Friday, April 1, 2011

Niwot Okays Backyard Cows

A pair of young cows lounge in a Niwot back yard.
Okay, so you figured out my early post was a joke, right? April Fool's Day and all. Ha ha. But I couldn't let the day go without posting this news tidbit.

It's not entirely food-related, but it is very related, considering this is a major step toward total locavorism.

Suburban dwellers around here are asking, "Why stop at having a garden?" The town I live, in, Longmont, legalized backyard chickens a while back, and now the next town over, Niwot, has allowed backyard cows. In a surprise move, the Niwot United Town-dweller Society lobbied the Boulder County Commissioners to allow Niwot homeowners to keep pet cows.

In their proposal to the commissioners, the NUTS group wrote that unadulterated raw milk was just as important to health and welfare as chicken eggs. “Like Longmont, we’re only interested in the produce from the animals – just them milk. We don’t want homeowners to start raising beef cattle. Just some nice, domestic milkers.”

Cows would be limited to two, except when mother cows had unweaned calves, in which case the maximum would increase to allow the two mother cows plus their calves. The calves would be allowed to remain in the yard until they were old enough to graze on their own.

“We suggest that homeowners give away their calves to neighbors rather than trying to sell them to dairies. We’d like to see a cow in every back yard in a few years. Think how wonderful that would be,” Elmer Boden, spokesperson for the group, said.

His wife, Daisy, said that besides milk for the family, homeowners could begin churning their own butter and making simple cheeses. “Niwot could become known as the cheese capital of Colorado,” Daisy said.

Cows would only be allowed in yards of people who owned their own homes – renters would be prohibited from bringing cows onto rental properties. “Cows live a long time,” Elmer said. “You don’t want someone renting a home in Niwot and buying a cow, only to move to Longmont where cows are not yet allowed.”

Cows would also not be allowed in common areas of apartment complexes or condos, nor would they be allowed on public streets. “People would be allowed to walk their cows on trails,” Elmer said, but cautioned that cow-walkers would have to pick up after their animals the same was dog-walker do. “The benefit, though,” Elmer said, “is that the leavings make good fertilizer.

Daisy was enthusiastic about the benefits to the local business community. “Think of all the new opportunities,” she said. “There will be new cow-sitting services for people who need to leave their cow at home when they go on vacation. Cow-grooming services would no doubt spring up as well.”

But it’s not all about new businesses. “Landscapers will see a boost to business, as will fencing companies,” Daisy said. “It will be good for everyone.”

A commissioner, who asked to remain anonymous, said that he had voted against the proposal, “They’re just NUTS,” he said. “No one in Niwot is going to want cows in their backyards. It’s never going to happen.”