1.Family farmers rally at Missouri Capitol

2.Wal-Mart Says No to Milk from 'Juiced' Cows

3.Explaining Monsanto's Desire to Ban Current Milk Labeling

4.Monsanto to buy seed company De Ruiter

NOTE: Monsanto's headquarters are in the State of Missouri.

EXTRACT: SB 1279 introduced by Senator Dan Clemons (R-20 and HB 2283 introduced by Rep. Mike Cunningham (R-145) are anti-farmer, anti-consumer and anti-business, said Rhonda Perry, a livestock and grain farmer from Howard County and Program Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. '...Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced, and farmers have a right to tell them.' (item 1)


1.Family farmers rally at Missouri Capitol
T Gibbons
Joplin Indpendent, 1 April 2008

[image caption: The cap on Braum's milk manufactured by W.H. Braum, Inc. of Tuttle, OK maintains that it is 'rGBH Free' and was produced from their private dairy herd not treated with rGBH. However, they were compelled to add a disclaimer that 'no significant difference has been shown between milk from rGBH treated and untreated cows.' That studies done for consumer protection have difficulty receiving funding is another issue with which to grapple.]

One hundred and fifty family farmers, rural citizens and consumers gathered at the capitol to oppose tax-payer subsidies to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, protect the rights of consumers to know how their food is produced, and stop Missouri's participation in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

The crowd voiced strong opposition to a CAFO tax credit bill sponsored by Representative Brian Munzlinger (R-1). A portion of HB 1590 would give tax credits to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to subsidize their compliance with environmental standards and odor abatement practices, a nearly $1 million dollar tax break for CAFOs.

'While we strongly support the improvement of CAFO practices, we strongly oppose any attempt to subsidize CAFOs for doing what Missouri's family farmers have done for generations-simply be good neighbors,' said Ruth Hettinger, a family farmer from Knox County. 'Corporate welfare at the expense of family farmers and tax-payers is just plain wrong!'

Another bill that raised the ire of farmers and consumers alike was a House and Senate Bill that would ban any type of labeling that enables consumers to know if their dairy products contain rBGH, a genetically engineered hormone that induces cows to produce more milk. Similar bills are being pushed in several states with the help of Monsanto, the manufacturer of the product. Prior to the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of the use of rBGH, Canada and the European Union had banned it based on adverse effects from its use to both cows and humans cited in university and government agency reports.

SB 1279 introduced by Senator Dan Clemons (R-20 and HB 2283 introduced by Rep. Mike Cunningham (R-145) are anti-farmer, anti-consumer and anti-business, said Rhonda Perry, a livestock and grain farmer from Howard County and Program Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. 'This is not only an issue of free speech for farmers, but also a corporate and government intrusion into the business relationship between farmer and consumer. Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced, and farmers have a right to tell them,' Perry explained.

Darvin Bentlage, a crop and livestock farmer from Barton County, summed up the sentiments of many at the rally by calling on state legislators. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, step up and let the people know they do have a voice,' he said.

Other proposed bills worthy of support are:

A raw milk bill, HB 1901, sponsored by Representative Belinda Harris, which clarifies the right of farmers to sell and consumers to buy raw milk

A National Animal Identification System (NAIS) bill, SB 931, sponsored by Senator Purgason, which would limit Missouri's participation in NAIS

A local control bill, HB 1932, sponsored by Representative Jeff Harris, which would give communities more control over where corporate-controlled CAFOs are going to be allowed.


2.Wal-Mart Says No to Milk from 'Juiced' Cows

When Wal-Mart takes a position in the marketplace, it's hard not to notice. There’s little doubt that Monsanto hasn’t taken notice of Wal-Mart's decision to no longer carry milk from cows injected with Posilac, the synthetic growth hormone produced by Monsanto since 1994.

Some believe Wal-Mart is delivering the knock-out blow, following behind other food retailers such as Kroger, Safeway and Starbucks in banning dairy products containing (or produced through the use of) recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). In 2006 Dean Foods, producer of 2 billion gallons of milk per year, made the decision to stop using Posilac.

While Monsanto and, thus far, the FDA (who approved the use of Posilac in 1993) claim there are no health risks to humans from rBGH it doesn’t really seem very pleasant for the cows. The claims of the FDA and Monsanto notwithstanding, there are concerns about the effects of rBGH in humans. Use of rBGH is banned in Europe and Canada.

There are no labeling requirements for dairy products produced using growth hormone. In a curious twist (at least to me) some dairy producers have petitioned the FDA to block the labeling of milk and other dairy products produced without the use of rBGH claiming the label of 'organic' (or at least made with no synthetic growth hormone) is misleading to the consumer since there is no evidence that organic products are any safer or more nutritious than products produced with synthetic growth hormone.

