The finalization of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) came just in time to help launch the Poet biomass market near the site of its planned cellulosic ethanol plant, says Jim Sturdevant, director of Project Liberty for Poet.

“The 85 farmers we have contracted with to deliver 56,000 tons of biomass this fall are nearly finished harvesting, so the final BCAP rule comes not a day too soon,” he says. “We will now apply for our cellulosic ethanol plant to become an approved Biomass Conversion Facility so that local farmers can become eligible for matching payments for the biomass they will soon deliver.”

This fall, farmers around Emmetsburg, IA, have been baling corncobs and light stover for delivery to Poet. To store bales, the company recently completed construction of a multi-million-dollar stack yard next to where the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant will be built.

“For several years, we have been working with university researchers, government agencies, farmers and agricultural equipment manufacturers to develop a system of harvesting, transporting and storing corncobs and light stover,” Sturdevant adds. “While we have made tremendous progress, the matching payments from BCAP help motivate the first farmers to adopt these new practices.”