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CDFA awards four Tulare County dairies $2.5M to reduce emissions by two-thirds

CDFA awards four Tulare County dairies $2.5M to reduce emissions by two-thirds

@TheSunGazette

TULARE COUNTY – A Visalia dairy was awarded $395,000 last month to reduce its green house gas emissions by drying manure.

Milk River estimates the grant from the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) will help the dairy north of the city limits reduce green house gas emissions by 72% over the next five years, or the equivalent of more than 16,000 metric tons of methane. Milk River is proposing to vacuum scrape manure from the lanes where cows eat and excrete. The scraped waste is then run through screw presses to reduce the moisture content of the manure, which is then dried in the sun for future use as bedding or fertilizer and other crop applications. By scraping the lanes instead of flushing them with water, there is less moisture in the manure, which releases methane into the air during the decomposition caused by the water.

Milk River was among four dairies in Tulare County to receive more than $2.5 million in funding from California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In all, CDFA awarded $9.64 million to 17 projects as part of the Alternative Manure Management Program. The AMMP aims to reduce green house gas emissions by using alternatives to dairy digesters, which have much higher price tags ranging between $2 million and $12 million per project.

The other three projects in Tulare County were at dairies in Tulare. Barcellos Farms’ T Bar Dairy and the Sierra View Dairy both received $750,000, the highest AMMP award amounts. T Bar will move its cows from open corrals that are flushed clean with water onto scraped lanes to eliminate the need for the water, which will reduce the pooling of the water. Under the project, the animal waste will be scraped into a collection pit where it will be run through a two-stage mechanical separator. Once all the moisture has been separated from the solids, the remaining solid waste will be spread over a drying a stacking pad. The dry manure will then be used as both bedding in freestall barns and applied to fields as fertilizer. Barcellos Farms is matching that with $496,252 of its own money. The project is estimated to reduce GHG by the equivalent of 7,900 metric tons over the course of five years.

Sierra View will use a similar program but the waste will be scraped into a pasture where it will be dried by the sun and is expected to reduce emissions by 35,000 metric tons over five years. Sierra View is also putting $877,520 of its own money into the project.

Dykstra Dairy in Tulare estimates its project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68% over the next five years, or more than 71,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The project will vacuum scrape lanes and then run the manure through screw presses to reduce the moisture content instead of using water to flush waste into lagoons where it decomposes and releases methane into the atmosphere. The manure will then be solar dried for future use as bedding or field nutrient/amendments. Dykstra was awarded $658,511 and will provide $80,000 in matching funds.

When livestock manure decomposes in wet conditions, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form can help significantly reduce methane emissions. These reductions contribute to the state’s overall short-lived climate pollutant strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

“California dairy farmers are leading the way in proactively addressing greenhouse gas emissions” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am excited to see both the diversity of farms and the variety of non-digester manure management practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals.”

Financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester practices comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. AMMP grant recipients will provide an estimated $2.7 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2017 Alternative Manure Management Program projects is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP .

The Alternative Manure Management Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap and Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.  The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.  California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more.

At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California.  For more information, visit the California Climate Investments web site at  www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

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