President Joe Biden signed an executive order last week, beginning a national biotechnology and bio-manufacturing initiative.
- Government officials and heads of state met with White House officials last Wednesday to determine the best way to allocate the funding.
- The new executive order will direct funding to the development of microbes and other biological resources to create new foods, fertilizers and seeds, and improve mining practices.
- The funding will also be used to further medical research, including a vaccine to prevent cancer and a cancer screening blood test.
- The plan includes $1 billion for the Department of Defense, $250 million in grant programs through the Department of Agriculture, and $40 million to medicine and healthcare related to pandemic preparation.
Why it’s news
The biotechnology sector is an emerging industry the Biden administration has seemingly set its sights on. As new technology and methods are developed, the industry could be an avenue for new sources of food and greater advances in medicine.
In part, the Department of Health and Human Services will receive $40 million in funding to develop things like antibiotics, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and base ingredients for developing new medicines in response to potential future pandemics.
The Department of Defense is getting involved by using the funding to further develop bio-based materials including fuels, fire-resistant composites, and protective materials.
Funding will also go toward promoting the development of new fertilizers through the Department of Agriculture.
What’s not being said
Some aspects of the executive order have American ranchers concerned. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) raised issue over language in the executive order that indicates funding the development of artificial meat.
“The cultivation of animal cells for human consumption does not further the goals of the Biden Administration in supporting independent agricultural producers. Instead, it promotes corporate and consolidated control of the food supply system. Cell-cultured products cannot be independently produced – the technology is shrouded in intellectual property protection and requires intensive capital resources. These factors could lead to the monopolistic control of America’s sovereign food supply that we see already today in the U.S. livestock and meat industries,” says USCA president Brooke Miller.