Nebraska may be preparing for the impending “cow tax.” The EPA is now regulating carbon dioxide emissions and some other organic gasses that it has deemed harmful, which cows naturally emit.
In response, “mini-cows” have been spotted in the state, which are compact cattle with stocky bodies, smaller frames and relatively tiny appetites (for a cow). These miniature Herefords consume about half of what a full-sized cow consumes, yet produce 50% to 75% of the ribeyes and fillets.
One farmer boosted, “We get more sirloin and less soup bone.” This farmer added, “People used to look at them and laugh. Now, they want to own them.”
In the last few years, ranchers across the state have been snapping up mini Hereford and Angus calves. Farmers who raise mini-Jerseys brag how each animal provides two to three gallons of milk a day, although they complain about having to crouch down on their knees to reach their udders.
The mini-cows aren’t genetically engineered to be small. Instead, they’re drawn from original breeds brought to the U.S. that were smaller than today’s giants that were created with relentless breeding programs. There are now more than 300 miniature-Hereford breeders in the U.S., up from fewer than two-dozen in 2000. There are about 20,000 mini-cows today compared with fewer than 5,000 a decade ago.