Recently Hilmar Cheese based in Hilmar, Calif., notified its shippers that effective next June (2018) the firm would no longer accept milk from herds using rBST. Responding to a request for comment, Hilmar issued this statement:
“Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. is an advocate of using safe and proven advancing technology in processing and on farm to improve lives around the world. Technological advancements create healthier people, healthier animals and a more sustainable planet. Years of scientific research, government agencies and global health organizations have firmly stated the safety of rBST and we have long-fought to preserve this tool. Unfortunately, the outcome of consumer confusion created by absence-based marketing dictates that we transition to rBST free milk by June of 2018. All milk is healthy and nutritious. Rather than differentiating ourselves on production methods, the industry must unite to promote the sustainability and health benefits of dairy milk.”
Dairy producer Dino Migliazzo, who ships to Hilmar, milks 800 cows farming with his family in Merced County, Calif. He said he is not surprised by the Hilmar decision, noting it was likely a matter of when, not if.
He said that they have used rBST continuously since it was brought on the market in the early 1990’s. The product is administered to fresh 2-yr-olds 100 days into their lactations and to second lactation and older cows after 80 days fresh. They use a 12-day rotation for the shots.
Migliazzo says in his herd when they stop using the product they estimate an average loss of production of 10 lbs. per day, a 50-cent per cow per day loss of milk value. He notes more cows will be needed to produce the same volume of milk, increasing, rather than decreasing the environmental footprint of dairy. He wonders if this will speed up the decline of milk production in the state of California.