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Business Regulation

USDA amends its guidelines for designating bio-based products.

Untitled design (32)-7The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is amending its guidelines for designating bio-based products for federal procurement to add 12 sections that designate product categories within which bio-based products will be afforded Federal procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors. This is part of the BioPreferred Program (@BioPreferred),a USDA-led initiative that aims to assist in the development and expansion of markets for bio-based products. The program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

When USDA designates by rule making a product category for preferred procurement under the BioPreferred Program, manufacturers of all products under the umbrella of that product category that meet the requirements to qualify for preferred procurement and can claim that status for their products. To qualify for preferred procurement, a product must be within a designated product category and must contain at least the minimum bio-based content established for the designated product category.

The term product category is used as a generic term in the designation process to mean a grouping of specific products that perform a similar function. As originally finalized, the Guidelines included provisions for the designation of product categories that were composed of finished, consumer products such as mobile equipment hydraulic fluids, penetrating lubricants, or hand cleaners and sanitizers.

The 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills directedUSDAto expand the scope of the Guidelines to include the designation of product categories composed of intermediate ingredients and feedstock materials. Specifically, the 2008 Farm Bill stated that USDA shall designate those intermediate ingredients and feedstocks that are or can be used to produce items that will be subject to the Federal preferred procurement program. The term intermediate ingredient and feedstock is defined in the Farm Bill as a material or compound made in whole or in significant part from biological products, including renewable agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forestry materials, that are subsequently used to make a more complex compound or product. The term intermediates is used in the titles of the product categories being designated today to distinguish these categories from the finished, consumer products previously designated by USDA.

Although the Federal government does not typically purchase large quantities of intermediate ingredients and feedstock materials, designating such materials represents a means to identify and include finished products made from such designated materials in the Federal preferred procurement program.

In the proposed rule, USDA proposed designating the following 12 product categories for the preferred procurement program:

  • IntermediatesPlastic Resins;
  • IntermediatesChemicals; IntermediatesPaint and Coating Components;
  • IntermediatesTextile Processing Materials;
  • IntermediatesFoams;
  • IntermediatesFibers and Fabrics;
  • IntermediatesLubricant Components;
  • IntermediatesBinders; IntermediatesCleaner Components;
  • IntermediatesPersonal Care Product Components;
  • IntermediatesOils, Fats, and Waxes;
  • IntermediatesRubber Materials.

This is a heavily abridged version ofDesignation of Product Categories for Federal Procurement, a Rule by the Office of Procurement and Property Management on 07/10/2018please click the hyperlink for the full details.


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