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USDA releases study on Biobased Economy

The USDA released a new study that I worked on with Jay Golden from Duke University this past summer.  We spent a good deal of time collecting research from a variety of different sources, to put together a picture of what the biobased economy looks like.

Agrilculture Secretary notes that “This new report presents the opportunities U.S. agriculture and forests have in the emerging bioeconomy,” said Vilsack. “The recent inclusion of mature market products into the BioPreferred program strengthens our commitment to the U.S. biobased economy and brings together two of the most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing.”

In the next phase of our study, we will be working on the next phase of the report:  An in-depth economic study of biobased products and economic impacts, including research on job creation and economic value. It will be the first federally sponsored economic report of its kind targeting the biobased products industry in the U.S. Congress mandated the upcoming study in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The objective of the Delivery Order is to produce a final report entitled, “The Economic Impact of the Biobased Products Industry.” This final report includes six major elements, including:

  •  the quantity of biobased products sold;
  • the value of biobased products;
  • the quantity of jobs created;
  •  the quantity of petroleum displaced;
  • other environmental benefits of biobased products; and
  • areas in which the use or manufacturing of biobased products could be more effectively
  • used, including identifying any technical and economic obstacles and recommending how those obstacles can be overcome.

As part of this study, we will be interviewing subject matter experts at a variety of enterprises, and conducting a major database construction and scenario modeling activity.  A lot of work – and it has to be done by March 2015 in time for the Farm Bill deadline!