Renewable Farming

A few hopeful benefits for farmers in the Covid-19 crash — if you look carefully

Our Renewable Farming website is here to encourage you with ways to enhance your farm, ranch and family life. I’m even convinced some beneficial changes will emerge from the current pandemic, recession, protests, riots and dismal grain prices. After all, this is America!

June 9, 2020  By Jerry CarlsonWarning: Reader discretion advised. I’m an 84-year-old journalist with a somewhat flat depreciation schedule. I’m a renegade against a large fraction of mainstream “science” that’s distorted by corporate profit priorities. My precious wife Jill attributes this to the “fogey principle:” I’ve seen so much, endured so many crisis cycles, that I’m skeptical of today’s experts. Examples:

1. I see GMO crops, glyphosate, dicamba and other toxic pesticides leading to an agronomic and financial dead end for farmers, as well as for human health.

2. I advocate and follow an organic food diet as closely as practical, mainly to avoid glyphosate residue. Our family has learned, sometimes the hard way, that food is your best medicine But only if it’s toxin-free and nutritionally sound. For three decades, I’ve encouraged farmers to build healthy soils for healthy food.

3. Along with many friends, I’ve become deeply skeptical of edicts by top officials at the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Since 2018, rhe National Institutes of Health has fired 54 scientists for failing to disclose hidden foreign payments received in addition to their U.S. taxpayer-funded research grants. Most of these researchers are male Asians; the obvious concern is stealing research secrets.  Also: After considerable study, I’ve come to believe anyone who accepts the CDC schedule of vaccinations from birth as totally “safe and effective” hasn’t studied opposing evidence which is solidly scientific. See what 60 physicians and researchers say about vaccine cautions at this link.

4. Our family discovered homeopathy 45 years ago ,and learned its efficacy. We have our own home pharmacy of about 100 remedies; my wife Jill is skilled with classical homeopathy. This report points you to hard data showing that classical homeopathy achieved dramatic success against some of history’s worst epidemics. Today homeopathy suppressed in America by big drug firms, while growing rapidly in nations like India. Its proven science is not patentable and thus profitable, like vaccines. 

5. Since developing metastatic bone cancer almost five years ago, I’ve used traditional Chinese medicine instead of following oncologists’ urging toward chemo and radiation.

Now I’ve learned that Classic Chinese remedies were widely and successfully used in China during the Covid-19 epidemic. Few Western physicians acknowledge that. Does it surprise you that China has very few new cases — just a cluster here and there, as in Beijing? This report brings you a fascinating analysis from I-Wan Chen, a trusted source in Beijing. It reveals how traditional Chinese medicine abruptly stopped African Swine Fever, another highly contagious virus. It’s an analogy for healing Covid-19 with natural herbal remedies. More news on that below.

I promised you some optimism. Here are a few facts you can be thankful for now. They point to opportunities for your future.

1. As a farmer or rancher, you are fortunate to live and work in the countryside. No looting and burning out here (yet). Farms have had relatively few Covid-19 cases. Nobody kept you in the house when you had to plant corn, milk cows and feed steers. Our three-generation family’s life on 20 acres, (now being converted to organic permaculture by our grandson Blake), breezed along untouched by fear and lockdown.

2. We see thousands of Americans reshaping their lifestyles to build their immune systems with fresh, high-nutrition food. This is my Major Message. It will take years to significantly change American junk-food habits, even though the healthy-food trend is growing fast. But you can change your own diet right now, this spring and summer. This is the main route to enhance your family’s immune system. I’m skeptical that “the Covid-19 vaccine” is a viable protection; this is a fast-mutating retrovirus. 

A small patch of our grandson Blake’s garden, providing fresh greens
and veggies with great abundance for salads and juicing. Family friend Holly Long
helps with gardening, and is a great example of a healthy lifestyle.

I was excited to see garden seed suppliers race to keep pace with explosive demand this spring, as thousands of Americans tilled up back yards to plant gardens. Seed Savers in nearby Decorah, IA was overwhelmed with orders.

Local meat processing facilities which custom-process cattle and hogs are booked months ahead, as families search out healthy beef and pork close to home. Consumers and livestock producers in Iowa achieved an Iowa Ag Department agreement with USDA, allowing state-inspected custom slaughter facilities to sell packaged meat direct to consumers, across state lines. This could precede federal legislation allowing state-inspected slaughter firms to provide meat to retailers for resale nationwide. See details on the PRIME act here.

My family has bought meat at Edgewood Locker in Edgewood, northeast Iowa. This firm normally processes 35 beef cattle and 75 hogs per week. The plant’s beef slaughter bookings are solid through June 2021. Edgewood’s Terry Kerns says, “The consumer trend toward local-sourced food has been accelerating several years. Then the pandemic made it crazy for a few weeks. Now we’re gradually settling down closer to a sustainable pace.”

When Covid-19 closed several major meat plants this spring, many Americans were shocked to discover that four corporations now control 80% of American beef processing. Also, four firms dominate pork processing: Smithfield Foods (owned by the Chinese), Tyson Foods, JBS USA (Owned by a Brazilian firm) and Cargill Meat Solutions.

The $65-billion poultry meat industry is equally concentrated, raising the question of big firms’ huge influence on producer and retail prices. The Justice Department this month indicted CEOs of Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton on a charge of price-fixing dressed chicken. These firms, along with Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc. (no relation to our ag secretary) are the industry’s powerhouses. 

But here’s a good signal: Here in Iowa, Hoover’s Hatchery told me that “overwhelming new demand” from would-be chicken raisers is “unprecedented” in the firm’s 75-year-plus history. We buy eggs from a local laying flock owner, Tim Daley, who feeds his hens organic rations. Our son Erik’s family maintains a small laying flock which free-grazes, supplemented with organic feed. More people want to enjoy such higher-quality eggs and are willing to do the chicken chores.

3. I see a widening awareness of acceptance of Renewable Farming. The Walmart Foundation funded a study of how to build a “regenerative” American agricultural system. The non-profit Forum for the Future prepared the 33-page report, which you can view and download from this link. Its introduction says:

“Regenerative agriculture practices have the potential to create more resilient supply chains, restore soil health and enable farmers and businesses to thrive. 

“While progress towards regenerative agriculture in the United States has accelerated over the last five years, there are significant barriers holding us back. What are they? And how can we overcome them?

“Forum for the Future led a collaborative process with stakeholders from across the American agriculture system to identify the key opportunities to scale regenerative agriculture in the US. These are published in a new report which identifies 16 barriers to scale along with a seven-point-plan to help overcome them and drive transformational change, and specific recommendations for how different actors can enable this transition.”

I don’t expect the Midwest to abruptly reverse its 60-year trend toward larger cash-grain farms — not until such operations start failing in large numbers. But as Renewable Farming has encouraged for years, 1% to 3% of corn-soybean farmers who are innovators can diversify with astonishing speed. I’ve seen a few personable, intelligent and exciting farm families transition into what’s now labeled “Regenerative” agriculture. Today, they’re among the most optimistic people on American farms. General Mills just launched its third on-farm initiative to help farmers convert to regenerative farming on a million acres. The newest effort is in Michigan.

We can’t “convert” everyone. But our little company is dedicated to work with the survivors. The diversified, congenial and enthused ag families who go non-GMO and “biological” will be among them. 

An example of what thousands of corn-soybean growers could do to become more profitable and resilient is Earl Canfield near Dunkerton, Iowa.  

Here’s how their Canfield Family Farm website describes their transition into a diversified, non-GMO enterprise selling most of its production directly to local buyers:

“In 2015, we began making significant changes to our farming operation, including a wider diversity of natural value-added crops, the re-introduction of livestock to our land, and a localized direct-marketing strategy for our production.  Our future goal is to continue building on these changes and more until we become a farm that is truly operating in harmony with, rather than fighting against, the natural systems originally put in place by our infinitely wise creator God.  By operating in this manner, we are Farming by Design.”

Earl, his wife Jane and their four children all share in the farm work and direct marketing. They manufacture and sell non-GMO mixed feed to a wide variety of beef, hog and poultry raisers. Customers come to the farm for feed, eggs, hay, straw, oats, pasture-raised meat and seasonal garden produce. The Canfields retail Fertrell natural feed supplements and fertility products for healthy soils.

Earl notes, “Our farm is a country store. It takes a family willing to work directly with many customers. Earl’s own enthusiasm, intellect and innovative spirit are contagious. I asked if other farmers ask, “How and why have you changed your operation so dramatically?”  He said few neighbors ask. Most such calls come from “out of our immediate neighborhood.”

He emphasizes, “Just hauling corn and beans to the elevator doesn’t pay now. Corn prices depend on the ethanol market, and Covid-19 lockdowns hit ethanol hard. Feed demand from the huge hog and beef operations depends on huge, concentrated packing plants — which are crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Trade wars can restrain corn and bean exports.”

