Climate-Smart “Dairy PLUS+ Program” Grants Available Soon!

Man watching young girl pour milk

Climate-Smart PLUS+ Programs: Partnerships and investments in research and incentives to further advance the development of climate-smart dairy farm practice.

The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF), and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), along with industry partners have been awarded up to $85 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. The funding will leverage additional matching state funds and private capital investments, for a total of more than $300 million in new investments.

Over the next five years, the Dairy PLUS+ Programs will work to provide financial incentives for California dairy farmers to adopt advanced manure management practices to reduce both methane emissions and nitrogen surplus.

“The project brings together organizations throughout the value chain to the benefit of our hard-working dairy producers and the environment. We look forward to working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), Dairy Cares, the universities and others to implement this advanced climate-smart ag project in California’s dairy industry” – Denise Mullinax, Executive Director, CDRF

The Dairy PLUS+ Program incentive funds—administered by CDFA—will help bring emerging technologies that reduce methane and improve groundwater protection to California dairies as full-scale projects. The practices will be studied by UC researchers to quantify emission reductions and improved water quality outcomes.

Potential projects for funding include:

  • Vermifiltration
  • Polymer Flocculant-based Solids/Liquids Separation
  • Algae Raceways with a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor
  • Evaporative Liquid Waste Processing Systems
  • Subsurface Drip Fertigation Using Liquid Manure
  • Weeping Walls
  • Aerated Static Composting
  • And others (complete list available soon)

More than 20 partner organizations from throughout the value chain, including California governmental organizations, dairy cooperatives and processors, universities, producer organizations, environmental organizations, and others, are committed to the project’s successful progress.

Funding accelerates efforts to explore opportunities for expanding the use of manure nutrients across California’s diverse agricultural landscape

The current use of dairy manure nutrients to grow feed crops already helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and conventional fertilizer. By using manure to create more valuable and exportable soil amendments, dairy farms could play a larger role in developing more sustainable, regenerative farming models.

California dairy farmers are on track to meet ambitious climate targets, while enhancing regenerative and water-smart practices as another wave of funding adds momentum

A recent University of California analysis found that—considering current and pledged investments, economic trends, and anticipated additional solutions—California dairy farms are on track to achieve the state’s 40 percent dairy methane reduction goal and will reach “climate neutrality” by 2030.