Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenb elt, MD 20770
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If You Are Interested in Sustainable Agriculture...
In addition to this monthly newsletter, the Henry A. Wallace
Institute for Alternative Agriculture publishes the American
Journal of Alternative Agriculture, a quarterly, peer-reviewed
journal of research on alternative agriculture. It is a
scientific forum for disseminating technical, economic, and
social research findings about the character and requirements of
alternative agriculture systems.
Articles in the last issue covered the Wisconsin integrated
cropping systems trial; farmers' markets and the local community;
the compatibility of domestic birds with a nonchemical
agroecosystem; Minnesota extension agents' knowledge and views of
alternative agriculture; Sweden's sustainable alternatives for
swine production; and transition from conventional to alternative
agriculture in Pakistan.
Annual subscriptions to AJAA are $44, institutions; $24,
individuals; and $12, students. For more information or a single
copy, contact the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road, #117,
Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777; e-mail
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Table of Contents
Ecologically Based Pest Management Is Safe, Profitable 1
Factory Farms Are "Hog Heaven -- and Hell" 2
National Arboretum Cuts Pesticide Use by 75 Percent 3
Wallace Institute Elects Two New Board Members 3
Agriculture is Largest Contributor to Polluted Runoff 4
California Methyl Bromide Ban Temporarily on Hold 4
IPM Can Help the Bottom Line and the Environment 4
Upcoming Events 5
ECOLOGICALLY BASED PEST MANAGEMENT SAFE AND PROFITABLE, SAYS
Ecologically based pest management is "recommended as a
profitable, safe, and durable approach to controlling pests in
managed ecosystems" in a new report released last month by the
Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council-National
Academy of Sciences. "There is an urgent need for an alternative
approach to pest management that can complement and partially
replace current chemically based pest-management practices,"
according to Ecologically Based Pest Management. "It is
necessary to refocus objectives from pest control to pest
management based on maintaining natural ecological balances."
The report recommends practices that "maintain the
ecological balance of the region and the natural balance of
agricultural pests and their enemies," combined with the advanced
biological technologies now available. Ecologically based pest
management systems "will be built on an underlying knowledge of
the managed ecosystem, including the natural processes that
suppress pest populations."
Other recommendations in the report include developing a
national research agenda to identify broad areas of ecological
research that promise to yield the critical information needed to
accelerate ecologically based pest management; focusing on
understanding the interactive processes of ecosystems;
coordinating multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research;
and devising new methods to study, monitor, and evaluate
agricultural and forestry ecosystem processes, and to develop
effective pest-management tools. The report also recommends that
public oversight be required to ensure that "potential risks to
human health or the environment are properly assessed and
The report concludes that there is "an opportunity to move
beyond IPM and into an information-rich era in which
collaborative efforts break down current barriers among the
disciplines, institutions, and philosophies to achieve
ecologically based pest management solutions that are safe,
profitable, and durable."
Ecologically Based Pest Management is available from
National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Lockbox #285,
Washington, D.C. 20005; 1-800-624-6242; or through the National
Academy's home page on the Internet at http://www.nas.edu
NEWS MAGAZINE CALLS FACTORY FARMS "HOG HEAVEN -- AND HELL"
"Pig farming has gone high tech, and that's creating new
pollution woes," says U.S. News & World Report (January 22, 1996)
in a four-page article about vertically integrated corporate pork
operations entitled "Hog Heaven -- and Hell." In 1988, just 7
percent of the nation's hogs were raised in factory farms; today,
17 percent are. "Three jobs are lost for every one created by a
new factory farm, and thousands of small, independent hog farmers
are being forced out of business," the article says. Twenty
years ago, the nation had 662,000 hog farmers; today, that number
has shrunk by 68 percent to some 209,000....
"Nowhere is the change happening faster or with more
problems than in North Carolina, which has minimal environmental
and zoning regulations for big hog operations," the article says,
adding that since June 21, 1995, the state has suffered six major
waste lagoon spills totally 35 million gallons. In addition to
creating "an unprecedented dung disposal dilemma," North
Carolina's factory hog farms have other environmental problems,
including swarming and breeding flies, and odors that cause
nausea, shallow breathing, and a variety of health problems for
those who live downwind of the farms. The waste is also sprayed
onto fields as fertilizer.
NATIONAL ARBORETUM CUTS PESTICIDE USE BY 75 PERCENT
The USDA's National Arboretum, a 444-acre living museum set
up by Congress, has reduced its pesticide use by three-quarters
since a new landscape integrated pest management program began in
1992, according to an article in Agricultural Research (January,
1996), published by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.
