Livestock Bedding

Local Population Reaps the Benefits of Repurposed Sand

  • 150 tons of foundry sand is put to good, earth-friendly use every month by McMinn cattle.
  • Foundry sand is a safe and sustainable source for inexpensive herd bedding, obviating the need to import pricey native sands from around the state.

Etowah, Tennessee, is home to Waupaca Foundry Plant 6. It is also home to a lot of cows. The care of the bovine population had become increasingly difficult for the McMinn County dairy farmers due to the scarcity of affordable sand bedding. Farmers had to pay to bring in sand from far-off areas, which was as harsh on the environment as it was on farmers’ pocketbooks.

But then it was discovered that foundry sand from Plant 6 makes for great herd bedding and that, incredibly, the cows could not tell the difference between the cheap, locally-sourced foundry sand and pricey imported sand. Currently, around 150 tons of foundry sand are used every month by McMinn County farmers and their herds. When it’s time to change the sheets, so to speak, the fertilizer-rich sand is tilled into the soil, improving farm fields and yielding better grazing lands. The result is cows feasting happily while farmers rest easily knowing that inexpensive and abundant herd bedding is always just up the road.

The foundry sand bedding has been approved by both the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as well as state environmental regulators. Thinking locally has paid off for both the farmers and Waupaca Foundry. This cost-effective solution and the reduced carbon “hoofprint” have made everyone in McMinn as happy as a cow in foundry sand.