To give you a little background, Bovine somatotropin is a naturally occurring hormone in cattle that regulates growth and milk production. When it’s produced artificially by genetic engineering techniques, it’s then called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone is administered at the farm level, and it in turn increases milk production. However, there are certain drawbacks to using rBST/rBGH (click here for more info: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/rbgh2.cfm), and for us, these outweighed the benefits of continuing to use the hormones.
To convince our partner farms that eliminating rBGH/rBST was the right thing to do, I strapped on my work boots and started visiting dairy farms in and around Western PA with Chuck Turner. Chuck is the owner of the family owned and operated Turner Dairy Farms (http://www.turnerdairy.net), which processes all of the milk that is produced by the other farms that we buy from. Chuck and I visited farms large and small – some with 30 cows, and others with 300 - most of which have been in the same family for more than three generations. After discussing the potential consequences of using artificial hormones and the benefits to eliminating them, these farmers understood why we wanted to buy milk that was free from rBST.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Turner Dairy or Harrisburg Dairy, which processes the milk for our eastern locations, check out their websites below:
Turner Dairy http://www.turnerdairy.net/OurFarms.htm
Harrisburg Dairies www.harrisburgdairies.com/home.htm