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Biomass Crop Assistance Program

Sustainable commercial production of willow biomass crops in northern New York State is being catalyzed by the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). This program is helping landowners to overcome the challenges of growing a new dedicated energy crop. The broad goals of BCAP are to improve domestic energy security, reduce atmospheric carbon pollution and spur rural economic development by providing assistance to land owners who establish and produce new biomass feedstocks such as shrub willow. This also creates innovations and increases awareness and adoption of the new crop. There are currently over 1100 acres of willow crops enrolled in the BCAP program in northern NY, with production spread across Jefferson, Lewis, and Oneida counties, situated around two biopower facilities owned by ReEnergy Holdings LLC. BCAP has successfully paired biomass producers with an end-user in ReEnergy who has contracted to purchase all willow produced over an 11 year period, creating market stability. BCAP assists landowners through partial establishment grants to cover a percentage of crop establishment costs, as well as annual acreage incentive payments based on soil conservation rates. SUNY-ESF, with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio), is providing a range of extension services to assist current and potential growers produce this new crop.

The current enrollment period for BCAP funding to establish willow biomass crops in New York State has expired, but BCAP is included in the most recent 2014 Farm Bill, and more funding opportunities will likely become available again soon. For updates on future funding, please check back to this website regularly, or contact The Willow Project at SUNY-ESF via phone (315 470-6775) or email (willow@esf.edu).

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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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