Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, 33492-33495 [2014-13617]

Download as PDF 33492 Notices Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 112 Wednesday, June 11, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is announcing the availability of $12.5 million in matching payments under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) for the collection, harvest, storage, and transport of eligible materials to qualified Biomass Conversion Facilities (BCFs) in fiscal year (FY) 2014. This notice confirms the requirements for BCFs to apply for qualification, and for eligible material owners to apply for BCAP matching payments. DATES: Effective June 9, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Novak, telephone (202) 720–4053. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Background Section 9010 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill, Pub. L. 113–79) amends 7 U.S.C. 8111, reauthorizing BCAP. BCAP is an FSA program administered with Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds, which was implemented through the regulations in 7 CFR part 1450. The purpose of BCAP project areas is to provide financial assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land who wish to establish and produce eligible crops. BCAP also offers assistance for the delivery of eligible biomass feedstocks to qualified BCFs that are collected or harvested directly from agricultural lands and forest lands. BCAP provides this assistance in two payment categories: • Establishment and annual payments to certain producers who enter into VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:19 Jun 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 contracts with CCC to produce eligible biomass crops on contract acres within BCAP project areas. (See 7 CFR part 1450 subpart C.) • Matching payments for the delivery of eligible material to qualified BCFs by eligible material owners. (See 7 CFR part 1450 subpart B.) Qualified BCFs produce heat, power, biobased products, research, or advanced biofuels from biomass feedstocks. The 2014 Farm Bill added research as a use for BCFs. The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes $25 million annually to carry out BCAP and specifies that the Secretary must use not less than 10 percent, nor more than 50 percent, of the BCAP annual budget to make BCAP matching payments. This notice announces the availability of $12.5 million in FY 2014 for the funding of BCAP matching payments. The remainder of the 2014 funds will be expended on technical assistance. Technical assistance will be used for the implementation, operation, compliance, monitoring, and maintenance for all components of BCAP. Consistent with the definition of ‘‘technical assistance’’ in 7 CFR 1450.2, CCC will use a portion of the funding available in FY 2014 to ensure contract performance and acquire technical expertise for the conservation of natural resources on the land. Technical assistance will also include activities, processes, tools, and functions needed to support the delivery of technical services such as resource inventories, training, data, technology, monitoring, and effects analyses. FSA plans to use the technical assistance money to establish either interagency agreements or modify a current contract for the required services. There will be no funds in FY 2014 for establishment activities for project areas, except for payments under existing contracts, nor will there be funding for new project areas in 2014. The activities of this NOFA will be carried out under the existing regulations in 7 CFR part 1450, except to the extent superseded by the mandatory changes of the 2014 Farm Bill, including the narrowed definition of ‘‘eligible material’’ and the lower matching payment cap. The 2014 Farm Bill excludes bagasse, among other items, from the definition of ‘‘eligible material’’ and requires that all woody biomass be harvested directly from the land. The 2014 Farm Bill also gives the PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Secretary authority to provide participants matching payments at a rate of up to $1 for each $1 per ton provided to the BCF, not to exceed $20 per dry ton for a period of 2 years. That is a lower matching payment than the previously specified amount of $45 per dry ton. Scope and Policy Goals of this NOFA The scope of this NOFA is limited to matching payments using up to $12.5 million of the FY 2014 funds. With the limited timeframe for implementation in FY 2014, this limited scope of strategic and targeted implementation of only BCAP matching payments and improvement to technical assistance is the most effective plan for the use of the BCAP funds in FY 2014. Also, because of time limitations, FSA has decided to target the FY 2014 matching payment funding to the areas in which agricultural land and public forestland impacts allow BCAP to meet present and future bioenergy production goals while furthering goals such as forest health. Public forestland is National Forest System land and Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land; that is U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and BLM public lands, respectively. There are several factors that resulted in the focus on matching payments instead of project areas this fiscal year: In addition to the short time remaining in the 2014 planting cycle, the process to establish conservation plans for project areas, sign up for two separate contracts, review land eligibility, and submit project area proposals, this proposal evaluation and selection process takes considerable time for both the producer and FSA to be completed this fiscal year. By comparison, the short time remaining before the end of FY 2014 does allow adequate time to qualify BCFs, contract with material owners, collect or harvest the eligible materials, apply for payment, and deliver materials to qualified BCFs. The concentration of the BCAP matching payments in FY 2014 on agricultural residues and selected woody material from public forestland is in keeping with the statutory focus on preventative treatment and allows BCAP to support national initiatives aimed at the forest environment. For example, the targeting of woody eligible materials, which are the by-product of E:\FR\FM\11JNN1.SGM 11JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 112 / Wednesday, June 11, 2014 / Notices preventative treatments for hazardous fuels, disease, or insect infestation reduction, on public forestland assists in healthy forest management of public lands in urban-wildfire and fire danger zones and supports entrepreneurial efforts toward bioenergy research, biobased product, advanced biofuel, and combined heat and power developments. BCAP’s targeting of agricultural residues, such as woody orchard waste, assists in avoiding open incineration disposal that otherwise could be a potential air