Recent Press Releases

Agriculture Department Proposes Rule for Thune Biofuels Program

BCAP Will Spur Advanced Biofuel Production

February 3, 2010

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a proposed rule for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which Senator Thune authored and included in the 2008 Farm Bill. The program makes payments to producers of energy-dedicated, nonfood crops.

“Biofuels and other forms of renewable energy can be a major component of our strategy for reducing our dependence on imported energy,” said Thune. “Providing incentives for the production of biofuels from non-edible sources will hasten the spread of next generation biofuels and create economic opportunity in places where traditional biofuel production was not possible. Given our abundant resources of prairie grasses and wood waste, South Dakota is uniquely positioned to benefit from this program.”

The Agriculture Department’s proposed rule would begin the next phase of BCAP that makes payments to producers for the planting of energy dedicated crops in areas close to biorefineries. Producers can receive up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing a crop and annual payments for up to 15 years of crop production.

In 2009, USDA issued final regulations and began awarding grants under the first part of BCAP, which provides per-ton matching payment for the collection, storage, and transportation of biomass delivered to a local biorefinery or renewable energy facility. Since BCAP was signed into law, over 350 facilities have qualified for funding including Spearfish Forest Products in Spearfish, South Dakota and Western Biomass Energy, LLC in Upton, Wyoming, which uses biomass collected in the Black Hills.

The publication of the draft rule in the Federal Register begins a 60 day comment period in which citizens can review the rule. Comments will be accepted at