Biomass Crop Assistance Program

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Bioenergy > United States > Department of Agriculture > Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

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The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Biomass Crop Assistance Program supports the establishment and production of crops for conversion to bioenergy in project areas and assists with collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility. [1] (PDF file)



  • Back on track: Why BCAP is worth saving, 1 July 2011 by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: "Since the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) was rolled out in 2009, there has been an awful lot that’s gone wrong. But in the last few months, a lot has gone right: conservation plans under the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) are now required, and new funding will now be only awarded to support crop establishment."
    • "BCAP was created in the 2008 Farm Bill to help farmers produce sustainably grown cellulose crops for cleaner biofuels, power, heat and biomaterials."
    • "The USDA Farm Service Agency blundered early on when they hastily kicked off an ill-advised matching payment element for existing biomass delivered to energy facilities. The payments were not targeted to new crops at all, but instead disrupted well-established markets for forestry residues, distorting prices and supplies."
    • "In what was widely interpreted as a warning, Congress cut BCAP’s funding for 2011 by $134 million, and barely dodged an amendment to outright kill the program."
    • "Fortunately, USDA stopped approving energy facilities for BCAP payments this spring, choosing to focus instead on crop establishment."[2]
  • USDA Announces Project to Encourage Development of Next-Generation Biofuels, 5 May 2011 press release by USDA Farm Service: "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the establishment of the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area to promote the production of dedicated feedstocks for bioenergy. This project will help spur the development of next-generation biofuels and is part of Obama Administration efforts to protect Americans from rising gas prices by breaking the nation’s dependence on foreign oil."
    • "Comprising 39 contiguous counties in Missouri and Kansas, the first BCAP Project Area proposes the enrollment of up to 50,000 acres for establishing a dedicated energy crop of native grasses and herbaceous plants (forbs) for energy purposes. Producers in the area will plant mixes of perennial native plants, such as switchgrass, for the manufacture of biomass pellet fuels and other biomass products to be used for power and heat generation. The proposed crops also will provide long term resource conserving vegetative cover. The project is a joint effort between the agriculture producers of Show Me Energy Cooperative of Centerview, Mo., and USDA to spur the expansion of domestically produced biomass feedstocks in rural America for renewable energy."
    • "BCAP, created in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a primary component of the strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution, and spur rural economic development and job creation. BCAP provides incentives to interested farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and cultivation of biomass for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels."[3]
  • While Tax Package Richly Rewards Corn Ethanol, Senate Appropriators Propose Pulling Rug Out from Under Next Generation Bioenergy, 15 December 2010 by the National Wildlife Federation: "While the Senate approved a tax package today that includes a $5-billion subsidy for corn ethanol, five lines buried within the almost 2000-page Senate Omnibus appropriations bill unveiled yesterday sound a death knell for next generation bioenergy crops at a critical time for the industry. The omnibus bill proposes to zero out funding for a key program to support development of the next generation of biofuels and bioenergy based on grasses and trees."
    • "The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), enacted as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, has been eagerly awaited by the next generation bioenergy industry as a critical link in making biomass based energy a reality by helping with the “chicken and the egg” problem of ensuring an adequate supply of tree and grass crops to fuel biomass energy facilities. The program would provide annual payments for five years to offset the risk to the landowner of trying these new crops, as well as assistance with the cost of establishing the new crops."
    • "While Senate appropriators claim that it was their intent to deeply cut, rather than to eliminate the BCAP, the language included in the bill would eliminate all funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2011."
  • U.S. to Pay Farmers for Non-Food Crops for Biofuels, Vilsack Says, 21 October 2010 by Bloomberg: "The U.S. will pay farmers to produce non-food crops that can be converted to fuels for planes, cars and power plants to reduce reliance on imported oil and boost rural economies, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today."
    • "The Agriculture Department will resume payments to farmers under the 2008 Biomass Crop Assistance Program for eligible perennial crops and work with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop aviation fuels from farm wastes, Vilsack said today at the National Press Club."
    • "Vilsack said he is directing the agency to plan within 60 days and help fund construction of five refineries spread across the U.S. to process biomass into fuels. Higher costs for refiners related to use of the new feedstocks will be paid from up to $281.5 million that remains from the 2008 Farm Act, Vilsack said."
    • "To boost demand for ethanol during the transition to higher concentrations, the agency will help deploy 10,000 blending pumps at convenience stores and filling stations around the country. Each of those pumps cost $25,000, which would put the total cost of the expansion at $250 million, Vilsack said."[4]
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Missouri Conversion Facility First with BCAP Producer Payments, 31 August 2009 by USDA Newsroom: "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) made the first matching payment under the new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Show Me Energy Cooperative of Missouri was the first biomass conversion facility that became qualified under BCAP, a 2008 Farm Bill Program, and less than a month later, was paying producers for biomass materials that FSA matched with BCAP collection, harvest, storage and transportation (CHST) program funds."
    • "The BCAP program encourages biomass conversion facilities to sign agreements with FSA. The agreement can be downloaded from Once signed up, FSA confirms qualifications and assigns facilities identification numbers. Producers who sell eligible materials to qualified biomass conversion facilities can then apply for FSA payments that match the amount received from the facility." [5]


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