Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced a new bioproduct pilot program aimed at lowering carbon footprints and increasing the use of renewable agricultural materials. The announcement was made during a visit to Dan and Debbie’s Creamery in Iowa, where Vilsack discussed the potential impact of the new program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award up to $10 million under the program, which will be evenly divided between fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Funding support for the new initiative is being made possible through the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“This pilot program is a critical part of USDA’s commitment to enhancing the circular economy and providing additional revenue streams for farmers,” Vilsack said in a news release. “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.”
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be awarding funding support among the highest-rated applications from eligible entities which includes certain universities and private-sector partners. USDA will be partnering “with no less than one qualified institution to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing.” NIFA will be working with USDA Rural Development’s BioPreferred program in seeking research proposals for the program, which will be due by August 31.
The purpose of the bioproduct pilot program is to support the development of scalable bioproduct manufacturing, which will provide a new revenue stream for farmers. Partners will be studying the use of biobased products from select agricultural commodities to weigh the benefits compared to conventional materials. NIFA will be hosting an informational webinar on July 14 to provide further information on the new program.