A Farmer’s Response to, “The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic…”

17 Nov

A blog post came to my attention this weekend and as I was thinking about what to blog about this week, I thought why not give a response to the many people who have asked me about this.  Is it true?  What is going on?  Is this just crazy talk?  The blog post basically says that farmers are spraying wheat days before harvest with Round-up and therefore injecting poison into our food.  Here’s the deal though, we aren’t doing that at all!

At first I thought I would just write a comment, but as the time went on and more comments posted, I realized that would be a waste of my time.  Because as every farmer or person was involved with the ag industry posted that this wasn’t a practice that wasn’t commonly used, the author of the blog just continually called them all liars.  Saying things like, “Do you really think a US wheat farmer is going to come on this blog and say, “YES, I’m doing it! I’m one of the ones poisoning your children!” So deciding that it wasn’t worth my time to hang out on her blog with my comments was an easy one.  So here are a few answers to the most common questions I have been getting…

Is this a common practice among US farmers? No absolutely not!!  I have never even heard of the practice before this blog to be honest.  But after doing some research it seems as though there are a small fraction of farmers who do use this application.  It is done with specific timing and in the allowed 7 day pre-harvest interval that is allowed on the label of round up.  But again I want to make sure you all understand, this is NOT widely done at all!  We have never used Round-up as a burn down product.

 But even if we did…does it add more seeds and thus more profit?  No, not at all.  The crop for wheat is determined well before 7 days before harvest.  The entire process of growing the crop, from time of planting, application of fertilizer, how clean your field is to begin with, how well you have taken care of your soil, and even applications of fungicides will change yields.  But an application just days before harvest would do nothing to add to the crop, the yield is already set.

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Is it labeled…or is it illegal?  The practice is labeled with a 7 day pre-harvest interval.  This means that as long as you spray 7 days before harvest, you are within the label guidelines.  Also the label states that it is to be used as a way to control weeds prior to harvest. I’m guessing, (since I have never  used it for this purpose I can’t be totally sure) that is helps kill the weeds that are growing in addition to the crop.  When you a lot of weeds growing under it may inhibit harvesting easily and cause issues with your combine.  Which would make sense to me if that is the issue that you are up against.  So yes it is legal and allowable per the label.

But what does a label really mean?  Now some of you may say…”Well farmers don’t follow labels, it’s just a piece of paper right?”  And labels may not mean much to those who don’t farm.  They may just look like a booklet that is taped to the side of a jug.  But as a farmer I can tell you that I read labels everyday, I follow labels every time that I spray.  These aren’t just suggestions, these are the rules that we abide by and we are held to our departments of agriculture.  They are rules that they take seriously, and I as a farmer who wants to be safe and provide safe food, also take very seriously.  To get these labels companies have to do extensive research on residuals, timings, effects on crops, etc.

In the end I hope that people will see this blog for what it is…a way to spread fear about conventional farmers.  It’s so obvious with the use of words, “tears of horror”…really? So let me put your fears aside.  I want to tell you a short story about how we check our wheat before harvest to see if it’s ready, and also during harvest to make sure that the moisture is right.  We grab a handful (with our bare hands) and we toss kernels into our mouths and we eat it.  This practice has been done for generations.  My grandpa ate wheat straight from the field, straight from the combine, my dad has, and I do as well.  You would think that if anyone is going to come away from this whole conventional wheat experience with a toxic disease it would be us…but we don’t.  We are all healthy as horses, because what we are growing is safe and healthy.  Now I know as much as anyone that this isn’t scientific, but it does show how much we trust what we are doing out here in the fields.

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So why is this even worth my time in blogging?  A small reason is because I am sick and tired of reading about all the awful things that we do as conventional farmers, without having a voice to show them that they are wrong.  But mostly it’s because I am proud of what I grow on this farm of mine and my family has been proud to do what we do for generations! I have continued the legacy of providing safe food not by trash talking anyone else and trying to make others look bad who may not use the same techniques as me.  I provide food in a way that I know is safe and I grow good food because it’s the right thing to do.  I know it’s safe because I sit in hours and hour of classes listening to research from our industry (not from Monsanto but from independent researchers).  I spend my time, just like other farmers, doing my due diligence and making sure that we are doing this right; that we can send our crop off to the processor with no worries.

