FDA Proposal Unpopular with Brewers, Cattle Feeders

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Doug Drevo picks up two crates of spent grains from Blue Blood Brewing Co. in Lincoln, and loads them into his pick-up.

Drevo owns a small cattle operation outside of Lincoln, and combines the grains with some corn and an all natural supplement, which he calls a healthy option for his cattle.

Brewers and cattle feeders describe it as the perfect relationship - one gets rid of their spent grains, and the other gets food for their cattle.

"We could feed [them] a variety of things," Drevo said.

"But, we choose this, because it's all natural and it works out well in our program."

But, the Food and Drug Administration is considering rule changes that would prevent breweries from doing this. Instead, the grains would go to a landfill, something brewers would likely have to pay for.

"It'd be a waste of time and money," Drevo said, "and a good product, when you consider this type of practice has been done for hundreds of years."

Marcus Powers, one of the owners of Zipline Brewery in Lincoln, said changes like this simply aren't good for business.

"Sustainability is a really important part of our operation," Powers said.

"And, for us to see all that grain come out of that zero waste cycle, and head out to the landfill instead, really kind of disrupts our ability to run a very sustainable business."

The FDA told 10/11 News they're reconsidering their proposal after brewers nationwide expressed concern in a public comment period last month. A spokesperson said a revised proposal will be issued later in the summer, and there will be another public comment period.

The FDA was, however, vague on how exactly they'll change the proposal.

"There's bigger fish to fry than the little brewery guys and the few guys who are lucky enough to get the grains," Drevo said.