By Dr. Becker
Today, I have a very special guest chatting with me via Skype. His name is Jerry Brunetti, and he’s in Pennsylvania.
I met Jerry several years ago at an American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) conference. I asked him to join us today because I get lots of requests to talk more about large animal medicine. Jerry happens to be the founder of Agri-Dynamics, a company that provides a line of holistic animal remedies for farm livestock, horses, and also pets. Agri-Dynamics has been in business since 1979.
After seeing first-hand the devastating results of conventional chemical-dependent, grain-based feeding practices on farm animals, Jerry embarked on a mission to educate and consult farmers who wanted to transition away from industrial farming methods to ecologically responsible and sustainable farming. Jerry works to help certified organic farms improve soil and crop quality, and livestock performance and health.
Jerry’s Roots Are in the Cow-Calf Industry
Jerry’s roots are in the cow-calf industry, even though he was raised far from the farm in an Italian-American community. His grandparents were farmers in Italy and carried on the tradition here in the U.S. with intensive small-scale farming with pigs, chickens, rabbits and produce (fruits, vegetables, etc.), as well as wildcrafting (harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat), hunting and fishing.
Jerry believes his own interest in farming came from his father, who was a master brown-thumb, green-thumb gardener. Jerry found himself on a farm in West Virginia that was a cow-calf operation (a method of raising beef cattle in which a permanent herd of cows is kept by a farmer or rancher to produce calves for later sale). He began studying how Hereford cows and calves were raised by some of his neighbors, and eventually he moved to Virginia and worked with another neighbor on his cow-calf operation, as well as on his brother’s small farm.
That’s how Jerry first became acquainted with grazing. Up to that point, his only experience with cattle was at dairy farms where the animals were confined during the day and put out in a pasture at night in what is called set-stock grazing. This also applies in cow-calf operations – the animals are put out in the pasture. They are allowed to graze until there’s nothing left to graze, and then are moved to the next pasture, and so on.
But what usually happens during the summer months in the northeast is that the pastures go dormant. The cool-season grasses go dormant due to the heat. What’s happened since that time is a huge revolution in how to graze animals that mimics nature, following the model that ungulates (mammals with hooves) naturally roam, unrestrained by fencing, and then mob an area based on predator control or predator prevention. They intensively mob an area for a very short period of time and then allow that area to recover through a long rest period.
This activity really invigorates the landscape by increasing the biodiversity and water infiltration. It causes a tremendous increase in the organic matter levels in the soil, because the root systems become massive.
Jerry’s Role Models Included Allan Savory and Louis Bromfield
This agricultural method has been around since ancient times, but in terms of occidental (Western) practices, it’s a relatively new phenomenon, thanks to people like Allan Savory, who actually introduced holistic farming management practices into the North American continent after he left Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Andre Voisin was a mentor of Savory’s. Voisin was a French scientist who actually observed animals grazing for short, intensive periods of time and noticed that when they were allowed to do that and then allowed the land to rest, you could increase productivity of the land by 300 to 400 percent.
Both Savory and Voisin were mentors at a distance for Jerry. He read a lot of their work, as well as the work of Louis Bromfield, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who was living in France when World War II began. He returned to his home in Richland County, Ohio, and bought a thousand acres of completely destroyed, gullied, worthless land that nobody even wanted to rent for free. Bromfield reclaimed those thousand acres with four other families using a very diversified agricultural system. Eventually, they settled on a predominantly pastured grazing system for dairy animals.
Bromfield became a world-renowned leader in sustainable agriculture in the 1940s and 50s. He passed away in 1958 and was only 58 or 59 at the time. Bromfield used to hold summits on Malabar Farm. People would have the opportunity to witness land reclamation using predominantly animals and cover crops, mostly perennial grasses, where they could actually grow six to seven inches of topsoil in as many years, in a place where there was zero topsoil to begin with.
Bromfield was an incredibly interesting writer and wrote many books, among them Malabar Farm, Out of the Earth, From My Personal Experience: The Pleasures and Miseries of Life on a Farm, and Pleasant Valley. They are all experiential diaries of what went on at that farm over a 20-year period. Back in those days, a lot of people lived on farms, and they would come to Bromfield’s farm – sometimes upwards of 10,000 people – to see how he actually reclaimed a completely destroyed land with very, very low inputs.
