Agriculture Chairwoman Stabenow Continues Jobs of the Future Tour at Zeeland Farm Services
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today continued her "Jobs of the Future" Tour stop at Zeeland Farm Services, an innovative West Michigan bio-based company. 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 another 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.
Chairwoman Stabenow said: "When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan. Today, Michigan innovators are making new high-tech products with Michigan-grown crops. We are at the forefront of bio-based manufacturing, and we need to help businesses who are creating 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."
Cliff Meeuwsen, President of Zeeland Farm Services, Inc said: "Our goal is to make a positive impact on our environment while lessening our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the future of bio-based materials and advanced biofuels. These are areas with great potential for expansion and we are excited to be a part of it by providing renewable biofuels while continuing to provide necessary feed and food products for the World's growing needs."
Ken Farminer, Director of Business Development for Zeeland Bio-Based Products LLC said: "We are delighted at Senator Stabenow's high level of interest and strong leadership in the area of bio-based products being developed from Michigan grown crops. Her valued support provides a critical contribution to the development of such products and to the jobs that will be created from these developments."
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.
Zeeland Farm Services, Inc.® is a family owned and operated business and is the largest soybean processor in the state. Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. uses renewable energy from landfill gas that fire two reciprocating engines to process over 28,000 bushels of soybeans a day, resulting in approximately 220,000 tons of soy protein used for livestock feed, as well as over 112 million pounds of soybean oil annually. A portion of this oil is also used in the Research and Development for the replacement of petroleum in a number of bio-based products.
Zeeland Bio-Based Products LLC, a joint venture between Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. and BioPlastic Polymers and Composites LLC in Okemos, produces a bio-based Bar & Chain Oil from soybean oil. The Bar & Chain Oil is biodegradable and used in industrial chain saws, chain bars, and sprockets. The Bar & Chain Oil is a bio-based product registered under USDA's BioPreferred Program. Zeeland Bio-Based Products LLC is also in the research and development phase of other bio-based products.
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 creates jobs here at every level of the supply chain, and by replacing petroleum-based products, reduces the nation's dependence on foreign oil.