CONNEAUT, Ohio — Aloterra Energy is encouraging farmers and landowners to sign up quickly to grow giant Miscanthus, a non-invasive, perennial grass used for energy production.
With a Sept. deadline to sign up for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and acreage being determined on a first-come, first-served basis, time is running out. Aloterra stresses the importance of local residents applying to grow Miscanthus to keep BCAP funding in the region.
Aloterra recently received USDA approval for funding to grow Miscanthus through the establishment of acreage in northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania as one of four Biomass Crop Assistance Program project areas.
The 2008 Federal Farm Bill created BCAP, a federally funded initiative that encourages the development of renewable energy sources. This funding allows Aloterra to achieve its goal of producing next-generation, renewable energy opportunities as a vertically integrated energy supply company.
Aloterra will combine the benefits of growing Miscanthus as a renewable energy source with the BCAP incentives that encourage farmers to grow a biomass crop. Under current guidelines, BCAP will reimburse farmers up to 75 percent of planting costs and pay an annual rent payment while farmers wait for their crops to mature.
Once the crops mature, farmers will be eligible to receive two years of matching payments for their tonnage, up to $45 per ton beyond the selling price.
Aloterra’s project area along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border has guaranteed BCAP funding for 5,344 acres in 2011, which will go to the first farmers to sign up in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania.
Each project area has a projected goal of growing 50,000 acres of the Miscanthus biomass crop. Producers in Ohio and Pennsylvania who want to participate in the program or find out more should contact Scott Coye-Huhn at 440-666-2053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approved producers who want to participate in BCAP will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Producers will need to sign an agreement with Aloterra to obtain initial approval and will finalize enrollment in BCAP by taking the signed agreement to their local FSA office.
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