LOGAN – Patrick Huffcutt is a bug rancher of sorts. He is in the business of raising insects for the pets that eat them. Originally from Illinois, he moved to Logan to attend Utah State University and study Ecology. But life drew him in a different direction.
He sells six different insects, and is working on three more species to add to his inventory at Grandma Nancy’s Insect Farm. He also raises rats to feed to snakes and other carnivores.
“I raise different kinds of insects to feed different kinds of animals,” he said. “I supplied insects for a local pet store until it closed, and now I’m trying to get the word to pet owners that I’m still around.”
His inventory includes crickets, mill-worms, super-worms and three different kinds of cockroaches.
Huffcutt also helps people who want to grow their own insects. He has insect food and breeding supplies and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.
There is no Grandma Nancy, by the way. Huffcutt called his business that to calm worries about his profession.
“I named it Grandma Nancy’s to alleviate anxiety about what I do,” he said. “I wanted to give the business a down home, more comfortable feeling.”
The largest bug Huffcutt raises is the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which he feeds to his tarantulas or large lizards. The hissing cockroach can grow to about 3 inches long and about an inch wide.
He also believes insects could be the answer to the world’s food shortage. He claims eating bugs is healthier than other foods.
He promotes large-scale insect farming as a potential of low-cost and high quality food supply for people. “There are social benefits and environmental benefits,” he said. “It is an interesting and unique form of food.”
Huffcutt said insects are undoubtedly one of the most abundant life forms we have here on earth.
“It was estimated there are 200 million insects present for one human.”
Huffcutt said it could quickly provide income for thousands of the world’s poorest people and provide food security and stability to a growing world.
“There are large health organizations that have promoted insects as a human food source,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more a serious idea.”
Whenever he gets the chance, he promote insects as a human food source.
“There is no shame for eating bugs on my part,” he said. “The scorpion is my favorite; it has a ‘shrimpy’ taste. I’m trying to get more of them.”
Huffcutt also works in the construction trade until his business grows to sustain himself.
Along with his bugs and rats, he also has two Iguanas, two red footed tortoises from South America, and a couple of tarantulas.
“There is a need for what I do,” he said. “I’m trying to serve a need in Cache Valley.”
Huffcutt’s specialty cricket pancakes are packaged in bags and ready for people looking for a different type of breakfast food. As soon as he gets his kitchen up he will continue his production of bug-based food.
“I also board coldblooded exotic animals like lizards and snakes for people going on vacation.”