pollution source. While the focus for the selected woody material is from public forestland, some additional woody materials will be eligible for matching payments from agricultural lands, such as orchard waste. One of the justifications for focusing the matching payments for selected woody material from public forestland is the time required in FY 2014 to obtain a forest stewardship plan that meets the needs of BCAP where such a plan does not already exist. As specified in the definitions at 7 CFR 1450.2, a ‘‘forest stewardship plan’’ for purposes of BCAP is a long-term, comprehensive, multiresource forest management plan prepared by a professional resource manager and approved by the State Forester. The time required to obtain such a plan for private forest land lacking one is inconsistent with the time frame for application and delivery of eligible material for 2014 matching payments as set forth in this notice. FSA will make matching payments funding available in FY 2014 at the 2014 Farm Bill’s maximum allowable rate of up to 50 percent of the $25 million in available funding, in order to make available the opportunity to eligible material owners and at the same time achieve synergy with the USFS’ woodto-energy and forest health initiatives and BLM’s hazardous fuel reduction efforts. ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Qualified BCFs Qualified BCFs are covered in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.101. The regulations specify the requirements for a BCF to enter into an agreement with FSA acting on behalf of CCC, including what a BCF must agree to in writing. FSA will accept submission for qualification from BCFs for FY 2014 from June 16, 2014 through July 14, 2014. Applications for certification as a BCF must be made at the relevant FSA State Office. The submission of BCF qualification must be postmarked or submitted by fax or email to the FSA State Office’s Conservation Specialist VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:19 Jun 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 where the BCF is located by July 14, 2014. Eligible BCF’s must have feedstock suppliers who will collect or harvest and deliver the following selected eligible material: • Agricultural or crop residue, including woody agricultural residues, such as orchard waste, that does not have an existing higher-value product market, as defined in 7 CFR 1450.2; or • Woody materials only from public forestland. The eligible woody materials must be the by-product of preventive treatments for hazardous fuel reductions or containment or reduction of disease or insect infestations and must not have an existing market in that region. FSA will provide qualification numbers (ID numbers for the facilities) to BCFs and post a listing of the qualified facilities on the BCAP Web page at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap. BCFs must first be qualified by FSA before eligible material owners may deliver the selected eligible material detailed above or apply for BCAP matching payments. Previous BCF qualifications do not apply and will not be extended to make a facility eligible under this notice. Previous facility submissions requesting BCAP BCF qualification will not be considered. To be considered a qualified BCF for the purposes of the BCAP matching payments, the facility must enter into a new agreement with FSA by close of business on July 14, 2014 and must: • Use the eligible material for heat, power, biobased products, research, or advanced biofuels; • Meet all applicable regulatory and permitting requirements by applicable Federal, State, or local authorities; • Complete and submit the BCAP–1 overview form with applicable attachments; and • Agree in writing to all of the requirements in 7 CFR 1450.101(a)(2)(i) through (a)(2)(vi) and maintain the ability to present evidence or documentation that eligible material was or will be converted into heat, power, biobased product, research or an advanced biofuel. Once a BCF has met all the requirements and has been identified as a qualified BCF, FSA will carry out the actions specified in 7 CFR 1450.101(b)(1) through (b)(3) and post the location and contact information for the BCF and its qualification number on the BCAP Web page at www.fsa.usda .gov/bcap on or about July 21, 2014. Qualified BCFs will be responsible for complying with their agreements with FSA and converting purchases from the approved eligible material owners under PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33493 this notice into heat, power, biobased product, research, or advanced biofuel. Not every BCF that meets all the requirements will automatically be selected as a qualified BCF. Given the limited funding for FY 2014, CCC may prioritize BCFs that have suppliers of eligible material types that best meet BCAP goals. Matching Payments Following the posting of the qualified BCFs on or about July 21, 2014, FSA will then provide an opportunity to the suppliers of those qualified BCFs to enter into a contract with FSA for BCAP matching payments, at the rate of up to $1 for each $1 per ton provided to the BCF in an amount not to exceed $20 per dry ton for a period of 2 years, of the selected eligible materials. Eligible material owners may apply for an FSA contract following the posting in July of the qualified BCFs through August 25, 2014, or until there is no more available funding, whichever occurs first. The eligible material owners will submit their applications to the FSA county office in the county where the collection or harvest from the land will occur or where established farm records exist. Eligible material deliveries must occur on or before September 26, 2014 and requests for payments must be made on or before September 30, 2014. To be eligible for payment, collection and harvest directly from the land of the selected eligible material must occur after: • The completion and evaluation, by the appropriate FSA technical service provider, of the forest stewardship plan or conservation plan or equivalent plan for the land from which the selected eligible material is collected or harvested; and • Approval of the contract between FSA and the eligible material owner. Each approved eligible material owner must apply for payment at the FSA county office where their contract approval occurred. In order to be eligible for a BCAP matching payment under this NOFA, a person or legal entity must meet the requirements in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.102. In order to qualify for a payment under this notice the eligible material must be one of the following types of renewable biomass: • Woody materials that are byproducts of preventative treatment for hazardous fuel reductions or containment or reduction of disease or insect infestations and do not have an existing higher-value product market and are collected or harvested directly from