USDA has released a new report detailing the progress of the US biobased industry which the government agency says is generating substantial economic activity and jobs in the US.
"This report is the first to examine and quantify the effect of the US biobased products industry from an economics and jobs perspective,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. “Before, we could only speculate at the incredible economic impact of the biobased products industry. Now, we know that in 2013 alone, America's biobased industry contributed four million jobs and $369 billion to our economy."
According to the report, every job in the biobased products industry is responsible for generating 1.64 jobs in other sectors which, when combined with other jobs created from the purchase of goods and services, generated four million jobs in 2013.
"Today, we are also adding to the number of innovative products carrying USDA's BioPreferred label and expanding options for our nation's biorefineries,” Vilsack said. “This means small businesses and global companies alike can continue to harness the power of America's farms and forests to create new and innovative biobased products that are used all around the world."
USDA says the report builds on the " Why Biobased?" report released by the USDA in October 2014. Estimates are that the use of biobased products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year - equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.
The report found that the seven major overarching sectors that represent the U.S. biobased products industry's contribution to the U.S. economy are: agriculture and forestry, biorefining, biobased chemicals, enzymes, bioplastic bottles and packaging, forest products, and textiles.
The study also includes location quotients by state to show the impact of the industry on individual states. Seven case studies are presented from stakeholders such as The Coca-Cola Company and PlantBottle packaging, Patagonia, and Ford.