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National Family Farm Coalition: Dairy Farmers Praise Monsanto Selling Off rBGH Division

WASHINGTON - August 13 - The Dairy Subcommittee of the National Family Farm Coalition today expressed its delight that Monsanto will be selling its controversial Posilac division. From the very beginning, NFFC has opposed Posilac, also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and lobbied against its legalization by the FDA in 1993. NFFC Dairy Subcommittee chairman Paul Rozwadowski, a Wisconsin dairy farmer, said, "NFFC has always been very skeptical of the environmental, public health, animal welfare and ethical impacts concerning rBGH. FDA never did proper testing regarding human health concerns when they first approved rBGH. The European Union and Japan have never approved its use. rBGH has always been about helping Monsanto's profits and not farmers."

Consumer backlash over rBST has led more supermarkets and dairy processors to reject the use of rBGH. The rise in popularity of "rBGH-free" labels shows consumers are taking greater interest in how and under what conditions their food is being produced. Brenda Cochran, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer, said, "Monsanto saw the writing on the wall. Consumers are rightfully queasy about injecting growth hormones into cows and the possible public health effects on both the animals and on humans. If we don't like Roger Clemens using hormones, why should we allow our cows to be treated with such rubbish? Most farmers long ago rejected Monsanto's rBGH since only about 15% of dairy cows are injected with it."

Donna Hall, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer, noted that what farmers need far more than "efficiency" and "technology" is a fair price: "Many dairy farmers, suffering from depressed prices for many years, felt pressured by Monsanto and land grant universities into believing we needed to be more and more efficient and adopt technology if we were to survive. As a dairy farmer of over 40 years, what I know we need most of all is a fair price for our milk and to get rid of the corruption in our industry. If dairy farmers had been paid fairly all along, many would never have turned to rBST in the first place. Every week, dairy farmers are going out of business for the basic reason they can't meet their costs of production, not because they aren't using rBST."

The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), founded in 1986, provides a voice for grassroots groups on farm, food, trade and rural economic issues to ensure fair prices for family farmers, safe and healthy food, and vibrant, environmentally sound rural communities here and around the world. For further information about the organization, visit www.nffc.net.

CONTACT: National Family Farm Coalition Irene Lin (202) 543-5675 Cell: (410) 241-7264

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