Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP)

California Department of Food & Agriculture

Grant amount: Up to US $3,000,000

Anticipated deadline: Jun 28, 2019 5:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Nonprofit For-Profit Business College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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CDFA's Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP) provides financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The program is guided by the Statement of Principles  of the California-Federal Dairy Digester Working Group. The Working Group is a partnership of state, federal and local agencies with the common goal of identifying and removing barriers to the wide adoption of dairy digester systems in California.

Dairy digesters are a renewable technology that uses livestock manure to produce methane, which is a renewable source of electrical energy generation and transportation fuel. The technology has many environmental and social benefits. More information on dairy digesters can be found on the CalEPA Dairy Digesters webpage and the USEPA AgSTAR Anaerobic Digestion webpage.


The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) 2017 Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (2017 DDRDP), awards competitive grants to California dairy operations and digester developers for the implementation of dairy digesters that result in long-term methane emission reductions on California dairies and minimize or mitigate adverse environmental impacts.

Program Requirements

The 2017 DDRDP will support implementation of dairy digester projects on California dairy operations that result in permanent, annual, and measurable GHG emission reductions. All projects that receive GGRF monies are required by statute (Government Code Section 16428.9) to achieve GHG emission reductions and further the purposes of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).

Projects must use methane for energy production or transportation fuel (e.g., compressed natural gas). Projects that propose flaring as the sole end-use for biogas will not be eligible for funding. Projects must either convert bio-methane to renewable electricity or fuel (e.g., renewable natural gas [RNG] or renewable compressed natural gas [RCNG]), to use on-site or inject into an existing pipeline, or for the utilization of useful thermal energy onsite or at a neighboring facility.

At least 80% or more dry weight of the feedstock for anaerobic digestion must be manure from dairy livestock. Other substrates, such as dairy processing wastes including whey, or other agricultural waste, can be added to the feedstock to up to 20% dry weight. Applicants must provide details regarding the nature and sources of all co-substrates

See the complete RFP for full details on California Environmental Quality Act and Permits, Project Technology, Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Calculations, Environmental (Water and Air Quality) Protection, Matching Funds, and Allowable Costs

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The project site must be located on a commercial California dairy operation.
    • A dairy operation is defined as an entity that operates a dairy herd, which produces milk or cream commercially, and whose bulk milk or bulk cream is received or handled by any distributor, manufacturer, or any nonprofit cooperative association of dairy producers.
  • Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers are eligible for this program.
  • An applicant may submit multiple grant applications; however, each grant application must represent an individual digester project at a unique project site (i.e., dairy operation).
  • A group of dairy operations can submit one grant application to develop centralized dairy digesters, known as a “cluster” or “hub and spoke” project.
    • The location of the centralized digester can be one determined appropriate by participating dairy operations.
  • Defunct digesters that were constructed in the past and have become entirely non-functional, or never became functional since their construction, due to technical or other (e.g., regulatory) issues are eligible for this program.
  • Matching Funds:
    • CDFA will fund up to 50% of the total project costs with a maximum grant award not to exceed $3 million per project.
    • The applicant must contribute a minimum of 50% of total project cost in matching funds of which only 25% can include in-kind contributions. 


  • 2017 DDRDP grant funds cannot be used for the following:
    • Upgrades to existing, functional dairy digesters to boost emission reductions and energy production.
    • To fund projects on dairy operations that propose to switch existing management practices to those that increase baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (e.g., from dry scrape to flush lagoon systems).
    • Duplicate equipment or activities that will receive funding from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) pilot project authorized by California Health and Safety Code Section 39730.7(d)(2) (e.g., interconnection costs).
      • Note: Biogas conditioning and clean-up costs are allowable under the 2017 DDRDP.
  • The following costs are not allowed:
    • 2017 DDRDP grant funds may not be used to reimburse applicants for costs incurred outside of the grant term.
    • Costs covered by another State or Federal grant program.
    • Pre-development costs, including, but not limited to: permits, project designs, and any other activities that contributed to a project’s readiness.
    • Costs associated with environmental review required for project permits, including preparation of Environmental Impact Reports.
    • Expenditures for purchasing or leasing land or buildings.
    • Purchase of dairy manure (tipping fees) or other feedstocks.
    • Costs associated with the five-year GHG emissions reductions reporting.
    • Costs incurred during community outreach.
    • Costs associated with mitigation of potential adverse impacts (i.e., SB 859).
  • 2017 DDRDP grant funds cannot be used for pre-commercial or new technology development.
    • Precommercial technologies are defined as new technologies or enhancements of existing technologies that are not commercially available.