The Department of Agriculture has not done enough to
implement the 2002 farm bill requirements for purchasing
bio-based products, considered to be products such as coal
or timber but not food, in part because it lacks a
comprehensive management plan to carry it out, the General
Accounting Office has said.
It said USDA procurement guidelines do not fully address
the farm bill requirements for designating items as bio
and recommending practices, although USDA expects to issue
final guidelines soon and a blueprint for the model
procurement program by September.
The lack of a management plan describing the tasks,
milestones, resources, coordination, and reporting needed
to complete this work has slowed USDA in issuing guidelines,
and consequently, purchasing agencies do not yet have a
basis for planning their procurement programs, which has
limited their purchases of bio-based products, said GAO.
GAO said USDA should execute a management plan for
completing the work, identify and allocate the staff and
financial resources needed, and prioritize it.
While USDA said a management plan was unnecessary, it
agreed with other recommendations.