On Thursday, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will be hosting a meeting in Sampson County to talk about the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Todd Atkinson, Senior Energy Advisor to the USDA Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services explains what the BCAP program is all about:
“The BCAP is a voluntary program that provides incentives to farmers and forest land owners to establish and maintain dedicated energy crops that will be used in a facility that converts those crops to heat, power, liquid biofuel, or bio based products.”
Atkinson explains that the program is an opportunity to profitably utilize marginal land:
“That’s an opportunity for expanding biofuel production from just the Midwestern states. And its an opportunity to expand our biofuel production using more than just corn, which is something that might interest livestock and poultry producers. But it is also a revenue opportunity for farmers that may be transitioning from tobacco or farmers with marginal lands that they may not be growing a cash crop on.”
The counties in North Carolina that are eligible for the BCAP program are Onslow, Sampson, Duplin, Lenoir, Bladen, Johnston, Cumberland, Green, Wayne and Jones.
The BCAP incentive includes a five-year payment while biomass crops are maturing during the construction the biomass plant that will utilize them:
“It sets aside approximately four million dollars for a BCAP project area in the southern part of North Carolina. It would be sponsored by Chemtex, who is slated to build a biofuels plant in Sampson County. In order to build that plant they need the feed stocks. So this program provides 75% of the cost of establishing the feed stocks, and it would provide producers with an annual payment of up to five years to maintain these crops. In many instances dedicated energy crops are not annual crops, they are perianal crops.”
This week’s meeting is slated for Sampson County:
“The details of next steps will be shared.”
For more information on this or another scheduled for July 31st in Duplin County, visit our calendar.