Paul Sousa, Director of Regulatory & Environmental Affairs

It has been a couple of weeks since the deadline for CDFAs digester and Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) applications. For those that submitted applications, it is now a waiting game to hear from CDFA if your project was awarded funding. CDFA expects to announce award funding in August for both programs. In the digester program, CDFA received 27 applications requesting about $35 million and for AMMP it was 62 applications requesting $42 million. CDFA had $32 million available for the entire program this year, including overhead costs. These programs are oversubscribed and very competitive.

The goal of AMMP is to reduce the amount of manure stored in a lagoon or settling basin where it produces methane as it decomposes. The types of projects funded by CDFA to achieve this through AMMP include increasing the amount of time cows spend on pasture, compost bedded pack barns, solid separation (including two new practices in this category, advanced solid separation and vermifiltration), and conversion (including partial conversion) from flush to scrape with solid manure handling. Remember that the goal of the project is that less manure will be going into a pond after implementation of the project.

It looks like there will be at least $48 million for the next round of livestock manure methane funding for the States upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. That means we could be looking at another round of applications as soon as this Fall. I have helped dairies complete and submit applications in every round of AMMP, including having quite a few funded projects. Based on that experience, I will provide some tips on completing a successful application.

My overarching tip is to start early; it is never too early to start! The first step is deciding what would work for your dairy and what you want to apply for. Next, get designs and bids for your project. Contractors can be busy these days and we recommend approaching them for a bid as soon as you have a plan in mind.

Once you have these steps completed it is time to look at the Request for Grant Applications document that lays out what is included in an application. It is also useful to look at the details of how points are awarded to applications during the review process. Then make sure to touch on as many of those details as you can in your application. Some components of the application require long lead times, like letters from agencies supporting/ approving the project, so make sure you allow time for these responses. It is also important to get some help from someone familiar with the application process. Some parts of the application are not intuitive, and a brief explanation can save a lot of time. The people working on these applications, like me, get extremely busy the last two weeks before the deadline so make sure to get all bids, designs, project narratives, supporting documents, and other parts of the application to these folks well before the deadline so we have time to put together a strong application.

If you are interested in applying for AMMP and would like to get help from Western United Dairies please let Melissa, Darby, or myself know as we are starting our list of interested dairies now. Were happy to stop into the dairy and do a walk-through and discuss your plans before the crunchtime of the next application period.

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