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Report Co-Authored by Golden on Economic Impact of Bio-based Products Highlighted by USDA

March 12, 2024

Jay Golden

Jay Golden

An annual report commissioned by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and co-authored by Jay S. Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance and director of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab, was in the spotlight on March 8, as the USDA celebrated the second National Biobased Products Day.

“This report comes at a very important time as both governments and businesses are rapidly looking for solutions to achieve their net-zero carbon transitions,” Golden says. “I have been excited to see the progress American farmers and manufacturers have made in developing low carbon and climate-smart commodities since we started doing these analyses for Congress and the USDA.”

The report, based on 2021 data, showed that the biobased products industry continued to grow, even during the economic setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the report found that biobased products contributed $489 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021—up 5.1% from $464 billion in 2020. Jobs supported by the biobased products sector impacted every state in the nation, not just traditionally agricultural states.

The report also found that use of biobased products reduced the consumption of petroleum equivalents. In 2021, the displacement was measured at 10.7 million barrels of oil equivalents—up from 9.4 million barrels of oil equivalents in 2017.

Co-authors of the report included North Carolina State University’s Rob Handfield and Duke University’s Jesse Daystar. The release of this report, and the USDA’s focus on its findings, comes as Congress weighs updates to agricultural policies.  

“This year’s report is really important as the reauthorization of the farm bill is taking place as it does every five years,” Golden added. “This report exemplifies part of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab’s larger research for a $60 million grant focused on the policies, sciences and technologies associated with market adoptions of climate-smart commodities.”

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