But it all may be in vain.

On the first hand, there is ample evidence of the ill-effects growth hormones have on the cows themselves, and even if we don’t really care so much for the cows (and we should), those ill-effects make their way up the food chain and into our glass of milk.

And on the second hand, Wal-Mart (and others) move on what the consumer wants. And that appears to be milk, cheese, and yogurt produced from dairy cows free of rBGH.

As goes Wal-Mart, so goes rBGH. Maybe its time for Monsanto to throw in the towel.


3.Explaining Monsanto's Desire to Ban Current Milk Labeling
Jo Hartley
NaturalNews, April 1 2008

Over the past century, Monsanto has dabbled in many projects Agent Orange, Terminator seeds, PCBs, and now 'recombined' milk. Monsanto's latest obsession is milk labels. Specifically, those that are labeled 'rBST-free' or 'rBGH-free'. They are not concerned with the BST and the BGH on your milk labels. What worries them is the 'r' in the label, which stands for 'recombined.' Recombined milk is not a natural state of milk and recent evidence suggests that it is probably not as good for us.

Consuming dairy products coming from cows treated with rBGH poses some health risks, including antibiotic resistance (because of antibiotic use to treat cows' mastitis and other health problems), and a link to a certain range of cancers due to an elevated level of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1.

Monsanto is waging a war of words to attempt to stop the threat against its bottom line. Consumers are becoming skeptical about recombined food and so the company is attempting to suppress or ban the 'rBGH-free' label at the state level.

They contend that rBST is a supplement used to help cows produce more milk. Because of the fact that the supplement is injected into the cow and not the milk, they insist that the resulting milk is exactly the same. They state that there is no difference in this milk.

While it is true that all cows have naturally occurring bovine growth hormone, only cows injected with the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone have rBGH. To call this hormone a mere 'supplement' is inaccurate as well. Cows that receive this hormone typically last only two lactation cycles before they are slaughtered. Non-rBGH cows normally produce milk for 4-7 years and can live as long as 10 years.

Canada, Australia, and parts of the European Union have banned Monsanto's recombined milk due to its threats to both humans and cows. To date, the U.S. has yet again allowed Monsanto the freedom to unleash its possibly lethal products on the unsuspecting consumer. And so, it comes down to a battle between the FDA (and its supporters) and those who don't follow the FDA. Proposed bans on rBGH-free labels are not to protect the consumer, they are to protect Monsanto's pocketbook.

Public sentiment is turning against rBGH products. More medical authorities are voicing concerns about physical and psychological health issues. In addition, farmers and consumers are demanding a differentiation between recombined milk and milk in its natural form.

Just because there is no commercial test for this drug does not translate into there not being a difference between recombined milk and natural milk. Monsanto's tactic has been to equate the absence of a verifying lab test with the label being misleading. This doesn't hold true as there are many products with legitimate labels that haven't been verified by lab tests bottled water comes to mind.

Monsanto continues to muddy the waters by insisting that to label the different milks is misleading because 'they make consumers believe there is a difference, when in fact there is none.'

Monsanto nearly succeeded in a ban on rBGH-free labels in Pennsylvania in 2007; however the ban failed at the eleventh hour. Several other states are expected to revise or lift their bans on rBGH-free labels due to opposition.

At this juncture, Monsanto seems to have accepted the consumer's rejection of genetically modified bovine growth hormones. At this point they are experimenting with some funding of grass-roots farming coalitions. The American Farmers for Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) is one such recipient of Monsanto's generosity. The farmers from organizations such as these have been known to harass their state legislators, force scientists who may be skeptical of advisory panels, and general intimidation.

As more consumers become aware of the issues involved and make their choices for rBGH-free products, it becomes more and more apparent that Monsanto's goal is censorship to protect their own interests, not the public's. One need only take a cursory look at Monsanto's past pattern with products like Agent Orange, PCBs, and Terminator seeds. The bottom line is that more information is never a bad thing and anything or anyone who tries to restrict the flow of information is likely anti-consumer.


4.Monsanto to buy seed company De Ruiter

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Monsanto Co. says it has reached a deal to buy Netherlands-based De Ruiter Seeds Group BV for roughly $863 million. De Ruiter produces seeds for the greenhouse market, selling vegetable crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and melons. The company has global annual sales of about $170.6 million.

Monsanto agreed to take on an undisclosed amount of De Ruiter's debt as part of the deal.

Monsanto hasn't said when the deal would close. It still must get approval from several European regulators.

Monsanto shares fell $2.80, or 2.5 percent, to close at $111.50 Monday.