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rBST: A Decade of Use in America's Dairyland
Fact Sheets No. 21, September 2004
by Sunung Moon, Jeremy Foltz and Carol Roth

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Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST)' was introduced into the U.S. dairy industry ten years ago. Initial concerns about the possible effects of rBST on dairy prices, dairy markets, cow health, consumer safety, and family farm viability gave rise to heated controversy about whether it should be approved for commercial use. After almost a decade of controversy and debate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the release of rBST in November 1993. Following a 90-day delay in commercial introduction (mandated by a Senate Agriculture Committee bill to permit a federal government socioeconomic and environmental impact assessment of the technology), in February 1994 Monsanto Corporation introduced posilacT" for commercial use in the U.S." When used effectively. rBST induces, on average, a 10 percent increase in the annual milk production of cows (though in most instances more feed, higher quality feed, and well-balanced rations are required to obtain this level of output response). rBST was immediately heralded as being one of the major new technologies of the American dairy industry.

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