The California Department of Food and Agriculture is now accepting applications for their Alternative Manure Management Program. Up to $16 million in competitive grant funding will be available. The deadline to submit an application is October 2. Projects that are eligible for grant funding include the installation of a mechanical separator on a flush dairy and converting from a flush to either a scrape system or pasture system.
Over 1,300 dairy farm families in California are voluntarily working to reduce manure methane emissions by 40% by 2030. Dairy farmers have been helping to lower their carbon footprint for decades through producing more milk with fewer cows, converting diesel use to electricity, and producing solar energy while working to reduce their overall energy use.
Along with the new Alternative Manure Management Program, CDFA is also providing $50 million to further develop these projects through the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program. There has already been significant interest in new digester projects, with 36 applications submitted for the available grant funding. CDFA will be announcing grant awardees within the next few weeks.
Anaerobic digester technology has been steadily evolving over the past ten years and is beginning to become more prevalent on California dairies. Capturing methane in the digester allows it to be stored and used as renewable energy or as a clean-burning transportation fuel. Dairies will also soon have the ability to measure reductions from non-digester technologies such as mechanical manure separators. Additional digesters and other methane reduction projects will continue to be established within the next decade through the assistance provided by state incentive funding.