Is federal bioenergy program undercutting foresters?

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is questioning whether a U.S. Department of Agriculture bio-based marketing program amounts to a bias against traditional forest products and whether such policies are fair.

Cochran broached the topic at a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to review the FY2014 budget request for the USDA.

The USDA BioPreferred product labeling program offers certified labels to manufacturers for products made of renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. The label also grants these products federal procurement preference, which means the federal agencies are encouraged to purchase them to the maximum extent practicable.

Cochran last week asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack whether the BioPreferred program represents “a bias in preferring bio-based market program items over traditional forest products.”

Mississippi Business Journal