public forestland; or E:\FR\FM\11JNN1.SGM 11JNN1 ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 33494 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 112 / Wednesday, June 11, 2014 / Notices • Agricultural residues or crop residues, including woody orchard waste, collected or harvested directly from agricultural lands, which include residues from agricultural 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. Eligible material must be delivered to a qualified BCF to be eligible for payment. The eligible material must also be collected or harvested directly from the land consistent with and only after a conservation plan or forest stewardship or equivalent plan has been developed and certified by the applicable FSA technical service provider. If the material is woody material from public forestland, the certification will also require submission of a plan evaluation by the applicable FSA technical service provider. Plans will at a minimum provide the information specified in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.103(a)(2)(ii)(B) through (iii) and (3)(ii). Materials are not eligible under this NOFA if they are: • Agricultural residue or crop residue that is collected or harvested before a conservation or equivalent plan has been completed; • Woody materials from public forestland that is collected or harvested before the forest stewardship or equivalent plan has been completed and evaluated by the appropriate FSA technical service provider; • Delivered before approval date of the contract between the eligible material owner and FSA; • Any woody material from public forestland or woody agricultural or crop residue that would otherwise be used for an existing higher-value product; • Any otherwise eligible material collected or harvested from public forestland or agricultural lands that, after delivery to a biomass conversion facility, its campus, or its affiliated facilities, must be separated from an eligible material used for a higher-value product in order to be used for heat, power, research, biobased products, or advanced biofuels; or • Bagasse; yard waste; food waste; algae; animal waste or by-products of animal waste including fats, oils, greases and manure; or material that is whole grain from any crop that is eligible to receive payments under title I of the 2014 Farm Bill or an amendment made by that title or other material excluded by the definition of eligible material in this NOFA. BCAP matching payments will be for a term not to exceed 2 years as specified VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:19 Jun 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 in the 2014 Farm Bill and 7 CFR 1450.106(a). An eligible material owner must apply to participate in the matching payments component of BCAP as specified in 7 CFR 1450.104(b). The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.104(c) specify what is required to be included in the eligible material owner’s application. The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.104(d) through (f) specify requirements related to delivery and payments requests, and payments. The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.105(a) specify what all participants whose payment application was approved are required to agree to. Definitions For the purposes of this NOFA, new or revised definitions include the following: ‘‘Agricultural residue’’ means crop residue from agricultural lands including woody orchard waste. ‘‘Dry ton’’ means one U.S. ton measuring 2,000 pounds. One dry ton is the amount of renewable biomass that would weigh one U.S. ton at zero percent moisture content. Woody material dry ton weight is determined in accordance with applicable ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards. ‘‘Eligible material’’ is renewable biomass as defined in 7 CFR 1450.2, except that the 2014 Farm Bill specially excludes from this definition: (1) Material that is whole grain from any crop that is eligible to receive payments under title I of the 2014 Farm Bill or an amendment made by that title, including—barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, or wheat; honey; mohair; oilseeds including canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower seed, soybeans, sesame seed, and sunflower seeds; peanuts; pulse; chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas; dairy products; sugar; and wool and cotton boll fiber; (2) Animal waste and by-products including fat, oil, grease, and manure; (3) Food waste and yard waste; (4) Bagasse; and (5) Algae. The following terms are defined in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.2: • Advanced biofuel; • Agricultural land; • Animal waste; • Biobased product; • Bioenergy; • Biofuel; • Biomass Conversion Facility (BCF); • Conservation plan; • Delivery; • Deputy Administrator; • Eligible material owner; PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Equivalent plan; • Food waste; • Forest Stewardship plan; • Higher-value product; • Indian Tribe; • Intermediate ingredient or feedstock; • Legal entity; • Matching payments; • Operator; • Participant; • Producer; • Project area; • Project sponsor; • Qualified biomass conversion facility; • Renewable biomass; • Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher; • Violation; and • Yard waste. Other Provisions Violations will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.4. Appeals will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.10. Scheme or device will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.11. Filing of false documents will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.12. Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements The information collection request for the BCAP activity is included in the approval of OMB control number, 0560– 0082. (BCAP was merged with the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).) The BCAP activity covered in this NOFA will not change the BCAP forms or the burden hours for those forms. The ECP and BCAP approved information collection request is being renewed as a separate effort, and it will be submitted to OMB for a 3-year approval. