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The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $35.2 million in grant funding to 18 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Projects approved in Kings County include $3 million to Wreden Ranch near Hanford, $3 million to Hanford-area dairy Cloverdale and Hollandia Farms, also of Hanford, awarded $1.5 million. Each dairy had to put up substantially more for their projects in matching funds.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

Each project plans to capture methane emissions from a covered lagoon and transport the gas to a collection point to be converted to biomethane fuel for vehicles. The process turns an airborne pollution problem into a business opportunity.

New 150MW solar project for Avenal Cutoff

Recurrent Energy has applied for a conditional use permit to build a new 150-megawatt solar plant near the Avenal Cutoff and 25th Avenue. The project would be built on about 1,800 acres, called Mustang II.

June 2018 bond vote could help sinking Friant Kern Canal

Voters could approve a state water bond next June that would earmark $750 million for repairs to the Friant Kern Canal to fix damage from land subsidence. The capacity of the key irrigation canal that feeds a million acres of farmland has been cut by up to 60 percent in some locations, affecting the delivery of surface water to the Central Valley.

Tulare Supervisors to back DACA - Urge 'Path to Citizenship'

The Tulare Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a letter of support for DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program is to be discontinued after President Trump announced it would end unless Congress acts. The letter supports “a path to citizenship” for the 800,000 immigrants affected.

The letter to local congressmen says, “A large number of immigrant children were brought to the United States at a young age” and “Many of them did not know that they did not hold a permanent 'legal' status in the country until they wanted to obtain higher education and did not meet the criteria.”

“These children of immigrants, who contribute to society in a positive manner by working, going to school, and starting a career help our economy thrive.” In addition, the letter adds that the county’s agricultural economy requires a “reliable labor, which is typically provided by immigrants.”

Farmers worried NAFTA declaration would do 'immediate harm'

Some 86 food and ag groups are warning the Trump administration that any formal notice that the US will withdraw from NAFTA would “do immediate harm” and result in the loss of “at least 50,000 jobs in the U.S. food and agriculture industry, and a drop in GDP of $13 billion from the farm sector alone.” They fear a cascade effect of canceled contracts with both Mexico and Canadian-based companies.

Losses would hurt the beef, milk, corn, cotton, poultry, pork and frozen fruit/ vegetable industries. Mexico is the largest export destination for California milk. Signing the letter were the American Farm Bureau, National Milk Producers and the Cotton Council among others.

John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at

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