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The Use of rBST in America's Dairyland: an Update
Fact Sheets No. 8, October 1999
by PATS Staff

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February 1999 marked the five-year anniversary of Monsanto Corporation's introduction of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or PosilaclM into the U.S. dairy industry. This fact sheet examines the changing patterns of rBST use on dairy farms in Wisconsin based on data gathered by the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (PATS) in regular surveys of the state's farmers from 1994-99. rBST is a metabolic hormone reproduced through use of recombinant DNA technology. When used effectively, it stimulates, on average, a 10% increase in the annual milk production of cows. Initial concerns about the effects of rBST on prices, dairy markets, cow health, and consumer safety gave rise to heated controversy about whether it should be approved for commercial use. After almost a decade of debate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved rBST's release in 1993. Posilacm was introduced commercially in the United States in February of 1994. rBST use is still not legal in Europe, Canada, or Oceania, and trade disagreements persist between the US. and other OECD countries over trade of dairy products from cows treated with rBST.

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