I am a regular person, I am a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a farmer; accusing me of wanting to harm people with the crops that I grow is just plain ridiculous.  I wouldn’t be able to hold my head high in pride for what I do if I couldn’t back it up.  If this blogger wants to come take a trip to my farm and see what we’re up to a few days before wheat harvest…come on out!  I guarantee you will see a sprayer sitting in the barn, and us working extremely hard for the past 3 months harvesting 14 hours a day seven days a week just to get our crops in.  But like I said, come on out…we would be happy to put you to work and show you some of the realities of our farming practices.

If you have more questions or comments please leave them below.  I will be happy to answer what I can and if I can’t, I will be happy to do some more research and find answers.  Thank you!

For more information you can check out these links:
Nurse Loves Farmer
Peterson Brothers Response

37 Responses to “A Farmer’s Response to, “The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic…””

  1. Laura September 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    I am also a farmer on the prairie. We farm organically although we’re not certified (so I can’t even legally say we’re organic). Neighboring farmers here do not use pre-harvest Roundup but sometimes use 2,4D.
    We don’t use any. My yields are just as good if not better than our neighbors’ yields.

    There is something going on with wheat. Large numbers of people have sensitivities to wheat now when they didn’t for millennia. I think the HHE article brings up a possible cause that warrants further research. I disliked the blanket “it’s definitely this” tone. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that Roundup causes wheat digestion issues in the same way that I wouldn’t dismiss that it doesn’t.

    We are multi-generational farmers. Roundup has been existence for roughly 20 years, so relations have only been using Roundup for a fraction of the 100 years or so that they’ve been farming in our area. There were no chemicals at all for a very long time. On our individual land, my husband and I have returned to no chemicals because we think that’s what’s safer. Like you, I also “provide food in a way that I know is safe and I grow good food because it’s the right thing to do”.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. seed rain December 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Good response. I live in SD wheat country, used to farm it myself. There has been some pre-harvest application of herbicide to wheat in north central SD, but I’m pretty sure it’s rare. That was in wet years, when weeds and/or green wheat would have made straight-cutting difficult. Most years the heat of summer is enough to dry the standing crop, free of charge. (Hardly anyone swaths grain anymore, which used to serve the function of drying the weeds & wheat in the swath…at least until the next rain!)

    Still, I was shocked to learn there are herbicides approved for preharvest use. It’s one thing to spray a field in the spring, with the wheat young. Quite another to spray in summer, when the herbicide’s going onto the edible part, the kernel. Furthermore, any wheat farmer in this world should really be interested in getting at the truth about why so many people are having trouble eating wheat. They’re not all fanatics, not all imagining it. Wheat’s supposed to be the staff of life. Why are so many people feeling sick from it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nuttygrass December 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      Lmy, did you have a comment or anything else to add?

      Like

      • Randy Stepp December 31, 2014 at 5:33 am #

        Nuttygrass, while I appreciate you opinion I would remind you that while something may be LEGAL doesn’t necessarily make it ETHICAL. When food is produced with the aid of Chemistry and Generics you get things like but not limited to DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, VISION PROBLEMS, CANCER and so on and so forth. Why do you think it’s called the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)? Because they Approve things like GMO’s, Round-Up, High Fructose Corn Syrup, ETC., that they KNOW causes Health Problems in Humans for the sole purpose of selling DRUGS to control the Health Problems caused…such as INSULIN a MAINTENANCE DRUG to control (but NOT cure) DIABETES or CHEMOTHERAPY & RADIATION to put CANCER in Submission but again NOT cure it. And then there is CHOLESTEROL DRUGS to Control but NOT cure CLOGGING ARTERIES. It all comes down to GREED and Kickbacks (Campaign Contributions) just ask the likes of Debbie Stabenaw D-MI or Carl Levin D-MI about how they REPRESENTED Monsanto instead of the People they were elected to represent…or better yet ask them WHY!!! How many people from the DRUG and CHEMICAL companies have been appointed to GOVERMENT positions? Trust me when I say it’s more involved than you could imagine, it even touches on POPULATION CONTROL even though MONEY and the LOVE of it are the driving forces.

