Fernandina Beach, FL (June 26, 2014) — Speaking on June 17 at the “Innovation and Agriculture Grow Together” conference sponsored by the United Soybean Board in Washington, DC, Charles Morris, President and COO of the Pine Chemicals Association praised the USDA’s BioPreferred program for its expansion to include eligibility of complex products and intermediate renewable chemicals. The program certifies and labels products as bio-based and promotes bio-based products that apply an innovative approach to any of the steps in the production process regardless of the date of entry into the marketplace.
“The USDA has taken an enlightened approach to enable a wide spectrum of existing and new industries to participate in the BioPreferred program,” Mr. Morris noted. “The broader definition of qualifying products is good news for industries long committed to best practices in sustainability and good news for the expanding the bioeconomy.”
Mr. Morris stressed that as consumers demand more sustainable products, manufacturers seek suppliers that use biorenewable raw materials. ““Under the current guidelines we expect pine chemicals to qualify for the USDA Certified Bio-based Product Label before the end of the year. It only makes sense to include established bio-based industries that innovate and add value to business and society in the program.” Mr. Morris pointed out that pine chemicals are used in many consumer products including flavors and fragrances, vitamin intermediates, disinfectants, inks, adhesives and paints.
The pine chemicals industry operates complex biorefineries that process Crude Tall Oil (CTO) and Crude Sulphate Turpentine (CST), co-products of the pulp and papermaking process. In the U.S. the pine chemicals industry is a multibillion dollar business, directly employing over 2,000 highly skilled workers. Downstream, the industry supports more than $10 billion in economic output and 18,700 workers in customer industries.
Begun as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and updated most recently in 2014, the BioPreferred program certifies products as bio-based and encourages government agencies to purchase certified products preferentially. The labelling aspect of the program serves as an unbiased indicator of bio-based content.
The conference was attended by many government agency officials including the USDA, EPA, OMB, DHS and the VA in addition to a number of universities and chemical companies.