New group to press for increased use of plant-based materials in manufacturing
A group of farm-related associations announced a new coalition July 19 that plans to push for more federal efforts to support the manufacture of products made primarily from agricultural commodities.
In essence, the primary goal of the Ag Bioeconomy Coalition is to increase the use of agricultural commodities—such as crops and other plant-based materials—in the manufacture of end products such as fuels and consumer goods.
Founding coalition members include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Corn Refiners Association, Growth Energy, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Corn Growers Association, National Hemp Association, and Plant Based Products Council.
Coalition leaders argue that besides helping U.S. agriculture, growing the bioeconomy will bolster supply chain resiliency and be a net positive for environmental issues such as climate change. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the use of biobased products reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 12.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year.
“Advancing the bioeconomy is one of the most meaningful climate solutions on the table today,” Jessica Bowman, executive director of the Plant Based Products Council, said in a statement. “The plant-based products industry presents an opportunity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by using renewable inputs for a variety of consumer goods, including disposable foodservice ware, household cleaners, and construction materials.”
Other examples include using corn to make ethanol, soybeans to make renewable diesel fuel, and hemp to make clothing and skin care products.
In pushing for initiatives that support the bioeconomy, the coalition plans to also advocate economic tools that assist the sector, such as rural broadband.
The coalition website is www.nasda.org/agbioeconomycoalition.