per year

Click here for more on the Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry.

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