By Don Ford

WINDSOR (KPIX 5) — New federal regulations to make sure feed is safe for animals may have an unintended consequence. A North Bay brewery that gives its used grain to feed cows could be banned from doing so.

Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa is known worldwide for its beer, which is brewed behind the bar.

Grain is one of the main ingredients.

“Brew batches a couple times a week, so we’re going to have a lot of grain left over that’s usable,” said Manny Carretero, assistant general manager of the brewery.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or in this case cattle feed. The brewery needs to get rid of it, and cows love to eat it. It has been a match made in heaven.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” Rick Olufs, owner of Olufs Ranches told KPIX 5.

Or at least it was. The rancher said proposed regulations from the FDA may outlaw the practice, unless expensive federal oversight is enacted to monitor the handling of the spent grain.

“Once they get their foot in the door, and they start regulating something, then there’s a whole mess of paperwork that follows behind it,” Olufs said.

Carretero said, “It’s one more step in the process that we really don’t have room for.”

Cattlemen and brewers both fear the additional cost and workload of tracking the spent grain could be too much, which could lead to the grain ending up at the land fill, nobody thinks that is a good idea.

Olufs said the grain is so nutritious and sweet, he calls it cow candy.

The FDA is still reviewing the details of the proposed regulation and revised language could be published by this summer.

The Russian River Brewing Company said they have never heard of any animal getting sick from spent grain.

There is no alcohol in the spent grain from the brewery.


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