Though we can thank our ‘thriving’ economy for its contributions to the rapid increase of national unemployment and home foreclosure rates, heightened expenses have also made an impact on cattle farmers, forcing them to change some of their costly ways. I introduce you to the answer to every farmer’s economic problems: The MINICOW!
Due to skyrocketting feed and land costs, the minicow has allowed farmers to downsize their production operations and maintain a more economical and environmentally friendly business. It seems like everyone is truly feeling the weight of America’s plummeting economy these days…
Though smaller than their heftier bovine bretheren (weighing in between 500-700lbs as opposed to 1,200), the minicow produces about 75% of the meat and milk that can be produced by larger breeds. One farmer boasted that each of his minicows can produce up to 2-3 gallons of milk daily. The minicows have also been bred to have much smaller appetites, decreasing the feed costs for farmers, and most importantly, decreasing their methane gas emissions!!
My first reaction to this minicow phenomenon was: Oh god, a genetically engineered meat source, sounds scrumptious! But I was happily mistaken. The minicow breeds are not genetically engineered at all, but rather come from smaller cattle breeds that were brought over from Europe in the 1800s. What was a bit concerning to me however, is this what cows are actually supposed to look like, and American farms have just been breeding them to be as behemoth as possible… Gross.
A little history:
Big cows that we are so used to seeing today only became popular in the 50s and 60s, when feed costs were virtually nonexistent and corporate farmers were obsessed with the ‘bigger is better’ concept. Minicows, though this might be counterintuitive, are actually much more monetarily efficient. Though they might produce 25% less meat and milk than their monstrous friends, they reach their ideal weight at a much faster rate, allowing farmers to spend less time trying to pork cows up before theyre sent to their demise (awwww).
Though the minicow revolution hasn’t completely taken over the cattle scene, a rise in their purchase has definitely taken place. The transition to minicows allows farmers to downsize operations, making the business more manageable and the environment much happier. It takes much less energy to manage 100 minicows than 100 bovine beasts.
I read about this in the LA times this morning and I figured I just had to share.. MINICOWS?! I love it.