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      • Nuttygrass December 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

        Randy thank you for taking the time to respond but I don’t agree with your conspiracy type theories involved with the FDA, and EPA. Here is a very interesting article that you might be interested in and outlines many of the reasons that we disagree. http://prairiecalifornian.com/choose-believe-bad-science-youre-one-disadvantage/

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      • angelica westerhoff March 1, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

        Lmy, who doesn´t want to give his real name, is doing publicity for Monsanto, thinking that you are gullable enough to buy more Roundup. For people selling it´s about money. I´m trying to understand you, while the council is spraying glyphosate in our residential area willi nilli, so that the grass doesn´t grow.

        Like

  3. Morgan Bierschenk December 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Why do you would use monsanto’s products? What other options do you have? Why is it so necessary to use glyphosate? Are your seeds genetically modified by Monsanto? You should really consider figuring out alternatives – because this company is about to be crucified – and it is certainly for good reason. They are obsolete and the no one wants a highly untrustworthy biological weapons manufacturer growing their food.

    I can grow all the food i need for my family of 4 in an 80 sqft aquaponic garden. The future is horticulture not mass agriculture. Thank you for being such a beautiful being who obviously cares about getting to the truth – and about the health of the people you are feeding.

    best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nuttygrass December 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      We do use a few of Monsanto’s products. But we have a lot of other options. Bayer, Syngenta are just to name a few of the larger companies. But I would also mention that there are a lot of generic companies as well, including some that are local and provide local jobs here in Oregon.

      We use glyphosate on our farm as a way to control crops that are growing in fields where we want to plant another crop. For example when we plant wheat following grass, we spray the grass out with glyphosate so that we can direct seed into the field. This not only allows us to not till the ground, it also allows us to start with a clean field and get a better crop. It’s a way that we do more with less inputs.

      We don’t grow any GM crops on our farm, so no our seeds are not genetically modified by Monsanto. I disagree with your comment that Monsanto is obsolete. In my experience I have found that they continue to be an innovative company that is researching for the future of our food system. Including wheat and corn that is drought resistant just as an example.

      Good for you for growing the food that your family needs in your small plot. I think that’s commendable. But for a world food supply it is not a realistic way to feed everyone out in the world. I feed an average of 155 per acre on my farm, as do all farmers across the US. In my opinion we need all types agriculture to feed the world. As for your comment that horticulture is the future, horticulture is the present as it is a part of agriculture.

      Thanks for your comment and I encourage you to look beyond your 80ft plot when thinking about food and our future here. There is room for all kinds of farmers!

      Like

      • Randy Stepp December 31, 2014 at 5:42 am #

        It appears your saying anything that allows less work and more crop is worth the outcome. I say anything worth doing is worth doing RIGHT. I’m not saying you don’t care…it just seems you care more about profit and abundance than long term ramifications.

        Like

      • Nuttygrass December 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

        I agree that anything worth doing is worth doing right. We don’t cut corners on our farm, we do more with less any time that we can. Just like any business big or small, efficiency is uaulally a sign of savings. Farmers don’t make a lot of money. We provide food, fiber and fuel for everyone and we take pride in that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jen November 21, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    I am glad this conversation is continuing, because communication and truth is what is needed for us to feel good about our food supply. I am sorry you have get condemned and attacked as a farmer. Farmers are a proud and noble lot of people who shed blood, sweat, and tears to raise our food and provide for a hungry bacon and world. They do their best and what they feel is right… I truly believe that. If it helps, I don’t think folks who are raising this issue are upset with the farmers (even though they may express things that way). I think they are upset with the massive food supply system that feels out of reach and too big to be accountable. I am one of them. You are following labels, which is good–thank you! But we are not even given labels to tell us what food is genetically modified, and our labels don’t tell us all the ingredients in our food. Our society has lost touch with how our food is produced, and when we learn how much chemical is added to the soil and plants, it is frightening, especially given the fact that so many around us are sick and dying.

