Jun 15 2011
Promotes renewable energy development, job creation, and a clean energy economy
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will establish a Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area in Arkansas. The project, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, sets aside more than 5,000 acres to grow crops that will be processed into renewable energy.
The BCAP Project Area will target enrollment of 5,558 acres of land in Craighead, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Randolph counties. MFA Oil Biomass LLC will sponsor the project, promoting the cultivation of giant miscanthus, a sterile hybrid warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products. According to the USDA, the project area and conversion facility in Paragould will earn approximately $50 million each year. The project is also expected to create a large number of biorefinery, agriculture, and support jobs. By 2014, the USDA predicts that the project will create 750 jobs in Paragould alone.
“To address our future energy needs we must use all of our natural resources, including biomass,” Boozman said. “The Biomass Crop Assistance Program helps strengthen and diversify our American energy supply, and we’re glad that Arkansas was chosen to participate in this program.”
“This project helps cultivate the enormous potential our farmers have for producing domestic energy,” Pryor said. “It’s a win-win to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution, and spur economic development and job creation.”
“The Biomass Crop Assistance Program will help Arkansas lead the way in next-generation biofuels. This program will create jobs, help our country produce renewable energy, and accelerate economic growth in the First District,” Crawford said.
Beginning on Monday, June 20, Arkansas crop producers and bioenergy facilties may submit proposals to the USDA to be selected as a BCAP project area. Arkansans who may be interested in participating may visit their local FSA county office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap to find out more information.