Cheese producers just say 'no' to Monsanto

  • Dairy cows in Tillamook won't be given growth hormones to boost milk production

    Photo courtesy Tillamook County Creamery Association
  Oregon dairy farmers reaffirmed their intention to keep a bovine growth hormone off their cheese plate, much to the chagrin of the drug’s manufacturer, bioengineering giant Monsanto.

On Feb. 28, farmers in the Tillamook County Creamery Association, the second-largest producer of natural chunk cheese in the United States, voted 83 to 43 to uphold a ban on the use of Posilac, an artificial growth hormone also known as rBST and rBGH. The drug, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, boosts milk production by 5 to 15 percent.

Last May, the association’s board decided to ban the use of Posilac, prompted by growing consumer concerns over its effects on the health of cows, the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in milk, and the possibility that the hormone may cause cancer in humans.

Monsanto reacted quickly, sending officials to Oregon to ask the association to drop the ban. According to Christie Lincoln, an association spokesperson, in January, 16 farmers petitioned to amend the association’s bylaws to prohibit it from banning FDA-approved drugs like Posilac.

Some farmers suggest that the biotech giant helped draft the proposed amendment. "Their lawyer walked in with the bylaw change," says Richard Heathershaw, who stopped using the hormone on his 200 cows more than two years ago. But the February vote rejected the amendment, upholding the board’s original Posilac ban, which takes effect April 1.

"We hope that in time Tillamook producers will reconsider this policy," Monsanto Co. wrote in a response. According to Jennifer Garrett, public affairs director for Monsanto’s dairy business, one-third of the nation’s nine million dairy cows receive Posilac.

In recent years, Monsanto has sued dairies, such as the Oakhurst Dairy in Maine, for labeling their products "rBGH-free." The company claims there is no discernible difference in the milk. Tillamook, however, is not planning to change its labels.

High Country News Classifieds
  • SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL ADVERTISING SPECIALIST
    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah's largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time Social Media and Digital Advertising Specialist. This position...
  • SPRING-FED PARCELS ON THE UPPER SAC RIVER
    Adjacent parcels above the Upper Sacramento river, near Dunsmuir. The smaller is just under 3 acres, with the larger at just under 15 acres. Multiple...
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a development professional to coordinate the organization's individual giving program. The position description is available at http://greateryellowstone.org/careers Please email a letter...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. At least 8-10 years of experience...
  • COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AND BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring for two positions. We seek a Communications Manager to execute inspiring and impactful communications...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Wilderness Volunteers Wilderness Volunteers (WV), a 24-year leader in preserving our nation's wildlands, is seeking a motivated person with deep outdoor interests to guide our...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • FISHERIES BIOLOGIST
    Under the direct supervision of the Director of Shoshone-Paiute Tribe's Fish, Wildlife & Parks, in coordination with the Tribal Programs Administrator and the Tribal Chairman,...
  • REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NORTHERN ROCKIES, PRAIRIES & PACIFIC REGION
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • STEWARDSHIP MANAGER
    STEWARDSHIP MANAGER Job Vacancy and Description Posted June 2, 2021: Open until filled The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit, regional land trust...
  • KSJD - MORNING EDITION HOST/REPORTER
    KSJD is seeking a host/reporter. Please see for www.ksjd.org for more information. EEO compliant.
  • ON THE EDGE OF CEDAR MESA/BEARS EARS
    Quiet, comfy house for rent in Bluff, Utah. Walk to San Juan River. Bike or hike to many nearby ruins and rock art sites. Beautiful...
  • CARPENTER AND LABORER WANTED.
    Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rain forest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg meadows,...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Title: Project Manager Reports To: Program Director Salary Range: Negotiable; starting at $60,000 Location: Bend, OR The Deschutes River Conservancy seeks a Project Manager to...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Deschutes River Conservancy seeks a Program Director to join our dynamic team in restoring streamflow and improving water quality in the Deschutes Basin. WHO...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - TWISPWORKS
    Established healthy nonprofit in the Methow Valley of Washington state, TwispWorks is hiring the next Executive Director. Terrific opportunity to strive for our mission to...
  • BOARD DIRECTOR
    Help us achieve our mission of promoting excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship, science and education to ensure the life-sustaining benefits of wilderness....
  • TEMPORARY FULL-TIME RANCH OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
    Twin Willows Ranch in Ocate, NM is seeking to immediately fill a Temporary Full-Time employment position as Ranch Operations Assistant for Facilities, Equipment, Land, and...
  • RANCH OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
    Twin Willows Ranch in Ocate, NM is seeking an individual to fill the Regular Full-Time position of Resident Operations Assistant for Technology, Hospitality, Gardening, and...
  • POEM+ NEWSLETTER
    Start each month with a poem in your inbox by signing up for Taylor S. Winchell's monthly Poem+ Newsletter. No frills. No news. No politics....