Thursday, June 16, 2011

USDA to promote biomass energy crops in Missouri

The USDA has chosen two new areas in Missouri to participate in a program promoting biomass energy crops.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the program will pay farmers to plant giant miscanthus, a perennial grass that can be used for energy production.

Vilsack says the project hopes to enroll more than 8,000 acres around existing biomass conversion facilities in Columbia and Aurora.

“The biomass conversion facilities will essentially pelletize the miscanthus and then use it for agricultural heating, for power generation, for residential heating and potentially for export opportunities as well,” Vilsack said.

An area of up to 50,000 acres in western Missouri and eastern Kansas was approved for participation in May.

The USDA has also announced the selection of new biomass program areas in Arkansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio


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