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
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Mountain Lion Foundation is seeking an Executive Director. Please see our website for further information - mountainlion.org/job-openings
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....
  • HEALTH FOOD STORE IN NW MONTANA
    Turn-key business includes 2500 sq ft commercial building in main business district of Libby, Montana. 406.293.6771 /or [email protected]