Missouri facility first to receive new biomass funds

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) has selected a Missouri energy cooperative as the nation’s first recipient of matching funds under the newly created Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).

Suppliers to the biomass conversion facility, Show Me Energy Cooperative of Missouri, are now receiving matching payments from the government for biomass materials sold to Show Me Energy, located in Centerview, Mo.

“I am committed to Missouri being a leader in green technology and in alternative fuels, so I am delighted that a Missouri company was the first in the nation to receive these federal funds to encourage biomass conversion,” Governor Jay Nixon said in a statement.

Show Me Energy Cooperative was the first biomass conversion facility that became qualified under BCAP, a 2008 Farm Bill Program, according to the USDA. Through BCAP collection, harvest, storage and transportation (CHST) program funds, suppliers are eligible to receive dollar-for-dollar assistance, up to $45 per dry ton, for biomass delivered to conversion facilities.

“Show Me Energy completed an agreement soon after our July 29th announcement and had biomass producers waiting,” said FSA Administrator Jonathan Coppess. “Agriculture Secretary Vilsack had a chance to see first hand the company’s successful operation during a recent visit to Missouri. He was impressed and excited about the opportunities that BCAP presents for agriculture, the environment and the nation.”

Show Me Energy Cooperative has over 500 biomass producers supplying materials such as switchgrass, straw, corn stover, sawdust, woodchips and other biomass materials. The conversion facility produces fuel pellets from agricultural waste products, heating houses and livestock facilities, but Cooperative CEO Kurt Herman hopes to expand production beyond pellets to cellulosic liquid fuels.

Kansas Power & Light Company’s Sibley plant is also testing about 56 tons of pellets to see if biomass fuel could supplement coal for electricity generation. In a local news broadcast, Mr. Herman said the cooperative has the capacity to produce 100,000 tons of pellets per year, giving many farmers in the region a second revenue stream.

Other conversion facilities qualified to receive funds through BCAP are located in California, New York, Florida, Alabama, and Wisconsin.

“As the Obama Administration continues laying the foundation for a stronger, revitalized economy, biomass has great potential to create new, green jobs for American workers,” Secretary Tom Vilsack said in announcing producer payments for the Missouri facility. “Biomass also has important environmental benefits to produce cleaner energy and reduce greenhouse gases.”

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