Biomass Crop Assistance Program

The purpose of BCAP is to encourage the production of biofuels.

BCAP accomplishes this by providing funding for agricultural and forest land owners and operators to receive matching payments for certain eligible material sold to qualified biomass conversion facilities for conversion to heat, power,
bio based products, or advanced biofuels.

It also provides funding for producers of eligible crops of renewable biomass within specified project areas to receive establishment payments and annual payments.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - None.

For information regarding final rule for BCAP, please contact
Martin Lowenfish
(202) 720-4053
Martin.Lowenfish@wdc.usda.gov

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the:
USDA Target Center
202-720-2600.


Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

BCAP is intended to encourage the production of biofuels by assisting agricultural and forest land owners and operators with the establishment and production of eligible crops in selected project areas for conversion to bioenergy, and with the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facilities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible to enter into a BCAP contract for the purposes of receiving an annual payment or establishment payments, a person or legal entity must be an owner, operator, or tenant of eligible land within a project area.

Eligible land must be agricultural land or nonindustrial private forest land.

Eligible agricultural land includes cropland; grassland; pastureland, rangeland, hayland, and other land on which food fiber, or other agricultural products are produced or capable of being legally produced for which a valid conservation plan exists and is implemented.

Ineligible land is as follows: (1) Federal lands; (2) State-owned, municipal, or other local government-owned lands; (3) Native sod; and (4) Land that is already enrolled in CCC s CRP, Wetlands Reserve Program, or Grassland Reserve Program.

Eligible crops for annual and establishment payments are renewable plant materials such as feed grains, other agricultural commodities, or other plants and trees, and algae; waste materials including vegetative waste, materials, such as woods wastes and wood residues, animal waste and byproducts, such as fats, oils, greases, and manure, food waste, and yard waste.

Ineligible crops are any crop eligible to receive payments under Title I of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (See 8-LP, paragraph 126 and 7-CN for Title I commodities); and any plant that is invasive or noxious or has the potential to become invasive or noxious.

Eligible materials for matching payments include various types of renewable biomass collected or harvested directly from the land in accordance with an approved conservation plan, forest stewardship plan, or an equivalent plan before transport and delivery to the biomass conversion facility.

Materials will only be eligible if USDA determines that there is no higher value use for that material within a reasonable distance of the biomass conversion facility.



Matching payments are not available for the following products:
(1) Material that is whole grain from any crop that is eligible to receive; payments under Title I of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 or an amendment made by that title, including, but not limited to, barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, or wheat; honey; or material that is mohair; certain oilseeds such as canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower seed, soybeans, sesame seed, and sunflower seeds; peanuts; pulse crops such as small chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas; dairy products; sugar; wool; and cotton boll fiber; (2) Animal waste and by-products of animal waste including fats, oils, greases, and manure; (3) Food waste and yard waste; and (4) Algae.

All eligible material must be harvested or collected directly from the land by the eligible material owner according to a conservation, forest stewardship, or equivalent plan and be separated from the higher value product before the point of delivery.

Woody biomass harvested or collected outside of project area contracts is limited to eligible material resulting from preventative treatments to address fire fuel load reduction, insect or disease outbreaks, or restore ecosystem health.

Woody biomass harvested or collected outside of project area contracts is limited to eligible materials that do not have an existing market for non-biomass use and cannot be co-mingled with higher product value materials.

Eligible material owner, for purposes of the matching payment, means a person or entity having the right to collect or harvest eligible material, who has the risk of loss in the material that is delivered to an eligible facility and who has directly or by agent delivered or intends to deliver the eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility, including: (1) For eligible material harvested or collected from private lands, including cropland, the owner of the land, the operator or producer conducting farming operations on the land, or any other person designated by the owner of the land; and (2) For eligible material harvested or collected from public lands, a person having the right to harvest or collect eligible material pursuant to a contract or permit with the US Forest Service or other appropriate Federal agency, such as a timber sale contract, stewardship contract or agreement, service contract or permit, or related applicable Federal land permit or contract, and who has submitted a copy of the permit or contract authorizing such collection to CCC.

Eligible facilities are biomass conversion facilities that convert or propose to convert renewable biomass into heat, power, bio based products, or advanced biofuels and have been approved for the BCAP program by the CCC.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land will receive the ultimate benefits because it will provide financial assistance to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks.

Eligible material owners who are the person or entity having the right to collect or harvest eligible material, who has the risk of loss in the material that is delivered to an eligible facility and who has directly or by agent delivered or intends to deliver the eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility.

Credentials/Documentation

In order to enroll land in BCAP, the participant must enter into a contract with the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Acceptance or rejection will be at the sole discretion of CCC, and offers may be rejected for any reason as determined appropriate to accomplish the purposes of BCAP. Contracts will be for a term of up to five years for annual and non-woody perennial crops and 15 years for woody perennial crops; or time period may vary due to type of crop, agronomic conditions, and other factors.

Eligible material owner who enter into a contract with CCC may receive matching payments up to a period of two-years following the first payment for the delivery of eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

FSA prepared a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for BCAP and NOFA and was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2010 (75 FR 36386).

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. In order for a delivery of eligible materials to a biomass conversion facility to qualify for a BCAP payment, the receiving biomass conversion facility must be qualified for BCAP. To become qualified, the biomass conversion facility must enter into an agreement with CCC, through the FSA State office in the State where the facility is physically located. For any facility, whether or not yet in operation, the entity requesting that a facility become qualified must provide proof of all applicable Federal, State, local, and Tribal permits and licenses required for operation or proof of application completions or letters of renewal submissions from the applicable governmental entity. Applicable permits and licenses may include, but are not limited to, business licenses, air quality permits, water discharge permits, storm water permits, or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives registrations.

