Ninety-three new dairy methane reduction projects were funded this year
Through the implementation of these projects, CDFA estimates 2.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases will be reduced each year. That’s approximately 25 percent of the 2013 California inventory for dairy and livestock manure methane emissions. The state’s target is a 40 percent reduction below 2013 levels by 2030. In total, the state has now invested $260 million in dairy methane reduction projects. California’s dairy farm families and other investors have matched that with more than $360 million in private funding.
“I am excited to receive a digester grant,” said Gerben Leyendekker, a Tulare County dairy farmer. “It is great to see digesters being built in California! My family is excited to help keep our valley air clean by creating transportation fuel from our dairy.”
The biogas from Leyendekker’s digester will be piped to a centralized biogas upgrading facility that will collect biogas from 11 neighboring dairies to create carbon-negative, renewable natural gas (RNG). The clean-burning renewable fuel will be used in heavy-duty trucks, replacing diesel and significantly reducing emissions of NOx—a smog-forming gas.
Dairy Cares estimates that digester projects currently under development will soon enable the annual production of enough clean-burning renewable fuel to reduce NOx emissions by more than 1,110 tons each year. This estimate will grow significantly as additional projects are built. As a result, California’s dairy farms will not only reduce methane emissions, but will contribute greatly to the state’s clean air goals.
“Every dairy farmer cares about the environment, but these improvements can be very expensive,” said Richard Wagner, a recent grant recipient from San Joaquin County. “We are contributing a significant portion of the total project costs, but without incentive funding from the state, we wouldn’t be able to move forward. We are glad to be a part of this effort.”
As the state’s dairy farmers shrink their methane emissions to unprecedented levels, they are also working to improve water conservation and protection, improve air quality, and advance soil health. These and other sustainability efforts will be highlighted at the California Dairy Sustainability Summit, to take place March 25-26, 2020 in Sacramento.