Producers will have until close of business on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, to sign up for participation in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) within approved project areas. This extends the original deadline of Sept. 16 by an additional week.

“BCAP is an effort that will create jobs and stimulate rural economies across the nation, and we want to make certain we have reached as many farmers and ranchers as possible in those BCAP project areas that aren’t yet fully subscribed,” said Nelson. “The Obama Administration is committed to providing financial opportunities to rural communities, farmers and ranchers to produce biomass which will be converted to renewable fuels and increase America's energy independence.”

BCAP, created in the 2008 Farm Bill, helps farmers and forest land owners with startup costs for planting new energy crops in approved project areas that can take several years to reach maturity until harvest. BCAP is the only federal program that expedites the production of biomass crops to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution and spur rural job creation.

BCAP Project Areas currently accepting enrollment consist of:

Project Area 1 (sponsor: Show Me Energy Cooperative, Centerview, MO) — up to 50,000 acres of perennial native grasses and forbs, such as Switchgrass, Big Bluestem, Illinois Bundleflower and Purple Prairie Clover, in addition to existing suitable stands of native grasses, legumes and forbs in:

Missouri (Barton, Bates, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Cass, Carroll, Chariton, Clay, Clinton, Cooper, Daviess, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Morgan, Pettis, Platte, Ray, Saint Clair, Saline and Vernon) Kansas (Atchison, Douglas, Franklin, Johnson, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte)

Project Area 2 (sponsor: MFA Oil Biomass LLC, Paragould, AR) — up to 6,588 acres of giant miscanthus in:

Arkansas (Clay, Craighead, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Randolph)

Project Area 3 (sponsor: MFA Oil Biomass LLC, Columbia, MO) — up to 3,400 acres of giant miscanthus in:

Missouri (Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, Monroe and Randolph)

Project Area 4 (sponsor: MFA Oil Biomass LLC, Aurora, MO) — up to 3,850 acres of giant miscanthus in:

Missouri (Barry, Christian, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, Newton and Stone)

Project Area 5 (sponsor: Aloterra Energy LLC,Ashtabula, OH) — up to 5,344 acres of giant miscanthus in:

Ohio (Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull) Pennsylvania (Crawford, Erie, Mercer)

Project Area 6 (sponsor: Beaver Biodiesel LLC, Albany, OR) — up to 1,000 acres of camelina in:

Oregon (Jefferson, Klamath, Umatilla, Union and Wasco counties) Washington (Whitman County)

Project Area 7 (sponsor: Abengoa Bioenergy LLC, Hugonot, KS) — up to 20,000 of perennial native grasses and forbs, such as switchgrass in:

Kansas (Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, and Stevens counties) Oklahoma (Texas County)

Project Area 8 (sponsor: Altair Fuels LLC, Bakersfield, CA and Tacoma, WA) — up to a total of 50,000 acres of camelina, distributed as follows in:

California (Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Riverside, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Solano, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tulare, and Yolo counties) up to 25,000 acres Montana (all 56 counties) up to 15,000 acres Washington (Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Okanogan, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman counties) up to 10,000 acres

Project Area 9 (sponsor: ZeaChem, Inc., Boardman, OR) — up to 7,002 acres of hybrid poplar in:

Oregon (Morrow County)

The sign-up period for the four most recently announced project areas (project areas 6 through 9) began Aug. 8, 2011. The sign-up period for project area 1 began May 9, 2011. The sign-up period for project areas 2 through 5 began June 20, 2011. Producers interested in participating in BCAP in these project areas should visit t local FSA county office. Information about BCAP may be found online at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.