On Wednesday, BIO and MichBio co-hosted an event at the 2012 Mackinaw Policy Conference featuring Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); Stephen Rapundalo, President and CEO of MichBio; Pete Pellerito, Senior Policy Consultant for BIO; and Marcos Dantus, co-founder of KTM Industries. Senator Stabenow announced new initiatives in the 2012 Farm Bill to advance Michigan’s emerging biobased manufacturing industry.
The 2012 Farm Bill recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 16-5 vote. It supports emerging technologies for alternative energy and can put the United States up front as the global leader in creating innovative advanced biofuels, biobased products and renewable chemicals as alternatives to fossil fuel products. This lessens our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, saves consumers money, creates new jobs in rural America and reduces environmental impact.
“The new bipartisan Farm Bill includes important support for bio-based manufacturing,” said Pellerito. “Senator Stabenow recognizes the importance of bio-based manufacturing as a job creator and as an area for economic growth and competitiveness in the future. I want to thank Sen. Stabenow for her leadership in supporting innovation and growth in this emerging industry.”
The 2012 Farm Bill, authored by Stabenow, includes her Grow It Here, Make It Here initiatives to increase access to capital for bio-based manufacturers, improve marketing of bio-based products, and spur the commercialization of new agricultural innovations to create new jobs.
“The biosciences industry is integral to the economic vitality of Michigan,” said Rapundalo. “Senator Stabenow understands this, which is why the Farm Bill she authored helps grow bio-manufacturing and other sectors of the bio-economy.”
Biobased manufacturing is Michigan’s second largest industry, responsible for creating almost one out of every four jobs. The 2012 Farm Bill will help this up-and-coming industry continue to grow throughout Michigan and throughout the entire country as well.
“Michigan has geographic advantages over other states in terms of diverse feedstocks, vast agricultural supply chains and bio research facilities,” said Dantus. “Michigan has the ability to shape its own future and has significant opportunities to expand its biobased industry and advance its position in the global bio-manufacturing market. I want to thank Senator Stabenow for her commitment to growing Michigan’s biobased economy and creating new jobs.”
Stabenow also paid a visit to the Alpena Biorefinery on March 29 to see this technology in action. At Alpena, advanced technology is used to convert hardboard waste into cellulosic ethanol – an advanced biofuel that is a clean energy substitute for petroleum produced from wood, grass or non-edible parts of plants. The biorefinery is expected to start commercial production in June.
BIO’s Pellerito talked about biotechnology’s ability to unlock the potential of agriculture and forestry to create new opportunities for rural economic prosperity and energy security. He highlighted energy programs in the Farm Bill like the Biorefinery Assistance Program, BCAP and the Biobased Markets Program that helping new technologies become a commercial reality.
“Continuing these vital Farm Bill energy title programs will promote the expansion of American ag energy jobs, drive innovation, develop cutting-edge technology we can export to the world, provide meaningful benefits to the environment, enhance national security, and ensure that we continue to lead the world in the development of these vital and lucrative new industries,” said Pellerito.