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October 14, 2007 - Monsanto Speaks Out....Let's Listen

Let me begin by making it very clear that this edition of "Samuelson Sez" is not an endorsement of the company that manufactures Posilac, also known as BST or Bovine Somatotropin to increase production of milk in dairy cows. But it is an endorsement of using common sense and sound science in determining what federally approved technology you use to produce any food product, and I might add, that sound science and nutrition be the determining factors consumers use to select dairy products or any other foods for their dinner table.

But, because he makes the point for agriculture and sound science so well, I do quote Kevin Holloway, President of Monsanto Animal Agriculture who wrote an open letter to dairy producers that appeared in a recent full page ad in Hoard's Dairyman magazine. The letter begins "Recent announcements by major grocery chains and milk processors to sell only milk labeled "rbST-free" continue the trend of deceiving consumers about milk. For those of us actively involved in the dairy industry, we know that all milk is equally safe and wholesome and continue to be alarmed that many dairy co-ops have agreed to initiate involuntary programs to supply milk marketed in this manner.

This is bad for our business, your business and the future of the industry."

And he goes on to say...."We recognize that POSILAC may not be right for every operation, but this issue goes beyond rbST and affects every tool you use. What will be next? Your production choices should be yours alone - not marketers', not processors' and not Monsanto's."

Well, I agree with Mr. Holloway. The BST product has been fully approved by the Federal Drug Administration and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Scientists in the industry tell me there is no difference between milk coming from cows that have not been given the product and those that have. The cow puts the product in the milk naturally, but if more is added, there is no difference in the taste, quality or safety of the milk.

I have talked to dairy producers who have used the product since it was introduced and have enjoyed increased production and no decline in herd health. I have talked to other farmers who have not and will not use the product for various reasons and I respect both choices. But for dairy farmer co-ops to decide they will react to emotional reaction of some consumer groups and penalize their farmers who use approved technology is a setback for all of agriculture. Indeed, after fighting for the use of approved genetic enhancement of grain crops, and now the attack on milk, we can only wonder what technology is next on the "attack list".

It's an old song I sing, but let sound science be the only benchmark!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.