For those of you not familiar with the term “rbST”, it stands for recombinant bovine somatotropin, (isn’t that a mouthful?) and is a form of a natural hormone produced by the pituitary glands of cows. Cows naturally produce bST (bovine somatotropin) but some farms in the United States give their cows additional doses of rbST because it can raise milk production by up to 15%.  No FDA testing is able to differentiate between the milk from cows given rbST or not, therefore it is officially FDA approved.

Spring Planting & Cows-80

Dairymen (and women!) have to be good businessmen to survive the ever shifting economy. However, they also have to find the balance in being sustainable, because one day the farm may be passed on to future generations. This is why the farmers in Washington State have decided they would rather use quality care to raise their herds. The use of rbST is illegal in this state! Have I mentioned I love where we live?

Milk Trucks

This means next time you go to the grocery store, don’t worry about watching for the little “No rBST!”sticker. As long as the milk is produced in Washington state, you’re good to go!


Farmers in Whatcom County, especially Appel Farms, are committed to producing high quality milk. Not by giving our herd additional hormones, but by simply taking care of them in the best way possible. My dad, honest to goodness, loves his job. My brother, who will one day take over the farm, loves his job. They have chosen this profession not because this is where they have ended up, but because they are pursuing their dreams. They love to take care of the cows. They will sit in a tractor for hours on end. They even take the time to figure out the nutrients each cow needs to be in the best health possible! Doesn’t sound terribly exciting to me, but they must love it to work so hard!Farmer rich

2 Comments on “The Truth about rbST in Washington State

  1. Elizabeth, that’s very interesting, I’ve learn something here! And what you write in the end about what is not “terribly exciting” for you (but must be for your father and brother) is honest though amusing too! I’m sure they feel the same about what you’re in charge of, including this blog. And that’s probably one of the many reasons why your family and family business function so well, each one of you loves what he/she does and fills the gaps of what others are not too excited about. I think it’s pretty neat!


    • Sophie you are exactly right! Even though they love farming, I think they would die if they had to put together anything like this! Working so closely with family definitely has it’s advantages, including using your strengths where they are needed 😉 It’s fun to see where everyone plugs in!

      Liked by 1 person

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