Grit Blogs > You Are Where You Eat

Feeding Candy to Cows

Candy for cows

Prepare to insert a candy corn joke here:

I caught this story yesterday (thanks to Judith from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for putting this out there) and I couldn't help myself. Feeding candy to cows? For one man in Kentucky, that's his solution to providing calories in the face of skyrocketing corn prices. Perhaps because corn is already an unnatural part of a cow's diet, candy can't be much worse? At any rate, here's the original article in full:

Kentucky Feedlot Manager Feeds Candy to Cows

While my initial reaction is just this side of horrified, feeding candy to cows brings up a host of questions in my mind:

- What's the difference between a rancher and someone who operates a feedlot? The article describes the latter by the former's title, is that accurate?

- Is corn expensive only because of drought? Or is it more complicated? What about the effect of land speculation?

- It's said another factor in the price of corn is ethanol production. What regulations are in place that makes this happen? How can they be changed?

- In the price of corn, what is the role of government subsidy programs? What do we want to see in the new Farm Bill regarding these subsidies?

- What is our role as consumers? It's easy to blame someone for feeding candy to their cows, but isn't he merely trying to produce a cheap product? Because we demand cheap meat (and lots of it!) aren't we equally culpable for the means to which that end is achieved?

- Finally, how common is this practice? Although it seems shocking, I'm curious if this occurs in pork production as well?

I'll hop off my little soap box but I'd love to hear others' thoughts. Feeding candy to cows: yay or nay?

sheila karraker
9/3/2012 2:43:18 PM

It is a misconception that cows are meant to eat grass. Cow will not graze on grass because they are restricted from doing so. You don't see cows in a corn field unless they got through a broken fence or a gate left open. Given the chance, cows will eat corn.

nebraska dave
9/3/2012 1:47:18 PM

Phyllis, interesting concept to make cattle feed from candy. I know that most feeders use molasses or sorghum with the feed which is very sweet and almost like candy so I guess it's not a far reach to go straight to candy for fat supplement. It's not like those animals are going to live long enough to have to deal with cholesterol clogged arteries or cavities in their teeth. I haven't given it much thought but your statement about corn being an unnatural feed is true, isn't it. Cows were meant to eat grass. Our hunger for meat has indeed driven us to extremes to keep the store meat department stocked. The atrocities that go on behind the scene to provide cheap meat is really kind of sad. I am a meat eater and I do buy it from the store but I'm also aware of what has to happen to get it there. I have raised and slaughtered animals but with respect and not confinement. My meat consumption continues to go down each year. It is close to being nothing more than flavoring for soups and casseroles. Very seldom do I have just a chunk of meat. Have a great day growing vegetables.