USDA Announces Miscanthus Biomass Projects

Cindy Zimmerman

Giant miscanthus will soon be grown for biomass energy in Missouri and three other states.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) today announced the establishment of two Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas in Missouri that will produce the dedicated energy crop miscanthus to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products.

“We are hopeful that as a result of this announcement we can assist the creation of up to 8250 acres in those two project areas of land that can be used to grow miscanthus,” said Vilsack. Yields for biomass from giant miscanthus are expected to range between 10 and 12 tons of dry matter per acre and can be as high as 15 tons per acre.

biodiesel roy blunt“This energy crop is a crop that will grow on land that is not necessarily the best farmland for anything else,” added Senator Blunt.

Despite the fact that future funding for BCAP is in danger, the $20 million for these projects has already been approved by Congress, and Blunt says this kind of spending benefits the economy. “If you’ve got a program like this where you can take a relatively small amount of money and create a private sector job that helps us solve our energy problem, I’m going to continue to be supportive of those kinds of policies.”

In addition to Missouri, project areas will also be established in Ohio, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. USDA estimates that these project areas and conversion facilities would earn about $50 million per year and create nearly 4,000 jobs by 2014.

Listen to or download the Vilsack-Blunt press conference here: Miscanthus BCAP Projects

More details on the project areas can be found here.

Audio, biomass, feedstocks, USDA