Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 88–98

Agricultural research and farm structural change: Bovine growth hormone and beyond

  • Frederick H. Buttel

DOI: 10.1007/BF01535489

Cite this article as:
Buttel, F.H. Agric Hum Values (1986) 3: 88. doi:10.1007/BF01535489


Emerging bovine somatotropin (or “bovine growth hormone” [bGH]) technology has become highly controversial even though the technology is one to two years from commercial introduction. The bGH controversy is discussed and placed in the context of the evolution of the American public agricultural research system and farm structural change over the past 15 years. It is argued that while many observers tend to overestimate the degree to which bGH will be representative of other biotechnologies applied to agriculture, the bGH case may well reflect a more general pattern of the changing clientele relations of the land-grant system and of the changing character of technology developed within the public agricultural research system. In particular, these new clientele and technical relations may portend a new era in which farmers begin to scrutinize the land-grant research portfolio, which might in turn lead to diminished political support by state-level farmers' groups for agricultural research appropriations.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1986

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  • Frederick H. Buttel

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