Biobased Products Sector on Display in Washington Next Week

Next week in Washington, the U.S. biobased products sector will be the subject of attention on several fronts.  On Tuesday, June 17, the Senate Ag Committee is having a hearing titled, “Grow it Here, Make it Here: Creating Jobs through Biobased Manufacturing.”  Among those testifying at the hearing are The Coca-Cola Company, which uses biobased plastic bottles, called “PlantBottle”, that are made with sugar feedstocks; Cargill, which uses soybean oil to produce an electric transformer fluid called “EnviroTemp” that recently was the recipient of the EPA’s Green Chemistry Award; and Lear Corporation, which uses soybean oil for their SoyFoam products used in automotive interiors.

Following the hearing, the Senate Agriculture Committee will host a “Spotlight on Innovation” that will showcase over 30 companies and entities from more than 20 different states, who are involved in developing and producing biobased products.  The Indiana Soybean Alliance will be participating in the showcase and displaying soy-based concrete sealant and other soy based products. Some other notable participants in the showcase include, Ford Motor Company, DuPont, and the Sherwin Williams Company.

Building around the Senate hearing and showcase, the United Soybean Board is holding their annual biobased workshop June 17-18 in Washington.  The workshop, officially called the Biobased Stakeholder’s Dialogue, brings together many companies and organizations to examine and discuss issues important to the growth and development of the biobased sector.  The USB workshop is being held at the George Washington University (GWU), and will include remarks from Kathleen Merrigan, the former USDA Deputy Secretary and current Director of Sustainability for GWU as well as a keynote address from current USDA Deputy Secretary and former ASA staffer Krysta Harden. 

The Biobased Products Coalition (BPC), which ASA is a founding and leading member, also will be a prominent part of next week’s activities.  The BPC has been working closely with the Senate Agriculture Committee on the hearing and the showcase and will be hosting a reception on Tuesday evening, at the same location as the USB workshop.  The BPC will be honoring current and former Senate Ag Committee chairmen, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Tom Harkin for their leadership and contributions to the biobased products sector.  The BPC will be presenting Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Harkin with biobased floor mats that depict their states and say “Made with Soy.” The mats were made and provided by Universal Textile Technologies and Signature Accord, sister companies located in Dalton, Georgia and members of the BPC.  

ASA will post photos from the hearing and the showcase in next week’s Weekly Leader Letter.