Millions granted to four Tulare County dairies for GHG reduction

California Depart of Food and Agriculture announces $25.4 million in grants to help develop dairy digesters for methane and alternative manure management

SACRAMENTO– Four Tulare County dairies are prepared to benefit from millions of dollars in state grants for alternative manure management and dairy digester research programs.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced last week that they awarded nearly $25.4 million in total to methane reduction projects all over the state. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairies and livestock farms. Some projects will develop dairy digesters, a renewable technology that uses livestock manure to produce methane, which is a renewable source of electrical energy generation and transportation fuel.

Maas Energy Works Inc requested $1.3 million for their JR Dairy Digester Project in Tulare County, according to the department of food and agriculture. The project will match $1.87 million to bring the total cost of the project to almost $3.2 million. Over the next 10 years the project will reduce the dairies greenhouse gas emissions by 191,049 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

For comparison this would be like reducing fuel consumption by 21,492,067 gallons. Or 18,762,279 gallons of diesel.

Backroad Ranch in Tulare County requested $750,000 for the alternative manure management program, and matched those funds with $190,800 to bring the total cost of their project to $940,800. According to the CDFA they would implement a compost bedded pack barn. Over the next five years the project plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13,639 metric tons.

This would be the same as taking 2,947 cars off the road for one year, or reducing miles driven for an average passenger vehicle by 33,843,672.

The Brian James Jongsma Dairy in Tulare County also requested $750,000 and added $161,150 in matching funds. Bringing the total cost of the project to $911,150. The project is intended for solid separation and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years by 4,988 metric tons.

This reduction would be the equivalent of reducing 11,548 barrels of oil consumed. Or 203,908 propane cylinders used for home barbecues.

South Creek Dairy in the county also requested $750,000 and added $55,144 in matching funds. Bringing the total cost of the project to $805,144. The department states that the project is intended to implement solid separation. Over the next five years the dairy hopes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 16,197 metric tons.

This would be the equivalent of eliminating 2 billion smart phone charges, or 2,742 homes’ electricity use for one year.

“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 last week. “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, 235 dairy families in California have participated and contributed to methane reduction efforts through the AMMP and DDRDP programs, including the 2020 awarded projects. Together, all DDRDP and AMMP projects reduce an estimated 2.3 million metric tons of GHGs per year, which is equivalent to removing more than 495,000 cars from the road.

These GHG reduction approaches collectively contribute to the state’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions from the dairy and livestock sector to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

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 and Innovation.

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