Renewable Farming

We’re documenting facts that could be our most significant report of 2017

We’re working for “clearance” to report how dairymen in more than a dozen states are converting to non-GMO corn, soybeans and grass forages — and seeing net profit per lactating cow rise by as much as $1,000 a year. Somatic cell counts drop. Cow life extends from a U.S. average of less than two lactations to five, six, seven or more. 

Dec. 12, 2017 — But our source, two consultants, are naturally conservative about over-promising. They want “confidentiality” — for now. But their track record is totally consistent with other dairymen and cattle feeders we’ve known for many years. It’s consistent with the experience and advice of veterinarian Dr. Dan Skow, who urged farmer-feeders and dairymen to avoid GMOs (which are typically laced with glyphosate residues). It’s consistent with the advice of Iowa veterinarian Art Dunham, who’s addressed growing livestock health problems over the past 25 years.

Several years ago at an International Ag Labs seminar, a Minnesota cattle feeder and his son who’d switched to feeding all their own non-GMO corn and soy protein told us very openly that their steers and heifers gained faster, had fewer health problems, and that a packing plant wanted all the production he could provide. Liver abscess problems had almost vanished after the conversion to non-GMO. And then he and his son demanded, “Don’t tell anyone what we’ve told you.”  

We dislike citing “anonymous” sources. Thus we’re working to pry loose the explicit facts here. The lid came off when longtime friend Keith Schlapkohl phoned to say that he and partner Jeff Buresh are trying to find more clients for their high-quality, extruder-produced, non-GMO soybean meal. This is a farmer-owned venture. Keith pointed us to his consultant source, who filled us in with their “trade secrets.”  This should not be a secret.  So stick with us a bit. 

Farmers, consultants and company executives may have many reasons for wanting to remain unnamed. A few consultants and other experts are naturally reluctant to give away their knowledge because that’s what they sell to clients. Some farmers don’t want their landlords to know they’re raising 300-bu. corn on the landlord’s farm; “He will raise the rent.” Other farmers are modest and don’t want the envy of neighbors sharing gossip down at the hours-long coffee huddles at McDonalds.  But another kind of caution sneaks in when it comes to bucking the presumption that GMOs and their captive weedkillers are the future. It’s the fear about sabotage and counterattack from the trolls funded by the multinational biotech/chemical operatives. We’ve seen good friends who point out the threats and shortcomings of transgenic technology being maligned, scorned, sued and libeled by big transgenic power players.