Earl told me, “All of these issues have awakened a lot more people, encouraging them to get more involved in local food supplies and production. More families are looking for higher-quality food coming from nearby sources which they know, rather than chain store products shipped from a thousand or more miles away.” 

In retrospect, Canfield Farms is astonishingly close to the pattern of my childhood farm in southwest Iowa. I began life on a 240-acre diversified livestock farm in 1936, in the pit of the Great Depression. We finished 150 or so Hereford feeder calves yearly. Ran a 30-sow farrow-to-finish hog enterprise. Milked six cows, all of which were as contrary as me, except for gentle Daisy, a Jersey. Our 200-hen laying flock became my responsibility shared with my older sister Carolyn. We raised corn, soybeans, oats, hay and quite a few cockleburs, which we pulled by hand. Mom sold eggs and cream every Saturday in Shenandoah, using this cash for the next week’s groceries. We harvested a one-acre orchard of fruit trees and a nearly quarter-acre garden. Our cellar was always stocked with quart jars of canned fruit and veggies. I considered our family abundantly rich. Life was exciting, except for cleaning the chicken house. 

Allis-Chalmers WC

Dad was an innovator. He owned the first rubber-tired Allis-Chalmers WC in our neighborhood. The first Allis-Chalmers combine. He bought Page County’s first Allis-Chalmers round baler, which as I recall was also the last one. (60-pound round bales never caught on. Finally, manufacturers made round bales weighing 1,000 pounds or more — too big to lift by hand.) 

Our family mealtimes at home and with cousins were feasts. But after WWII, our farm used more commercial fertilizer and chemicals, starting with the miracle weedkiller 2,4-D — which I sprayed liberally on pasture thistles, weedy fencerows and broadleaves in cornfields. No tractor cabs then. The toxic spray gave me headaches, but those faded overnight. About 1955, a farmer and Iowa state representative from nearby Mills County, Otha D. Wearin, warned me that government needed to impose more stringent controls over farm chemicals. I listened thoughtfully, because I was dating his daughter Martha. But then, I didn’t realize that the invasion of toxicity in our environment was predisposing me to prostate cancer and advanced bone cancer, which hit me in my sixties and seventies. My marvelous wife Jill also developed cancer.

Impending death is a powerful motivator. We changed our diet to non-GMO and organic. We learned the hard way that changing decades of diet habits is a huge struggle.

However, we can change, one person at a time. One farm at a time. This is America.

4. The Covid-19 pandemic and its controversies alerted the world: Beware of the power of public agencies and private medical firms to narrow the range of disease cures exclusively toward the most profitable drugs and vaccines. Scientists and doctors who differ from mainstream medicine are sidelined or silenced. This is another reason my family encourages others: Take charge of your own health! 

Update June 18: U.S. media stress that American life won’t be normal again until “the Covid-19 vaccine” is approved. Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt — a crusader for non-GMO, non-glyphosate food — shows in this YouTube interview with Del Bigtree that glyphosate has been found in common U.S. vaccines. The interview is going viral, about to top 100,000 views.

Update June 18: This morning, Dr. Mercola asks Americans:

“Why did U.S. public health officials persuade lawmakers to almost immediately lock down and home quarantine most of our population instead of using traditional disease control measures that identify, quarantine and treat the sick?

“As we let go of fear and return to rational thinking, it is opening up a public conversation about science, health and liberty that is going viral, despite attempts by Big Pharma and Big Tech working with governments and mainstream media to censor it.”

I greatly admire American surgeons when your body is traumatized. Every six weeks, my marvelous outpatient surgical team replaces my nephrostomy tubes. This surgery became an emergency after my ureters failed (probably a sequential result of prostate radiation 16 years ago).

But cures for chronic diseases and viral infections in the U.S. are severely restricted to drugs, vaccines, radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. This isn’t your doctor’s fault: Physicians are trained to stay within tightly approved boundaries.

Experiences of nations outside the U.S. prove there are other therapies, and more in-depth information about managing viral diseases than we Americans hear from WHO, CDC and other “official” viewpoints. 

Example a: Google’s YouTube and most other streaming video services censored the movie Plandemic, featuring retrovirus scientist Judy Mikovits. She reveals the dark underside of profit-driven corporate virology research, which she saw firsthand in her own decades of advanced lab work. Here is one uncensored interview with Dr. Judy Mikovits:

Dr. Mercola interviews virology scientist Judy Mikovits, phD, in which she points to a lab-modified retrovirus as a primary agent in Covid-19. Today, Dr. Mercola’s site warns that a widening range of social-media and streaming services are censoring any medical comments other than official viewpoints.

