The funding for methane reduction received some significant cuts in California’s 2019-2020 budget, but the programs that support the development of methane reducing projects will remain available. While the application process may have become more competitive with less overall funding available, incentive opportunities remain to help dairies achieve the necessary reductions.
“Livestock agriculture has received $99 million in each of the last two years for methane reduction from manure and in this year’s state budget it’s $34 million,” said Paul Sousa, Director of Environmental Services for Western United Dairymen (WUD). “The program has not been eliminated. It is still there, there’s just less funding in it. So, the program will go forward, but there’s also other potential avenues in revenue or funding for these projects. It does not mean that these projects will end.”
Sousa noted that wildfire control and suppression measures were big priorities in the budget, which necessitated funding cuts from other areas. Significant changes were also made to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund in order to accommodate changes to support the State Drinking Water Fund. Although cuts in methane reduction are disappointing for the dairy industry, the development and implementation of reduction projects will continue.
“It’s important that we get all the revenue sources that we can to make these projects go since there is a big goal in front of us to get to,” said Sousa. “These projects will continue, probably at a slower pace, probably not all will be viable. You’re going to be a little bit more competitive for who’s able to tap into that.”
To be more competitive in the application process when the time comes, Sousa suggests starting early. Dairies seeking funding support are advised to make important project decisions as early as possible in order to submit a strong application. “If the applications come out and you have two months to complete your application, if you started on that day going to figure out what your project is going to be, getting it designed, getting it bid, going to the county and getting a building permit, you’re not going to have that ready by the time the application is due,” said Sousa.
Listen to Sousa’s interview below.