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The title and number of the Federal assistance program in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 10.087, Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Environmental Review FSA prepared a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for BCAP that was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2010 (75 FR 36386–36387). The Record of Decision (ROD) regarding FSA implementation of BCAP according to the provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill was also published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2010 (75 FR 65995– 66007). The BCAP PEIS was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 E:\FR\FM\11JNN1.SGM 11JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 112 / Wednesday, June 11, 2014 / Notices U.S.C. 4321–4347) and FSA regulations (7 CFR part 799). The decision record summarizes the reasons for FSA selecting the proposed action alternatives based on BCAP’s expected environmental and socioeconomic impacts and benefits as documented in the PEIS, all of which were considered in the decision. Pre-applications can be sent to the State Office addresses. Please use the Web link provided, http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/ StateOfficeAddresses.html. ADDRESSES: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE For further information, applicants may contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, Finance and Loan Analyst, MultiFamily Housing Preservation and Direct Loan Division, USDA Rural Development, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–0781, telephone (202) 690–0759 (voice) (this is not a toll free number) or (800) 877–8339 (TDDFederal Information Relay Service) or via email at, Bonnie.Edwards@ wdc.usda.gov. Rural Housing Service SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Signed on June 5, 2014. Juan M. Garcia, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation. [FR Doc. 2014–13617 Filed 6–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–05–P Notice of Funds Availability for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2014 Rural Housing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This Notice announces that the Rural Housing Service (‘‘RHS’’) is soliciting competitive applications under its Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program pursuant to 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, Public Law 113–76 (January 17, 2014) appropriated funding in FY 2014 for grants made by RHS for low- and very low-income housing repair and rural housing preservation, as authorized by 42 U.S.C. 1474, and 1490m. The commitment of program dollars will be made in the order qualified applications are ranked under this notice. DATES: If submitting a paper preapplication, the closing deadline for receipt of all applications in response to this Notice is 5:00 p.m., local time for each Rural Development State Office on July 28, 2014. The application should be submitted to the Rural Development State Office where the project will be located. If submitting the preapplication in electronic format, the closing deadline for receipt is 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 28, 2014. RHS will not consider any preapplication that is received after the closing deadline. Applicants intending to mail pre-applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline. Acceptance by the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX) and postage due applications will not be accepted. ehiers on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:19 Jun 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A. Program Description The HPG program is a grant program which provides qualified public agencies, private non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, faith-based and community organizations, and other eligible entities, grant funds to assist low- and very low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the HPG program assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to low- and very low-income persons. B. Federal Award Information The funding instrument for the HPG Program will be a grant agreement. The term of the grant can vary from one to two years, depending on available funds and demand. No maximum or minimum grant levels have been established at the national level. You should contact the Rural Development State Office where the project will be located to determine the state allocation. For Fiscal Year 2014, $3,905,553.50 is available for the HPG Program. Rural Economic Area Partnership Zones and other funds will be distributed under a formula allocation to states pursuant to 7 CFR part 1940, subpart L, ‘‘Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds.’’ Decisions on funding will be based on pre-application scores. Anyone interested in submitting an application for funding under this program is encouraged to consult the Rural Development Web site periodically for updated information regarding the status of funding authorized for this program. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33495 C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N provides details on what information must be contained in the pre-application package. Entities wishing to apply for assistance should contact the Rural Development State Office where the project will be located to receive further information, the State allocation of funds, and copies of the pre-application package. Eligible entities for these competitively awarded grants include state and local governments, non-profit corporations including, but not be limited to faith-based and community organizations, Federally recognized Indian tribes, and consortia of eligible entities. Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674, federally recognized Indian tribes are exempt from the requirement to consult with local leaders, including the requirement of announcing the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.652, grantees are expected to coordinate and leverage funding for repair and rehabilitation activities, as well as replacement housing, with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area. While HPG funds may be leveraged with other resources, it is not a requirement that the HPG applicant do so as the HPG applicant would not be denied an award of HPG funds if all other project selection criteria have been met. D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address To Request Application Package Pre-application packages can be requested from the State Offices. Please use the Web link provided, http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/ StateOfficeAddresses.html. 2. Content and Form of Application Submission All pre-applications must meet the requirements of 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, as well as comply with the provisions of this Notice. Preapplications can be submitted either electronically using the Section 533 preapplication form as found at http:// www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-HPG_ Grants.html or by hard copy to the appropriate Rural Development State Office where the project will be located. A hard-copy of the electronic preapplication form is included with this Notice. Note: Submission of the E:\FR\FM\11JNN1.SGM 11JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 112 (Wednesday, June 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33492-33495]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13617]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 112 / Wednesday, June 11, 2014 / 
Notices

