Ruminants’ ability to break down human-inedible plant fibers stems from the microbes in their rumen. This process is primarily driven by microbes that can ferment plant fibers into volatile fatty acids (VFAs), followed by the rumen epithelial layer absorbing and partially metabolizing these VFAs. Recently, researchers examined how microbes and epithelial cells interact and contribute to VFA metabolism in lactating dairy cows. Metagenomic binning allowed researchers to categorize and examine the metabolic capacity of even uncultivated microbes and identify bacterial genomes with both cellulose/xylan/pectin degradation capabilities and associations with VFA biosynthesis. They then used gene expression data to construct a single-cell map of the rumen epithelial cell subtypes. Searching gene expression profiles for VFA transporters highlighted key epithelial cell subtypes. Leveraging this data highlighted interactions where microbes potentially influenced the gene expression of host epithelial cells. Taken together, these results provide a foundation for modeling and understanding fiber deconstruction by rumen microbes and could also lead to future interventions to improve the health and performance of lactating dairy cows.