Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for a new pilot program created under President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the development of biobased products that have lower carbon footprints and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials, creating new revenue streams for farmers. This $10 million investment is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing work to rebuild our infrastructure and create good-paying jobs and economic opportunity in our rural communities.
Secretary Vilsack visited Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, a family-owned operation in Ely, Iowa, and met to discuss what impact this bioproduct pilot program and resulting innovations will have on operations like theirs, as well as the customers they serve. Dan and Debbie’s Creamery farm is about 500 acres with a 120-head dairy operation.
“Dan and Debbie represent the many American farmers, families and communities USDA is called to serve,” Vilsack said. “This pilot program is a critical part of USDA’s commitment to enhancing the circular economy and providing additional revenue streams for farmers. This program will help farmers take field residues and waste products and turn them into value-added products that create wealth and drive economic development in rural areas.”
Under this program, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) can award up to $10 million divided among the highest rated applications that include eligible universities and private-sector partners.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided funds for sustainable bioproduct manufacturing for construction and consumer products. The statute directs USDA to partner with “not less than one institution” to study the benefits of using materials derived from a very broad definition of “covered agricultural commodities.”