Bromfield wanted to make the case that this had to be done affordably, because he made money with his writing. He also wrote movie screenplays. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall got married on his farm. The movie Shawshank Redemption was partially filmed on his farm. Bromfield wanted to make the point that farmers must have the economic ability to regenerate a farm and also to sustain and restore that farm in a way that they could actually make a living from it. And he proved it beyond any shadow of a doubt. Jerry considers Bromfield to be one of his biggest mentors.
William Albrecht and the Albrecht Model of Soil Analysis
It was as an animal science major at North Carolina State University that Jerry realized he and his classmates were getting into an industrial farming mindset. And he was feeling frustrated. He actually picked up one of Bromfield’s books at a used bookstore one day, not knowing anything about the author. And that book completely changed Jerry’s life, because he realized Bromfield had already figured it out. While Jerry was trying to learn how to farm using a factory or industrial model, the joke of it was that Bromfield had already achieved what other people were only pretending to achieve.
When he got to West Virginia and then Virginia, Jerry began thinking very profoundly about what Bromfield had accomplished with the landscape, because West Virginia was also an overgrazed area. What farmers did in the hill country was just graze the land until it wouldn’t produce anymore. It would grow more weeds, there’d be less productivity, then they would need more land, so they would cut down more trees. So it was sort of a downward spiral of exhausting the landscape.
Jerry began reading some of William Albrecht’s books – he was the head of the agronomy department at the University of Missouri – that actually followed the food chain from soil to forages to livestock, to see that not only could you increase or hold your productivity, but it could translate into profitability if you also owned livestock.
In other words, did you get nutrient density deep enough that your productivity wouldn’t suffer, and the health of your animals -- their reproduction and immune systems -- would prosper? That’s what Albrecht was able to demonstrate over several decades at the University of Missouri. Jerry dove into all that research.
Albrecht also looked at the mineral levels in the locations in the U.S. where the healthiest people lived based on World War I draft records. He determined where the highest rejection rates and highest acceptance rates were for the WWI draft. In those days, people ate fairly regionally. There were no Walmarts. There were no mass transit systems that moved people all over the country. People were pretty much a mirror of the fertility of the soil.
Albrecht found that the highest rejection rates were in the Appalachian Hill Country and the Ozark Hill Country, where the soil was thin and rocky. There wasn’t much mineral fertility. The highest acceptance rates for the draft were from populations living in the Great Plains soils of Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. These were the farm kids who got accepted to serve in the U.S. military.
At that time, the way the armed forces determined whether or not you could serve was by the health of your teeth and your feet. If you had rotten teeth and flat arches, you didn’t make the cut.
What Albrecht found was that these soils, called apatite soils, are calcium-phosphate soils found throughout the world. The U.S. was probably the most blessed with apatite soils, but they could also be found in the Serengeti in Africa and in Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The Kentucky bluegrass area is an apatite soil area, which is of course where the thoroughbred horse industry was developed. In Tennessee, there’s a region of apatite soils in the limestone belts, where the best Tennessee mules are raised.
The soil is actually a reflection of the health of animals and people. Albrecht knew that. Using the history of where animals and people were best nourished, he created the Albrecht Model, which showed the ratios of macro elements to one another and the minimum levels of the micro elements in order to make it all work together.
Successful Collaboration with Dairy, Beef and Sheep Farmers
Before Jerry officially launched Agri-Dynamics, he already had about 50 clients from his eco-ag consulting work. He worked primarily with dairy livestock farmers, some beef farmers, and a few sheep farmers.
Dairy animals are temperamental because twice-a-day milking removes nutrients from their bodies. They depend on being able to get nutrient density from grazing or extension. Jerry worked with very open-minded dairy farmers who were very curious and enthusiastic about biological agriculture. They were willing to go into a field, pull plugs, and find out what the missing links were.