[[Page 33492]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Biomass Crop 
Assistance Program

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is announcing the availability 
of $12.5 million in matching payments under the Biomass Crop Assistance 
Program (BCAP) for the collection, harvest, storage, and transport of 
eligible materials to qualified Biomass Conversion Facilities (BCFs) in 
fiscal year (FY) 2014. This notice confirms the requirements for BCFs 
to apply for qualification, and for eligible material owners to apply 
for BCAP matching payments.

DATES: Effective June 9, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Novak, telephone (202) 720-4053.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 9010 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill, 
Pub. L. 113-79) amends 7 U.S.C. 8111, reauthorizing BCAP. BCAP is an 
FSA program administered with Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds, 
which was implemented through the regulations in 7 CFR part 1450. The 
purpose of BCAP project areas is to provide financial assistance to 
owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest 
land who wish to establish and produce eligible crops. BCAP also offers 
assistance for the delivery of eligible biomass feedstocks to qualified 
BCFs that are collected or harvested directly from agricultural lands 
and forest lands. BCAP provides this assistance in two payment 
categories:
     Establishment and annual payments to certain producers who 
enter into contracts with CCC to produce eligible biomass crops on 
contract acres within BCAP project areas. (See 7 CFR part 1450 subpart 
C.)
     Matching payments for the delivery of eligible material to 
qualified BCFs by eligible material owners. (See 7 CFR part 1450 
subpart B.) Qualified BCFs produce heat, power, biobased products, 
research, or advanced biofuels from biomass feedstocks. The 2014 Farm 
Bill added research as a use for BCFs.
    The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes $25 million annually to carry out 
BCAP and specifies that the Secretary must use not less than 10 
percent, nor more than 50 percent, of the BCAP annual budget to make 
BCAP matching payments. This notice announces the availability of $12.5 
million in FY 2014 for the funding of BCAP matching payments. The 
remainder of the 2014 funds will be expended on technical assistance.
    Technical assistance will be used for the implementation, 
operation, compliance, monitoring, and maintenance for all components 
of BCAP. Consistent with the definition of ``technical assistance'' in 
7 CFR 1450.2, CCC will use a portion of the funding available in FY 
2014 to ensure contract performance and acquire technical expertise for 
the conservation of natural resources on the land. Technical assistance 
will also include activities, processes, tools, and functions needed to 
support the delivery of technical services such as resource 
inventories, training, data, technology, monitoring, and effects 
analyses. FSA plans to use the technical assistance money to establish 
either interagency agreements or modify a current contract for the 
required services.
    There will be no funds in FY 2014 for establishment activities for 
project areas, except for payments under existing contracts, nor will 
there be funding for new project areas in 2014.
    The activities of this NOFA will be carried out under the existing 
regulations in 7 CFR part 1450, except to the extent superseded by the 
mandatory changes of the 2014 Farm Bill, including the narrowed 
definition of ``eligible material'' and the lower matching payment cap. 
The 2014 Farm Bill excludes bagasse, among other items, from the 
definition of ``eligible material'' and requires that all woody biomass 
be harvested directly from the land. The 2014 Farm Bill also gives the 
Secretary authority to provide participants matching payments at a rate 
of up to $1 for each $1 per ton provided to the BCF, not to exceed $20 
per dry ton for a period of 2 years. That is a lower matching payment 
than the previously specified amount of $45 per dry ton.