    So please keep the conversation going… And thank you for all your work for us as a farmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LaVelle Nott November 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    I love your reply to the toxic wheat story. I have been away from the family farm for years and have been wondering if things had changed that much. from what you say things have not changed. I remember going out to the wheat field with my Dad and we sampled the wheat berries to see if they were ready yet. I feel so good when I hear farmers taking pride in what they do, it’s a hard job and not everyone is capable of doing it.
    Thank you

    Like

    • Harvey November 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      Although there are some inaccuracies in the article I can, as a former farmer and now as an agricultiral research technician, attest to the fact that wheat farmers in the northern states and western provinces of Canada do pre harvest applications of Roundup to kill weeds and dry down the crop for uniform harvest conditions. It is also a known fact that any crop sprayed with Roundup, pre harvest, cannot be saved for seed because the Roundup inhibits germination of the seed. I think we need more independent research into the effect of herbicide residuals on human health.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Josh Zielinski November 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    I am a farmer and I grow some wheat. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this practice–it’s certainly not widespread enough to have an impact on the world’s wheat crop. I have a hard time thinking of how this is necessary or even how it could be economically viable. The non-farming population seems to have a hard time understanding that it is not in the farmer’s (or his/her pocketbook’s) interest to be doing spray applications or overworking the ground. Even as conventional farmers, our land is our livelihood and we cannot afford to compromise it for the sake of one year’s crop. Technologies are developed with this in mind. As an analogy that might be easier to understand think of the land/a farm as a human body. That body’s health is a person’s greatest asset: you wouldn’t take a medicine if it cured one illness but was sure to give you another persistent disease, but you would take it helped you get better and live more healthily (or better yet, saved your life). I don’t know if I am making much sense at this point but you’ve got a good platform here to expand on that message (and perhaps you have already). Keep it up.

    Like

  7. Amanda November 20, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Thank you for your post. When I read the original article, even though I’m not a fan of Monsanto or Roundup, there were quite a few things that seemed off in the article. In doing a little more research I ran across your blog and appreciate your direct perspective. I grew up on a farm and most of my extended family is still involved in agriculture. When someone puts out inflammatory articles full of lies and misinformation, it doesn’t do anyone any good. It would serve people well to learn the real story behind their food directly from those who produce it. I realize that’s not always possible so it’s good real farmers like you write blogs!

    Like

    • Nuttygrass November 20, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks Amanda! I really appreciate you taking the time to read more about my story. I think that more farmers need to be telling their story as well for just the reasons that you say above.

      Like

  8. lucindasutherland November 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    I love farms and fields. I drive my friends crazy trying to get them to admire freshly plowed fields and healthy crops. My grandpa was a farmer. I have also grabbed a handful of wheat kernels and eaten them right from the field. But now I cannot eat wheat without severe stomach cramping and bloating. It isn’t that I can’t eat a stack of pancakes without getting sick, it is to the point where I can’t have half a teaspoon of salad dressing that was thickened with wheat starch without being in pain.

    I’d eaten wheat all of my life until about age 38 and then I developed a sensitivity to it. Anyone with this food intolerance wants to know why it has happened. Why me? and Why now? are reasonable questions. Articles and purported research into this relatively new pre-harvest procedure – one that might correlate with my own biological dates and reactions – builds hope in the hearts of those with this health challenge that maybe there is a cause and effect, maybe there is something we can do to circumvent this dietary tragedy. You can’t blame people for wanting to hope that it isn’t the wheat itself to blame.

    I have no wish to blame farmers, but herbicide manufacturers and government agencies? Sure, I’d be happy to blame them! Meanwhile, I won’t be able to eat any wheat. It’s been over ten years since I’ve knowingly eaten wheat, so my dietary limitations are not going to be affecting your sales.

    Like

  9. Peggy H November 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks very much for the perspective you provide on that article about the use of Round-up just before harvest. And I appreciate the added nuances provided in the comments as well.

    Like

  10. fossilsage November 18, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    there are other links that demonstrate the supposed research done for the round up pollution in the blog you answered is so flawed as to constitute a hoax. Even environmentalists complained that the “bad science” and distortion of the truth was so egregious that it only served to discredit the “green” philosophy.

    Like

  11. Joshua Welbaum November 18, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    I am not a farmer. I do appreciate dialog and information though. To often we want to believe the worse of people. While I am not a huge fan of Monsanto and conagra, your information and approach helps balance my thinking on the subject.thanks. Keep growing.

