Part One - The Basics
by Will Winter, DVM
If you haven’t heard about farm or personal health problems from electricity or EMF (electromagnetic frequencies yet, my prediction is that you will soon. The more you know about it, the scarier it is, but yet the more you know, the more you can protect yourself, your family, your livestock and your farm. The problem is that the levels of EMF radiation is growing exponentially, even in the most rural or most remote areas.
There are three main forms of electro-smog pollution that matter. ELECTRICITY is one. Many people don’t realize this but this form of power travels on the outside of the wire, sort of like a halo or aura around the wire itself, plus it always takes the path of least resistance. If linemen get too close to a hi-voltage wire, they don’t even need to touch it to die, just getting in that arc can be enough. There is actually a lot of natural electricity in the earth itself, that’s why we have a north and south pole as well as ley lines and meridians. But this earth form of electricity is never dangerous as it is basically a DC (direct current) form that is harmonious with all life. Static electricity is also a natural form even though man can manipulate it. One exception to the relative harmlessness of natural electricity would be lightning, which is obviously an extremely concentrated version. These natural earth currents are what we suspect the druids were focusing on and working with when they built stone circles and towers. Possibly the Egyptians were building antennae and amplifiers as well. These currents are not fixed in general and ley lines can shift and move like river beds. Every few thousand years the N and S poles can even switch back and forth, some geologists speculate this could happen again in our lifetimes.
DC current runs in one direction and powers most batteries, solar cells, computers, LEDs, and electric vehicles. However, in the 1800’s when it was promoted (prominently by Thomas Edison) the practical use was somewhat limited in that back then there was no way to change to higher or lower voltage. Meanwhile, inventor Nikola Tesla had promoted AC (alternating current) as the way of the future. Edison tried to discredit AC by electrocuting animals with AC in public including an adult elephant, this in order to dramatically show the inherent dangers. AC current switches direction back and forth (60 cycles per second in the US) and is actually considered by most to be a more dangerous form of electricity. High voltage transmission lines are a classic example of the danger and often carry 440,000 volts overhead. We can measure the electrical charges from nearby farms. [READ MORE: Buy The Invisible Rainbow: a History of the Electricity and Life]
The second form of radiation pollution comes from MAGNETISM, the M in EMF, which travels alongside and concurrent with AC electricity. Whenever there is electric flow there will be a magnetic corona around it. We have devices that measure each form of radiation. Magnetic radiation is much much stronger near the source, such as a transformer.
Lastly, and now possibly the most important form of electro-smog, is RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) waves. Like the two previous forms of radiation, this signal is also invisible. There are two main forms, ionizing (which is like an X-ray or the microwave oven and non-ionizing, which includes radio, telephone, television and other transmissions. This is a wave that flows through the air from an antenna to a devise without the use of wires. Currently, cell phones operate at between 800 MHz up to 8 GHz though in the near future they will be increasing into the 20-40 GHz range, and ultimately up to 60 GHz. We all have thousands of radio and TV signals passing through our brains right now, plus cell phone and satellite transmissions. These are easily measured by the use of scientific instruments.
Power companies, cell phone carriers and radio and TV operations are extremely unwilling to publish any data regarding the potential dangers from any exposure to these waves. However, there is an avalanche of books and videos about the dangers. Possibly the best of these books is “The Invisible Rainbow”, by Arthur Firstenberg. It has been demonstrated that any form of man-made RF will have a very deleterious effect upon the chlorophyll centers within all plants thus leading to lower profits and production.
Much more about RF and 5G in Part Two of this series.
WHAT IS STRAY VOLTAGE?