"The shift toward monitoring and away from blanket spraying has
resulted in a two-thirds reduction in total pesticide costs," the
article says. "Other savings include reduced employee risk and
liability and lower expenses for safety equipment and health
monitoring." The arboretum has also made a major shift toward
the use of less-toxic pesticides, or biorational pesticides,
which include horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and insect
growth regulators. For more information, contact Scott Aker at
the National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.
20002; (202) 245-5975.
WALLACE INSTITUTE ELECTS TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Wallace Institute's Board has elected two new members
who will start their terms in March. The new members are Dr.
Neil V. Anderson, Professor, Food Animal Health and Management
Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University,
Manhattan, KS; and former Professor and Associate Department
Head, Department of Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University;
and Jose Montenegro, Acting Director, Rural Development Center,
Salinas, CA; member, Kellogg Integrated Farming Systems Network;
and graduate, Agronomy University of Durango, Mexico.
"Biologically Based Technologies for Pest Control," a report
by the Office of Technology Assessment (S/N 052-003-01449-1), is
$14 from New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box
371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; (202) 512-1800.
"Managing Change in Rural Communities: The Role of Planning
and Design," a joint venture of the Natural Resources
Conservation Service and the National Endowment for the Arts, is
free from the Soil and Water Conservation Society at 1-800-843-
"Profitable Dairy Options" is free from Andy Clark,
Sustainable Agriculture Network Coordinator, Room 304, National
Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705-2351; e-mail
"Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Periodicals" is
available in hard copy and in electronic format from Alternative
Farming Systems Information Center, National Agricultural
Library, 4th floor, USDA/ARS, 10301 Baltimore Blvd., Beltsville,
MD 20705-2351; (301) 504-5724; e-mail email@example.com
"3rd Edition/Sustainable Agriculture Directory of
Expertise," with 723 entries, is $18.95 from Sustainable
Agriculture Publications, Hills Building, Room 12, University of
Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405; (802) 656-0471.
"A Guide to Spanish Language Sustainable Agriculture
Publications" is $10 (payable to UC Regents) from University of
California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Program, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; (916) 752-
7556 or (510) 642-2431.
"Biological Control of Insect Pests Using Pest Break
Strips," a publication of the Naturfarm Conversion Project, is
available from Nature Farming Research and Development
Foundation, 6495 Santa Rosa Road, Lompoc, CA 93436; (805) 737-
AGRICULTURE IS LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO POLLUTED RUNOFF, SAYS
Agriculture is responsible for the largest share of the
country's polluted water runoff problem, according to an article
in National Geographic (February, 1996). Describing water
pollution from nonpoint sources that is largely unregulated, the
article says, "44 of the states report groundwater contamination
caused by runoff from farms and ranches....Sediments, organic
matter, and bacteria flow from our fields and pastures by the ton
-- an average of five tons an acre a year if we're counting just
the soil eroded from croplands." In addition, "half the nation's
drinking-water wells are reported to contain nitrates unleashed,
for the most part, by agricultural fertilizers." The article
features several farms in Michigan, Oregon, and California, where
"growers are attempting to reduce pesticide use by managing the
bad bugs with good ones" using IPM methods. "If water
consciousness was beginning to change our behavior anywhere, it
was not in the cities or the suburbs but right where the problem
looms largest nationwide -- down on the farm," the article says.
CALIFORNIA METHYL BROMIDE BAN TEMPORARILY ON HOLD
A California State Assembly panel last month approved a two-
year extension for the use of methyl bromide, which was scheduled
to be banned in the state in April. The full State Assembly and
Senate must still act on the bill concerning the chemical, which
is used to cleanse soil before planting and to rid fruits and
nuts of pests after harvest. Methyl bromide has raised health
concerns for those exposed to it, and has been identified as a
probable ozone-depleting chemical by the EPA, which has proposed
banning its use after the end of the century. California farmers
claim that acceptable substitutes for methyl bromide would
increase costs and reduce yields. A recent report by the U.S.
General Accounting Office has concluded that no alternatives have
been identified for fumigating commodities for export, and for
treating some plant disease-causing organisms in the soil. It
says that a methyl bromide ban may put farmers at "an unfair
advantage in international markets" unless other countries also
ban methyl bromide, according to The Webster Agricultural Letter.
IPM CAN HELP THE BOTTOM LINE AND THE ENVIRONMENT -- THE FURROW
The switch by "more and more farmers" from conventional
farming to integrated pest management "has often produced
significantly higher profits for producers of a wide range of
crops including alfalfa, apples, corn, cotton, grapes, soybeans,
and wheat," according to an article in The Furrow (January,
1996). Among the IPM methods described in the article are
increased scouting, mating disruption, the Boll Weevil Attract
and Control Tube, cover crops between grapevines, and composting.
