USDA Report Shows Growing Biobased Industry

Kelly Marshallbioproducts, USDA

usda-logoThe USDA has released a report showing the biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to the American economy in 2014.  That’s a growth of 220,000 jobs and $24 billion over 2013.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has found the biobased economy to be one of the four pillars that support the rural economy of the U.S.

“When USDA released the first-ever Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry last year, we were thrilled to see what a positive impact this sector was having on our economy, and this updated analysis shows that the sector is not just holding strong, but growing,” Vilsack said. “America has an appetite for everyday products-including plastic bottles, textiles, cleanings supplies and more-made from renewable sources, and that demand is fueling millions of jobs, bringing manufacturing back to our rural communities, and reducing our nation’s carbon footprint. As this sector is strengthening, so is the economy in rural America, where this year the unemployment rate dropped below six percent for the first time since 2007. USDA is proud to see such strong returns on our investment into the biobased products industry.”

This report is the second Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry released by USDA, and it analyzes revenue and jobs created by the biobased products industry at the national and state level in 2014. USDA released the first report of this kind last year, which analyzed the same information based on 2013 data. The new report shows that the industry directly supported 1.53 million jobs in 2014, with each job in the industry responsible for generating 1.76 jobs in other sectors. In 2013, the industry was found to contribute $369 billion and four million jobs to the U.S. economy.

Biobased materials also benefit the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels and associated greenhouse gasses.  They can also be used in place of petroleum-based products, a resource that has been heavily relied upon for many years.  Biobased products currently replace the equivalent of 200,000 cars on the road each year.

The current BioPreferred Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded in 2014.