We’re honoring Dr. Don Huber as a “Hero of Renewable Farming” for his decades of courage, intellect and hard work. He’s traveling worldwide, urging farmers and fellow scientists to focus on crop nutrition — not GMOs and their related toxins — as the foundation for global health. Our admiration extends back many years. Dr. Huber’s influence among farmers continues growing, despite sometimes-furious opposition from multinational seed and chemical giants.
Jan. 5, 2018 By Jerry Carlson — Dr. Don M. Huber, Purdue University Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology, has made more presentations on GMOs, glyphosate and crop nutrition to more farmers and scientists around the planet than anyone we’ve ever known — or heard about.
Here’s how he introduces one of his major themes on glyphosate weedkiller:
“When future historians write about our time, they’ll write not about the tons of chemicals we did or didn’t apply. When it comes to glyphosate, they’ll write about our willingness to sacrifice our children and jeopardize our existence by threatening the very basis of our agricultural sustainability.”
In Don’s 60-year ag research career, he heard the early promises of genetic modification of crops: less chemical use, greater yields, less need for water, more nutritious grains. Feed the world with healthier foods! Today he sums up the consequences: Genetic engineering of crops has “failed on every one of those promises.”
In 2011, my wife Jill and I assembled Dr. Huber’s record of scientific papers and many professional accomplishments. With assistance from Don’s wife Paula, we crowded his “bio” into 10 pages. You can download it as a PDF file for easy reading with Adobe Acrobat, at this link.
Since 2011, Don has achieved much beyond what we summarized in that bio. He maintains a vigorous global speaking and research schedule, despite the passing of his wife and partner Paula in spring 2016. Don and Paula raised 11 children. Those children and their spouses have given them 44 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. So far.
Historically, paradigm-shattering truths are seldom revealed from the security of academic or corporate institutions. Intellectual disruptors almost always battle fierce opposition. Think of another microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, vilified by the medical establishment in the late 1900s. Pasteur’s discoveries laid the foundations for Dr. Joseph Lister’s safer surgical procedures. And their work was underpinned by earlier inventions of microscopes by Galileo Galilei in 1609, plus later refinements by Anton van Leeuwenhoek. They were mocked for claiming the presence of “wee beasties.”
Today, Dr. Don Huber and a few of his colleagues are ignored or even scorned for showing electron microscopy of prion-like, self-replicating proteins which pose a potential threat to human and animal health. These foreign proteins appear closely linked with genetically modified organisms. Don has urged USDA scientists for more research into this discovery, with very little response from the Agricultural Research Service.
For many years Don led a special task force of leading scientists as Commander of the Strategic Medical Intelligence Detachments, an entity of the U.S. Army and Surgeon General. His specialty: Biological warfare, especially analyzing how enemies might weaponize chemicals or harmful organisms. He’s still vital to that military work.
Currently, Don’s attention and teaching is peeling back layers on the “chronic toxicology of the high residues of the herbicide glyphosate that is negatively impacting animal and human health throughout the world.” More skeptics are listening. In 2017, for the first time, veterinary school professors invited Don for presentations at Iowa State and in Calgary, Canada on glyphosate-related animal health challenges.
Here’s a partial sample of Don’s intense schedule of conferences and lectures worldwide in 2017:
January: Presentations and research reviews in Canada, California and Guatemala.
February: Argentina and Brazil for several presentations to Brazilian farmers, accompanied by Iowa crop consultant Bob Streit. At Brazil’s main ag research center, EMBRAPA, they met with longtime Brazilian research friends such as Tsuioshi Yamada. Presentations in Pennsylvania and Utah rounded out the month. In Pennsylvania, Don was a leading speaker for Lancaster Ag Products on remediating soil from glyphosate residues along with using nutrients, not toxins, for crop health.
March: Farmer and researcher conferences in New York, Idaho and Utah. Then back to Guatemala for consultations, returning to research gatherings in Minneapolis.
Through part of last spring and summer, Don personally took charge of a 27-acre pear orchard infected with fire blight. The demonstration showed that “several of the nutrient compositions we used were much more effective in controlling this disease than the multiple antibiotic sprays” which are often used.
June: Presentations in Brazil again, plus a family gathering in Phoenix for a grandson’s wedding.
July: Two weeks in New Zealand, hosted by “several farm and consumer groups with formal meetings in Auckland, Wellington and Christ Church. Don met with the new U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown, while there.
