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|Articles - March 2011|
|Wednesday, March 02, 2011|
The growing pains of the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) may be nearing an end, presenting an opportunity for those in Oregon’s biomass industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Administration (FAS) has almost smoothed out the administrative rules of the 3-year-old program; Congress will consider funding in the next few months.
The BCAP was formed with the intent of jump-starting investor confidence in agricultural and woody biomass harvesting by offering matching payments of up to $45 per dry ton of biomass to producers who deliver the fuel source to a power plant. However, the vague administrative language of the program led to abuse.
“We didn’t have the parameters to make sure we followed the intent of the program,” says Oregon FSA representative Lois Loop. Some woody biomass producers across the nation diverted wood residues to biomass plants that would have gone to existing industries like particleboard furniture manufacturing because they could get matching BCAP payments. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and other legislators protested this abuse of the program that led to higher costs in the existing industries and suspended it in February.
Of the $244 million of BCAP matching payments given out in FY 2009 and FY 2010, Oregon received $6 million, partly because the program qualification rules favored agricultural biomass producers. “It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” says Loop of configuring the program for woody biomass producers. “We’re still rounding off the square corners.”
The FSA is educating people in Oregon’s biomass industry on how to use the program: If it receives funding, it could mean millions of dollars in subsidies for Oregon’s woody biomass producers.
“It’s an interesting program…it will bring a lot more interest in biomass,” says Tom Ludlow, CFO of Klamath Falls-based timber company JWTR. “[But] if a project doesn’t work without government subsidies, it’s probably not going to work.”
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
Friday, January 09, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.
Monday, January 26, 2015
The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY
Matt French opens up South Waterfront.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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How sports tourism is driving economic growth and making cities across Oregon a better place to live.
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.