$17.97M awarded to California dairies to reduce greenhouse gases

Dairy Plus Program incentivize projects to increase dry handling, storage of manure or projects to capture methane via digesters.

January 23, 2024

2 Min Read
California Dairy Research Foundation

The California Dairy Research Foundation and the Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation have announced the award of $17.97 million in grant funding through the Dairy Plus Program to 15 California dairy farm projects in conjunction with corresponding Alternative Manure Management Program and Dairy Digester Research and Development Program projects.

"The California Dairy Research Foundation is very pleased to see the award of our first round of projects in the Dairy Plus Program," said Denise Mullinax, executive director of CDRF. "We are excited for the projects to get started and to know that California dairy farms will soon be making even greater progress in environmental sustainability—reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also improving nitrogen management."

The Dairy Plus Program is a new incentive program operating in alliance with CDFA's AMMP and DDRDP programs, which incentivize projects to increase dry handling and storage of manure to reduce methane production, or projects to capture methane via digesters. In addition to the methane reduction benefits, Dairy Plus Program practices further improve nutrient management and water quality outcomes. Projects selected for funding included vermifiltration (filtration of manure wastewater using worm beds), advanced solid separation assisted by flocculants (coagulation of fine manure solids for separation out of liquid) and weeping walls (non-mechanical separation of manure solids from water) that reduce methane production while improving management of nitrogen.

Dairy Plus Program incentive funds will help bring emerging technologies that reduce methane and improve groundwater protection to California dairies as full-scale projects. The practices will be measured by UC researchers to quantify emission reductions and improved water quality outcomes. Funding for the Dairy Plus Program is provided through CDRF, in collaboration with CDFA, as part of a larger Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant awarded to CDRF by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All announced awards are contingent upon dairy farmers completing a pre-project consultation and meeting federal requirements.

This year's Dairy Plus program recipients are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an annual total of 148,451 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e), the equivalent of removing about 32,600 cars from the road each year. Incentive programs such as Dairy Plus, provide California dairy farmers with important opportunities to continue their long-time leadership in innovation and planet-smart farming practices.

Announcements regarding the 2024 AMMP, DDRDP and Dairy Plus Program applications are expected in early spring. Sign up for program updates here.

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