This is a very aptly named problem, in that it applies to any two objects that have an electrical potential between them that ideally should not have any voltage difference between them whatsoever. How much does it take? In general, we are always hoping for zero voltage, however, almost any animal can quite easily feel anything at 0.5 volts or higher. Cattle are extremely sensitive to electricity as are many other domesticated farm animals. We could feel it too but we usually have shoes or boots on and sometimes gloves. However, approximately up to 7% of all humans are what we call “electro-sensitive” and feel extremely uneasy in areas of electrical pollution plus they are prone to chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or even auto-immune diseases. People who specialize in detection and cure say that they see stray voltage all too often, they have even seen it run as high as nine volts of current. Just imagine touching your tongue to a nine volt battery.
WHAT CAUSES STRAY VOLTAGE?
All stray voltage is unintentional and undesirable but yet it is extremely common. In fact professional inspectors tell us that it would be rare to find a farm or home without it being present somewhere, usually not in a good location. Even non-electrified Amish farms are known to be afflicted commonly. The main culprit, even though there are several variations of causation, is that with all standard 120 volt wiring we only have one hot wire, one neutral wire and a ground wire. If the neutral wire is inadequate or if there is a weak or failed connection, the electrical current arriving on the hot wire must return to the source in some manner, which means it will try to go through any and all other objects that will conduct electricity. This undesirable flow of electrons can be via the earth, metal buildings, metal stanchions, fences, or other objects such as bodies.
A big part of the problem is that electricians and linemen may see electricity in a different way than do engineers trained in electricity. (I’m generalizing here, there are some very knowledgeable technicians, likewise engineers are frequently so specialized they just don’t know everything, some engineers have no electrical training at all). But typically the linemen have not been trained in household or farm wiring. In fact, sometimes they can barely visualize the flow at all, their job is to get the power to the site. Electrical engineers, including agricultural engineers are trained to see electrical current wherever it is, quite like the rest of us might see water flowing. We could hardly expect to see water flowing into a structure without knowing where and how this water will exit. With voltage, if the neutral wire is not fat enough or if the distance is too far, there’s just no way it can keep up with electrical flow so that current “spills” into other areas in order for it to eventually get back to the source. Stray voltage can come from any electrical device that is malfunctioning. Even properly-installed wiring or devices can be damaged by moisture, lightning, or from mice, squirrels or rats. Most commonly afflicted are barn fans in the summer and water tank heaters in the winter. Lastly, there can often be problems coming on to your farm from the utility service. Fence charges must be professionally installed lest they contribute to the pollution. Wherever the source, proper diagnosis is a critical starting place to achieve cure.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOM OF STRAY VOLTAGE?
The key word is “mysterious”. Many times farmers think they must be bad farmers or bad managers, or that they must have poor quality livestock, not realizing there is a hidden cause. Electricity is essentially invisible and we are usually focused on visible issues. Every single farm, ranch barn, garage or home can have stray voltage problems, we have seen it with dairy, beef, swine, sheep, goats, poultry or horses. But most often electrical problems are most clearly in a dairy. In general, dairy animals drink more (to make milk) and they are quite often indoors and being handled, a place where we can watch them, a place that almost always has metal stanchions, metal drinking cups, lighting, and large fans. Animals that are plagued with stray voltage will most frequently manifest specific problems such as mastitis, or high somatic cell count (pus in the milk), or they are jumpy when they come into be milked. In many cases they just will not let down their milk flow. Watch your animals when they drink, they will tell you. Frequently they will only drink just enough to satisfy their thirst but not enough to maintain adequate production, which soon falls off even worse. Instead of taking a steady intake of water, they merely lap at the water, bobbing their heads. Humans are more likely to feel the voltage themselves when walking barefoot on wet concrete, even more so when touching plumbing or metal when they are somewhat grounded by being wet. People have been known to keep a dry rag around so that they can shut off their shower faucet or irrigation pivot motor without getting a shock!
HOW IS STRAY VOLTAGE DIAGNOSED?
Ideally: hire a pro! But for everyone, the main “tool of the trade” is a simple volt meter, one that can measure micro-voltage [Buy the TriField Line Meter]. We can even hold a metal rod in one hand as we explore with the leads from a volt meter. Most devices also generate signal which emits a buzz if there is current flow. One technician I observed used a plain lightbulb attached two two wires that were stuck into the ground, it’s quite eery when that bulb lights up! Metal barns built under power lines can actually be so electrified that they can be used to tap illegal electricity! Quite often we can instantly spot wiring design errors or find loose connections. By the use of all these devices we can pinpoint sources of the problem.
