Jerry Rosman, a corn and livestock farmer in Iowa since 1974, has long been a follower of the newest “technologies” in farming.
He once placed his faith into “scientific innovations,” and besides personal use, he spent many decades selling and promoting these products.
But then, something unexpected happened that changed his viewpoint, and his farming style, completely.
Rosman began by trying out genetically modified (GMO) corn. This was in 1997, just as Monsanto brought its very first genetically engineered Roundup ready seeds into the world. Jerry started feeding this corn to his livestock, but the problems did not start until the arrival of the year 2000’s crop.
Immediately, the Iowa farmer started witnessing a shocking side effect — reproductive issues in his pigs.
According to Jerry, pigs started experiencing pseudo pregnancies or false pregnancies, a condition in which the body replicates all symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant, affecting over 80% of his pigs. In most cases the “pregnant” pig would birth a “bag of water,” and the process would repeat itself again and again.
“It happens occasionally out here. There are certain toxins that will do it,” Jerry said.
But when he checked for all the usual causes but found nothing. The situation was also different, because in the past, this never happened to that many animals, a couple at most. This occurrence must have had a different cause.
After a year of these fake pregnancies, the farmer deducted that it must be the GMO corn that was causing reproductive issues in pigs, a side effect that Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology Dr. Don Huber of Purdue University warned about as a possibility in his research.
Was Mr. Rosman correct in his assessment of the situation, and is GMO corn really a threat to livestock health?
Farmers Across America Noticed Livestock Reproductive Issues
Through research, Jerry found out that he was not alone in his struggles – at least five other farmers in the area were experiencing the same problem. Unfortunately, Rosman realized the corn was the problem too late, and even though he tried switching the feed, the pigs were not in the shape to reproduce again, and he ended up losing the farm.
Rosman did not want his loss to be in vain. Today, he warns other farmers about the risks of switching GMO crops, and consults small farming operations on organic farming.
While warning others about GMO seeds, Jerry also wanted to spread the word on a bigger scale. He tried to go against the GMO seed company and let them know what their product is doing to livestock. But no one would listen.
“The only response from the seed corn company was in fact to basically discredit the farmers…They did everything under the power to blame anything and everything but the corn,” Jerry said.
Researchers and other farmers who were aware of this problem were shoved aside like he was; they were silenced, he says.
“The initial researchers who basically determined that this was the problem were harassed, intimidated to change their stories. Once a researcher was threatened with job termination if he ever talked to me again. At the major university here, the Iowa University, he…recanted everything that he said because Monsanto told him that’s what he was supposed to do. His research grants were coming from Monsanto.”
The only good news that came out of it is that Rosman’s message did reach other farmers who had a chance to rescue their animals and their farms in time.
“The minute this hit national airways and I was getting some press, we’ve received some calls from another twenty five farmers scattered out in the Midwest who were all experiencing the same problems.”
Some of these farmers were able to save their farm by switching the feed in time after hearing Jerry’s story.
While Monsanto and other seed companies were not listening, many interdependently-funded researchers were looking for answers.
Researchers in Baylor University in Texas published a peer reviewed study linking the pseudo pregnancy problem to GMO corn, Jerry said. From experiments in their lab, these researchers found compounds in GMO corn that are most likely responsible for reproductive problems. They act as estrogen mimickers or endocrine disruptions, which alter hormones in the body leading to reproductive issues.
The most alarming find is that these same compounds were immediately found in ordinary food products bought in supermarkets.
Jerry said this is the most concerning news to him. He asks: “If it’s bothering our hogs, it’s bothering our cows, what’s it doing to the humans?”
More and more processed foods have hidden GMOs, especially corn and soy. These can be used as fillers or in place of oils. Looking at the ingredient lists of foods, it seems that huge numbers of products have corn ingredients. Some are more obvious like corn oil, corn sugar, corn syrup, and modified corn starch. Other corn can be hidden under artificial flavorings and sweeteners, natural flavorings, modified food starch, and many others (the list is long).
Unfortunately, Jerry said that the seed companies have done no long-term trials to diagnose or potentially stop this problem. And they “absolutely resist even the idea of doing it.”
The researchers Jerry was working with told him that seed companies are not doing any testing on this issue.
“[They] said that technically they’re not doing any testing whatsoever. They are saying they are but they are not. The researchers out of Texas said they run into the same brick wall when they went to the FDA wanting more studying done on this problem. They said they weren’t interested. It was not an issue of their concern.”
Scientific Studies Link GMOs to Reproductive Problems
While Monsanto and other companies insist their genetically modified corn and other plants, which are engineered in a lab to withstand large doses of harsh, proprietary herbicides, are safe, many independent studies have been published to (little fanfare) showing the exact opposite. Genetically engineered seed companies point to the approval by government health bodies as proof of their safety, but the following are just a few studies that show the opposite, including problems similar to the ones Rosman said he experienced.
Scientists in Austria tested GMO corn by feeding it to mice for 20 weeks, a much longer total than the often-criticized 90 day testing standard used in the United States. The mice started giving birth to fewer and weaker babies as time passed. Austria banned GMO maize and rape seed in 1999. The ban has been since been backed twice, and Austria remains GMO free today.
A similar study was performed in Russia. After feeding rats GMO soy, the rats gave birth to weak babies, and eventually became sterile. The main researcher Dr. Irina Ermakova speculates that all soy, not only GMO soy causes reproductive issues, so her new research is focused on GMO-corn with similar concerns. Russia has placed a 10-year ban on all GMO crops to further study their influence on human health.
And in Denmark, an account of stillborn pig births after consuming GMO food was published in 2012 by a farming newspaper, Effektivt Landbrug. Farmer farmer Ib Borup Pedersen’s story was seen as strikingly similar to Rosman’s, only with a happier ending: he switched to non-GMO soy for his sows and found that their health improved dramatically, to the point where drug costs were greatly reduced. His story caused a firestorm of controversy in the country, with agrochemical companies and non-GMO grassroots organizations each weighing in; the latter stated that animal deaths and health issues he noticed have been reported by other farmers for quite a while.
Meanwhile in the U.S., GMOs are widely used in almost everything we eat, and GMO corn is given in large amounts to factory farmed livestock in order to fatten them up quickly before they are sent to be slaughtered.
Watch Jerry’s interview explaining the horrible reproductive issues he witnessed, and let us know what you think in the comments section below:
Another short interview with Jerry and a few other farmers: