Optimum Dairy Methane Reduction Pathways

PROJECT MANAGERS: Gladstein Neandross & Associates and Michael Boccadoro, Dairy Cares
RESEARCHERS: Ermias Kebreab, Frank Mitloehner, and Daniel Sumner, UC Davis

TIMELINE: November 2021 – April 2022

BACKGROUND: California has set a goal of a 40% reduction in fugitive methane emissions from livestock manure by 2030. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is only authorized to implement regulations to meet the 2030 target after January 1, 2024, provided that CARB and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) determine the regulations are:

  1. Technically and economically feasible
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Minimize and mitigate potential leakage
  4. Consider achievements made by incentive-based programs

OBJECTIVE: To document the progress to date for voluntary, incentive-based approaches to dairy methane reduction, with a focus on California. Review and analyze alternative pathways to reduce methane and reach the state’s 40% reduction target based on feasibility and cost-effectiveness. Explore implications of increased regulation. Examine and document environmental co-benefits/impacts of various methane reduction options. Identify cost-effective, recommended pathways for methane reduction for the California dairy industry.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: This project will explore current and alternative pathways to achieve dairy methane reductions and inform and educate stakeholders on viable goals and cost-effective strategies. Maintain voluntary incentive-based approaches; better respond to environmental justice criticisms; encourage continued dairy methane reduction funding; maximize carbon reductions in the dairy supply chain and establish California dairy as a world leader in planet-smart dairy.