Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow Kicks off Jobs of the Future Tour
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today kicked off her "Jobs of the Future" Tour across Michigan at Ford Motor Company's cutting-edge bio-based lab in Dearborn. Stabenow was joined at the event by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, where she addressed Michigan's leadership in bio-based manufacturing. Bio-based manufacturing, using agriculture goods instead of petroleum-based plastics and other materials in manufactured goods, is an industry poised to grow and create jobs in Michigan. Today's event was the first stop on Stabenow's "Jobs of the Future" Tour, where she is meeting with Michigan business leaders and discussing her initiatives to boost Michigan's new economy by helping innovative companies create the new high-tech jobs of the future.
Stabenow and Vilsack toured Ford's Innovation and Research Laboratory, where Ford's biomaterials scientific team demonstrated how they use soybeans to create soy foam- the same foam that is used in seat cushions in many Ford vehicles. Stabenow and Vilsack also viewed products from other bio-based manufacturers on display before speaking at a bio-based stakeholders' workshop hosted by the United Soybean Board.
Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Henry Ford knew this over 80 years ago when he discovered how to use agriculture products in his automobiles. Today, Michigan innovators are building off of his work to make new high-tech products with Michigan-grown crops. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and we need to help businesses who want to create the new jobs of the future right here in Michigan."
Secretary Vilsack said: "The biobased products sector brings together two of the most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing. Today, more than 3,000 companies are producing more than 25,000 biobased products made from renewable sources grown here at home, and supporting 100,000 American jobs. These companies are developing a wide variety of products - from cleaners and paints to parts for automobiles. Using agricultural products grown by farmers right here in the Midwest, Michigan has the potential to lead the nation in bio-based manufacturing and create sustainable economic opportunities for the entire region."
Earlier this year, Sen. Stabenow introduced her Grow It Here, Make It Here initiatives to 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. The Farm Bill that Stabenow authored, which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support 64-35, includes her Grow It Here, Make It Here initiatives. For more information on the Farm Bill, click here.
Bio-based manufacturing is a key sector of Michigan's agriculture industry, which supports nearly one out of every four jobs. Michigan innovators and entrepreneurs are processing Michigan-grown crops such as soy, wheat, sugar and corn for use in advanced manufactured goods across the state. 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. Using American-grown bio-based products displaces foreign petroleum, reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.