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Farm Feeds Cows Candy Because Corn is Too Expensive

Farm Feeds Cows Candy Because Corn is Too Expensive

 

It’s been a rough summer for farmers across much of the United States. The worst drought in decades has destroyed millions of acres of crops, dried up water supplies, and forced the price of food to soar.

The nation’s corn crop has been hit particularly hard — over half of the crop has been destroyed, and prices are at record levels. And, with much of the nation’s cattle on a corn-heavy diet, farmers are struggling to afford food for their herds. So what’s a cash-strapped farm to do when it can’t feed its cattle? Well, in the case of Kentucky-based United Livestock Commodities, turn to alternative feed — like candy.

Yep, you read that right, this farm is feeding its herd of 1,400 cattle candy in lieu of corn. Mixed with “an ethanol by product and a mineral nutrient,” mind you, the farm purchases candy that cannot be sold in stores. So far, farmer Joseph Watson claims, the cows are gaining weight and don’t seem to have any health problems. He told WPSD that, “This ration is balanced to have not too much fat in it. It’s got all the right nutrition for them..”

Cattle shouldn’t be eating candy. Cattle shouldn’t even be eating corn, for that matter. Cattle should be eating grass.

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

72 comments

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1:14PM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

So we are poisoning livestock? That's smart.

4:17PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

Thanks for the Green Star Laurie H :) Care2 won't seem to allow me to send messages for some reason. I can write them but when I click on 'submit' that's when it freezes; not my computer, just the Care2 page - weird :/

7:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Well said Pamela, the hand writing is on the wall, as we speak. Raising cattle for food is unsustainable. Secretary Clinton states that it's not about IF---it's about WHEN we'll be going to war over water. Scary, yes, but impossible to work with---no. We can take responsibility and work with what we have. (Go veg-it's easy!!!) ~~ Thanks for posting, Katie.

11:42AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL OUR GOVERNMENT MAKES US SEE FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

2:52AM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

The droughts and severe floods are the new reality - time to severely cut back on the number of cows.
I've seen this report three times now and appreciate that this has been brought to the media.
My first thoughts are : Over the years so many thousands of people have kindly contributed to the finances of the SPCA, yet the SPCA has probably not checked on this practice !

8:53AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

After reading some recent comments, I feel compelled to make a few points: 1) animal agriculture IS part of a sustainable food future as we cannot meet the protein demands of an increasing world population with only vegetable-source proteins, 2) cows cannot eat only grass or hay only because grass isn't available year-round (only about half of the year in most dairy areas of the US) and because hay doesn't contain enough calories for the cow to live on and produce well, and 3) the price of corn IS going to significantly affect our food system and prices during the coming year due to the severe drought in the US's major corn producing areas. Most of the people making comments on this site really know too little about dairy cattle and dairy farming to understand what you don't know; so, I would suggest you do a bit more investigation (and not on the Internet) before you make comments that really have no basis in reality...

11:19PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

What have we come to? We simply cannot continue raising cattle for food when it's not a staple for our health and survival. In fact it is quite the contrary. So much water and land is wasted for this unsustainable and soon to be futile exercise. As the worlds human population soars past seven billion to ten billion by 2050 we are going to be fighting wars for water and food. We really have to be grown ups and start being responsible with the resources we have left. We've got to look to a sensible and sustainable future and stop thinking short term profts. It is no longer the 1950's.

9:01PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

So lets make the cows sick, so we can pass along the misery. That is flat out irresponsible. You take a risk as a farmer, and why not apply for a subsidy to help pay for the higher prices? Plus, cows are supposed to eat grass, not corn and candy corn. This is why I hate corporate farms.

8:22PM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

In Australia some farmers linked up with other farmers who had excess oranges and other business owners with excess bread and they got their cattle through that way. In lieu of any other options at least they are trying to find creative ways to support the cattle.....lets hope things improve for cattle everywhere.

9:02PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

If there is no grass available what about sprouted sunflower seeds or sprouted mung beans? Surely there is a healthier alternative to candy.

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