Delivering a major win to our membership given the current political environment in Sacramento is no small feat.

In 2021, Western United Dairies was successful in delivering a major win for dairy when the Legislature and Governor approved a $80 million expenditure in this year’s budget deal to help dairy farmers continue to lead the nation in environmental sustainability.

Highlights Include:

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Read WUD’s budget request to the Governor in 2020

Delivering a major win to our membership given the current political environment in Sacramento is no small feat. We are pleased to report to our Board of Directors were successful in delivering a major win for dairy when the Legislature and Governor approved a $80 million expenditure in this year’s budget deal to help dairy farmers continue to lead the nation in environmental sustainability.

Read WUD/Teamsters/CCA budget request to the Governor & Legislature in 2021

Thanks in large part to efforts from our government affairs team, the Governor and Legislature approved a budget trailer bill (SB 170) in September. In doing so, the State will provide $80 million combined over the next three years to fund CDFA’s Methane Reduction Program that will fund both the Alternative Manure Management Program and Dairy Digester Research and Development Program. With this budget item funded, the result will be approximately 210 methane reduction projects being funded that will collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 million metric tons per year.

As we know, California’s dairies lead the nation in sustainability, animal welfare and technological innovation. However, in order to continue to lead on methane reduction and help our industry achieve the 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 significant financial assistance from the state’s methane reduction program is critical to achieving our success in this area.

With support from the Governor’s administration and the State Legislature, dairy farmers have already implemented on-farm advancements that have reduced manure methane emissions by 50% – an environmental sustainability benchmark not found anywhere else in the nation. The dairy industry is well on its way to meeting the state’s goal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 so long as WUD can continue to lead dairy sustainability issues in the State Capitol.

Read Legislative letter that WUD initiated in 2021

With 1 in every 6 children facing hunger in the U.S., California is the first state to promise every public school student — all 6 million of them — free school meals.

The universal school meals program, which will launch in the 2022-2023 school year, is part of the landmark state budget agreement reached between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature. The program ensures that all students will be offered breakfast and lunch at their school, which state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said is “essential to learning.” Skinner has led the effort to establish a universal school meal program.

A major success like this one doesn’t happen overnight and certainly doesn’t happen by accident.

WUD’s relationship with this Governor, our ability to work with the Speaker of the Assembly and Senate Pro Tempore, and our bi-partisan relationships with “dairy champions” in the Legislature all helped secure this major budget win for dairy farmers. Our members can continue to rely on WUD’s leadership to ensure the industry can achieve California’s ambitious environmental goals and maintain regulatory certainty on methane reduction for our membership.