Farmer to Farmer
Alternative manure management practices are accepted to reduce GHG emissions through the prevention of volatile solids from entering manure lagoons and existing in anaerobic conditions. Multiple practices have been installed on dairy operations through CDFA’s Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) since 2017.
Throughout 2020-2022, CDRF managed an outreach project funded by CDFA and resourced in cooperation with CDQAP, UC Davis, UC ANR and several California dairy producers and dairy industry experts.
The project has produced an on-farm video series of webinars featuring real California dairy farmers discussing and demonstrating their alternative manure management practices and their experience applying for and being reimbursed through the Alternative Manure Management Practices Program (AMMP) offered by CDFA. At each dairy, producers guided us through the thought process they used to select their chosen alternative manure management program practice (AMMP). Host dairy farmers provided an overview of their project including information regarding operational changes, economic opportunities or costs and overall environmental impacts and benefits associated with the practice. Through on-site video interviews and live webinars, they provided first-hand experience information to viewers and answer questions from the group regarding key issues of concern such as critical control points for trouble shooting installation, key managerial needs for successful operation, and any unexpected challenges or benefits.
In addition, seven practices were discussed and evaluated, resulting in a detailed information sheet for each practice with tips and considerations of each, based on the direct feedback of producers who have already implemented each practice.
With AMMP funding again being available this year (REMINDER: Applications due May 9), this first-hand information for producers by producers is increasingly important. Advice offered by each producer, and other experts with experience in applying for and implementing an AMMP project, was as follows: start the application process as soon as possible; use expert guidance in completing the application (this may be available through consulting services and/or your farm advisor or co-op); have gap funding available for time periods between CDFA reimbursements; and consider that your construction bid created this year may be different than the actual costs at the time of installation due to the time period between the application submission date and the actual start date of your project.
The AMMP Awareness and Outreach project materials are available online at https://cdqap.org/ammp-outreach-project/.
Access to accurate up-to-date, unbiased information is essential to provide information to dairy operators during their decision-making process. The greater the trouble shooting efforts employed prior to AMMP installation, the greater the probability of success.