Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Val Dolcini announced that Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 is the extended deadline to sign up for participation in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This extends the original deadline for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program by an additional week for producers in the 17 California counties that are approved for this program.

“BCAP will create and preserve jobs and help stimulate rural economies,” said Dolcini. “We’re extending the deadline to reach as many farmers and ranchers as possible in those BCAP project areas so this program can have the greatest positive effect in rural California and elsewhere.”

Camelina is the BCAP-approved crop for California producers. To participate, producers will contract with AltAir Fuels, LLC and Sustainable Oils to process camelina oilseeds to create a sustainable jet fuel product that will be used by the U.S. Navy. Coverage for the camelina crop is available through FSA’s Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) if the coverage is obtained by Oct. 1, 2011.

The Obama Administration is committed to renewable fuels that will increase America's energy independence stated Dolcini. “BCAP addresses that priority and provides additional biomass production and green energy economic opportunities for rural communities, farmers and ranchers,“ he said.

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. These crops 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.

In California, the BCAP Project Area is sponsored by AltAir Fuels, LLC for a total of up to 25,000 acres in the counties of Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Riverside, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Solano, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tulare, and Yolo.

Producers interested in participating in BCAP in these project areas should visit their local FSA county office soon. Information about BCAP may be found online at Information about AltAir and Sustainable Oils contracts can be obtained from seed distributors Wilbur Ellis at 559-909-0668 or Ag-Seeds Unlimited at 559-730-8400.