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USDA offers aid for biomass retrieval for clean energy

 

USDA

WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini announced that FSA has begun accepting applications from foresters and farmers seeking financial assistance to harvest and deliver biomass to generate clean energy.

 

The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.


For 2015, USDA has reserved up to $11.5 million to assist with the cost of removing woody or herbaceous residues from farm fields or national forests and woodlands for delivery to energy generation facilities. A majority of the funds are expected to support the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forest and Bureau of Land Management public lands. Orchard wastes, and agriculture residues such as corn cobs and stalks, also qualify as energy-producing feedstock.

"This program is particularly helpful in regions of the country suffering from drought, where the removal of dead or diseased forestry residues can reduce the threat of forest fires while generating renewable energy,” said Dolcini.

To be eligible for the retrieval incentives, the biomass must be delivered to FSA-approved biomass conversion facilities. For a list of approved facilities, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program also provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who produce new sources of energy biomass by growing eligible crops on contract acres within approved BCAP project areas. Funding for this portion of the program, known as project areas, will be announced later this summer. In addition, FSA is preparing an environmental review of BCAP and has proposed improvements to project area requirements, including crop eligibility, contract duration, and different ways the program could help to offset the lack of crop insurance. Interested stakeholders may attend the public education meetings at the locations listed below:

  • July 14 - Sacramento, Calif.
  • July 15 - Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Aug. 3 - Raleigh, N.C.
  • Aug. 4 - Orlando, Fla.
  • Aug. 5 - Sioux City, Iowa

 

For more details on the environmental review, proposed changes to BCAP, and meeting locations, visit www.bcappeis.com, www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap or contact your local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.