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Chairwoman Stabenow Announces New “Grow it Here, Make it Here” Initiatives to Advance Emerging Michigan Industry in Lansing

Chairwoman Stabenow Announces New Initiatives to Spur Bio-based Manufacturing; Stabenow Joins with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary In Announcing Increase in Federal Purchase of New Bio-based Products

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced new Grow it Here, Make it Here initiatives 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. Last fall, Stabenow announced her first Grow it Here, Make it Here initiative, which would create a new tax cut for Michigan companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. Senator Stabenow's new initiatives would 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.

Stabenow announced her initiatives at a news conference at KTM Industries, a Lansing bio-based manufacturer, where she was joined by representatives from Michigan State University, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Bio Alliance Council. Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiatives include a new effort to double the number of Biopreferred products, products that are certified and labeled so consumers can choose to purchase goods made of agriculture materials. Today, she joined with President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in announcing a 50% increase in government purchases of new bio-based products.

Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Michigan innovators like KTM Industries are making things with Michigan-grown products. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and my initiatives will help businesses who want to invest and create new jobs here in America."

Tim Colonnese, President and CEO of KTM Industries, Inc said: "KTM's innovative biobased packaging foam was developed in Michigan, is made in Michigan and sold around the world.  It is in the best interest of Michigan - and America - to invest in sustainable biobased technologies that help create jobs, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and add value to our abundant natural resources. I appreciate Senator Stabenow's efforts to support bio-based manufacturing."

Doug Gage, Director of MSU's Bio-economy Network said: "The Biomanufacturing initiative is one important area where collaborations between universities and the private sector will be essential.   There are many new innovations coming out of our laboratories in renewable materials, chemical feedstocks and biofuels derived from non-food biomass. Bringing these to commercial application requires that they cross the 'valley of death,' the place where most new technologies fail before they attract sufficient investment to reach the marketplace. We rely on resources such as MBI International, a university associated not-for-profit to advance our bio-based technologies toward development, but ultimately we require partners in the private sector to take them all the way to commericalization.  KTM Industries is an example of a successful partnership in this sector." 

Matt Carr, managing director for BIO's Industrial & Environmental Section, said: "Biomanufacturing opportunities can help revitalize traditional manufacturing regions, such as Michigan, and rural areas, creating a healthy, sustainable biobased economy. Senator Stabenow's Grow It Here, Make It Here initiative will help bio-based manufacturers access vital capital, strengthen market opportunities for biobased products, and spur commercialization of agricultural and industrial biotech innovations."

Tracey Maroney, Director of the Bio Alliance Council, a partnership between Michigan Works! and Prima Civitas Foundation said: "Michigan has geographic advantages over other states in terms of diverse feedstocks, vast agricultural supply chains and bio research facilities. Michigan has the ability to shape its own future and has significant opportunities to expand its bio-based industry and advance its position in the global bioeconomy market. I want to thank Senator Stabenow for her commitment to growing Michigan's bio-based economy and creating new jobs."

Senator Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here Initiative consists of four parts:

Strengthens the Biopreferred Program, which certifies and labels products so consumers can choose to purchase goods made of agriculture materials, and provides a preference for these products for government purchases. Her initiative also calls for greater accountability in the initiative, including auditing and compliance activities to ensure the integrity of the certified label. USDA's Biopreferred Program offers over 8,900 bio-based products, including 540 products made by 90 Michigan companies.

Spurs the commercialization of new agricultural innovations by streamlining and focusing resources to help new bio-based projects move from the development to the commercialization phase, also known as the "valley of death" since far too many good ideas do not make it out of this phase. Her initiative focuses the USDA's Biomass Research and Development Initiative on the commercialization of bio-based products-bridging this gap to help accelerate the bio-based industry.

Increases access to capital for bio-based manufacturers by expanding the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Biorefinery Loan Guarantee Program, so bio-based manufacturers have access to loans to help finance new operations or expand existing ones.

Creates a new tax cut for Michigan companies that invest in new facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. Specifically, her initiative will allow companies to qualify for up to a 30% tax credit to help finance investments in new, expanded, or re-equipped bio-based manufacturing, creating new jobs. Only companies that manufacture these products in America will be eligible for this incentive.

KTM Industries makes Green Cell biodegradable foam, which is a corn starch-based foam used in packing materials as an alternative to synthetic foams. KTM also makes a biodegradable toy called Magic Nuudles, which are multi-colored, corn starch-based building blocks. The company's newest bio-based product is a single-use cooler made from corn that used for shipping of pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and specialty foods.

Last Wednesday, Chairwoman 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, bio-based products are finding their way into a wide variety of sectors in our economy.  Now Stabenow's Grow it Here, Make it Here initiatives would help this emerging industry expand and grow throughout the state, and the country.

Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs are processing Michigan-grown crops such as wheat, sugar, corn and soy for use in advanced manufactured goods across the state.  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. 


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