August: Presentations to farmers in Madison, Wis., then a flight to San Antonio, Tex. to participate in committee meetings of the American Phytopathological Society. “From there, I had presentations in Massachusetts, Kansas and Missouri before traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark for the International Plant Nutrition Conference.”
At this conference, Don presented research he monitored in Guatemala. It shows the benefits of ripening sugarcane naturally as an alternative to terminating it with glyphosate, “which is associated with worker deaths from end-stage kidney failure.”
Returning from Denmark, Don stopped briefly at his home in Melba, Idaho “with just enough time to do my laundry” before flying to Minneapolis for a presentation.
September: Two weeks in Australia for presentations around Toowomba, Brisbane and Rockhampton.
October: Attending the Cornerstone Health Conference in Sortell, Minn. and consulting in Fresno, California. Then to Provo, Utah for a personal review of new EDXRF analytical instrumentation which fellow researcher Jill Clapperton is developing for rapid mineral analysis of crops. (We’re also closely watching this technological development.)
November: Conference in Provo with the developer of a promising alternative to glyphosate, being developed by an Australian firm. (We have participated in some of the field trials with early versions of this safe-to-use product, which is now entering the early stages of registration in the United States.) Then, back to Fresno to meet consulting clients and on to presentations at meetings in Des Moines, Iowa.
December: At the ACRES conference in Ohio, Don was a keynote speaker for this conference, which has grown to around 1,500 grower and researcher participants. Preceding the conference, he led an all-day workshop on managing nutrients to control crop disease — instead of using toxic chemicals. After that came presentations to veterinarians in Calgary, Canada. That session was organized by Saskatchewan veterinarian Ted Dupmeier, whose research on animals’ toxic response to glyphosate we’ve reported earlier. Our neighbor and friend Art Dunham also attended that conference, along with Iowa friend Howard Vlieger. Both Art and Howard have documented similar digestive disruptions in farm animals which appear associated with GMO/glyphosate in feed. Howard conducted a long-term scientific study on his farm in cooperation with scientist Judy Carmen, finding much higher rates of severe stomach inflammation in pigs fed GMO rations. The paper showing you that research report is linked here.
Those are just a few highlights of Dr. Don Huber’s year. It’s typical; many organizations ask for his insights. He will turn 83 this coming March 19, but shows signs of accelerating his intensity rather than easing out to pasture. He’s determined to “finish the job” even though he survived significant injuries in a suspicious hit-and-run several months ago. An unknown driver sideswiped his car into Don’s small tractor on a roadside near his home. Don was on the tractor, towing a stranger’s pickup out of a shallow ditch. The hit-and-run driver could not be located. The pickup driver had apparently deliberately ditched his pickup before asking for help. That had set up the timing of Don’s position on Big Foot Road. The pickup driver gave Don a false name, and could not be traced. I once asked a knowledgeable friend, “Who has Don’s back? He’s constantly exposing industry-threatening facts.” My friend said, “The biological warfare brass need him. They protect him.” Perhaps those protectors have become more vigilant since this “accident” which could have killed Don.
You’d expect many trolls to attempt trashing Huber’s findings. Most aggressive are the “scientists” whose careers ride on biotech and the toxins to which they’re linked. One especially vocal academic is the University of Florida’s Kevin Folta, who promotes genetic engineering at every opportunity. Folta’s link to paymasters of corporate biotech was exposed by Dr. Jonathan Latham, co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project and the Editor of Independent Science News. Our website summarized those findings months ago.
Don has provided us his current portfolio of PowerPoint presentations. We plan to summarize them in bite-size chunks on our website in coming months. Meanwhile you can enjoy some of his presentations and interviews posted on YouTube. Search YouTube with “Don Huber” and you’ll see at least three dozen presentations and interviews. Most of these are simply video recordings at farmer meetings. One of the most professionally produced is an interview about six years ago with Dr. Mercola, an hour-long exchange which has been viewed more than 43,000 times.
Members of our Renewable Farming team have attended many presentations by Dr. Huber, reporting on most of them. What we see happening now is that his message is gaining momentum, and changing the farming approaches of many of our friends on the land.
For our research here at Renewable Farming LLC, I often refer to a highly useful book which Don produced with two other leading scientists, Lawrence Datnoff and Wade Elmer: “Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease.” The 278-page volume provides scientific foundations for relying on mineral nutrition to build your crop’s immune systems.
Farmers, researchers and families around the world are fortunate to know Dr. Don Huber and to continue learning more from him.
Future generations of ag scientists will stand on his shoulders!