The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers they have until close of business on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, to sign up for participation in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) within respective project areas.

BCAP, created in the 2008 farm bill, helps farmers and forest land owners with startup costs of planting new energy crops 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, Ark.) - up to 5,588 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 3,000 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 5,250 acres of giant miscanthus in:

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

Project Area 5 (sponsor: Aloterra Energy LLC, Ashtabula, Ohio) - 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, Ore.) - 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, Kan.) - 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, Calif. and Tacoma, Wash.) - 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, Ore.) - up to 7,002 acres of hybrid poplar in:

Oregon (Morrow County)

Producers in participating counties who enter into BCAP contracts are eligible for reimbursements of up to 75 percent of the establishment costs of the perennial energy crop, up to five years of annual rental payments for herbaceous crops and up to 15 years for woody crops.

The sign-up period for the four new 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 the project areas should visit their local FSA county office. Information about BCAP may be found online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.