Another of Jerry’s mentors in the early 1980s was Donald Schriefer, a world-renowned agronomist from Lafayette, Indiana. He’s gone now, but he would always say, “You’ve got to basically take the pulse of your landscape. You’ve got to know where your yield and health-limiting factors are.” He explained things in very simple language. He said the first and most important nutrient is air or oxygen, and then water. And then the digestion of whatever is in the food plane. Last but not least comes fertility.
Schriefer said that what a lot of farmers do is put on lots of fertility, but they don’t really have their air and water management, which means their biology is starting to fall away. Once your biology leaves the landscape, all the geology that you’ve either been blessed with or that you’ve purchased in the form of minerals doesn’t really get you much bang for the buck.
Schriefer emphasized finding out where the biology of soil is a limiting factor, correct that, and then limit the amount of all farm purchases to remineralize that farm if it does certainly need that. Annual crops need that more because they only have a short lifespan, and you’re asking them to produce a lot of crop. They have a short period of time to produce a lot of yield. They’re more dependent on inputs than perennials are.
For example, prairie grasses – cool season or warm season grasses – have an opportunity to photosynthesize over a long, vast period of time, including anything above the temperature of freezing or even through a drought. Trees are also included with that. Shrubs as well. That’s one of the reasons Jerry is a big fan of hedge rows and fan savannas. Not only do they temper the extremes and vagaries of the weather, they also provide fodder and insulate the farm from droughts and floods.
Jerry and the farmers he worked with saw dramatic results like Bromfield saw in literally one year. They were using waste products like cement kiln dust (from kilns and cement plants), some foliar sprays of fish, seaweed, and some trace minerals like boron, zinc and copper, depending on what the tissue test was saying was deficient. It was like a breath across the landscape. They saw huge responses. For example, in northern Pennsylvania where they’ve typically been getting only two cuttings of alfalfa forever, Jerry and his farmers were able to increase that to four cuttings in one year.
And they were high quality cuttings – alfalfa, orchard grass, and hays that were rained on, baled and put in front of the cows next to hay from another farm that was produced conventionally. The cows completely turned up their noses after a good look at the conventional stuff, choosing instead the slightly rain-damaged grasses, because the nutrient densities were so much better.
They also got huge yields. One of Jerry’s clients in northern Pennsylvania took first place in a regional Penn State annual alfalfa competition. They divide up the state into 11 regions and the client took first place in his region as well as for the entire state. He got over eight tons of alfalfa that year without any irrigation. That’s eight tons per acre, which is unheard of. The average is three and a half.
So they achieved yields using biological and ecological methods that beat out those from conventional methods, and they got nutrient density as well.
The Birth of Agri-Dynamics
Those successes heralded the birth of Agri-Dynamics in 1979. Jerry was fortunate because back in those days there weren’t a lot of resources. There weren’t conferences like there are today. No Internet. The books that would have been useful were mostly out of print, like books written by Bromfield, Newman Turner and Sir Albert Howard who wrote An Agricultural Testament, and Rudolf Steiner who founded biodynamic farming.
All these pioneers were long deceased, and colleges weren’t teaching their kind of agriculture. At the time, what was being taught in colleges was the Green Revolution, which was about taking fossil fuel derivatives and hybrids, putting them together and getting these big jumps in yield. But along with that came an incredible dependency on fossil fuel components, including the NPK fertilizers and oil-based derivatives of pesticides that we are now living with – or trying to live with.
Jerry has spent 30 years helping farmers improve the health of their land and their animals, and he’s been wildly successful. And the eco-ag movement has exploded with conferences and associations across the U.S. Jerry is on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), which is one of the largest sustainable ag organizations in the country. Many of the organizations lean toward organics. Others are open-minded toward transitional. Jerry deals with both. He deals with organic certified farmers and with farmers who aren’t certified because they don’t want to deal with the paperwork, but who are using organic practices.
The local foods movement is growing, but there are two things going on simultaneously. There are the forces that continually remove people from rural America through conventional practices, because conventional practices are predicated on economy of scale. It’s a “get big or get out” kind of attitude, because you’re not really getting paid well enough for your milk or your grains. The attitude was, “Well, in order to make ends meet and to have a livelihood as a farmer, instead of farming 160 acres or 320 acres, I need a thousand acres, 3,000 acres, or 10,000 acres.”
