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USDA’s bottleneck cleared

By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

Farmers are now delivering biomass bales to POET’s 22-acre storage site in Emmetsburg, the future home of the 25-million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant dubbed Project LIBERTY.

EMMETSBURG – Area farmers harvested 56,000 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk this fall, but have been waiting to deliver the biomass to POET while guidelines for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program were finalized. Farmers on Monday began completing the application process, and they started delivering bales soon after.

“While we shared the farmers’ frustration with delays to BCAP, we are happy to see that the program is being implemented and farmers are now delivering biomass to POET,” Project LIBERTY Director Jim Sturdevant said. “I know they are eager to deliver their bales, just as we are eager to validate our receiving and handling procedures at the new biomass stackyard.

“BCAP is important to helping these first farmers get the new biomass market off the ground. BCAP’s inclusion in the next Farm Bill is an important part of continuing to develop this market.”

BCAP is a USDA program that provides matching funds of up to $45 per ton to an individual farmer for a maximum two years.

It is meant to offset startup costs for developing the feedstock market for cellulosic ethanol and other alternative energy endeavors.

Bales this year will be used primarily to test procedures for delivery, receiving, quality assurance, storage and handling at the stackyard.

When operational, Project LIBERTY will use about 300,000 tons of biomass annually to produce ethanol.

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