USDA to provide grants for growing, harvesting feedstocks 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Department of Agriculture announced its plans today for a federal program that assists farmers and energy facilities in growing and harvesting biofuel feedstocks.

USDA said it will open up an application period this summer through the fall for farmers who wish to use the Biomass Crop Assistance Program to plant biofuel crops. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will administer the program and award up to $8 million for projects that expand and enhance areas that have previously been awarded BCAP funding, according to the statement.

Awards will be announced early next spring, USDA said.

The department also said it will allocate $11.5 million through December 2015 to energy facilities for harvesting and transporting biomass materials that will be used in biorefineries. Eligible crops include agricultural and forest residues.

Facilities can apply for both new and renewed BCAP funding beginning today, USDA said.

Congress created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program in 2008 and reauthorized it in last year’s farm bill.

Environmentalists complained about USDA’s decision last year to use BCAP money to fund the transportation, collection and storage of agricultural and woody wastes. They said that the department should have offered more funding to farmers who want to grow perennial energy crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus (Greenwire, June 14,