Technological watch

USDA: Biobased products contributed $489 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021, up from $464 billion in 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) honored last 8 March the second annual National Biobased Products Day, a celebration to raise public awareness of biobased products, their benefits and their contributions to the U.S. economy and rural communities. “Bioproducts offer opportunities for more revenue streams for small and mid-sized farmers while giving consumers more in-demand, clean options for everyday items.”

Tom Vilsack, US Agriculture Secretary © Il Bioeconomista“The Biden-Harris Administration supports and incentivizes biobased products because they are what consumers want — and what farmers, and our planet, need,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “American farmers, growers, biobased business owners and innovators are resilient and thriving. We are committed to celebrating them and the economic, environmental and health benefits of biobased products on National Biobased Products Day.”

Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products IndustryUSDA commissioned the report, “An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry: 2023 Update,” which shows that, based on data from 2021, the biobased products industry has grown nationwide despite the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Key report findings include:

  • Biobased products, a segment of the bioeconomy, contributed $489 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021, up from $464 billion in 2020. This is an increase of $25 billion—a 5.1% increase.
  • The biobased products sector, and the jobs it supports, are shown to impact every state in the nation not just to the states where agriculture is the main industry.
  • The use of biobased products reduces the consumption of petroleum equivalents. In 2017, oil displacement was estimated to be as much as 9.4 million barrels of oil equivalents. In 2021, the displacement grew to 10.7 million barrels of oil equivalents.
Findings span seven major sectors representing the bioeconomy, including: Agriculture and Forestry; Biobased Chemicals; Biobased Plastic Bottles and Packaging; Biorefining; Enzymes; Forest Products; and Textiles. This year’s release is the sixth volume in a series of reports tracking the impact of the biobased product industry on the U.S. economy.

Hemp Research and InnovationUSDA also released its “Hemp Research Needs Roadmap”, which reflects stakeholder input in identifying the hemp industry’s greatest research needs: Breeding and Genetics, Best Practices for Production, Biomanufacturing for End Uses and Transparency and Consistency. These priority research areas cut across the entire hemp supply chain and are vital to bolstering hemp industry research.

Growing demand for biobased products, like those from hemp, creates potential for added-value use in food, feed, fiber and other industrial products that can improve the livelihoods of U.S. producers and offer consumers alternative biobased products.

USDA also announced a National Institute of Food and Agriculture $10 million investment to Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. The Center will work with 13 Native American Tribes to spur economic development in the western United States by developing manufacturing capabilities for materials and products made from hemp.

All of these efforts advance U.S. global competitiveness as outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order on “Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy.”

BackgroundThe USDA BioPreferred® Program label encourages consumers to buy products that are generally safer for the environment, their families and communities. Products with the “USDA Certified Biobased Product” label are derived from raw materials such as plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials.

Buying these products allows consumers to do their part to drive economic prosperity for farmers, growers, biobased business owners and innovators and create a healthier planet and more sustainable future for everyone. For more information about the BioPreferred Program, visit

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2023, NIFA’s total investment was $2.6 billion.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas.

Publication date: 21/03/2024

Author: Yago Destro de Oliveira

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.