Along with that comes an inability to really steward the land, because now it’s all about machinery. It’s about a window of time. I’ve got 30 days to get that crop in before I’m too late. There’s a hurried madness to remove hedge rows and fence rows, sod waterways, and buffer strips. As a consequence, we’re losing an average of four tons of topsoil per person per year globally, which is why we have dead zones in all of our estuaries. The one in the Gulf of Mexico is now as large as the state of Massachusetts – over 10,000 square miles. The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S. and the second largest globally, is getting hammered from this kind of farming.
To Jerry, agriculture is the root of our ecological malaise, but it is also the biggest remedial agent for turning the planet around. If we want to sequester all that carbon dioxide that’s up in the atmosphere, the way to do that is to get plants that actually can sequester the carbon. Those are perennials, especially, but can even be annuals done the right way – with cover crops, tight rotations, the right kinds of tillage (not too much), and so forth.
Jerry feels we’re living in very interesting, if precarious times, because we can’t afford to lose our topsoil. Every civilization has collapsed, according to investigative research done by the USDA, going all the way back to the Mediterranean Basin – Palestine, Syria and Tunisia – all of these places collapsed because they lost their precious topsoil.
But the good news is we have evidence that we can grow topsoil quickly with perennial root systems, tight rotations, cover crop cocktails and winter cover cropping. We can grow topsoil very quickly, and not with compost but with living plants, living carbon and liquid carbon approaches. In drought-stricken Australia, for example, they are able to grow 14 inches of topsoil in 10 years using those kinds of systems.
We have the solutions to fix our problems if we just get together to fix them. In a few years, there will be nine billion people on the planet, and the only way we’re going to be able to prevent that population explosion from devouring the base of our resources is to replenish and grow resources. It’s not hard to be sustainable. It’s much more important to be robust, regenerative, and resilient. That’s the agriculture Jerry is very excited about.
The Abnormal Ecology and Toxicity of the Average Golf Course
I’m from Chicago and we have a lot of toxic soil here in the form of very well-manicured grass. As a small animal practitioner, I view a golf course as just a big toxic cesspool that while lovely to look at, is really a huge risk for the people and pets that live near it.
Jerry is actually starting to make a difference in this area by helping people manage golf courses and turf better. He believes there’s a sort of pathology in America wherein people think they have an English manor if they have a front lawn with nothing on it but a monoculture of rye grass. And that, of course, comes with all the problems of a very abnormal ecology.
Golf courses are actually an abnormal ecology. What you have is a monoculture. The tees and greens are a 100 percent bent grass mowed to 1/16th of an inch in height. They’re grown on 90 percent sand and 10 percent peat moss. There’s no soil there, which means there’s very little biology.
The microbiome lives in the gut and 70 to 80 percent of an animal’s immune system is in the GI tract. It’s the same with plants. The immune system of a plant is the rhizosphere, or root ball. The root ball has inhabitants called micorrhizal fungi. There are countless species and numbers of bacteria, protozoa, actinomycetes, and the higher life forms that live on them, including earthworms, mites, springtails, and this huge food web of microbiology.
When you have a sterile environment with a monoculture like that – which is what agriculture has turned into, a monoculture that’s very sterile and eliminates all of its so-called competitors – you end up with a high vulnerability to insects and diseases, because that’s just not the way natural models operate. As a matter of fact, we do know that natural systems are not competitive.
Even though we don’t like weeds in our potato patch because they seemingly compete for nutrients with our potatoes, in a perennial polyculture those mixes actually support one another. What you have in that circumstance is an ability for plants to, in effect, take care of their weaker siblings when they’re particularly affected by, let’s say, drought. Conversely, when that particular big brother is helping out during the drought, he/she may need help when there’s a flood and the other plant seems to have those strains.
This collective of community and intelligence to cellular wisdom, which Jerry calls it, that is inclusive in all these organisms -- there’s massive intelligence there. It knows what to do. Plants do communicate through the volatiles that they release in the phyllosphere, which is above the ground. They also have the ability to communicate with molecular compounds and even photonic light emissions in the rhizosphere, letting their neighbors know, “By the way, there’s an adversarial presence in the community. It’s an insect and you need to amp up.”
