- Category: Politics
25 Oct 2010
- Published on Monday, 25 October 2010 04:43
- Hits (393)
By Nuel Navarrete
United States agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday rules for executing the Biomass Crop Assistance Program has been finalized.
The program headlines a number of initiatives that will advance the production of fuels from renewable resources, Mr. Vilsack told the National Press Club.
The program is authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 to support the production of new, nonfood biomass crops that can be converted to bioenergy.
In the final ruling, the agriculture department will resume granting payments to eligible producers of biofuel feedstock.
The program applies a two-pronged approach that will support the production of biofuel products domestically. Primarily, it provides federal funding for the establishment and production of eligible renewable biomass crops situated in specific locations, which are called project areas.
Crop producers with contracts under the crop assistance program may regain up to 75 percent of the cost of producing eligible perennial crops.
These payment contracts may stretch for up to five years for annual or non-woody perennial crops. Meanwhile, contracts for woody perennial crops can last for up to 15 years.
Currently, the Farm Services Agency is accepting proposals for which sites can be considered project areas. Once a proposal for a project area is approved, qualified producers may enter the program by applying at their local agency office.
The program also provides matching payments to landowners and operators for transporting materials that are sold to qualified biomass conversion facilities.
Additionally, the Agriculture Department also closed a five-year agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop aviation fuel from green feedstock to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and stabilize aviation fuel prices.
Both parties will collaborate in assessing the accessibility of the different types of feedstock that could be converted into jet fuels by biorefineries.
The participants will craft a measurement system to evaluate the state of the different parts of a feedstock supply chain, including the availability of biomass resources and the potential of biomass resources to convert into jet fuel.
"Domestic production of renewable energy, including biofuels, is a national imperative and that's why U.S.D.A. is working to assist in developing a biofuels industry in every corner of the nation," said Mr. Vilsack.
“BCAP will help the nation's power, bio-based product, and advanced biofuel industries produce energy from sustainable rural resources and create jobs that will stimulate rural economies across the nation," Mr. Vilsack added.