Scope and Policy Goals of this NOFA

    The scope of this NOFA is limited to matching payments using up to 
$12.5 million of the FY 2014 funds. With the limited timeframe for 
implementation in FY 2014, this limited scope of strategic and targeted 
implementation of only BCAP matching payments and improvement to 
technical assistance is the most effective plan for the use of the BCAP 
funds in FY 2014. Also, because of time limitations, FSA has decided to 
target the FY 2014 matching payment funding to the areas in which 
agricultural land and public forestland impacts allow BCAP to meet 
present and future bioenergy production goals while furthering goals 
such as forest health. Public forestland is National Forest System land 
and Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land; 
that is U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and BLM public lands, respectively.
    There are several factors that resulted in the focus on matching 
payments instead of project areas this fiscal year: In addition to the 
short time remaining in the 2014 planting cycle, the process to 
establish conservation plans for project areas, sign up for two 
separate contracts, review land eligibility, and submit project area 
proposals, this proposal evaluation and selection process takes 
considerable time for both the producer and FSA to be completed this 
fiscal year.
    By comparison, the short time remaining before the end of FY 2014 
does allow adequate time to qualify BCFs, contract with material 
owners, collect or harvest the eligible materials, apply for payment, 
and deliver materials to qualified BCFs.
    The concentration of the BCAP matching payments in FY 2014 on 
agricultural residues and selected woody material from public 
forestland is in keeping with the statutory focus on preventative 
treatment and allows BCAP to support national initiatives aimed at the 
forest environment. For example, the targeting of woody eligible 
materials, which are the by-product of

[[Page 33493]]

preventative treatments for hazardous fuels, disease, or insect 
infestation reduction, on public forestland assists in healthy forest 
management of public lands in urban-wildfire and fire danger zones and 
supports entrepreneurial efforts toward bioenergy research, biobased 
product, advanced biofuel, and combined heat and power developments. 
BCAP's targeting of agricultural residues, such as woody orchard waste, 
assists in avoiding open incineration disposal that otherwise could be 
a potential air pollution source.
    While the focus for the selected woody material is from public 
forestland, some additional woody materials will be eligible for 
matching payments from agricultural lands, such as orchard waste. One 
of the justifications for focusing the matching payments for selected 
woody material from public forestland is the time required in FY 2014 
to obtain a forest stewardship plan that meets the needs of BCAP where 
such a plan does not already exist. As specified in the definitions at 
7 CFR 1450.2, a ``forest stewardship plan'' for purposes of BCAP is a 
long-term, comprehensive, multi-resource forest management plan 
prepared by a professional resource manager and approved by the State 
Forester. The time required to obtain such a plan for private forest 
land lacking one is inconsistent with the time frame for application 
and delivery of eligible material for 2014 matching payments as set 
forth in this notice.
    FSA will make matching payments funding available in FY 2014 at the 
2014 Farm Bill's maximum allowable rate of up to 50 percent of the $25 
million in available funding, in order to make available the 
opportunity to eligible material owners and at the same time achieve 
synergy with the USFS' wood-to-energy and forest health initiatives and 
BLM's hazardous fuel reduction efforts.

