USDA News Release re: Biomass

USDA-FSA News Release
United States Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency

For Immediate Release
September 14, 2009

Billy Merritt (720) 544-2887

USDA Farm Service Agency Announces Biomass Assistance Program
Eligible Facilities Should Begin Applying for BCAP Qualification Online

Lakewood, Colorado – Trudy Kareus, Executive Director for the Colorado USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announces that biomass conversion facilities may now apply for qualification under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This program allows producers or owners of eligible material who sell to these facilities to apply for matching payments under the collection, harvest, storage and transportation (CHST) component of BCAP.

“BCAP will provide financial assistance to owners of eligible material who deliver the material to qualified biomass conversion facilities that use biomass to produce heat, power, biobased products or advanced biofuels,” said Kareus.

An eligible material owner may be eligible for a matching CHST payment for eligible material delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility which will be 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. An eligible material owner may receive payments for a period of two years. The purpose of the matching payments is to assist biomass producers with the CHST cost of delivering 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 eligible material owner or producer would be able to apply for a matching payment of $30 per dry ton from FSA,” said Kareus.

An added benefit of BCAP is the reduction of fuel loads on forest and range lands that reduce the risks associated with wildfires and other natural disasters. Contractors who harvest the forest thinning on National Forest System land may be eligible to apply for a matching payment for those materials sold to a qualified biomass conversion facility; however, they must work with the Forest Service and comply with any rules, permits, or other guidance applicable to the National Forest System.

Biomass conversion facilities may become “qualified” by signing an Agreement with FSA state offices. The Agreement generally provides the framework that facilitates the making of CHST matching payments to eligible material owners or producers who plan to deliver biomass to that facility.

After a biomass conversion facility becomes “qualified” by signing an Agreement with FSA, eligible material owners or producers, who market eligible material to that biomass conversion facility, must apply for the CHST matching payment program at their nearest FSA county office before the eligible material is delivered. Eligible material owners must provide an agreement with the qualified biomass conversion facility as part of an application for a CHST matching payment.

After the product is delivered, a producer must provide FSA with documentation of product quantity, quality, and payment rate. County offices will validate payment requests information provided under the terms of the Agreement with the qualified biomass conversion facilities.

Interested biomass conversion facilities should contact the local County FSA at their nearest USDA Service Center and visit to download the Agreement.

NRCS Forestry Incentives

As the District Conservationist working with local forest owners, our office occasionally has to ask for more thorough and intensive forest thinning treatments landowners or sometimes even contractors, perform as part of their Environmental Quality Incentive Program contract work. In the previous blog entry we explained how the EQIP program works and what timber thinning and fire mitigation practices qualify for federal cost share dollars to the landowner. This years cost docket has seen a return to the higher levels of reimbursement for FSI—Forest Stand Improvement, which is some instances can be up to $1300.00 for the landowner if he performs thinning, fuel reduction and either mulching (chipping) and/or forest slash removal (chipping, burning slash or hauling the slash away).

Refer to the attached FSI standards and specifications and the photos of recent thinning for more information on this practice; also be aware that we can reimburse for thinning that is not the typical tree plantation look, but can be more of clump thinning that looks more natural or aesthetically pleasing to some.

Contact the local NRCS office at 719-686-9405

District Conservationist: Leon Kot

Soil Conservation Technicians: John Segars and Jeremy Buss

Farm Bill Clerk: Kari Moore
treated ponderosa forest


NRCS Forest Stand Improvement-specification

NRCS Forest Stand Improvement-standard