Farmers sought for biofuel project
Farm officials, hoping to get California farmers to plant as much as 25,000 acres of camelina, an oilseed, for a biomass start-up project are offering incentives to growers in San Joaquin County and other areas of the Central Valley and Southern California.
Camelina, which grows on marginal land, would be feedstock for a biofuel plant producing jet fuel substitute to be built in Bakersfield and begin production in late 2012.
Karen Ross, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, urged farmers to consider enrolling.
"These biofuel projects will be at the vanguard of fuel technology and can hopefully be a catalyst to much needed economic development in some our distressed rural communities," she said.
The U.S. Farm Service Agency is offering five-year contracts to landowners and operators under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Camelina producers would receive a base-soil-rental-plus-50 percent incentive. So, if a farm's soil rent is $30 per acre, for example, the farmer would get a $45 per acre annual incentive payment.
AltAir Fuels LLC, based in Washington state, plans to design and build the initial biofuels plants in Washington and California.
The program is expected to enroll as many as 25,000 acres in California, and another 25,000 in Montana and Washington, and anticipates providing $20 million in annual payments (an average $400 per acre).
FSA offices are accepting applications for the program through Sept. 16.
For more information or to apply, contact Farm Service Agency at 3422 W. Hammer Lane, Suite A, Stockton, or call (209) 472-7127.