Recent Press Releases

USDA to Launch Thune Cellulosic Ethanol Program

Thune-Authored Program Will Spur Second Generation Biofuel Production

June 12, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD —  Senator John Thune today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the Notice of Funds Availability for the initial stage of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in the Federal Register. Senator Thune authored the BCAP, which was included in the 2008 Farm Bill.

"Second generation biofuels refined from several different sources of renewable biomass can further reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy," said Thune. "The Biomass Crop Assistance Program will help jumpstart biomass production and collection and spur further development of second generation biorefineries across the country. I am pleased this program is moving forward, and will continue working with USDA to ensure the full program is implemented in the near future.

"South Dakota is uniquely positioned to benefit from this program due to the large number of slash piles which have accrued in the Black Hills National Forest, the state's rich endowment of switchgrass acres, and the availability of corn stover."

The first part of BCAP, which was included in the Notice of Funds Availability, provides matching payments to producers, Forest Service contractors, and other land owners for the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of renewable biomass to a nearby biorefinery or biomass power plant. The second part of BCAP pays producers who grow energy dedicated crops within close proximity of an existing or planned biorefinery.

Senator Thune, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, included the program in the 2008 Farm Bill during the Committee's deliberations on the bill, and has been encouraging the USDA to implement the regulations for the program over the past several months.