FFAR & Schmidt Futures Release Report to Advance a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy

Washington, D.C.

  • Urban Food Systems

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) in partnership with Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, is releasing a summary report from a stakeholder convening, Feedstocks of the Future for a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy. The report details strategic research opportunities to advance the circular bioeconomy—an economy which uses waste as inputs to create highly valued products and could be established by advances in biotechnology.

Examples of future feedstocks, or renewable waste streams, include agricultural residues, forestry residues, processing residues and municipal solid waste. These residues and waste are abundant and can be leveraged sustainably for higher value applications without disrupting food supplies. Their use can create an opportunity for synergistic benefits. Through biotechnology research and development, bio manufacturers could use these abundant feedstocks to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, create more resilient supply chains and reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, bringing us closer to a net-zero carbon economy. Furthermore, when unused, these waste products generate greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to pollution and must be disposed of, creating additional expense for producers.

The report synthesizes participants’ insights made during the Feedstocks of the Future for a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy Convening, hosted by FFAR and Schmidt Futures in March 2023. The Convening included 50 diverse stakeholders to explore how best to capture value from renewable waste streams that have potential to become circular and alternative carbon sources for chemicals, plastics and other products to drive growth of the circular bioeconomy. The report discusses the challenges and opportunities of using feedstocks, technologies needed to transform feedstocks and products that can be produced from feedstocks. The report identifies promising areas of research and development that are currently underfunded. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, this research has the potential to yield actionable results, moving the circular bioeconomy forward in the next five years.

FFAR is hosting a webinar to discuss the report on June 5, 2023, from 2:00-3:00 PM EDT. During the webinar attendees may ask questions, contribute perspectives and learn about the next steps related to this initiative. This webinar is open to the public and advanced registration is required.


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.