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How California Can Curtail Global Warming While Feeding the World

California has some great news for its beef and dairy industries—and for climate conscious consumers. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Josh Becker, his staff, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the governor's budget for 2023-2024 includes a groundbreaking provision to support livestock producers in reducing methane emissions.

Methane's potent—albeit short-lived—impact on global warming means that any reduction in methane emissions will significantly curtail future warming. About 28% of methane emissions in California are generated by enteric fermentation, a natural part of the digestive process in dairy and beef cattle. (Microbes in the gut break down plant fibers, releasing methane as a byproduct, primarily through burps.) In turn, reducing enteric methane is a key strategy to meet the state's ambitious overall climate goals.

The governor’s budget allocates $25 million for the Enteric Fermentation Incentive Program, which will provide financial incentives to livestock producers who voluntarily adopt products or strategies that are safe and scientifically proven to reduce enteric emissions. These could include feed additives, such as red seaweed or 3-nitrooxypropanol (trade name: Bovaer), that can lower methane production by altering the microbial activity in the rumen. Additionally, unlike a Senate bill that proposed a similar program that was focused on feed additive use on dairies, this program can support a wide range of emerging technologies and practices that could be used on both dairy and beef operations like vaccines, gene editing, and tannin-rich forages. Including beef producers in the program is particularly important given the relatively few options beef producers otherwise have to cut emissions.

California’s Enteric Fermentation Incentive Program is a win-win for both the environment and the economy—it empowers dairy and beef industries to evolve and embrace new, lower-carbon practices. By incentivizing producers to adopt enteric emissions reduction strategies, it will help California achieve its target of reducing methane emissions from livestock by 40% by 2030, and it has the potential to improve animal health and feed efficiency. Some mitigation options—like gene edited calves with reduced susceptibility to bovine viral diarrhea virus—work through improving animal health and enhancing animal productivity. The incentives program will likely spur innovation and the creation of new markets and opportunities for methane reducing product suppliers and researchers.

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Trending Video

Spring weed control in winter wheat with Broadway® Star (pyroxsulam + florasulam)

Video: Spring weed control in winter wheat with Broadway® Star (pyroxsulam + florasulam)

#CortevaTalks brings you a short update with Cereal Herbicides Category Manager, Alister McRobbie, on how to get the most out of Broadway® Star.

Significant populations of grassweeds, including ryegrass and brome, can threaten winter wheat yields. Spring applications of a contact graminicide, such as Broadway Star from Corteva Agriscience, can clear problem weeds, allowing crops to grow away in the spring.

Broadway Star (pyroxsulam + florasulam) controls ryegrass, sterile brome, wild oats and a range of broad-leaved weeds such as cleavers. It can be applied to winter wheat up until GS32, but the earlier the application is made, the smaller the weed, and the greater the benefit to the crop. Weeds should be actively growing. A good rule of thumb is that if your grass needs cutting, conditions are right to apply Broadway Star.