BIO Calls for Farm Bill 'Centered on Innovation'
The next farm bill offers an opportunity to examine innovation’s influence on the resiliency of our economy in the face of global challenges, BIO wrote in a statement for the record to the Senate Agriculture Committee's Nov. 15 hearing on energy and rural development programs in the 2023 farm bill, featuring BIO Agriculture and Environment Section Governing Board member Christophe Schilling, Founder and CEO of Geno, as a witness.
“A farm bill centered on innovation stands to incentivize the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and practices, resulting in benefits to the environment and rural economies,” said Beth Ellikidis, BIO’s vice president of agriculture and environment. “Further, supporting biobased technologies, such as sustainable fuels, renewable chemicals and biobased manufacturing, is crucial to agriculture being part of the solution to protecting our climate and fostering energy security.”
The farm bill energy title can build on the Executive Order on Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing, issued by the White House in September, to “catalyze domestic biomanufacturing,” BIO added.
Specific recommendations in BIO’s statement include the following:
- BIO recommends the next farm strengthen the BioPreferred® program with significant mandatory funding and enforceable procurement requirements. The Biobased Markets Program or BioPreferred® directs federal agencies to increase purchases and use of renewable chemicals and biobased products.
- BIO urges the committee to work with USDA and the Office of Management and Budget to update North American Industry Classification System codes for renewable chemical manufacturers and producers of biobased products.
Dr. Schilling of Geno also testified to the importance of strengthening the BioPreferred program to “meet its goals of spurring economic development, creating new manufacturing jobs and providing new markets for farm commodities.” Dr. Schilling also highlighted that programs like the USDA 9003 loan guarantee program are “critically important” for companies looking to establish biomanufacturing facilities, often in rural America, to meet rising global demand for bio-based products. Schilling called on the committee to ensure adequate funding for the program, remove the current $250 million funding cap “given current record inflation and the modern costs of construction,” and shorten the review process from submission to decision, which can take up to 18 months to complete.
“The U.S. has the raw materials, the technology and the talent to be the world leader in biomanufacturing,” Schilling said. “The time to invest in building this important industry is now and we are ready to get to work.”