The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded nearly $102 million in grant funding to dairy methane reduction projects across the state, according to a Sept. 18 announcement.
These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research & Development Program (DDRDP) and the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms, CDFA said.
More specifically, CDFA said the following have been funded: 43 DDRDP projects totaling $67.4 million, 50 AMMP projects totaling $31.5 million and three demonstration projects totaling $3 million. The projects will collectively reduce an estimated 789,536 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year.
“The awards allow our dairy families to produce clean renewable energy,” CDFA secretary Karen Ross said. “These efforts promote energy-secure economies, which are long-lasting and important contributions to local rural communities and our planet’s well-being.”
Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes, CDFA said, noting that methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 25 times more heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide within a 100-year time frame, which contributes to global warming. Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions use them to produce electricity or natural gas.
Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form (AMMP) also helps significantly reduce methane emissions, the agency said.
Since 2015, 213 dairy families in California have participated and contributed to methane reduction efforts through the AMMP and DDRDP efforts. Altogether, CDFA said all of the DDRDP and AMMP projects reduce greenhouse gases by an estimated 2.2 million metric tons per year, which is approximately 25% of the 2013 California inventory for dairy and livestock manure methane emissions.
Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters and non-digester projects comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals, the agency explained. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities, such as job creation.