The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), created in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a primary component of the domestic agriculture, energy, and environmental strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce carbon pollution, and spur rural economic development and job creation. BCAP provides incentives to interested farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and cultivation of biomass crops for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.
BCAP will address a classic chicken-and-egg challenge: if commercial-scale biomass facilities are to have sufficient feedstocks, then an established, large-scale energy crop source must exist. Conversely, if profitable crop production is to occur, then a viable consumer base must exist to purchase the product.
With the enactment of the updated federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which requires 36 billion gallons of advanced biofuels in the national fuel supply by 2022, new crops must keep pace with these revised federal targets. Many bioenergy crops need several years to become established. Many bioenergy facilities need several years to reach commercial scale. BCAP serves as a catalyst to unite these multiple dynamics by reducing the financial risk for landowners who switch from familiar, revenue-generating crops to new, unconventional crops in preparation for these emerging markets.