RELEASE: Letter from the Breakthrough Institute, Industry, and Academia Call on Congress to Prioritize Research Funding to Mitigate Livestock Methane Emissions

Washington, DC - April 8, 2024 — Last week, the Breakthrough Institute, joined by two dozen research universities, technology startups, nonprofits, and industry associations, sent a letter to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture to prioritize research funding for enteric methane mitigation. The organizations urge Congress to direct the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fund research, development, measurement, monitoring, and verification related to enteric methane emission solutions in the fiscal year 2025 spending bill.

“Beef and dairy cattle release methane through enteric fermentation—a digestive process in which microbes decompose and ferment food—ultimately accounting for about 27% of the nation’s total methane emissions,” the letter explains. “However, projects to understand, measure, monitor, and reduce enteric methane emissions received less than 2% of the funds that USDA research agencies spend on climate mitigation and less than 0.1% of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) total budget for research programs.”

The letter points to a “suite of emerging innovations with the potential to reduce enteric methane emissions without reducing beef or dairy production or requiring consumer dietary shifts.” These include vaccines that target microorganisms in cattle rumen that are responsible for methane production, breeding cattle for lower emissions, and dietary additives that reduce enteric methane production.

The signers of the letter highlight the important research efforts NIFA’s flagship competitive grants program, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), has already supported related to enteric methane mitigation. The signers call on Congress to build on this momentum by ensuring AFRI continues to fund research on solutions that reduce enteric methane emissions without compromising animal health or productivity. These federally funded research efforts will play a pivotal role in developing region-specific enteric methane solutions and will ultimately bolster the long-term profitability and sustainability of the U.S. animal agricultural sector.

To read the full letter, click here.


American Feed Industry Association

American Society for Microbiology

American Society of Animal Science


Bipartisan Policy Center Action


Clean Air Task Force

Colorado State University AgNext

Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

CowBell Labs


Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC)

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Working Group

Hoofprint Biome

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Milk Producers Federation

National Wildlife Federation

Neutral Foods, Inc.

Rumin8 LLC

Spark Climate Solutions

Texas A&M University

The Breakthrough Institute

UC Davis CLEAR Center


Media Contact:

David Hong

Federal Policy Director for Food and Agriculture