Fighting on a Battlefield the Size of a Milk LabelYes, large Corporate Dairy farms. Because that's what's left. We're not in 1954 with nearly 3-million dairy farms having a whopping 7-Cows each. Now there are fewer than 1-hundred thousand dairy farms in the US and the market is dominated by companies like Vander Eyk and Dean/Horizon that manage herds of 10,000 cattle. That's important to understand as Monsanto plays the "farmer" card hearkening back to the old days with the independent small farmer:
IT may be the last stand of Posilac.
A new advocacy group closely tied to Monsanto has started a counteroffensive to stop the proliferation of milk that comes from cows that aren’t treated with synthetic bovine growth hormone.
The group, called American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, or Afact, says it is a grass-roots organization that came together to defend members’ right to use recombinant bovine somatotropin, also known as rBST or rBGH, an artificial hormone that stimulates milk production. It is sold by Monsanto under the brand name Posilac.
Dairy farmers are indeed part of the organization. But Afact was organized in part by Monsanto and a Colorado consultant who lists Monsanto as a client.
Lori Hoag, a spokeswoman for the dairy unit of Monsanto, said her company did provide financial support to Afact. But Ms. Hoag asserted that the group is led by farmers, not Monsanto.These people are not "farmers" in the romantic sense of the word people associate with the term, like your semi-hippy neighbor with a few cows producing organic milk and cheese from his/her small-farm dairy. Rather, they are college-educated corporatists who are more than willing to make the safety-cost trade-offs that could leave you sick or dead. They're as much "farmer" as the people at Ford that gave us the exploding Pinto, or at GM that gave us the deadly Corvair.
“They make all the governing decisions for their organization,” she said. “Monsanto has nothing to do with that.”
To think that these are some Skoal-dipping, wheat-chewing "good ol' boy" farmers in bib-overalls is a laugher. Dean Foods (I own stock in the Company) has sales over $10+ BILLION a year. Heck, because of the run-up in Dairy prices they're doing so well that this March they're having a special $15/share cash dividend. And they are fully invested in their "non-organic" side in this astroturf group because they're interested in making money.
One thing I find incredibly ironic is that the consumers who make up the market have rejected this practice despite assurances the milk is safe. It's an actual rational behavior considering how food safety has been severely compromised over the past thirty years and how we've found-out, often too late, that many of the things we were told safe, weren't. And while Posilac produced milk may really be perfectly safe with absolutely no undiscovered dangers, you burn the consumer long enough and, eventually, you suffer the consequences. Even if it's not "fair."