It goes without saying that the US drought is creating extremely serious problems for crop farmers, livestock producers, ethanol producers and other demanders of grain. The economic consequences are likely to be horrendous.

But a reduction in grain supply does not spell famine in this country.
This is a luxury that does not describe a lot of other countries where the availability of grain can mean the difference between living and starving-to-death. But what if there was an efficient, relatively-quick-way to convert grasses to a high protein and nutrition-laden food?

In the past we have written about crops that U.S. farmers would consider unusual, but hold promise to help expand food sources in the developing world. But for us, none tops what we saw on the cover of the August 2012 issue of World Ark, the magazine of Heifer International: “Rodents of unusual size.” With a title like on the magazine of an organization that provides small farmers around the world with breeding stock, we turned immediately to page 20 to see what they were talking about.

As kids, we remember raising money in our Sunday school classes to buy a pregnant heifer that would be given to a struggling farmer in Africa or South America with the condition that the recipient would give the first calf to another farmer. But a rodent?

In this case we are talking about a fairly large rodent called a grasscutter that is in the process of being domesticated from wild stock. Grasscutters are found in grassy areas in Sub-Saharan Africa and are one of the bush meats that traditionally have been hunted to put meat on the table.