The Jack-In-the-Box Mini Sirloin Burgers ad has become almost an unofficial HH cheer around here, so I figured that some folks might be interested to learn that ranchers are in fact switching to smaller Herefords, which produce meat more efficiently.
Walking through their lowing herd of several hundred cattle, Ali and Kenny Petersen were like two Gullivers on a Lilliputian roundup.
The half-sized cows barely reached Kenny's waist. The ranch's border collie stared eye-to-eye with wandering calves.
"Aren't they sweet?" asked Ali, 52, shooing Half-Pint, Buttercup and a dozen other cattle across a holding pen. "They're my babies, every little one of them."
The Petersens once raised normal-sized bovines on this stretch of Nebraska's rolling eastern grasslands, but with skyrocketing feed costs, the couple decided to downsize.
They bought minicows -- compact cattle with stocky bodies, smaller frames and relatively tiny appetites.
Their miniature Herefords consume about half that of a full-sized cow yet produce 50% to 75% of the rib-eyes and fillets, according to researchers and budget-conscious farmers.
"We get more sirloin and less soup bone," Ali said. "People used to look at them and laugh. Now, they want to own them."