A Senate budget subcommittee last week approved a plan by Democratic lawmakers to invest $35 million in methane reduction programs and $5 million for related research.
Virginia Jameson, CDFA deputy secretary for climate and working lands, told the lawmakers enteric emissions are a “very challenging issue.” More than 10 billion gut bacteria produce the methane. Many different agricultural byproducts—such as broccoli stalks and carrot tops—are used in cattle rations. Figuring out how feed additives interact with these and cut long-term emissions “is tricky,” she surmised.
CDFA’s summit last week with UC Davis drew a full audience of more than 300 farmers, researchers and officials to contemplate feed additives.
Michael Boccadoro, who leads dairy industry efforts on methane as executive director of Dairy Cares, expects to roll out an early adopter program by the second half of next year. He’s hoping that will involve a mix of state, federal and private financing.
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The subcommittee also approved $25 million to investigate options for removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.
The Electric Power Research Institute has already embarked on a $3 million engineering design study for a direct air capture hub in Kern County. UC Berkeley is considering such a hub in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley.
Such technology would only be a small supplement to agriculture’s significant role in the region with pulling carbon dioxide from the air.