The immune system needs to kick in gear. You need to make more phenols. You need to make more terpenes to protect yourself. That’s what plants do. These are the plant secondary metabolites that we call the PSMs. These are the medicines of plants. These are the nutraceuticals that health food stores sell, like resveratrol, lycopene, and carotenes. There are 600 different carotenoids that we know of. Who knows how many there really are?
These plants, when they’re living in these communities like this, there’s this intelligence and there’s a sharing and giving, whereas in a monoculture like a golf course, you don’t have any of that, except maybe some of the tree islands that you might see throughout that area. Consequently, the less diversity you have in a system – whether it’s a farm system, turf system, front lawn, or whatever it might be – the more inputs you are dependent upon, whether they are ecological inputs or petrochemical inputs.
What Jerry has been trying to do with golf courses, through a business he started 24 years ago and then relinquished to his then partner, Joel Simmons, called Earthworks, is to unplug their dependency on the chemical treadmill. Because they use a tremendous amount of fungicide and they use a lot of nitrogen. If you take nitrogen plus water and the other predominant elements like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and boron are missing (and they often are), you end up with an immune implosion.
You end up with water and nitrogen, which are the perfect storm for fungal diseases. They love water and nitrogen. That’s what they grow on. That’s because plants are trying to make what we call complete protein instead of what Jerry calls funny protein.
The Devastation of 'Funny Proteins' and Other Poisons
This same “funny protein,” if it’s grown in a pasture or hay field that you fed to your horses, you’re going to have “funny protein” consequences because that’s not protein – that’s nitrogen. Or it’s free amino acids instead of complete amino acids or peptides. You end up with a lot of problems with blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels going up in dairy cows. It translates into elevated milk urea nitrogen (MUN) levels, which is toxic milk.
In fact, calves can even die from scours (diarrhea) drinking their mother’s milk because it’s so high in nitrogen. Jerry has seen this in England, where they’ve used urea on their pastures to try to green them up and get production, but the quality has gone to hell. And then milk urea nitrogen levels are so elevated that the calves actually die from scours. The veterinarians are at a loss. They think it’s some kind of bug.
Or they think it’s a vaccine deficiency. What it is, is toxic milk from nitrogen fertilizers on a monoculture of ryegrass. That’s the problem. Jerry has seen this problem in New Zealand, which we think of as a green, southern emerald isle. But New Zealand unfortunately is nuking the entire island with super phosphate and urea. As a consequence, they’re starting to grow more corn silage there because they can’t get the production out of their cows, because the nitrogen levels when they go up too high, the “funny protein” levels create all this blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and milk urea nitrogen (MUN), and the livers get hammered.
The livers are now working hard to get rid of this poison. Work is energy consumed. If energy’s consumed for detoxification, it cannot be diverted for what you really have the cows for, which is milk production. You lose milk production and you lose body condition. They start getting skinny. They’re literally milking the fat off their backs to try to provide enough energy for the liver to detoxify all of this nitrogen. That’s been one of the biggest problems they’ve had.
Nitrogen actually is much more of a greenhouse gas once it becomes neither nitrogen dioxide nor nitrous oxide than CO2 is. We were worried about the CO2 levels hovering around 400ppm, but the nitrous oxide levels are escalating because we use so much nitrogen in agricultural practices, on the golf courses, and on the lawnscapes that people have. They don’t realize what they’re doing to the ecosystem of their root ball while, at the same time, they don’t realize that these things are volatiles.
It’s not unusual for a golf course tank of fertilizers and pesticides to have a value somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000 dollars per tank, which might be a couple of hundred gallons that they’re spraying on. In a year’s time, you’re looking at probably $100,000 to $200,000 dollars’ worth of chemicals being sprayed on an 18-hole course.
Which is 125 acres of land. It’s a tremendous amount of poison. Up in Canada, interestingly enough, they’re not allowed to use any lawn pesticides on residential properties or public properties. The only ones that are exempted from that are the agriculture community and golf courses. But the lawn care companies that go out, like Chemlawn in the U.S. …it’s crazy that an American can go into Walmart, buy a Scotts-type fertilizer with 2,4-D in there, apply it all over their landscape, and then wonder why their dog gets cancer. Or why their kids are having all kinds of metabolic problems.
