Due to the absence of funding in the Farm Bill extension legislation (i.e., the"American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012"), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has suspended the processing of applications for voluntary certification of biobased products. According to ISSA's Bill Balek, the USDA will continue limited activities related to the Federal procurement preference program, such as adding products to the BioPreferred catalog, as staff resources allow. All existing biobased product label certifications (900 'USDA Certified Biobased Products' as of December 31, 2012) are and will remain valid.

Congress created the Biobased Markets Program (BioPreferred Program) in Section 9002 of the 2002 Farm Bill, and reauthorized the program in the 2008 Farm Bill. The two key elements of the BioPreferred program are a mandatory Federal government procurement preference initiative and a voluntary product certification effort. USDA identifies (designates) products with a minimum biobased content, and offers tools to manufacturers and to Federal buyers to increase the purchase and use of these designated biobased products. There are currently 9,000 designated biobased products in 89 different categories available for preferred Federal purchasing.

BioPreferred launched biobased product certification and labeling in February 2011. Certified biobased products have been tested at an independent laboratory to meet USDA-published minimum biobased content, and third-party certified as to this tested content. Certified products may feature/display a USDA biobased product label. In nearly two years, USDA has certified 900 biobased products in more than 50 different categories, from construction, janitorial, and grounds keeping products specified and purchased by the Department of Defense and Federal agencies, to personal care and packaging products used by consumers every day.

Review this fact sheet for more information about the impacts to and status of specific BioPreferred program projects.