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Conversion facilities can participate in Biomass Crop Assistance Program


Adrian Polansky, state executive director of USDA's Farm Service Agency in Kansas, Aug. 6 announced that biomass conversion facilities can enter into an agreement to participate in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which will help increase production of renewable energy. The program, authorized in the 2008 farm bill, provides financial assistance to producers who deliver eligible material to biomass conversion facilities and FSA will provide financial assistance to collect, harvest, store and transport eligible materials.

Polansky was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as state executive director of the Kansas FSA and started his position on July 20. He served in this same capacity from 1993 to 2001 under the Clinton Administration. Polansky brings a lifetime of agriculture experience to USDA. He recently served as secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture from February 2003 to July 2009, and owns a 1,900-acre family farm and wholesale farm seed company, both in Belleville, Kan. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy.

"The BCAP program will benefit producers in the developing biomass industry, the general public, and the environment as we continue working to expand production and availability of renewable energy," said Polansky. "Owners of eligible material can receive financial assistance for delivering qualified biomass to conversion facilities that use biomass for heat, power, bio-based products or advanced biofuels."

Biomass conversion facilities may become "qualified" by submitting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to USDA Farm Service Agency, Kansas State Office, 3600 Anderson Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66503. The MOU generally provides the requirements for becoming a qualified biomass conversion facility. Once a facility becomes qualified, eligible material owners or producers who deliver biomass to that facility may be eligible to receive CHST payments.

Eligible material owners or producers, who market eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility, may apply for the matching CHST payment at their FSA county office. An application must be submitted before the eligible material is sold and delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility. After the product is delivered, a producer must provide FSA with documentation of product quantity, quality and payment rate. FSA will validate payment requests with information in the county office and information provided under the terms of MOUs with the qualified biomass conversion facilities. CHST payments will not be authorized until after an appropriate environmental analysis has been conducted.

The matching CHST payments are paid at a rate of $1 for $1 per dry-ton equivalent received from a qualified biomass conversion facility, not to exceed $45 per dry-ton equivalent. A biomass owner is eligible to receive payments for two years. The purpose of the matching payments is to assist biomass producers with the CHST cost of providing biomass to a qualified biomass conversion facility. For example, if a qualified biomass conversion facility pays a producer $30 per dry ton for biomass, the material owner or producer would be eligible for a matching payment of $30 per dry ton from FSA. This payment will help offset the costs of CHST.

Interested biomass conversion facilities should contact Rod Winkler, Kansas FSA State Office, at e-mail rod.winkler@ks.usda.gov or phone 785-539-3534. The fillable MOU Agreement, eligible materials listing, and other BCAP information can be obtained on the Internet at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=ener&topic=bcap.

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