New FDA regulations on spent grain hurting farmers, brewers

Created: 04/09/2014 5:31 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

At feeding time at the El Dorado Cattle Company in Durango, Colorado, Justin Werts shovels the damp grain out of buckets in the back of his truck onto the field at his ranch.

“We run about 37 head of momma cows with about 36 head of yearlings and about 30 head of calves,” said Werts.

He feeds brewers grain to his cattle.

“Well what we do, we finish them on brewers grain and there is basically  two types of beef, grass fed beef and grain finished beef. Some people use corn, we have the option to use the brewers grain cause its free and it helps the local breweries as well.”

The grain, between 600 and 1,200 lbs a day, comes from Durango Brewing Company where it was used to brew beer. The grain doesn’t cost Werts much.

“Basically for free,” said Werts.

In October the FDA proposed a rule that would make it too costly for brewers to give the grain to ranchers.

“We aren’t going to have anywhere to put it, it’s going to go to waste, I’m sure we are going to have to pay someone to pick it up and get rid of it for us,” said Matt Harrison, brewer for Durango Brewing Company.

Brewers are not happy about the cost or prospect of having so much grain go to waste. Neither are the ranchers.

Werts sighs, “I’d probably quit raising cattle. I just don't think I could afford it.”

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