USDA approves first BCAP project area

By Anna Austin | May 05, 2011

The USDA has announced approval of the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program project area, which was proposed by Missouri-based farmer-owned cooperative Show Me Energy.

BCAP project areas provide financial incentives—annual payments to land enrolled and establishment cost-share payments—to interested farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the voluntary establishment and production of biomass crops for conversion to heat, power, biobased products and advanced biofuels.

The 39-county Project Area 1 is located in central and western Missouri and eastern Kansas, and will grow lowland and highland native mix grasses, according to Show Me Energy Board President Steve Flick. He said Show Me Energy would buy biomass crops produced in the project area, for use at its Centerview, Mo., biomass pellet plant, which is in the process of validating modular technologies for gasifying biomass pellets to produce base-load electric power and for converting biomass into biobutanol.

The target for this project area in 2011 is 20,000 acres of biomass crops. When fully enrolled, and the area may have up to 50,000 acres, or a total of 150,000 tons per year from land enrolled in BCAP contracts. 

Flick said the coop worked very hard putting the proposal together over many months. Most of Show Me Energy’s 600 members live in the project area, he said, but non-members that live in the area can also participate. To do so, they must contact a local Farm Service Agency office in a selected county.

Show Me Energy was also the first qualifier for BCAP matching collection, harvest, storage and transport payments during the pilot version of the program.

 For more information on BCAP Project Area 1, click here.