Senator Karen Gillmor is not one of our local elected officials but I thought this release sent out via e-mail from her office may be of interest to some of the readers here on the Jungle:
GILLMOR URGES OHIO MAYORS TO BUY “BIO-OHIO,” SUPPORT STATE’S AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY
COLUMBUS—State Senator Karen L. Gillmor (R-Tiffin) is encouraging mayors in cities and villages across Ohio to support our state’s agriculture industry and local farmers whenever possible by purchasing supplies made from Ohio bio-based materials like corn, soybeans and switch grass.
“More and more, the raw materials to make everyday products, like office supplies, cleaning and construction materials, come from Ohio crops. This has provided an important new market for our farmers during difficult economic times,” said Senator Gillmor, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “At the state level, we have been working to maximize the substantial buying power of state agencies to support our state’s number one industry – agriculture – at no additional cost to taxpayers. Our hope is that local governments can join us in reinvesting public dollars back into Ohio’s economy and Ohio workers.”
In February, Senator Gillmor passed Senate Bill 131. This legislation, now law, established a bio-products preferred purchasing program in Ohio for state agencies and state-supported colleges and universities. Similar to existing “Buy Ohio” provisions in state law, which help ensure the state is supporting Ohio vendors whenever possible, SB 131 requires these public institutions to give purchasing preference to bio-based products when a bio-based alternative is available and when the cost is not prohibitive.
The federal government has a bio-preferred program, which among other things, certifies products as being bio-based and maintains a list of vendors that can provide them. Senator Gillmor’s bill wisely built upon the resources of the federal program to save the state costs and manpower, and earned Ohio the distinction of becoming the first state in the nation to establish a buy bio-products program. In fact, SB 131 has been submitted for review by the Council of State Governments to use as a model for other states to follow.
Though her bill did not impact local governments, Senator Gillmor is hoping Ohio mayors will support the effort voluntarily and join the bio-Ohio movement. A few already have, which has earned Ohio a ranking of 4th in the nation for establishing BioPreferred programs.
Not only is this initiative important for farmers, but many Ohio entrepreneurs are taking the raw materials from farmers and turning them into everyday products; in fact, Ohio ranks 5th in the nation for biomass production, from which bio-products are made. Major companies like Proctor & Gamble, Sherwin Williams and the Scotts Company are all producing bio-based products.
“Our mayors are on the front lines of economic development and understand the value and importance of agriculture in their communities,” Senator Gillmor said. “It is my hope that we can continue to build support for Ohio-grown materials as well as give a boost to the innovators who are putting Ohio’s bio-products industry on the map.”
Senator Gillmor recently sent a letter to more than 900 mayors across Ohio to make them aware of the state’s new bio-preferred program and how they can get involved.
For more information about Senator Gillmor’s Senate Bill 131, please visit the Ohio General Assembly website at www.legislature.state.oh.us. (Search for Senate Bill 131, 128th General Assembly.) To view a list of Ohio companies who are certified or in the process of being certified by the federal BioPreferred program, please visit: www.biopreferred.gov.