    Like

  12. Vanessa November 18, 2014 at 4:27 am #

    How is it conspiracy when you just admitted in your article that a “small fraction” of farmers do spray round up prior to harvest? What number is a “small fraction”? Do you have a source cite for that number? You write you are conventional farmers so my question is do you ever use round up on your wheat crops? Mother of 3 who cares. 😉

    Like

    • Nuttygrass November 18, 2014 at 6:47 am #

      Hi Vanessa! By all the estimates I have seen the small fraction is around 5% of farmers who use this practice. You can see more information about it in another blog post http://prairiecalifornian.com/truth-toxic-wheat/. As for if we spray round up in our wheat, as I mention many times in my blog post, no we do not do this practice because we have no reason to. Thank you for you questions.

      Like

      • Vanessa November 18, 2014 at 7:38 am #

        We will be sticking to chemical free/organic wheat. Conventional packaging of flour will not tell you which farmer it comes from who doesn’t practice using glyco.

        Like

      • Nuttygrass November 18, 2014 at 8:30 am #

        That’s the best part about our good system in Vanessa there are many choices!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ryan November 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

        It is a pretty common practice in Canada

        Like

      • Nuttygrass November 22, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Thanks for sharing the information Ryan. As I said before in my blog, those few that do use this as a practice are using it as a labeled tool for their crops. You can read more from a farmer who does use this practice on Prairie Californian.

        Like

      • Ryan November 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_desiccation

        Like

      • Randy Stepp December 31, 2014 at 9:33 am #

        I believe she asked if you EVER use Round Up on your Wheat, not if you use it 7 days before harvest. I’m not trying to be a pain but with all the chronic illnesses these days that seem to coincide with GMO’s, Pesticides and Lab Created Preservatives & Additives…then you add Drugs Approved to treat these chronic illnesses, mostly maintenance drugs needing to be taken on a daily bases and you can see why people may be just a little skeptical. The FDA is no ones friend, they are a branch of a corrupt Government who accepts bribes and payoffs and campaign contributions in exchange for approving things all these Chemical & Drug Companies are Selling. No one is saying that you are not trying to do the right thing, sadly our own Government makes the right thing next to impossible to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nuttygrass December 31, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

        Randy, no we do not use round up on our wheat crop ever. If we were to use it as more than a burn down product it would kill our wheat, which would kill our crop. There is no round up resistant wheat so it would be un heard of to use the product while it is growing. I am sorry if i did not answer this question fully, as a farmer sometimes I forget that people are not aquainted with how these pesticides work and how specific they can be.

        Like

  13. Kristina Jones-Wilding November 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    The first loop hole I saw in the round up article was that if her reasoning was correct then wouldn’t organic wheat (that wouldn’t have been allowed to have roundup sprayed on it right??) be safe to consume for theses people with gluten issues? Well its not! My son has a severe reaction to wheat and it doesn’t matter if its organic or sprouted or any of the theories i have heard. He just can’t have it, he has an allergy plain and simple. I too would like to know there’s been such an increase in reported cases of intolerance, celiacs disease and allergies, but immediately knew the round up article was bogus! Thanks for using your knowledge to inform people that may not have otherwise researched it for themselves!

    Like

    • Marge Jacob November 25, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      Kristina, you might want to try reading some of the Wheat Belly books. Apparently some people react to the hybridization phenomena. I can’t explain it here, but some doctors seem to be onto it. good luck!!! As an Oregonian person from a long-time farm family I resonate with being reasonable here. Chemical Tools are just that – tools and need to be used as sparingly as possible but definately have made an impact on farming.

      Like

  14. Darcy November 17, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I’m not a wheat farmer, but do work in the ag industry here in Eastern Oregon, where we primarily grow wheat on dryland acreage. This summer, we had a rare rainstorm prior to harvest, and that brought on an unexpected flush of weeds. Some farmers did spray Round Up prior to harvest, to combat the weeds (green weeds in dry wheat don’t make for ideal harvesting conditions thru the combine as I’m sure you’re well aware of). We live in a 12-16” precip zone, so this isn’t a normal practice here (makes for additional expenses) but it was something that had to happen this year. It’s too bad that people who don’t understand farming practices use something like that to hurt the industry and promote fear in consumers.

    Like

    • Nuttygrass November 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your experience Darcy. It seems like some people just take what they see as a juicy conspiracy and just go with it, instead of talking to those of us who are actually out there in the elements providing safe food. Thanks again for your comment!

      Like

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