You’re walking around on that lawn, you’re breathing that stuff, and you’re absorbing it through the soles of your feet, which, of course, are very, very effective at absorbing lots of things.
If you want to have a good lawn, first of all, if you look at the old 1950s and 1960s seed mixes, you’ll see that there’s a lot of diversity in the lawn seed. They would have somewhere between five to ten percent clover in there. Now they don’t want clover.
They consider clover a broad-leaf weed. Or they have to get rid of clover because it is a broad leaf, and they have to get rid of dandelions, plantains, and some of these other, edible broad leaves. They’d have to use a 2,4-D or a broad-leaf herbicide on this. If you want to have a good, healthy lawn or a golf course, first of all, the fairways, in Jerry’s opinion, should go back native. Whatever grows, grows. Mow it, that’s fine. But let whatever shows up, show up.
And as far as the putting green, Jerry feels they need to bring back compost and soil, and replace a lot of the sand. He has actually formulated products that can be mixed in with the sand that basically create a soil where you can start getting roots to go down into that mixture a foot to maybe 16 inches, which is hard to believe that a plant that has a 16th of an inch top could put a root depth in a foot. That’s because the biology is so incredibly forgiving to all of this. That’s what’s fantastic about this.
There’s not much interest from golf courses in seeking out organics. It’s the same reason why organic lawns are in the minority -- people have the psychological mindset that a dandelion doesn’t belong. Dandelions are evil.
Jerry’s grandparents made him go out and pick bags full of dandelions, and they ate them by the score. People don’t realize that dandelions are actually soil aerators. Much of the reason dandelions grow is that you have tight soil compaction, where you have calcium deficiencies or you have potassium to calcium ratios that are out of balance.
Weeds are indicators. If you understand weeds and you really look at the actual botany and the actual natural ecology of weeds, you’ll find that weeds could oftentimes tell you what really is wrong with your soil. And we’re not talking about an occasional weed; we’re talking about a proliferation of weeds.
And that can be done with golf courses. The golf courses are not going to go organic. But what they are doing is they are finding out that as you increase the biology – using things like humic acid or humates, fish emulsion, seaweed extracts, desalinated sea water, trace minerals, foliar sprays, getting the calcium and sulfur ratios right and on and on and on, and using the Albrecht model as much as we can – there’s a lot less pressure of pests, therefore reducing the need and the inclination to put on all this poison. Jerry hasn’t gotten to the point where he has been able to do an organic golf course. There are a few in the U.S., literally less than a handful that are “organic.”
But they are the ones that do know that you can actually do this. Because most people, what they’re after is if you’re a farmer, you’re after agriculture production. If you’re a golf course superintendent, you’re after a green, trouble-free course that isn’t going to implode when July hits 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity. You’ve got to go out there with warfare and fight off these fungal infections with tremendous amounts of toxicity.
I see small animals living on golf courses that, of course, have kidney and liver dysfunction. They’re toxic. But the incidence of bladder cancer and lymphoma particularly are off the charts. And speaking of lymphoma, Jerry had a personal run in with the disease in 1999.
Jerry Was Diagnosed with Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1999
Jerry was rear-ended in a car accident in January 1999. He ended up with a couple of herniated discs and suffered pain for about four months. He couldn’t figure out why until the doctors told him they had discovered some very large lymph nodes in his intestinal tract. They told him they suspected lymphoma based on the size and number of the lymph nodes.
So next was a CAT scan, followed by a biopsy that confirmed a diagnosis of follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jerry did some research and discovered that his particular disease was a recurring “incurable variant of lymphoma.”
Jerry didn’t know anything about lymphoma so he visited an oncologist to find out what he was up against. He was advised to begin very aggressive chemotherapy immediately. His doctors were talking about three dozen chemo treatments, maybe radiation, and perhaps surgery. Jerry soon realized he was obviously not in the hands of holistic practitioners. He found it appalling that they never asked him if he smoked. Or if he drank. Or what kind of work he did. Or what kind of food he ate. They never asked if he suffered emotional or psychological stress. None of those questions were posed to him.
