New legislation in California has some fearing many dairy operators will leave the state. The law signed in September requires livestock operations in California to reduce methane emissions 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. But as the largest milk-producing state, California could stand to lose dairy operators because of the growing cost to meet regulation requirements, according to a U.S. News and World Report publication. California dairy farmers are dealing with five years of drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs. A spokesperson for Western United Dairymen says: “Dairies are moving out of state to places where these costs don’t exist.” Driving dairies out of California to less-regulated states would not lower methane emissions globally, only remove them from the state. Regulators are targeting dairy manure, accounting for about a quarter of California’s methane emissions. The state has set aside $50 million to help offset the cost of installing methane digesters at dairy farms, but the industry says that won’t be enough to help all 1,500-some dairy operations in California.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.