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USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program responds to industry concerns, says AF&PA


October 29, 2010
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) final rule is expected …

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) final rule is expected to minimize distortions to the market for wood fiber, which is good news for the forest products industry.

“We appreciate USDA’s consideration of industry concerns and the modifications made in the

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rulemaking process that will minimize market distortions and focus on supply,” said Donna Harman, president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).

“USDA’s revised approach on BCAP helps preserve existing jobs while also increasing renewable energy development, particularly in rural communities.”

According to the USDA, under its new BCAP final rule, the department will resume making payments to eligible producers of biofuels. This system is designed to ensure that a sufficiently large base of new, non-food, non-feed biomass crops is established in anticipation of future demand for renewable energy consumption.

Under the BCAP final rule, biomass crop producers who enter into BCAP projects may receive payments of up to 75% of the cost of establishing eligible perennial crops. In the case of woody perennial crops, they can receive payments for up to 15 years.

In addition, BCAP also assists agricultural and forest landowners by providing matching payments for the transportation of eligible materials that are sold to qualified biomass conversion facilities.

During the rulemaking process, AF&PA had expressed significant concern that USDA’s initial

proposal for matching payments could distort the market for wood biomass, diverting fiber supplies away from the forest products industry, thereby unintentionally jeopardizing the significant number of jobs and renewable energy the industry produces.

AF&PA argued that it would have been unsound policy to divert biomass from its higher value use and greater job-creating capacity in forest products manufacturing into less job-intense

stand-alone biomass energy production.

Under the BCAP final rule, biomass crop producers who enter into BCAP projects may receive payments of up to 75% of the cost of establishing eligible perennial crops. In the case of woody perennial crops, they can receive payments for up to 15 years.

In addition, BCAP also assists agricultural and forest landowners by providing matching payments for the transportation of eligible materials that are sold to qualified biomass conversion facilities.


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