The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced four Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) projects in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania to be cultivated for renewable energy. These projects will contribute to increasing job growth in rural areas, while also reducing emissions and reliance on foreign oil.


Acreage in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania will be cultivated to grow renewable energy crops as part of the USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Photo: NAFTC

The acreage will be used to grow 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. The yield from the plant will be able to produce up to 10-15 tons of dry matter per acre and will be converted by the companies’ nearby biofuel conversion facilities.

The project areas and conversion facilities could earn up to an estimated $50 million a year and spur job creation. The economic impact studies for the project indicate that as many as 3,900 jobs could be created across the four project sites.

“Renewable, home-grown, clean energy from American producers is vital to our country’s energy future because it reduces our reliance on foreign oil and creates good-paying production jobs that cannot be exported,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a June 15 news release. “Today’s announcement will make a significant contribution to rural America and create nearly 4,000 jobs, demonstrating the great economic potential the production of renewable energy holds for our rural communities.”

The USDA announced earlier this year the first initial project for 50,000 energy crops in 39 counties in central and western Missouri and eastern Kansas. The newly announced Biomass Crop Assistance Programs include:

  • Project 2 in Arkansas with acres in Clay, Craighead, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett and Randolph counties with conversion facility in Pargould, Ark.
  • Project 3 in Missouri that includes crop enrollment in Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, Monroe and Randolph counties with conversion facility in Columbia, Mo.
  • Project 4, also in Missouri, with 3,000 acres throughout Barry, Christian, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, Newton and Stone counties with conversion facility in Aurora, Mo.
  • Project 5 includes Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania with the conversion facility in Ashtabula, Ohio.

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