|Miscsnthus - the dwarf garden variety, related to the giant hybrid energy crop.|
BCAP, created in the 2008 Farm Bill, is run by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA). BCAP is designed to help farmers and forest land owners switch to crops that can be used to produce usable energy. In many cases, these new energy crops can have significant start-up costs and can take several years before they are ready for harvest. Developing the facilities need to convert these crops into energy products can also involve significant lead time. To overcome these obstacles, BCAP will pay energy crop producers reimbursement for up to 75 percent of the costs of establishing perennial crops. BCAP will also pay for annual maintenance of these crops, for up to five years for herbaceous crops and eleven years for woody crops.
The funding announced this week includes nearly $4 million to fund the production of up to $4,000 acres of grass crops including miscanthus and switchgrass in North Carolina. These crops will be sent to a refinery proposed by Chemtex International where they will be converted into 20 million gallons of bioethanol per year. The refinery is also expected to produce chemicals and biogas. North Carolina farmers will be paid an initial amount to establish the grass crops, plus five years of annual payments for crop maintenance, on top of their crop sales.
$4.2 million in BCAP funding will also support the establishment of up to 3,500 acres of shrub willow in northern New York. Project sponsor ReEnergy Holdings LLC will buy the willow crop as a fuel for biomass electricity production in the area.
BCAP will also provide an additional $1.2 million in funding for an expansion of miscanthus production in northeast Arkansas. Project sponsor MFA Oil Biomass LLC anticipates using the crop to produce a pelletized fuel for both heating use on the producing farms and sale into pellet fuel markets.