Qualified BCFs

    Qualified BCFs are covered in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.101. 
The regulations specify the requirements for a BCF to enter into an 
agreement with FSA acting on behalf of CCC, including what a BCF must 
agree to in writing.
    FSA will accept submission for qualification from BCFs for FY 2014 
from June 16, 2014 through July 14, 2014. Applications for 
certification as a BCF must be made at the relevant FSA State Office. 
The submission of BCF qualification must be postmarked or submitted by 
fax or email to the FSA State Office's Conservation Specialist where 
the BCF is located by July 14, 2014.
    Eligible BCF's must have feedstock suppliers who will collect or 
harvest and deliver the following selected eligible material:
     Agricultural or crop residue, including woody agricultural 
residues, such as orchard waste, that does not have an existing higher-
value product market, as defined in 7 CFR 1450.2; or
     Woody materials only from public forestland. The eligible 
woody materials must be the by-product of preventive treatments for 
hazardous fuel reductions or containment or reduction of disease or 
insect infestations and must not have an existing market in that 
region.
    FSA will provide qualification numbers (ID numbers for the 
facilities) to BCFs and post a listing of the qualified facilities on 
the BCAP Web page at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.
    BCFs must first be qualified by FSA before eligible material owners 
may deliver the selected eligible material detailed above or apply for 
BCAP matching payments.
    Previous BCF qualifications do not apply and will not be extended 
to make a facility eligible under this notice. Previous facility 
submissions requesting BCAP BCF qualification will not be considered.
    To be considered a qualified BCF for the purposes of the BCAP 
matching payments, the facility must enter into a new agreement with 
FSA by close of business on July 14, 2014 and must:
     Use the eligible material for heat, power, biobased 
products, research, or advanced biofuels;
     Meet all applicable regulatory and permitting requirements 
by applicable Federal, State, or local authorities;
     Complete and submit the BCAP-1 overview form with 
applicable attachments; and
     Agree in writing to all of the requirements in 7 CFR 
1450.101(a)(2)(i) through (a)(2)(vi) and maintain the ability to 
present evidence or documentation that eligible material was or will be 
converted into heat, power, biobased product, research or an advanced 
biofuel.
    Once a BCF has met all the requirements and has been identified as 
a qualified BCF, FSA will carry out the actions specified in 7 CFR 
1450.101(b)(1) through (b)(3) and post the location and contact 
information for the BCF and its qualification number on the BCAP Web 
page at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap on or about July 21, 2014.
    Qualified BCFs will be responsible for complying with their 
agreements with FSA and converting purchases from the approved eligible 
material owners under this notice into heat, power, biobased product, 
research, or advanced biofuel.
    Not every BCF that meets all the requirements will automatically be 
selected as a qualified BCF. Given the limited funding for FY 2014, CCC 
may prioritize BCFs that have suppliers of eligible material types that 
best meet BCAP goals.

Matching Payments

    Following the posting of the qualified BCFs on or about July 21, 
2014, FSA will then provide an opportunity to the suppliers of those 
qualified BCFs to enter into a contract with FSA for BCAP matching 
payments, at the rate of up to $1 for each $1 per ton provided to the 
BCF in an amount not to exceed $20 per dry ton for a period of 2 years, 
of the selected eligible materials. Eligible material owners may apply 
for an FSA contract following the posting in July of the qualified BCFs 
through August 25, 2014, or until there is no more available funding, 
whichever occurs first. The eligible material owners will submit their 
applications to the FSA county office in the county where the 
collection or harvest from the land will occur or where established 
farm records exist. Eligible material deliveries must occur on or 
before September 26, 2014 and requests for payments must be made on or 
before September 30, 2014.
    To be eligible for payment, collection and harvest directly from 
the land of the selected eligible material must occur after:
     The completion and evaluation, by the appropriate FSA 
technical service provider, of the forest stewardship plan or 
conservation plan or equivalent plan for the land from which the 
selected eligible material is collected or harvested; and
     Approval of the contract between FSA and the eligible 
material owner.
    Each approved eligible material owner must apply for payment at the 
FSA county office where their contract approval occurred.
    In order to be eligible for a BCAP matching payment under this 
NOFA, a person or legal entity must meet the requirements in the 
regulations in 7 CFR 1450.102.
    In order to qualify for a payment under this notice the eligible 
material must be one of the following types of renewable biomass:
     Woody materials that are by-products of preventative 
treatment for hazardous fuel reductions or containment or reduction of 
disease or insect infestations and do not have an existing higher-value 
product market and are collected or harvested directly from public 
forestland; or