When Jerry mentioned to his doctors that he found their lack of interest in the answers to those questions appalling, they were aghast to think Jerry found them important. They weren’t interested in correlations between his lifestyle and the cancer.
Jerry realized he was no different to the doctors than all their other patients, and that the doctors only distinguished one patient from the next by the number of cancerous growths they carried.
So Jerry said to his doctors, “The reality is I’m not interested in basically reducing the size of the growths that you’ve picked up on these CAT scans and MRI imaging. I want to get rid of the illness because it’s a systemic illness. It’s an organic kind of an illness.”
And of course, that didn’t go over well at all. They just didn’t seem to get it.
Jerry Decides to Cure His Own Cancer
Eventually, Jerry walked out on his doctors, realizing he was not in good hands. He didn’t feel they were physicians, but more like technicians, and probably good ones. He gives them credit for that. He has nothing against Western modern medicine. It’s extraordinary medicine in cases of trauma. But when it comes to chronic illnesses, it’s like traditional doctors don’t want to go there because it’s too much work and takes too much time. Every human body is unique, and it just takes too much time to approach things from that viewpoint.
So Jerry struck out on his own. And he decided, “I can fix this.” The reason he believed he could was because for the last 20 years he’d been on farms that were decimated with unhealthy animals. And he was part of fixing those problems –assisting nature in fixing them – by implementing practices of detoxification, immune augmentation, nutrition, and reducing stress on the whole farm. That was what he did – the model he used – and lo and behold, the animals came around. Nature is incredibly forgiving.
So Jerry figured if he could resurrect farms that are ecosystems, he could learn how to resurrect his own ecosystem. He just needed to figure out what dots to connect. Jerry is a tester – he likes looking at lab tests, water tests, tissue tests, soil tests, hair analysis, blood tests, urine tests, etc. – he likes data. So he started compiling data on himself. He started getting heavy metals testing, viral load testing and immune function testing.
He began working with immunologists, including Dr. Bernard Bihari, an AIDS-HIV specialist in New York City. Dr. Bihari wasn’t really a naturalistic or holistic physician, but he was incredibly bright and believed in the Hippocratic oath of “First, do no harm.” He was all about trying to upregulate Jerry’s immune system because his natural killer cells were depressed both in number and function. His other CD cells were also suffering, including his CD4 helper cells and his 2-CdA killer cells. His immune system was seriously compromised.
Jerry discovered that he was loaded with mercury and arsenic. He had his amalgam fillings replaced one by one by a biological dentist. He began taking IV vitamin C cocktails. He liked vitamin C from his work with dairy cows with acute coliform mastitis. He used colostrum serums – purified extracts of colostrum with cytokines and antibodies -- along with an IV with vitamin C. Some of the cows even had gangrene, and they still lived. Antibiotics alone would have never saved those animals. So he believed in the detoxification properties of vitamin C as well as its white-cell stimulating properties.
Jerry started seeing physicians who believed in Linus Pauling’s theory of the pro-oxidative properties of vitamin C given intravenously. These doctors acted as his coaches. They listened to him, and talked with him to plan strategies to recover his health.
Jerry incorporated a whole host of healing therapies. He detoxified with saunas and hot salt baths. He went on a smoothie diet that Acres U.S.A. eventually made a DVD about. He went on an almost all-raw food regimen which he developed using homemade milk shakes of raw milk, raw cream and colostrum. He also made his own hyper-immune colostrum.
He found the technology for it in the archives of Merck’s patent applications. It was a product they never went forward with – hyper-immune milk. They called it hyper-immune milk serum. They had patent applications ready to go, but never proceeded with them. So Jerry used their information. He drew his own blood, used that as an antigen, and then leased a pregnant cow from one of his farmer clients. He infused his blood into the udder of the pregnant cow that was dry for two months before calving. He did it every week for eight weeks. He harvested her colostrum and the first five days of milk, and numbered them from one to 100 quarts. He put it into freezer bags and it went into his morning smoothies, along with other raw milk, raw eggs, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, and blueberries or raspberries.
