California Dairies Seek Alternatives

Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 by Jeanne Merrill

New Funding Supports Methane Reductions, Other Benefits

Seventeen dairies recently received the first round of funding from the new Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP). The program funds innovative manure management projects on dairy and livestock operations that reduce methane emissions and improve air and water quality. CalCAN advocated for the creation of the program as part of the state’s efforts to reduce short lived climate pollutants like methane.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) received 53 applications requesting nearly $30 million in AMMP funding, but only funded 17 projects for a little more than $9.6 million. The greatest number of projects were in the Central Valley with 14 projects awarded out of 45 applications from the region. Three projects out of six applications were funded on the North Coast. Neither of the two applications from Southern California were funded.

According to CDFA, the funded project types include:

  • 35 percent of projects will improve the solid separation of manure solids and liquids (with some form of drying manure or composting)
  • 35 percent of projects will convert from flush to scrape manure management (with some form of drying manure or composting)
  • 18 percent of projects will have a combination of new practices
  • 12 percent of projects will enhance their pasture-based practices (e.g. increased time on pasture or build a compost bedded pack barn)

The tentative timeline for the next round of funding is that CDFA will release the second request for proposals (RFP) in March with applications due in May. Awards will be announced in August. You can sign up for AMMP announcements from CDFA here.

Advisory Group Discusses Pasture-Based Dairying, AMMP Program

On February 5th, the SB 1383 work group on “Fostering Markets for Non-Digester Projects to Reduce Methane Emissions on Dairies” met to discuss pasture-based strategies for methane reduction and to discuss AMMP. CalCAN’s Jeanne Merrill sits on the advisory group.

Three presenters reviewed pasture-based dairying, including work group member Cody Nicholson Stratton who dairies with his family in Humboldt County; Dr. Al Rotz with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service; and Dr. Randi Black with Cooperative Extension in Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties. The presenters discussed additional opportunities for pasture-based practices that could be incorporated into AMMP, among other topics.  You can find their presentations here.

Following CDFA’s presentation on the recent AMMP awards, work group members and others who worked with dairy producers shared their experiences with completing AMMP applications. The work group then discussed recommendations for CDFA to improve the program over time. Those recommendations included:

  • Simplifying the application, going to a two-phased application process
  • Developing a process for adding new eligible practices to the program
  • Allowing for more time to apply

Those recommendations will be finalized by the work group before the March RFP.

CalCAN and several of our partners recently submitted comments to CDFA on the program.  You can find our recommendations  here.

The next meeting of the SB 1383 work group is tentatively scheduled for March 12th.  You can sign up for meeting announcements and updates from the subgroup here. The work group will submit final recommendations to the California Air Resources Board by mid-year.




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