9 Fresno, Tulare County dairies see manure management money

Tulare and Fresno County dairies receive over $10 million in CFDA grant awards for alternative manure management practices

(Rigo Moran)
(Rigo Moran)
Serena Bettis
Published December 3, 2023  • 
1:00 pm

SACRAMENTO – Multiple dairies throughout Fresno and Tulare County have received assistance from the state through grant funding to support greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced $35 million in grant funding through the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) and Dairy Plus Program on Nov. 20. Six dairies from Tulare County and three dairies from Fresno County received awards, with some dairies receiving awards for both programs. 

“AMMP and Dairy Plus help provide the incentives needed to implement Climate Smart Agriculture practices,” Paul Sousa, AMMP technical assistance provider and Western United Dairies director of environmental services and regulatory affairs, said in the CDFA press release. “With these programs, dairy families are benefiting the environment and our community while providing healthy food choices for all Californians.” 

In Tulare County, Nunes & Sons Heifers, Tri-BAK Dairy, D & V Dairy, Ron Verheoven Family Dairy and Western Pacific Dairy received awards totaling $3.7 million under the AMMP. Ron Verheoven Family Dairy, D & V Dairy and Garcia Dairy received awards totaling $3.7 million under the Dairy Plus Program as well. 

In Fresno County, Shady Acres Dairy, Sozinho Dairy #2 and Adamscows Family Small Dairy received just under $2 million in AMMP awards; Sozinho Dairy #2 also received a $1.2 million Dairy Plus Program award. 

According to the press release, the AMMP-funded practices will reduce an estimated 294,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year — equivalent to taking more than 65,000 cars off the roads. 

The AMMP is a financial assistance program that helps farmers implement non-digester manure management practices. Eligible practices include pasture-based management, alternative treatment and storage and solid separation of manure in conjunction with a form of drying or composting collected manure. 

The Dairy Plus Program is a grant program that builds on the work of the AMMP and Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP). Eligible projects include new or successfully completed AMMP and DDRDP projects that address both the reduction of methane emissions and nutrient surpluses in the water supply.

“Addressing just one challenge at a time is not enough, and that is why Dairy Plus is addressing water quality in addition to methane reduction with the same practice,” Sousa said in the press release.

Funding for the AMMP came from the Budget Act of 2022 — Senate Bill 154 — and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund — Assembly Bill 179 — to support a grant solicitation round in 2023 and a round in 2024, according to the CDFA website. 

Dairy Plus Program funding came from money awarded to the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. Out of the $85 million awarded to the CDRF, approximately $75 million over a span of five years will be used to incentivize advanced manure management practices through the Diary Plus Program. 

The primary practice using AMMP funds for Nunes & Son Heifers, Tri-BAK Dairy, Western Pacific Dairy and Adamscows Family Small Dairy will be the implementation of a compost-bedded pack barn. For D & V Dairy, Ron Verheoven Dairy, Shady Acres Dairy and Sozinho Dairy #2, it will be the implementation of solid separation. 

Under the Dairy Plus Program, Ron Verheoven Dairy, D & V Dairy, Garcia Dairy and Sozinho Dairy #2 will implement vermifiltration, which is the use of worms to filtrate manure wastewater. 

“The (AMMP) incentivizes practices such as solid waste separation and creating ways to store more manure in a dry form while reducing methane production,” the CDFA press release said. “Implementing these practices provides other important co-benefits, like reducing odor and air pollutants. The program also facilitates compost production from manure solids, which may be recycled as fertilizer and animal bedding.”  

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter