The Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation and the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) are pleased to announce the award of $21.41 million in grant funding to projects for the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), and $14.23 million in grant funding to 12 projects for the Dairy Plus Program.

“California has set ambitious climate goals, and agriculture is an important contributor to these achievements,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Dairy farmers and livestock ranchers are putting effective new technologies and best practices to work in their barns and fields, and these projects keep that progress in motion.”

These projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy and livestock farms while improving water quality and nutrient management. Funding for AMMP is made possible by the California General Fund and state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment.

Funding for the Dairy Plus Program comes from a collaboration between CDFA, CDRF, and USDA as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. Together, recipients will improve their manure management practices and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated annual total of 87,350 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e).

“Dairy families work hard every day to produce healthy and nutritious dairy products,” said Paul Sousa, Director of Environmental Services & Regulatory Affairs for Western United Dairies and a long-time AMMP Technical Assistance Provider. “At the same time, they look to be sustainable in how they care for their cows, the land, and the environment. AMMP and Dairy Plus help provide the incentives needed to implement Climate Smart Agriculture practices. However, addressing just one challenge at a time is not enough, and that is why Dairy Plus is addressing water quality in addition to methane reduction with the same practice. With these programs, dairy families are benefiting the environment and our communities while providing healthy food choices for all Californians.”

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to global warming.

The Alternative Manure Management Program incentivizes practices such as solid waste separation and creating ways to store more manure in a dry form while reducing methane production. Implementing these practices provides other important co-benefits, like reducing odor and air pollutants. The program also facilitates compost production from manure solids, which may be recycled as fertilizer and animal bedding.

This latest grant round has brought the total number of AMMP-supported projects to 172. Collectively, it is anticipated these practices will reduce over 294,000 metric tons of GHGs per year for California farms, equivalent to removing more than 65,000 cars from the road.

The complimentary Dairy Plus Program focuses on larger-scale projects for improved water quality and nutrient management in addition to methane reduction.  Practices included filtration of manure wastewater using worms (vermifiltration), coagulation of fine manure solids out of liquid (advanced solid-liquid separation assisted by flocculants), and non-mechanical separation of manure solids from water (weeping walls) that can help capture nitrogen and keep more manure out of a liquid environment; projects could also incorporate aerated composting and subsurface drip irrigation for further nutrient processing and application.

CDFA selected 8 Dairy Plus projects in conjunction with a new 2023 AMMP project and 4 Dairy Plus projects to further advance past completed AMMP projects for awards (contingent on pre-project consultation and meeting federal requirements).