E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


A farmer appeal

(Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 -- guest commentary) -- by Jerry Rosman

I am an Iowa farmer who has farmed all his life. My hog breeding operation in Harlan, Iowa, about an hour west of Des Moines, used to one of the most successful in the area. But in the year 2000, reproductive rates of swine dropped terribly because of a problem called pseudopregnancy that might be related to the corn I fed to the animals. My cattle had problems conceiving too.

I'd like to know what happened. More importantly, a narrow-minded judicial court is forcing the sale of this corn and I am concerned that it not hurt my neighbors. This is also a problem that other farmers have suffered, so I would like to see someone figure out what the true cause of the problem is so it can be avoided in the future. I am writing to appeal for your help in obtaining the corn for research before it is destroyed either directly or by the inaction of the USDA.

I talked to my local veterinarian who could not identify the source of the problem. I then talked university and government researchers. The best they say, it was the corn that was problem, but not exactly why. USDA's Mark Rasmussen at the Animal Disease Center in Ames wrote back in August, "One possible cause of this problem may be the presence of an unanticipated, biologically active, chemical compound within the corn." He also wrote, "Animal reproduction studies, especially with swine, will require considerable quantities of the corn." The USDA has not been willing to buy the corn needed for these studies and after losing my hog operation, I can't afford to hold onto it much longer.

Other scientists have stepped forward and are seeking to do research on this corn. What I and the other effected farmers found was that if you feed this corn to the animals, the problem shows up, if you feed them a different corn, the problem does not show up. Presently I am the only one with the large quantities of this corn to do the proper testing trials. If the corn is lost, the research is lost also.

If you can help to buy some or all of this corn, I'd appreciate any help you can give, and I am sure that other farmers who avoid the problem because of it will appreciate it too.


Jerry Rosman
Iowa Farmer
924 Oak Road
Harlan, IA 51537

Note: You can buy a few bushels of Jerry's corn by sending a check to him. The spot price of corn on Feb. 6 was $2.25 per bushel.