Tillamook County Creamery Assn., says that its decision to ask its farmers to forgo the use of artificial bovine growth hormone has led to an "aggressive intrusion" by Monsanto Corporation into the association's decision-making process.

Last month Tillamook issued a press release saying that it has spent nearly two years developing a policy requiring its dairy suppliers (most of them members of the cooperative) to stop using recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST).

Monsanto, the only commercial producer of the hormone, sold under the brand name Posilac, responded by sending company representatives to Oregon to convince individual co-op members to resist the change and ask the co-op management to reconsider the policy.

Tillamook said the St. Louis-based chemical manufacturer took this step after first meeting with TCCA officials to plead its case. When that failed, an attorney who works with Monsanto visited more than a dozen co-op members and then delivered to TCCA's offices a proposed bylaw change that would preempt the new policy. That policy was approved last May and scheduled to take effect next month.

Dairy Foods contacted Monsanto which said it is "disappointed in Tillamook management's reaction to its membership's questions" about the new policy. "We support our dairy customers' desire to make their own choices about safe, FDA approved technologies like Posilac," a company spokesperson said.

As of late February, the co-op was expecting to schedule a special meeting to discuss the matter.