Bio-Based and Bio-Preferred Products

Biobased products are commercial or industrial goods (other than food or feed) determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary to be composed in whole or in significant part of biological products, forestry materials, or renewable domestic agricultural materials, including plant, animal, or marine materials.

Requirements and Policy

Statutory Requirements

Mandatory Federal purchasing requirements for biobased products were established by Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002, Public Law 107-171, and later expanded in the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills. This authorized USDA to designate biobased products for Federal procurement.

Federal Acquisition Regulation

FAR Subpart 23.4 requires that Federal agencies give preference to biobased products when purchasing products designated under USDA BioPreferred Program. Agencies must purchase these products or require in the acquisition of services, the delivery, use, or furnishing of such products. Contracts should specify that these products at least meet the minimum biobased content identified by USDA. Exceptions may be made when:

  • The item does not meet performance needs;
  • There are less than two suppliers available for an item;
  • The item is unreasonably priced (including delivery costs); or
  • Regular delivery cannot be guaranteed.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 13834 Efficient Federal Operations requires that agencies acquire, use, and dispose of products and services in accordance with statutory mandates for purchasing preference, FAR requirements, and other applicable federal procurement policies.

Find and Purchase

Biobased products are available for purchase at GSA Advantage!® and GSA Global Supply™. USDA-designated biobased items are identified with the BioPreferred symbol. The USDA BioPreferred Program maintains a list of current designated items along with the minimum biobased content required. The BioPreferred Catalog on the USDA’s website provides federal and contractor personnel with a searchable database of biobased products. The catalog enables customers to compare information on BioPreferred products and the companies that provide them.

Last Reviewed: 2020-02-11