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Stabenow Announces “Grow it Here, Make it Here” Initiative to Advance Emerging Michigan Industry in Zeeland

Stabenow, Agriculture Chairwoman, Unveils Thirty Percent Tax Credit to Spur Bio-based Manufacturing in Zeeland Today

Monday, Oct 24, 2011

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced the introduction of her Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative to advance Michigan's emerging bio-based manufacturing industry.  Bio-based manufacturing, using agriculture goods to make value-added products, is an industry poised to grow and create jobs in Michigan.  The Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative provides a 30% tax cut for new, expanded, or re-equipped bio-manufacturing projects.

Senator Stabenow announced the legislation at a news conference at Zeeland Farm Services, a family owned and operated business promoting the research of soy products for new, innovative bio-based products that are 100% biodegradable.  Senator Stabenow was joined by Zeeland Farm Services executives, local business leaders and other supporters of bio-based manufacturing.  Products made in Michigan, out of agriculture materials grown in Michigan, were on full display.

"When we grow things and make things in Michigan, we create jobs here in Michigan. With bio-based manufacturing, Michigan businesses are using agriculture goods grown in Michigan to make products here in Michigan.  It's a win-win for our economy. Michigan is at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and this tax cut will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in America," Senator Stabenow Said.

Robb Meeuwsen, Vice President of Oil at Zeeland Farm Serices, said, "Zeeland Farm Services is always striving to find new markets for soy-based products.  Not only do these products help to reduce our carbon footprint on the world we live in, they also help to increase profit opportunities for Michigan soybean producers and boost the state's economy."

Earlier this year, Senator Stabenow convened a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to examine the job-creation potential of bio-based manufacturing in Michigan and across the country.  From car parts to cleaning products, soaps, insulation, plastics, foam goods, and fabrics, products made of soy, wheat and other natural materials are finding their way into a wide variety of sectors in our economy.  Now Senator Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative would help this emerging industry expand and grow throughout the state, and the country.

The bio-based economy is valued at approximately $1.25 trillion nationally.  Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs are processing Michigan-grown crops for use in advanced manufactured goods across the state.  In Michigan alone, there are over 80 companies manufacturing bio-based products and even more using bio-based components and materials in their products.  Bio-based manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan's agriculture industry.  Agriculture is Michigan's second largest industry, supporting one out of every four Michigan jobs.

Using American-grown bio-based products displaces foreign petroleum, reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.  This redirects investment into domestic operations rather than sending wealth abroad (often to nations hostile to America's interests) and strengthens American manufacturing and agriculture.  Currently, bio-based products represent 4% of the market for the plastic and chemical industries, replacing petroleum based products.  Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis puts the potential market share of bio-based plastic and chemical products in excess of 20% by 2025 with adequate federal policy support.  Studies show that if that 20% threshold is realized, it would create over 100,000 American jobs.  Other forms of bio-based manufacturing would create even more. 

During today's news conference, Senator Stabenow pointed out that Henry Ford was one of Michigan's greatest bio-manufacturing pioneers, using Michigan-grown soy and other agriculture products in his automobiles.  Today, there are once again cars rolling down assembly lines across America being built with parts made from agricultural products: seats, interior panels, armrests, sunshades, soy wire coatings, carpets, and structural foam.  For example, the seats of the new Ford Focus and Chevy Volt are made of Michigan-grown soy material.

According to the Michigan Agricultural Statistics Service, the Michigan soybean industry supports more than 6,900 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic activity across the state.


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