USDA designates new categories under BioPreferred Program

By Erin Voegele | August 02, 2018

The USDA’s Office of Procurement and Property Management recently published a final rule amending guidelines for designating biobased products for federal procurement under the BioPreferred Program.

The rule, published on July 10, designates 12 product categories for the preferred procurement of biobased products by federal agencies. The 12 product categories include intermediates—plastic resins; intermediates—chemicals; intermediates—paint and coating components; intermediates—textile processing materials; intermediates—foams; intermediates—fibers and fabrics; intermediates—lubricant components; intermediates—binders; intermediates—cleaner components; intermediates—personal care product components; intermediates—oils, fats, and waxes; and intermediates—rubber materials.

“This final rule designates the proposed product categories within which biobased products will be afforded Federal procurement preference,” said the USDA in the rule. “USDA has determined that each of the product categories being designated under this rulemaking meets the necessary statutory requirements; that they are being produced with biobased products; and that their procurement will carry out the following objectives of section 9002: to improve demand for biobased products; to spur development of the industrial base through value-added agricultural processing and manufacturing in rural communities; and to enhance the nation's energy security by substituting biobased products for products derived from imported oil and natural gas.”

The rule explains that when USDA publishes a rule designating a product category for preferred procurement under the BioPreferred Program, manufactures of all products under the umbrella of that product category that meet the requirements to qualify for preferred procurement can claim that status for their products. To qualify for preferred procurement, the USDA said a project must be within a designated product category and contain at least the minimum biobased content established for that product category.

The USDA is inviting manufacturers and vendors of qualifying products to provide information on the product, contacts and performance testing for posting on its BioPreferred website. “Procuring agencies will be able to utilize this website as one tool to determine the availability of qualifying biobased products under a designated product category,” the USDA said in the rule. “Once USDA designates a product category, procuring agencies are required generally to purchase biobased products within the designated product category where the purchase price of the procurement product exceeds $10,000 or where the quantity of such products or of functionally equivalent products purchased over the preceding fiscal year equaled $10,000 or more.”

A full copy of the rule, which includes minimum biobased content levels for each new product category, is available on the federal register website