Farmers are now delivering biomass bales to Poet's 22-acre storage site in Emmetsburg, IA. That’s where a 25-million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant, dubbed “Project Liberty,” will be built.

Area farmers harvested 56,000 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk this fall, but were waiting to deliver the biomass after guidelines for USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) were finalized.

Farmers began completing the BCAP application process Jan. 24 and started delivering bales soon after. BCAP provides individual farmers up to $45/ton each in matching funds for up to two years to help offset startup costs and develop a feedstock market for energy endeavors.

“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 says.

“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,” he adds.

Bales this year will be used primarily to test procedures for delivery, receiving, quality assurance, storage and handling at the Poet stackyard. When operational, the plant will use about 300,000 tons of biomass annually to produce ethanol. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com.