May 6, 2011
On Thursday, May 5, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced that the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project area would cover 30 counties in western Missouri and nine counties in Eastern Kansas, with biomass facilities operated by the Show Me Energy Cooperative as the biomass conversion facilities for the project. About $15 million will be available for payments to farmers who participate in this first BCAP project.
BCAP projects provide funding to farmers, ranchers, and nonindustrial forestland owners to establish and maintain bioenergy feedstocks specified in a BCAP project. They can receive a payment for establishing perennial crops or trees as well as yearly payments for both annual and perennial crops and trees. Farmers enter into contracts with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for BCAP payments. They must also obtain a conservation plan developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and approved by the local Soil and Water Conservation District and FSA.
The Show Me Energy Cooperative manufactures biomass pellets that can be used as fuel and other biobased products. The crops eligible for payment under this first BCAP project include five different mixes of native grasses and herbaceous plants which are suitable for upland and lowland areas in the counties. The plant mixtures include Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indiangrass, Switchgrass, Illinois Bundleflower, Purple Prairie Clover and Canada/Virginia Wildrye. USDA anticipates that about 50,000 acres of mixtures of these native grasses and herbaceous plants will be established and maintained in the project area.
For more information, see the Farm Service Agency Fact Sheet for this project.
NSAC congratulates FSA for this first BCAP project that meets both the 2008 Farm Bill statutory requirements for BCAP and the intent of Congress provided in the Managers’ Statement. The Managers’ Statement provides a directive that BCAP focus on promoting the cultivation of perennial bioenergy crops and annual bioenergy crops that show exceptional promise for producing highly energy-efficient bioenergy or biofuels, while also preserving natural resources. In addition, the choice of a farmers’ cooperative as the project sponsor also meets the economic impact selection criteria for BCAP projects which provide producers and local investors with the opportunity to participate in ownership of the biomass conversion facility.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment