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Farmers Will Benefit from USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance

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The USDA has finalized the pilot Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which will help farmers get matching payments for delivering nonfood feedstocks to cellulosic ethanol plants, reports Associated Press.

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) was established by the 2008 Farm Bill as a new federal energy program providing incentive payments for the production of biomass crops used for heat, power, bio-based products, and biofuels.

Farmers participating in BCAP will be eligible to enter into a 5-year agreement with USDA to establish annual or perennial crops or a 15-year agreement for woody biomass. Participating suppliers can potentially double their income under this program.

Cellulosic biofuels have long been touted as the future of the ethanol industry, but the transition from corn to nonfood feedstocks has been slow.

According to Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who authored the program that was part of the 2008 Farm Bill, it will create jobs and lead to energy independence.

"It is essential that the United States break its dependence on foreign oil and that can only be done through the domestic development of advanced biofuels, which includes the tapping of the homegrown energy resources of the American prairie," Thune said.