DAVIS, CA – The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) and the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation last month announced the award of $17.97 million in grant funding through the Dairy Plus Program to 15 California dairy producer projects in conjunction with Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) and Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) projects. (See list of awarded projects here: Dairy Plus/AMMP, Dairy Plus/DDRDP)

“The California Dairy Research Foundation is very pleased to see the award of our first round of projects in the Dairy Plus Program.  We are excited for the projects to get started with their implementation and for the positive impacts the dairy industry will be making to reduce GHG emissions and improve nitrogen management on-farm.”

The Dairy Plus Program is a new incentive program operating in alliance with CDFA’s AMMP and DDRDP programs, which incentivize practices such as manure solids separation and creating ways to manage more manure in a dry form while reducing methane production. In addition to the methane reduction strategies of these practices, Dairy Plus Program practices can further improve upon water quality and nutrient surplus management. Projects selected for funding included vermifiltration (filtration of manure wastewater using worms), advanced separation assisted by flocculants (coagulation of fine manure solids for separation out of liquid) and weeping walls (non-mechanical separation of manure solids from water) that can keep more manure out of a liquid environment and help capture nitrogen.

 Dairy Plus Program incentive funds will help bring emerging technologies that reduce methane and improve groundwater protection to California dairies as full-scale projects. The practices will be measured by UC researchers to quantify emission reductions and improved water quality outcomes. Funding for the Dairy Plus Program is provided through CDRF, in collaboration with CDFA, as part of a larger Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant awarded to CDRF by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). All announced awards for the program are contingent upon dairy producers completing a pre-project consultation and meeting federal requirements.

This year’s Dairy Plus Program recipients are estimated to improve their manure management practices and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an annual total of 148,451 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e), the equivalent of removing about 32,600 cars from the road each year. Incentive programs such as Dairy Plus, provide California dairy producers additional opportunities to continue their history of innovative farming by implementing advanced manure management technologies and climate-smart agricultural practices.

Announcements regarding the 2024 AMMP, DDRDP and Dairy Plus Program applications are expected early spring. Sign up for program updates here.