The California Department of Food Agriculture (CDFA) announced that it has awarded nearly $25.4 million in grant funding to methane reduction projects across the state.
CDFA said the projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research & Development Program (DDRDP) and the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manure on California dairy and livestock farms.
Twelve DDRDP projects totaling $16.5 million and 13 AMMP projects totaling $8.9 million are being funded through the recently announced awards. The collective projects will reduce GHGs by an estimated 191,360 metric tons (MTCO2e) per year and contribute $32 million in matching funds, CDFA said.
When it decomposes, dairy manure produces methane, a powerful GHG that traps 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 100-year time frame, thus contributing to global warming, the state agency said, noting that dairy digesters help capture methane emissions and use them to produce electricity or natural gas. Changing manure management practices so manure is handled in a dry form (AMMP) also helps significantly reduce methane emissions.
“The dairy digester awards allow California’s dairy families to secure a revenue stream though production of clean, renewable energy while also helping California meet its ambitious goals for a clean energy future,” CDFA secretary Karen Ross said. “The digester program helps farmers contribute to the state’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts by capturing methane, and the alternative manure management projects offer a suite of other options for dairy and livestock farmers, like staying on pasture longer or compost pack barns, especially in cases where the economics of a large renewable energy infrastructure may not work for their farms.”
Since 2015, CDFA said 235 dairy families in California have participated and contributed to methane reduction efforts through AMMP and DDRDP, including the 2020 awarded projects. Together, all DDRDP and AMMP projects have reduced GHGs by an estimated 2.3 million metric tons per year.
CDFA noted that 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. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce GHG emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities, such as job creation. CDFA administers these and other climate-smart agriculture programs within its Office of Environmental Farming & Innovation.