Electric fencing is rarely a problem, in general, but if wired wrong it can be devastating. It is of utmost importance to create a grounding system that is as good or better than that of the rest of the farm. The fencer should have it’s own individual ground and that it should never be attached to any other ground. Place the ground far away from barns or other electrical systems but also ground the barn or other outbuildings.
CAN STRAY VOLTAGE BE CURED?
Absolutely! However, it may require a professional to diagnose and cure the problem. In some cases, even though no source can be detected, the professionals can build a circular passageway all the way around the farm buildings using some sort of highly conductive materials. Most of the time however, it is possible to diagnose and cure almost every farm within 4 hours time. Most diagnoses come in the first half hour. Even if the problem is coming from the utility, a power pole/transformer neutral isolator can be installed. Since many problems come from inadequate grounding, this is a wiring cure that can be rewired in a proper manner and without much cost. With 240 volt wiring there are fewer problems because there are two hot wires and the current will arrive via one hot line and go back to the source via the other hot wire.
However, it’s not always that easy to settle disputes if questions arise with regard to the sources of the problem. If the utility will not accept responsibility for causing the problem or for the cost of fixing it, many farmers can feel left in the lurch. In fact, many institutions practically deny the existence of the problem, some even insinuating that the farmer must be either crazy or just a whiner. Here in my state of Minnesota alone, there are currently several pending lawsuits between farmers and the utilities with little hope of resolution in sight. However, the tide is slowly beginning to shift towards more accountability and more willingness to admit that the problem exists. Is it worth fighting? One dairy farmer in Minnesota who is suing the power utility estimates the voltage running through his dairy cost him over $700,000 in lost production, last year alone. Another Minnesota suit settled awarding $3 million to the damaged parties.
BUILDING YOUR ELECTRICAL VOCABULARY
- AMPERAGE- A measurement of the amount of current that is flowing through a wire.
- CURRENT- As stated above, current is measured in amps.
- INDUCED VOLTAGE- A form of stray voltage that comes from other nearby circuits. This is more difficult to diagnose but commonly runs through head stanchions or milk lines. Can be diagnosed and cured by a professional.
- RESISTANCE- This is something like a heater or lightbulb, it is anything that holds back the current. It is measured in ohms.
- SINGLE PHASE WIRING- Brings 120-240 volts via one to two hot wires. THREE PHASE wiring (high voltage for large motors) brings in three hot lines.
- VOLTAGE- A unit of measurement of the pressure that pushes the amps through the wire.
- WATTAGE- The sum of volts X amps and equal to power, as in the horsepower of an electric motor for example. High voltage lines can adjust current flow by vastly increasing the voltage which simultaneously lowers the flow of current and reduces line loss. Many transmission lines carry 7200 volts (this is what linemen work with) whereas coast-to-coast lines can carry 35,000 volts or more.
Have questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below!
_______________________________Stay tuned for Part Two. We will explore many of the known pros and cons of rural wifi, 5G, cell phones, smart meters, large transmission lines, cell phone towers, solar and wind farms, and more. We will also discuss how one can get diagnostic help. Most importantly, we will explore many of the ways farmers (and, of course, city people) can shield themselves as well to protect their farm livestock, wildlife (birds and pollinator insects are the most impacted species in nature) and how we can safeguard our growing crops and plants.
WILL WINTER is a holistic herd health consultant and livestock nutritionist who hangs his hat in Minnesota. He is also a traveling teacher focusing on sustainable agriculture and traditional nutrition. He provides consultations to farmers and ranchers seeking a holistic herd health plan. He also coordinates the raising of his own pastured hogs, hair sheep and meat goats. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or willwinter.com