Canadian Manufacturing

Interfor’s Oregon sawmill selected for U.S. federal biomass program

Gilchrist, Ore., chosen to participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture's Biomass Crop Assistance Program



GILCHRIST, Ore.—Canadian lumber firm Interfor Corp. said one of its Oregon sawmills has been selected to participate in a federal program in the United States encouraging the production of biomass.

According to Interfor, its sawmill in Gilchrist, Ore., southeast of Portland, was chosen by the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), an initiative that will see it take deliveries of biomass to use in its biomass-fuelled kilns.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the BCAP strategy was launched to “reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security and reduce carbon pollution, while expanding markets for agricultural products made in rural America.”

The program provides incentives to farmers and landowners “to establish, maintain and harvest biomass for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.”

“This program generates clean energy from biomass, reduces the threat of fires by removing dead or diseased trees from public forest lands, and invests in rural businesses and new energy markets,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a news release.

Interfor’s Gilchrist facility is one of 36 energy facilities across the U.S. chosen to accept biomass through BCAP.

“Gilchrist dries all of its lumber products in kilns fueled entirely by biomass,” Chuck Burley, manager of government affairs with Interfor’s Pacific Northwest division, said. “Under this federal program, we can buy more biomass from operations that are improving the health of our public forests by reducing the threat of fire and infestations.”

Under BCAP, the department has annual mandatory funding of US$25 million to make payments for 50 per cent of the cost of establishing a new, perennial energy crop, annual maintenance payments for a crop as it matures until harvest (up to five years for herbaceous crops or up to 15 years for woody crops), and matching payments for mitigating the cost of harvesting and transporting agriculture or forest residues to an end-use facility.

Eligible biomass materials that qualify for BCAP matching payments include agriculture and crop residues and forest residues removed directly from public forest land.

Ineligible materials include conventional crops like barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, rice, wheat, some oilseeds, peanuts, dairy products and sugar, and secondary agricultural or forest residues that are the result of processing.

To find out more about the BCAP initiative, log on to the Department of Agriculture website.

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