Dairyland Doublespeak

The New York Times is busting out dairy industry advocacy group, American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, or Afact. The paper says Afact likes to present itself as a grassroots organization of dairy farmers, when it’s actually a lobbying effort backed by Monsanto and their St. Louis-based ad agency, Osborn & Barr.
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The battle is over Posilac, the brand name of a Monsanto synthetic hormone used to increase milk production in cows. Cows typically produce an extra gallon a day when they are treated with Posilac. That can translate into serious money for dairy farmers.
Monsanto’s and the farmers’ problem? To meet consumer demand for natural foods, everyone from Whole Foods Market to Wal-Mart Stores now sells milk labeled as coming from cows not treated with the hormone.
Politicians have also entered the fray. Last fall in Pennsylvania, Dennis Wolff, the agriculture secretary, tried to ban milk that was labeled as free of the synthetic hormone because, he said, consumers were confused. In recent months, labeling changes have also been floated in New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Utah, Missouri and Vermont.
Monty G. Miller, a Colorado consultant who was hired to organize Afact believes that the push for milk from untreated cows is being driven by advocates like Consumers Union and PETA, “who make a profit, living and business by striking fear in citizens.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.