Dairy Farmers Innovating for a Cooler Climate, Cleaner Air, and Overall Sustainability

Continuous innovation is allowing California’s dairy farmers to make a big difference for the planet. Climate scientists and leaders across the globe, including Governor Newsom, have recognized that tackling methane emissions is key to quickly reducing climate warming. Dairy farmers’ actions here in California are achieving significant success—reducing more than 2.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (CO2e) and counting. The state’s dairy farmers are on track to achieve climate neutrality by as soon as 2027, and this success has even broader positive implications for people and the planet.

California’s world-leading dairy methane reduction programs have achieved tremendous results and continue to be over-subscribed. More than 300 methane reduction projects have been installed on California dairy farms. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)’s Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) has been matched by private funds (about two to one) and is the state’s most cost-effective climate program, costing only $9 per ton of CO2e reduced. Projects supported by the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) are also reducing methane and helping improve the utilization of manure as a non-fossil, organic fertilizer resource.

Applications for 2023 are currently being reviewed, and funding announcements are expected before the end of the year. Additionally, the new Dairy Plus program (funded by the USDA and CDFA) received 28 applications for advanced manure management projects to be coupled with new or existing AMMP or DDRDP projects. Dairy Plus projects will soon be taking manure management to a new level, to further improve protection of groundwater.

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