SPRINGFIELD — Scherrie V. Giamanco, state executive director for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Illinois, has announced the application period for the next round of Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Areas. Proposals will be accepted until April 23.
“BCAP provides incentives to farmers and forest landowners to grow non-food crops to be processed into biofuels – a critical element of our national energy strategy to address high fuel prices and reduce reliance on foreign oil,” said Giamanco. “Because most energy crops are perennial and take time to mature before harvest, BCAP is designed so that sufficient quantities of feedstock will be available to meet future demand. And because these crops can grow where other crops cannot, it provides farmers with new opportunities to diversify into more markets.”
The BCAP Project Areas where these crops are grown will be selected from proposals producers or biomass facilities submit to FSA. Information about submitting a proposal can be found on the www.grants.gov website.
BCAP was created in the 2008 Farm Bill. USDA selected nine project areas in Fiscal Year 2011, which resulted in the approval of more than 860 producer contracts to grow camelina, hybrid poplar, warm season grasses and giant miscanthus on almost 50,000 acres. The total investment in those projects is estimated to be $55 million.
On Nov. 18, 2011, Congress enacted the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, limiting the total amount of funding available for BCAP to $17 million.
The request for proposal and additional information can be found at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.