Each biomass conversion facility must enter into a separate agreement with CCC regardless of whether a single owner has multiple facilities. CCC will issue a unique facility identification
number to each qualifying biomass conversion facility.

Eligible material owners must apply at an FSA county office and receive approval for that application before delivering the eligible material to the qualified biomass conversion facility.
Applications must include the following based on information obtained from contracts, agreements, or binding letters of intent: (1) An estimate of the total dry tons of eligible material expected to be sold to the qualified biomass conversion facility; (2) The type(s) of eligible material that is expected to be sold; (3) The name of the qualified biomass conversion facility that will purchase the eligible material; (4) The expected, fair market, per dry ton payment rate the owner plans to receive for the delivery of the eligible material; (5) The date or dates the eligible material is expected to be delivered to the qualified biomass conversion facility; (6) A new or amended conservation plan, forest stewardship plan, or equivalent plan.

Eligible material owners who deliver eligible material to more than one qualified biomass conversion facility must submit separate applications for each facility to which eligible material will be delivered.

In order to enroll land for Establishment and Annual payments, the participant must enter into a contract with CCC. Only the owners, operators, or tenants of eligible land within a project area that will actually perform the work specified in the contract are eligible to apply for the program. The contract is comprised of: (1) The terms and conditions for participation in BCAP; (2) The conservation plan, forest stewardship plan, or equivalent plan; and (3) Any other materials or agreements determined necessary by CCC.

Award Procedures

Contract approval for matching payments is subject to availability of funds and to eligible material owners completion of required conservation plan, forest stewardship plan or equivalent plan; presentation of proof of material ownership; and compliance with all eligible material provisions. Eligible material owners accepted into the program will receive their matching payments after they provide CCC documentation of deliveries to qualified biomass conversion facilities.

Establishment payments will be made based on a determination by CCC that an eligible practice or an identifiable portion exists. Eligible practices are practices specified in the conservation plan, forest stewardship plan, or equivalent plan that meet all standards need to cost-effectively establish annual crops, non-wood perennial crops, and wood perennial crops. Payments will not be more than 75 percent of the cost for establishing a perennial crop for seed and stock costs; planting costs, cost of site preparation for non-industrial forest land; could include but not limited to site preparation for non-tree planting and supplemental or temporary irrigation.

Annual payments will be calculated on a per acre basis using market-based rental rates. Rental payment rates will be based on average soil rental rate for cropland and all other agricultural land; marginal pastureland; and for forest land. The first years" payments will be made as an advance in an amount equal to 50 percent with 30 days of contract approval, with the remaining 50 percent being paid within 30 days of the first-year contract anniversary date. Annual payments for subsequent years will be made within 30 days of the contract anniversary beginning with the second-year contract anniversary.

If BCAP participants collect both annual and matching payments for their crops, they are subject to a reduction in their annual payment. The size of the reduction depends on the end use of the biomass being delivered to a biomass conversion facility. The annual payment will be reduced by: 1 percent if the eligible crop is delivered to a biomass conversion facility for conversion to cellulosic biofuels as defined by 40 CFR 80.1401; by 10 percent if the eligible crop is delivered to a biomass conversion facility for conversion to advanced biofuels; and by 25 percent if the eligible crop is delivered to a biomass conversion facility for conversion to heat, power, or biobased products.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010, Title 1, Part Chapter 1, Section 101, Public Law 111-212; The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Title IX, Section 9001, Public Law 110-246; The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Title IX, 7 U.S.C 8101.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not Applicable.

Appeals

Determinations may be appealed in accordance with the administrative appeal regulations at parts 11 and 780 of 7 CFR. Determinations by the Natural Resources Conservation Service may be appealed in accordance with procedures established under part 614 of 7 CFR.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Title 7, Part 1450.
Matching Requirements: Matching payments may be available for the delivery of eligible material to qualified biomass conversion facilities by eligible material owners. Qualified biomass conversion facilities produce heat, power, biobased products, or advanced bio fuels from biomass feed stocks. Matching payments will be made at a rate of $1 for each $1 per dry ton paid by qualified biomass conversion facilities up to $45 per dry ton. Payments are paid within 30 days after the request for payment by the eligible material owner is submitted at the FSA county office, including submission of sales invoice(s) issued by the qualified biomass conversion family.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

There are no restrictions place on the time permitted to spend the money awarded. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

No program reports are required.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

Biomass Conversion Facilities agree to develop and maintain a BCAP Purchase List of all renewable biomass purchases and include purchases from both eligible material owner and sellers not participating in BCAP.

No performance monitoring is required.

Audits

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-133. BCAP is a program operated by the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and therefore is included in the CCC annual audit. All CCC audit procedures apply to BCAP.

Records

Producers enrolling in all types of BCAP contracts may be reviewed or audited by FSA as
appropriate. Recipients shall retain records which include spreadsheet, books, papers, records, contracts, scale tickets, settlement sheets, invoices, written price quotations, or other documents related to BCAP. Records shall be maintained and retained for no less than three years from the date of payment for cultivation or renewable biomass purchases.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-4336-0-1-351.

Obigations

(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 10 $244,074,948; FY 11 $196,000,000; FY 12 $136,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 1450

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None. For information regarding final rule for BCAP, please contact
Martin Lowenfish
(202) 720-4053
Martin.Lowenfish@wdc.usda.gov

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the:
USDA Target Center
202-720-2600.

Headquarters Office

Kelly Novak USDA, FSA, Conservation & Environmental Programs (CEPD)
14th & Independence Ave SW , Room 4975, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: kelly.novak@wdc.usda.gov Phone: 202-720-4053.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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