Detailing the USDA's IPM program to combat codling moths in the
Pacific Northwest, the article says, "USDA sees enough potential
in areawide IPM that it has already started, or is planning,
similar areawide IPM initiatives to control tobacco budworms,
Colorado potato beetles, pink bollworms, and corn rootworms."
A Resource List of Internships, Apprenticeships, and
Sustainable Curricula is available from Katherine Adam,
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, P.O. Box 3657,
Fayetteville, AR 72702; (501) 442-9824 or 1-800-346-9140; e-mail
Public Voice for Food and Health Policy seeks a Director for
its Agriculture, Markets and the Environment Program; send cover
letter, resume, and writing sample to Dr. Allen Rosenfeld, Public
Voice for Food and Health Policy, 1101 14th St., NW, #701,
Washington, D.C. 20005.
Drumlin Farm, the Massachusetts Audubon Society's 200-acre
Farm Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, seeks interns from
May to October; send letter and resume by March 15 to Stacy
Miller, Drumlin Farm, South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773; (617)
259-9807 ext. 7700.
March 4-5, "Consumers, Industry and Government: Shifting
Responsibility for Food Policy," the 19th Annual National Food
Policy Conference, will be held in Washington, D.C.; contact
Public Voice for Food and Health Policy, 1101 14th St., NW, #710,
Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 371-1840.
March 6-8, "Composting/Recycling...50% and Beyond" will be
held in Seattle, WA; contact BioCycle, 419 State Ave., Emmaus, PA
March 7, Sustainable Cotton Conference will be held in
Bakersfield, CA; contact Committee for Sustainable Agriculture--
Cotton, P.O. Box 2371, Davis, CA 95617-2371; (916) 756-6967.
March 7-December 7, workshops and activities will be held on
teaching skills for working oxen or draft horses, low-capital
farming, blacksmithing, woodworking, and overseas applications;
for a catalog, contact Tillers International, 5239 South 24th
St., Kalamazoo, MI 49002; (616) 344-3233.
March 7-10, Bio Fach '96 will be held in Frankfurt, Germany;
contact Sunder & Rottner, Von-Vollmar-Str.4, D-91154 Roth,
Germany; phone +49 (0) 9171-4011.
March 9, "Sustaining the Vision," the Northeast Organic
Farming Association of New Jersey's Winter Conference, will be
held in New Brunswick, N.J.; contact NOFA-NJ, 31 Titus Mill Road,
Pennington, N.J. 08534; (609) 737-6848.
March 10-13, National Conference on Rural Assistive
Technology will be held in Indianapolis, IN; contact Breaking New
Ground Resource Center, 1146 Agricultural Engineering Building,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 48907-1146; 1-800-825-4264.
March 15 is the deadline for paper and posters for "Changing
Agricultural Opportunities: The Role of Farming Systems
Approaches," to be held November 11-16, Colombo, Sri Lanka;
contact Symposium Coordinator Secretariat, 14th International
Symposium on Sustainable Farming Systems, P.O. Box 42, Socio
Economic and Planning Centre, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; phone 94-8-
88798; e-mail Sympo@deptag.ac.lk
March 15 is the deadline for presentation proposals for
"Branching Out: Linking Communities through Gardening," to be
held in Montreal, Canada, September 26-29; contact American
Community Gardening Association Conference, c/o San Francisco
League of Urban Gardeners, 2088 Oakdale Ave., San Francisco, CA
94124; (415) 285-7584.
March 16-17, "It's Simple...Farms=Food" will be held in New
Concord, OH; contact Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association,
P.O. Box 82234, Columbus, OH 43202; (614) 294-3663.
March 18-20, "Connecting Our Farms and Gardens with Urban
Growth" will be held in Rockbridge County, VA; contact Tomorrow's
Farms Conference, Sedalia Center, Route 1, Box 687, Big Island,
VA 24526-9735; (804) 299-5080.
March 20-23, "Composting Makes Compost" will be held at Olds
College, Alberta, Canada; contact Tom Clark, (403) 556-4644; Kim
Ayrton, (403) 556-4745, at Olds College, 4500 50 Street Olds,
Alberta T4H 1R6 Canada.
March 22-27, 61st North American Wildife and Natural
Resources Conference will be held in Tulsa, OK; contact the
Wildlife Management Institute, 1101 14th St., NW,
#801,Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 371-1808.
November 14-17, "Seeds of Hope in a Changing Agriculture," a
farmers dialogue on healing conflicts and solving problems, will
be held in St. Paul, MN; the dialogue, featuring farmers from
North and South America, and Europe, is the fourth in a series of
international conferences; contact The Farmers Dialogue, 661
Western Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103; (612) 698-7382.