The Lightbulb Moment
US hog farmer and head of Palindromes’ Agricultural Advisory Board, Russ Kremer, fell victim to the modern farming techniques he employed at his intensive piggery. He had cut his leg and discovered that there was no antibiotic available that could cure the resulting infection. He faced the risk of losing his leg or, far worse, losing his life. A mainstream hog farmer, Russ ran a successful piggery using the latest technologies to prevent, control and mitigate risks with his herd.
After regularly injecting his pigs with antibiotics to maintain health and build bulk protein, Russ had developed resistance to almost all forms of antibiotics and discovered that this type of farming was not sustainable for him, his animals, or for the people who ate his animals. After much research, Russ decided to revert to old-school and sustainable farming practices that didn’t use all these additives. It meant he had to overhaul his farm and start afresh with heritage breeds. He fed them NON-GMO and organic feed, allowed them to roam free, eat grass, and burrow in organic and rich soil, didn’t inoculate them with antibiotics or added hormones, and allowed them to farrow in open pens.
The result was successful, producing pork meat that was succulent and tasty and healthy for the end-consumer. People loved the quality and the flavor of the pork, and large buyers like Wholefoods and Costco started placing their orders. At the same time export demand for the pork also started to grow, especially in countries demanding NON-GMO and/or organic fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free pork, like Japan and Korea. Russ proved that modern methods did not produce the best outcomes for everyone – and by reverting to traditional methods, the result was a tastier, more premium product that was in high demand.
A Shortage of NON-GMO
Russ discovered, however, that there was not sufficient NON-GMO nor organic feed in the United States to sustain his new, ‘old-school’ farming endeavors. He needed a supply of soy beans that had not been genetically modified – bred to be resistant to the pesticide Roundup, a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide, which is sprayed to kill weeds that compete with crops.
Glyphosate has more recently been found to have an effect on humans causing cancers like Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and, after Russ’ brush with death by antibiotic exposure, he didn’t want to introduce this type of feed to his hogs. His belief that ‘you are what your food eats’ drives the marketing edge for his specialty pork, and his need to find a reliable source of NON-GMO feed. The specialty pork industry that Russ had developed faced failure if farmers couldn’t find a sustainable solution to providing the hogs healthy, NON-GMO feed.
Over 60 countries have banned the import of GMO products because of their known harmful health effects. This has led to a global shortage of NON-GMO products.
The Company’s solution is to inspire farmers to produce and grow more NON-GMO products and US/global consumers to demand more of them.