Jerry’s smoothies kept his appetite under control until dinnertime. He also grew his own greens – dandelions, chicory, wheatgrass, oat grass, rye grass, barley grass. He put all the greens together in a grass juicer, and mixed in beet juice, celery juice and carrot juice. He drank a quart every day. He lived primarily on those two daily smoothies for six months.
Jerry’s Cancer-Fighting Protocol Turns Him Into a Different Person
Jerry says this protocol turned him into a different person in a very literal sense. In six months, the cancer was gone.
Jerry’s story of how he cured his lymphoma is awesome. He received a cancer diagnosis and did his own hardcore research instead of relying on other people to tell him what to do. He took radical steps – like leasing a cow. But he was able to cure himself, and his story is so empowering for others dealing with health struggles. Jerry is proof the body can make a full recovery if provided the raw materials. His is such a neat story.
Jerry feels it’s a testament to ecology. Ecological systems are innately healthy, and they want to remain healthy. They have a tremendous drive to remediate what’s wrong as long as you remove the obstacles and allow it to happen.
He also feels the thing that gave him confidence, which other people may not experience, is that he felt he could replicate what goes on with landscapes, because the human body is a landscape in and of itself.
Jerry Has Also Developed Products for Small Animals
Jerry endorsed a book written by Hubert Karreman, who is an organic large animal veterinarian in Pennsylvania. Jerry says Dr. Karreman is an extraordinary large animal vet and is one of the few veterinarians who works exclusively with organic dairy cows.
Jerry and Dr. Karreman did a DVD about a certified biodynamic organic farm called Seven Stars Farm in Chester County (PA). The farm makes its own biodynamic organic yogurt. Dr. Karreman was the herdsman on the farm before he became a veterinarian. Jerry and Dr. Karreman brought their individual experiences to the DVD. Dr. Karreman produces a few products, like mastitis infusion tubes. Jerry’s company makes nutraceuticals, colostrum whey, and herbal tinctures.
These products now spill over into the Primo Pet product line, which was developed back in the 1990s. A person who knew Jerry thought the work he was doing with large animals was applicable to companion animals. He asked him if he could develop a product line for small animals. They went down the list of the issues and challenges companion animals are confronted with, and Jerry came up with ideas, and ultimately, products.
As it turned out, a woman named Wendy Volhard, an English trainer and breeder of Newfoundlands who lived near Syracuse, New York, somehow got hold of some of the pet products and called Jerry. She said, “You know, you don’t know me, but I’ve been using some of your products. I’ve been working with a veterinarian up here by the name of Kerry Brown, and we’re pretty impressed with what these products do. What’s the story here?”
Jerry explained to Mrs. Volhard that he was basically using the same methodologies he used on farm animals – the same enzymes, probiotics, herbs, chelated trace elements, colloidal minerals from mine deposits, and conventional USP vitamins. It was a complex set of formulas to treat different species. He explained it had grown into an entire product line. Eventually, the person he was working with fell on hard times, so Jerry’s company no longer made the products for him.
Jerry didn’t have the time to devote to the small animal industry. It’s a different industry even though the same kinds of raw materials are used to make the finished products. It’s the same with horses. Horse products are similar and yet different because of the DNA differences between bovine and equine species. The industries are disparate, and Jerry had no time to visit kennel clubs or small animal trade shows.
The products they created were resurrected. It’s called the Primo product line and they’re just waiting for something to happen. They haven’t had time to make it happen. Dr. Karreman’s experience is in homeopathy and botanical medicine and his experience has contributed to the product line as well.
Jerry feels veterinarians are beginning to pick up on the need for holistic treatments. He thinks the holistic vet movement has come a long way since he was first exposed to it back in the 1980s.
Thank You, Jerry Brunetti!
Jerry has certainly had a colorful, bright, passionate and ongoing evolution throughout his life. This has been an enlightening discussion today, and I’m excited about what the future holds.
What Jerry is doing is not only inspiring, it also brings hope to all of us who are concerned about the health and well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants. We’re in dire need of the information Jerry has to share, and I am so appreciative that he was able to spend some time with us today.