USDA announces incentives to establish biomass crops

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun enrolment for farmers and forest landowners seeking financial assistance to grow new sources of biomass for energy production and biobased products.

According to Val Dolcini, Farm Service Agency administrator, funding is available from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) which was reinstated in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The BCAP provides financial assistance in three categories – retrieval, establishment, and maintenance payments – to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land who wish to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks.

Retrieval payments may be available for collecting existing biomass residues that are not economically retrievable, with the funding intended to be used on sustainably harvesting and transporting agricultural or forest residues to qualified biomass conversion facilities.

Qualified biomass conversion facilities produce research, heat, power, biobased products, or advanced biofuels from biomass feedstocks.

Establishment payments can cover up to 50% of the costs of establishing new perennial biomass crops.

Maintenance payments may be awarded to producers seeking to maintain their new biomass crops as they mature until harvest, with the aid provision lasting up to five years for herbaceous and 15 years for woody crops.

USDA has launched an online service where biomass energy facilities or producer groups can submit proposals for BCAP project areas.

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