Reducing amount of methane cows emit slows effects of climate change, helps dairy and beef sectors meet sustainability goals.

February 29, 2024

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Enteric methane, which animals release into the atmosphere by burping or exhaling, is a significant source of direct greenhouse gas emissions. Today, the Greener Cattle Initiative, a multi-partner international consortium created by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, opened its second request for proposals for research to develop scalable technologies that reduce enteric methane emissions and benefit farmers and ranchers, consumers and the environment.

Methane and carbon dioxide are GHGs that contribute to climate change. Yet, methane is more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Reducing the amount of methane cows emit presents an opportunity to slow the effects of climate change while also helping the dairy and beef sectors meet their sustainability goals. However, more research is needed to determine how to safely, sustainably and productively do so.

"This research is aimed at developing more enteric methane mitigation options for farmers and ranchers, so they can make informed, individualized decisions based on the conditions unique to their farms," said Juan Tricarico, senior vice president for Environmental Research, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "Scientifically proven solutions addressing farmers’ needs across the multitude of farming systems that exist today is critical for increasing adoption rates of these new technologies and methods and reducing greenhouse gases."

GCI will consider applications addressing one or more of the following:

  • Delivery mechanisms of non-vaccine enteric methane mitigation technologies.

  • Impact of applying interventions early in life to reduce enteric methane emissions later in life or in offspring.

  • Combined impacts of administering multiple enteric methane mitigation technologies to examine additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects.

  • Long-term and longitudinal studies to evaluate lasting effects of enteric methane mitigation technologies on mitigation, animal health and productivity.

A maximum request of up to $5 million is available for all proposed projects. Matching funds are optional for this program. Pre-applications are due 5 p.m. ET, April 3. All domestic and international higher education institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations and government-affiliated research agencies are encouraged to apply. Visit the GCI Request for Applications webpage for additional information.

Additionally, FFAR is hosting an informational webinar about this funding opportunity on March 6, 2024, at 3 p.m. ET. Preregistration is required. A recording of the webinar will be available on FFAR’s website.

In 2023, GCI awarded its initial grants in the total amount of $5,554,669 to Penn State’s Distinguished Professor of Dairy Nutrition Alexander N. Hristov; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Animal Sciences Professor Roderick Mackie; and the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Assistant Professor of Quantitative Genomics, Francisco Peñagaricano.

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