USDA Under Secretary Dorr Says Industrial Biotechnology Important for Rural Economic Development

TORONTO, ON (July 12, 2006) -- Thomas C. Dorr, Under Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, today welcomed attendees to the third annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. In his remarks, Dorr discussed the importance of bioenergy and biobased products for rural economic development in the United States. The World Congress is being held through July 14, 2006 at the Toronto Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.

“Industrial biotechnology is the enabling technology that allows us to convert crops to fuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products of all sorts. USDA is committed to seeing the industrial biotechnology sector used more and more widely throughout the manufacturing and energy sectors,” Dorr said, explaining the U.S. government’s interest in industrial biotechnology for rural economic development.

Dorr also noted the important role that industrial biotechnology will play in rural, agricultural economies. “Because the biotechnology revolution rests squarely on agricultural feedstocks, this is also an extraordinary opportunity for American agriculture and, more broadly, for investment, growth, and wealth creation not just in rural America, but also in rural areas all across this globe,” he said.

“From a Rural Development standpoint, sustainable development -- investment, jobs, and wealth creation in rural communities -- that’s my goal. Biotechnology -- in the form of biofuels and in the form of other biobased products -- offers rural America its largest new opportunity in history,” Dorr concluded.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Industrial & Environmental Section, introduced Dorr, noting that industrial biotechnology is being widely adopted throughout the U.S. economy – in energy, chemicals, and manufacturing. “In 2005 and 2006, industrial biotechnology really came of age, driven by a ‘perfect storm’ of high energy prices, low energy security, developing market pull, and technological products reaching the market. These factors mean that industrial biotechnology has reached a tipping point and has become a mega-trend,” Erickson said.

“Record attendance at the World Congress is another indication that industrial biotechnology has reached a tipping point,” Erickson noted.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing is hosted by BIO, the American Chemical Society, the National Agriculture Biotechnology Council, the Agri-Food Innovation Forum, the Chemical Institute of Canada, BIOTECanada and EuropaBIO.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.