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     Agricultural residues or crop residues, including woody 
orchard waste, collected or harvested directly from agricultural lands, 
which include residues from agricultural 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.
    Eligible material must be delivered to a qualified BCF to be 
eligible for payment. The eligible material must also be collected or 
harvested directly from the land consistent with and only after a 
conservation plan or forest stewardship or equivalent plan has been 
developed and certified by the applicable FSA technical service 
provider. If the material is woody material from public forestland, the 
certification will also require submission of a plan evaluation by the 
applicable FSA technical service provider. Plans will at a minimum 
provide the information specified in the regulations in 7 CFR 
1450.103(a)(2)(ii)(B) through (iii) and (3)(ii).
    Materials are not eligible under this NOFA if they are:
     Agricultural residue or crop residue that is collected or 
harvested before a conservation or equivalent plan has been completed;
     Woody materials from public forestland that is collected 
or harvested before the forest stewardship or equivalent plan has been 
completed and evaluated by the appropriate FSA technical service 
provider;
     Delivered before approval date of the contract between the 
eligible material owner and FSA;
     Any woody material from public forestland or woody 
agricultural or crop residue that would otherwise be used for an 
existing higher-value product;
     Any otherwise eligible material collected or harvested 
from public forestland or agricultural lands that, after delivery to a 
biomass conversion facility, its campus, or its affiliated facilities, 
must be separated from an eligible material used for a higher-value 
product in order to be used for heat, power, research, biobased 
products, or advanced biofuels; or
     Bagasse; yard waste; food waste; algae; animal waste or 
by-products of animal waste including fats, oils, greases and manure; 
or material that is whole grain from any crop that is eligible to 
receive payments under title I of the 2014 Farm Bill or an amendment 
made by that title or other material excluded by the definition of 
eligible material in this NOFA.
    BCAP matching payments will be for a term not to exceed 2 years as 
specified in the 2014 Farm Bill and 7 CFR 1450.106(a).
    An eligible material owner must apply to participate in the 
matching payments component of BCAP as specified in 7 CFR 1450.104(b). 
The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.104(c) specify what is required to be 
included in the eligible material owner's application.
    The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.104(d) through (f) specify 
requirements related to delivery and payments requests, and payments.
    The regulations in 7 CFR 1450.105(a) specify what all participants 
whose payment application was approved are required to agree to.

Definitions

    For the purposes of this NOFA, new or revised definitions include 
the following:
    ``Agricultural residue'' means crop residue from agricultural lands 
including woody orchard waste.
    ``Dry ton'' means one U.S. ton measuring 2,000 pounds. One dry ton 
is the amount of renewable biomass that would weigh one U.S. ton at 
zero percent moisture content. Woody material dry ton weight is 
determined in accordance with applicable ASTM (American Society for 
Testing and Materials) standards.
    ``Eligible material'' is renewable biomass as defined in 7 CFR 
1450.2, except that the 2014 Farm Bill specially excludes from this 
definition:
    (1) Material that is whole grain from any crop that is eligible to 
receive payments under title I of the 2014 Farm Bill or an amendment 
made by that title, including--barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, 
or wheat; honey; mohair; oilseeds including canola, crambe, flaxseed, 
mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower seed, soybeans, sesame seed, and 
sunflower seeds; peanuts; pulse; chickpeas, lentils, and dry peas; 
dairy products; sugar; and wool and cotton boll fiber;
    (2) Animal waste and by-products including fat, oil, grease, and 
manure;
    (3) Food waste and yard waste;
    (4) Bagasse; and
    (5) Algae.
    The following terms are defined in the regulations in 7 CFR 1450.2:
     Advanced biofuel;
     Agricultural land;
     Animal waste;
     Biobased product;
     Bioenergy;
     Biofuel;
     Biomass Conversion Facility (BCF);
     Conservation plan;
     Delivery;
     Deputy Administrator;
     Eligible material owner;
     Equivalent plan;
     Food waste;
     Forest Stewardship plan;
     Higher-value product;
     Indian Tribe;
     Intermediate ingredient or feedstock;
     Legal entity;
     Matching payments;
     Operator;
     Participant;
     Producer;
     Project area;
     Project sponsor;
     Qualified biomass conversion facility;
     Renewable biomass;
     Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher;
     Violation; and
     Yard waste.

Other Provisions

    Violations will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.4.
    Appeals will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.10.
    Scheme or device will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 1450.11.
    Filing of false documents will be handled as specified in 7 CFR 
1450.12.

Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements

    The information collection request for the BCAP activity is 
included in the approval of OMB control number, 0560-0082. (BCAP was 
merged with the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).) The BCAP 
activity covered in this NOFA will not change the BCAP forms or the 
burden hours for those forms. The ECP and BCAP approved information 
collection request is being renewed as a separate effort, and it will 
be submitted to OMB for a 3-year approval.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The title and number of the Federal assistance program in the 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 
10.087, Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).

Environmental Review

    FSA prepared a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement 
(PEIS) for BCAP that was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 
2010 (75 FR 36386-36387). The Record of Decision (ROD) regarding FSA 
implementation of BCAP according to the provisions of the 2008 Farm 
Bill was also published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2010 (75 
FR 65995-66007). The BCAP PEIS was completed in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42

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U.S.C. 4321-4347) and FSA regulations (7 CFR part 799). The decision 
record summarizes the reasons for FSA selecting the proposed action 
alternatives based on BCAP's expected environmental and socioeconomic 
impacts and benefits as documented in the PEIS, all of which were 
considered in the decision.

    Signed on June 5, 2014.
Juan M. Garcia,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President, 
Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2014-13617 Filed 6-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P