Agriculture

State grants $11 million to 5 Valley dairy methane projects

Five projects from Kings, Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kern counties have been awarded $11.1 million in state grants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing dairy manure with digester technology.

“These projects demonstrate a commitment by California to support efforts by dairy farmers to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gases from the agriculture sector,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross in a statement.

When manure decomposes it produces methane, a greenhouse gas. Dairy digesters collect manure so it can decompose in an oxygen-free environment and capture the methane to prevent escape into the atmosphere. The captured methane can then be used as a biofuel for generators and natural gas vehicles.

The grant recipients were: Verwey-Hanford Dairy Digester project, $3 million for a new covered lagoon digester at Philip Verwey Farms #2 dairy in Hanford; Verwey-Madera Dairy Digester project, $2.3 million for a new covered lagoon digester at Philip Verwey Farms #1 dairy near Madera; Open Sky Ranch Dairy Digester project in Riverdale, $973,430 to recommission a covered lagoon digester; Moonlight Dairy Digester project, $3 million for a mixed plug flow digester in Visalia; and the West-Star North Dairy Biogas project in Buttonwillow, $1.8 million to capture biogas from two covered lagoons, with extra biogas stored under flexible covers installed on the lagoons.

Grant recipients will provide an estimated $18.9 million in matching funds to develop the digester facilities.

Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander

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