The censored interview with Dr. Mikovits is protected (so far) on the website after most streaming sites blocked the 26-minute video as not conforming to WHO and official medical doctrine. It’s part of the censored video, Plandemic.

I also recommend Dr. Judy Mikovits’ book, Plague of Corruption: Restoring faith in the promise of science. 

Example b: In pandemics dating back to 1813, the medical record shows that classic homeopathic practitioners have succeeded far better than other “Western medicine” treatments in healing people. André Saine, N.D., member of the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy, has researched the track record of homeopathy in treating patients in pandemics. For full details updated regularly, visit the Academy’s website. You can also download a PDF of Dr. André Saine’s 160-plus-page March 28, 2020 presentation using this link. If you’re on a tractor doing fieldwork, you can listen to the video of his webinar on YouTube at this link. 

Example c: We reported in a previous Renewable Farming report that China’s government saw how traditional Chinese medicine — typically compounded from medicinal herbs — was more effective than Western drugs to treat Covid-19. Physicians were encouraged by the Chinese government to use the traditional herbal decoctions widely. Today the Associated Press reported: “Beijing had essentially eradicated local transmissions until recent days, with 137 new cases since last week.” Beijing officials are taking strong action to contain the local outbreak, which U.S. media pundits already warn is a “second wave.”

China’s share of worldwide Covid-19 cases dropped early and abruptly

The big picture is that China has very few total cases compared to other nations, as shown in the nearby chart. 

Recently I asked Mr. I-Wan Chen (Americanized to CHEN I-wan, Chenny for short) for a followup report: Was traditional medicine instrumental in China’s rapid decline in Covid-19 cases? He preferred to offer a carefully researched alternative answer, since there’s so much medical controversy over Covid-19. He provided an in-depth report on how traditional Chinese herbal preparations succeeded in preventing and healing African swine fever, which is also a viral disease. Beginning in 2018, the virus destroyed 40% of China’s 400-million swine population. Now, numbers are recovering about 4% per month as farmers apply traditional herbal remedies to protect against recurrence and treat any early symptoms.

“Chenny” as he’s known among American friends, wrote a fascinating paper. It includes details on individual on-farm cases. It’s a very instructive analogy for the treatment of Covid-19 in humans.

I recognize that there are only a few hundred Chinese-background doctors in America, and not all of them are trained in Chinese medicine. (However, the Association of Chinese American Physicians does recommend traditional Chinese remedies for Covid-19.) 

I strongly encourage you to download the PDF of Chenny’s insightful report. If you’re a hog producer, show it to your veterinarian (before it’s censored). It’s titled, Chinese pig farms accomplish great success using traditional Chinese herbal remedies against African swine fever virus! Written by CHEN I-wan, former advisor, Disaster History Commission to China Disaster Prevention Association.

I shared Chenny’s paper with Dr. Art Dunham, who’s in large animal practice in eastern Iowa. His comment: ” I like the Chinese approach to raise the innate immune response. We need to do more of that in soil, plant, and animal health.”

A comment from our son Erik, who runs Renewable Farming LLC, rings true: “God provided a full array of plant life for humanity’s chronic diseases. We only need to know how to use those plants.”

Backing up Erik’s view is the Food Revolution Network. On June 22, Ocean Roberts posted an offer of a free e-book from investigative journalist and filmmaker Jonathan Otto: Natural Herbs to revolutionize your health and combat chronic disease.  I recommend checking into it.

The Chinese have known how to use healing herbs for about 4,000 years. 

Example d: I won’t explain the details of the Gerson Therapy, which is widely attacked by “modern” Western doctors and drug firms. Please review our earlier report by my wife Jill, Our family’s quest for true health.

U.S. Covid-19 hospitalizations are receding

A final note of good news, just as the media alarmists are headlining a “new wave” of Covid-19. Across America, actual hospitalizations attributed to Covid-19 are steadily declining, as indicated by CDC data. 

The U.S. economy is reopening. Americans saved cash and paid down debts during the lockdown. Bank deposits shot up to almost $1 trillion. Retail sales leaped a one-month record of 17.7% in May. Industrial production rose 1.4%, following a 15% crash in April. Oxford Economics shows a steady recovery in overall U.S. economic activity.

Corn and soyeans look good, and our biologically-based WakeUP clients are sounding positive!  

Have a great growing season!  If you’d like to share an additional reason for emerging ag optimism, e-mail me at