The Idaho Dairymen's Association (IDA) is circulating a letter requesting Idaho milk processors lift a ban on the use of BST.
In an article in IDA's March newsletter, the association says, "The letter is not an endorsement of rbST, but it is an attempt to defend the industry's use of technology and make sure Idaho producers are being treated equitably.”
The letter in part states: "It was our understanding that [the rBST ban] was being implemented to meet the needs of your customers and was driven by the retail markets that are supplied by both Kraft and Schreiber. It is also our understanding that those markets have not evolved into rbST free markets as was initially feared; in fact WalMart has indicated they are willing to take dairy products made from animals supplemented with rbST.
"Processors in other geographies are using milk from rbST-supplemented cows to manufacture cheese that flows into the same customers being served by Idaho processors. When your competitors are selling cheese from rbST-supplemented cows through the same channels as you, why can't we?
"We need to be able to use all tools that will help all of us recover equity that we have lost the past 15 months. The ban on rbST use in Idaho constricts our ability to manage and we need every available tool at our disposal that enables us to lower our cost to produce milk and thereby increasing our profitability. In these difficult economic times, we would like to have the freedom to utilize rbST on animals within our herds and would like all Idaho processors to consider dropping the ban.”