Project Area FAQ's

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Project Area FAQ's

BCAP Project Area Proposal Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Who is eligible to submit a project proposal?

Answer: A group of producers or a BCF.


Question: Does a BCF have to become qualified to support BCAP's matching payments to be eligible to submit an acceptable proposal (or agree to become qualified after a proposal is submitted)?

Answer: No


Question: Will my proposal be shared with outside parties?

Answer: Generally, no.  However, FSA will share proposal materials with other state and federal agency review team members and other experts to help assess the proposals for possible approval.


Question: What is a biobased product?

Answer: The 2018 Farm Bill defines biobased products as commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are ‘‘(A) composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products, including renewable domestic agricultural materials and forestry materials; or (B) an intermediate ingredient or feedstock.’’

BCAP is being administered consistent with USDA’s standards for biobased products specified in the BioPreferred Procurement Program, which establishes minimum biobased content for specific items and generic groupings of biobased products and excludes certain biobased products including:

  1. Motor vehicle fuels (biofuels) and electricity (heat and power); and
  2. Products with significant national market penetration as of 1972 (7 CFR 2902.5(c)).

Biobased products may be listed in the Biobased Products Catalog available at http://www.biopreferred.gov

Biobased products that do not appear in the Biopreferred Program listings may still be eligible. To determine if an unlisted biobased product that meets the requirements of biobased products as outlined in the 1-BCAP handbook, subparagraph 71(A), please contact your state FSA office.


Question: What is Renewable Biomass?

Answer: The definition of renewable biomass, as specified in the BCAP regulation at 7 CFR 1450.2 and updated to include 2018 Farm Bill inclusion of algae is as follows:

  1. Appropriate materials, pre-commercial thinnings, or invasive species from National Forest System land and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management land that:
    1. Are by-products of preventive treatments that are removed to reduce hazardous fuels, to reduce or contain disease or insect infestation, or to restore ecosystem health;
    2. Would not otherwise be used for higher-value products; and
    3. Are harvested in accordance with applicable law and land management plans and the requirements for old-growth maintenance, restoration, and management direction of 16 U.S.C. 6512 (specifically, sections 102(e)(2), (3), and (4) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and large-tree retention provisions of subsection (f)); or 151
  2. Any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis from non-Federal land or land belonging to an Indian or Indian Tribe that is held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States, including:
    1. Renewable plant material, including:
      1. Feed grains;
      2. Other agricultural commodities;
      3. Other plants and trees or;
    2. Waste material, including:
      1. Crop residue;
      2. Other vegetative waste material (including wood waste and wood residues);
      3. Animal waste and byproducts (including fats, oils, greases, and manure) and;
      4. Food waste and yard waste.

Question: Who approves projects areas?

Answer: FSA's Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs.


Question: What should I know about monitoring?

Answer: Any required monitoring will be included as a part of the conservation plan, forest stewardship plan or equivalent plan that are created by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) or State Foresters.

Note that BCAP implementation plans are in compliance with Executive Order 13112, "Invasive Species." The E.O. 13112 provides, among other things, that federal agencies do not authorize, fund or carry out actions that it believes are likely to cause or promote the introduction or spread of invasive species in the U.S. or elsewhere.

In addition, project areas may be subject to specific collection, harvest and establishment standards as provided in state specific supplements to the 1-BCAP handbook.


Question: How soon can interested farmers, ranchers or forest landowners receive funds?

Answer: Interested farmer and ranchers located in an approved project area are encouraged to visit their FSA office to begin a worksheet and conservation plan that will result in a BCAP contract.

Producers may request an advanced payment (50 percent of the first year’s annual payment) on approved contracts, which will be made within 30 days or as soon as practicable. Establishment payments will be issued when approved practices are performed and performance is verified by the technical service provider.

Application approval for contract acreage is subject to funding availability. To check to see if your area has a designated project area please visit the BCAP web page at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/index.html


Question: What is a matching payment?

Answer: A matching payment is a payment to an eligible material owner for eligible material delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility. Matching payments are paid at a rate of $1 for $1 for up to $20 per dry ton.


Question: What are the rules for farmers, ranchers or forest landowners to receive establishment or annual payments?

Answer: Only contract participants with an approved BCAP-24 application are eligible for annual payments. Contract participants with a perennial crop are eligible for establishment cost-share reimbursement payments. The rules governing who may be a contract participant are found at 7 CFR part 1450 and the 1-BCAP handbook, Amendment 2.

In general, a person or legal entity must be an owner, operator or tenant of eligible land within a project area and will be the person or entity with the ability to perform under the terms of the contract. The terms of the contract will include but are not limited to the type of eligible crop to be grown and/or established, location of contract acreage, effective date of enrollment and per acre rental rate or establishment cost-share.

Application approval for contract acreage is subject to funding availability.  


Question: What is an establishment payment?

Answer: Under an approved BCAP application (form BCAP-24) for enrolled acreage within a project area, if requested by a contract participant, FSA will not pay more than $500/acre or 75 percent of the actual or average cost (whichever is lower) of establishing non-woody perennial crops and woody perennial crops specified in the conservation plan, forest stewardship plan or equivalent plan. Establishment payments are not available for annual biomass crops.

Application approval for contract acreage is subject to funding availability.  


Question: What is an annual payment?

Answer: Under an approved BCAP application (form BCAP-24) for enrolled acreage within a project area, annual payments will be computed based on all or a percentage of (1) a weighted average soil rental rate for cropland; (2) the applicable marginal pastureland rental rate for all other non-crop agricultural land except for nonindustrial private forest land; (3) for forest land, the average county rental rate for cropland as adjusted for forest land productivity for nonindustrial private forest land and; (4) any incentive payment as determined by FSA.

Annual payments are subject to reductions for specific reasons based on 7 CFR §1450.214(f).

Application approval for contract acreage is subject to funding availability.


Question: How will technical assistance be made available?

Answer: Once an application for either matching payments or project area annual and establishment payments has been certified by the eligible material or producer, the FSA county office will forward the appropriate forms (BCAP-10 for matching payments or FSA-848, page 2 for annual establishment payments) to the technical service provider. The technical service providers will be either the NRCS for agricultural lands or the State Forester for forestlands. The plan providers will work directly with the eligible material owners or producers to develop plans and provide certifications to the FSA county offices. Through FSA national agreements with these agencies, technical service is provided at a reimbursement rate to the plan providers. Technical service parameters are established by these national agreements and funding is subject to availability.


Question: What are the reporting requirements?

Answer: BCAP contract participants in a project area must annually report contract crop acreage and land use as well as performance of practices in order to qualify for establishment and annual payments.


For more information about the application and any required forms please contact the FSA state office or visit the USDA Farm Service Agency's website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.