COLUMBIA — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Roy Blunt announced two Biomass Crop Assistance Program areas in Missouri on Tuesday. One area will encompass MFA Oil Biomass' facility in Columbia.
The project area surrounding Columbia targets 3,000 acres of land in Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau, Monroe and Randolph counties, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The project will create financial incentives for farmers to produce giant miscanthus, a grass crop that can be pelletized and used to produce heat, electricity and biofuel.
Farmers selected to participate in the program will be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the expenses involved in establishing bioenergy crops.
One of the goals of project is to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, Vilsack said in a conference call Tuesday.
Other goals of the program include improving domestic energy security, reducing pollution, spurring rural economic development and creating jobs, according to the release.
"More American energy means more American jobs," Blunt said.
The project is expected to create about 980 jobs in Columbia and about 4,000 jobs nationwide by 2014.
Registration for the project area begins Monday. Interested producers should visit their local Farm Service Agency office or go to www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap for more information.