Deadline looms for biomass assistance
By MATTHEW WEAVER
Producers have until May 27 to submit proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
Rod Hamilton, farm program chief for the Farm Service Agency office in Spokane, said BCAP provides support for bioenergy production such as burning woody biomass or growing crops for energy production.
Firms looking to purchase agricultural commodities or woody material to convert them into energy should consider the program, Hamilton said.
A likely candidate for the program is "someone who has a plant in production to do that already or is close to being in production," he said.
It is aimed primarily at agricultural commodities, he said. The agency provides payments to farmers to help offset some risk as they produce a new, eligible biomass crop such as camelina, switch grass or other herbaceous plants.
The law states that the agency cannot make subsidy payments for crops receiving any other form of federal subsidies, including cereal crops like wheat, corn, barley and canola, Hamilton said. Corn stover and wheat straw are eligible, he added.
Biomass crops are to be grown on contract acres within approved project areas, according to an FSA press release.
Under the 2011 federal continuing resolution, $112 million is available for BCAP. Hamilton said he does not expect a project to be funded in every state. Payments will potentially be the equivalent of a Conservation Reserve Program payment, he said.
If any Pacific Northwest projects are approved for funding, those entities would work with their local FSA office to develop a contract, Hamilton said.
For information, call the Spokane office at 509-323-3015.
Farm Service Agency: www.fsa.usda.gov