New pilot program will spur development of biobased products

Wisconsin State Farmer

A new pilot program designed to lower carbon footprints and create new revenue streams for farmers was announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a stop at a family-owned creamery in Iowa on June 28.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new pilot program 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.

The new pilot program created under the Infrastructure Law will support the development of biobased products that have lower carbon footprints and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials.

Vilsack said the $10 million investment is part of the ongoing work to rebuild infrastructure and create good-paying jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities.

Secretary Vilsack visited Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, owned by the Takes family 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 Takes farm runs about 500 acres with a 120-head dairy operation that supplies fresh milk to their creamery.

“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.”