APRIL 1, 2021 – Internal memos obtained from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) indicate that the agency is getting prepared to recommend a ban on round bales for animal feed.

Round bales can weigh up to 1500 pounds, and are often wrapped with plastic to create a large “marshmallow” shape that is protected from moisture, precipitation, and pests.

The memos and email messages were obtained from a number of APHIS Veterinary Services District Offices across the Western United States, including the Washington office located in Tumwater. While some staff members disagreed with the proposal, it seems likely that the agency will recommend phased-in restrictions on round bales, with an eventual full ban proposed to take effect in 2024.

The reason for the ban is concern about nutritional health of cows and cattle, with the primary memo stating that “when all of your grass feed is in round bales, it’s hard for the cows to get a square meal!