U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini this week announced that incentives resume this month for farmers and foresters who grow and harvest biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. The funds come through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“This program expands the types of feedstock that can be used to make renewable fuels and biobased products, laying the foundation for growing more products made in rural America,” said Dolcini. “The Biomass Crop Assistance Program currently supports more than 890 growers and landowners farming nearly 49,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, nonfood energy crops for delivery to energy conversion facilities, and it is a key piece of USDA’s strategy to grow the rural economy and create new markets for our farmers and ranchers.”
Facilities seeking to be qualified by USDA to accept biomass can begin enrollment between May 23, and June 6. BCAP provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a USDA-approved facility that creates energy or biobased products.
In fiscal year 2016, there is $3 million available for BCAP. A portion of the funds will be provided to two existing BCAP projects in New York and Ohio/Pennsylvania to expand acres planted to shrub willow and giant miscanthus. Farmers and forest landowners may enroll for biomass establishment and maintenance payments for these two projects between June 15 and Sept. 13.
Also, between June 15 to Aug. 4, USDA will accept applications from foresters and farmers seeking incentives to remove biomass residues from fields or national forests for delivery to energy generation facilities. The retrieval payments are provided at match of $1 for $1, up to $20 per dry ton. Eligible crops include corn residue, diseased or insect-infested wood materials, or orchard waste.
To learn more about BCAP or to enroll in updates, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/bcapor contact your local FSA county office. To find your local county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has recognized the biobased economy as one of the pillars that strengthen rural communities, and as a result USDA helped jumpstart efforts to provide a reliable supply of advanced plant materials for biofuels. Over the course of this Administration, USDA has invested $332 million to accelerate research on renewable energy ranging from genomic research on bioenergy feedstock crops, to development of biofuel conversion processes and costs/benefit estimates of renewable energy production. Through BCAP, USDA is incentivizing more than 890 growers and landowners farming nearly 49,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, nonfood energy crops for delivery to energy conversion facilities, and the department has expanded insurance coverage and other safety net options to support farmers producing biomass for renewable energy.