USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program Successful

Joanna Schroeder

According to Jonathan Coppess, USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator, biomass producers, energy facilities and communities are benefiting from USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Through April 2, 2010, USDA has approved 4,605 agreements for the delivery of more than 4.18 million tons of biomass and paid eligible biomass owners $165,274,695 in matching payments under BCAP’s first phase. BCAP was established in the 2008 Farm Bill.

“We’ve had dozens of reports from biomass producers, energy facilities and communities that are benefiting from BCAP payments right now, which shows the incredible potential of this innovative program,” said Coppess.

The program authorized USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help those producing biomass by providing matching payments for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of eligible biomass delivered to approved facilities to convert it to biofuels. FSA service centers across the country have issued payments of up to $45 per dry ton for eligible biomass deliveries. Biomass is any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis including: agricultural commodities, plants, trees, algae, and other animal, vegetative and wood waste materials.

“Congress directed USDA to establish a program to encourage farmers and forest landowners to help develop the biomass supply chain and accelerate energy independence, rural economic development and renewable sources of energy,” said Coppess. “Since we issued initial guidance last June, BCAP has gathered momentum and our efforts to expedite matching payments provided valuable, real-world information and experiences that will inform the crafting of the final regulation, as well as some much-needed economic stimulus in many rural areas.

Once the final rule for the program is approved, it will provide funding for producers of renewable biomass who establish new biomass crops within select geographical areas and will continue to provide matching payments for deliveries of eligible materials. Click here to access charts showing BCAP Collection, Harvest, Storage & Transportation Component and Summary Reports.

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