The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced the tenth new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project area in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties in northern New York State for the production of shrub willow. Up to 3,500 total acres are approved for the shrub willow plantings in central and northern New York State. These producers are eligible to receive establishment and annual payments to grow shrub willow for biomass conversion to bioenergy. FSA has reserved up to $4.28 million for enrollments in this Project Area.
Shrub willow is a short rotation woody crop and can produce large amounts of woody biomass through coppicing harvests that allow for repeated cuttings of wood from each shrub. The technology that will be employed reflects 25 years of research and development spearheaded by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry's willow biomass program. The 3,500 acres will be planted in 2013 and 2014 to provide a steady supply of this biomass material to the biomass conversion facilities. Land preparation for the contracted acreage will take place in 2012 and 2013.
To support shrub willow producers in the project area, FSA will enter into 11-year contracts with the eligible producers to grow the willow biomass crops on cropland enrolled in BCAP contracts. These participants will be required to maintain the willow during the 11-year contracts at their own expense, but will receive an annual rental payment. Producers must have a production agreement with a qualified biomass conversion facility, such as the project sponsor, ReEnergy Holdings LLC, which has three bioenergy generating facilities in the region committed to the project area - ReEnergy Lyonsdale (20 MW), ReEnergy Chateaugay(22 MW) and ReEnergy Black River (60 MW). The signup periods for producers in project area counties are scheduled to run from June 18 through Sept. 14, 2012.