Farmer pinches pennies by feeding chocolate to dairy cows - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Farmer pinches pennies by feeding chocolate to dairy cows

KANSAS - Triple digit heat, drought, and rising corn prices. Dairy farmers are hit hard in times like these but one dairy farmer in Kansas has found a creative way to keep costs down and the cows happy: chocolate.

Before the sun ever rises on south central Kansas the Millers have already been working for hours. "If you work with them every day, you learn to know them."  It's a hard life on a dairy farm. Mary Jane Miller's alarm goes off at 2:00 a.m. But it's the only life Miller has known for the last 30 years. "I have always said cows remind me a lot of people, and people remind me of cows," Miller jokes.

But that couldn't be more true on this farm. Her cows get something we all like. "Yeah, this looks like cherries and just a number of ingredients and pieces of random chocolate pieces." Chocolate. The Millers feed their cows chocolate by the truckload. 800 pounds of chocolate is dumped and mixed into the cows' feed. The chocolate scraps are from a chocolate factory Mary Jane's husband Orville says would otherwise go uneaten. "A friend of ours worked there in maintenance at the factory and he calls and said, could you use chocolate?" 

Cows can eat up to about six pounds of chocolate a day; that's 5,000 pounds of chocolate for the Millers' cows a week. In case you have doubts about whether all this chocolate is good for the cows,  animal nutritionist Verton Miller says the energy from chocolate is good for the cows, and it's cheap too. "We're probably saving 50 or 60 cents a cow a day. And that's a lot of savings." 

The Millers say it's a way of recycling. "We can take that truckload to the landfill. But it's just gonna fill up the landfill. We can we feed it, and it saves us dollars. For us it's the bottom line. We feed them as well as we can, as cheap as we can." 

Story by Michael Schwanke, distributed through CNN. 


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