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Local dairies receive grants to take on greenhouse gas reductions
dairy
Six Turlock-area dairies have received California Department of Food and Agriculture grants to improve their manure management practices (Journal file photo).

Six Turlock-area dairies have received a major financial boost to help fund methane reducing projects on their properties. The grants, awarded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), hope to enable recipients to improve their manure management practices and in turn result in greenhouse gas reductions.

There are two manure management projects that will get underway at local dairies, the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) and Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP). Turlock’s Couco Creek Dairy and Hilmar’s River Rock Dairy each received $1,600,000 for the Dairy Digester Program while Turlock’s Sam Kooistra Dairy, Fiorini Dairy, Gabriel Machado & Sons Dairy and Hilmar’s D&V Dairy each received $750,000 for the Alternative Manure Management Program.

According to the CDFA, the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program helps build and install dairy digesters, which is a renewable technology that uses livestock manure to produce methane, which is a renewable source of electrical energy generation and transportation fuel. Meanwhile, the Alternative Manure Management Program provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure management practices. Alternative manure management practices involve scrape collection instead of flush or solid separation so that more manure is handled in a dry form.

On top of the six local dairies, 29 other dairies from across the state also received funding for the projects. In total, $37.65 million in grant funding was awarded to achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 233,393 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

“Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is, but it’s also one that we know how to reduce,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross in a press release. “The projects funded through AMMP and DDRDP today will have an important impact on California’s methane emissions and help us meet our SB 1383 target of a reduction of 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 -- among the most ambitious goals in the world.”

The SB 1383 bill that Ross refers to establishes methane reduction targets for the state of California. The bill sets goals to reduce disposal of organic waste in landfills, including edible food, in hopes of achieving the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to reducing organic waste in landfills, the CDFA added that implementing AMMP and DDRDP practices can also help reducing odor and certain air pollutants like reactive organic gases or nitrogen oxides, improve the efficiency of water recycling and reuse for irrigation, and producing compost from manure solids that can be used for fertilizer and animal bedding.

More information on the new CDFA projects and the recently awarded grants can be found at www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi