1. "What it Takes to "Get to Yes" for Whole Farm Planning Policy," by
David E. Ervin and Katherine R. Smith. Policy Studies Report No. 5. Feb.
1996. 42 pp.
Cost per copy: $5.00
"Whole farm planning" evolved as a holistic management approach to the
integration of farming objectives with agroenvironmental goals, and it is
practiced in various forms by a number of American farmers. Recently,
this environmental farm management concept has cropped up with increasing
frequency in farm and environmental policy contexts. A congressional bill
for the Clean Water Act's reauthorization proposes to excuse practitioners
of whole farm planning from certain clean water regulations. In New York,
farmers are paid to implement whole farm planning in a unique,
cooperative, and cost-savings effort to reduce agricultural runoff into
drinking water sources. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service
has launched pilot programs with whole farm planning as a centerpiece for
federal technical and financial assistance. Despite these developments,
many questions remain about just how, and with what consequences a farm
management approach can effectively be transformed into a policy tool
through legislative or administrative actions.
"What it Takes to "Get to Yes" for Whole Farm Planning Policy" takes a
comprehensive look at whole farm planning (WFP) in a policy context.
Authors David Ervin and Katherine Smith ask what goals should guide WFP
policy, who will lead WFP policy implementation, what incentives will
stimulate WFP, and how WFP policy performance will be monitored, reviewing
the full range of options that emerge for each of these key policy
The report also contains the results of a round table exercise in which a
diverse group of WFP stakeholders were asked what features they believe
are necessazry to assure that WFP is an effective policy tool. While
stakeholder priorities depend somewhat on the goals of WFP policy, general
differences in priorities among farm and agricultural business, government
representatives, and sustainable agriculture and environmental interest
groups were quite clear. From the industry's perspective, it is most
important that WFP be voluntary and producer driven. Government's
priority emerged as the involvement of all stakeholders to arrive at
ecosystem-based management. As a group, sustainable agriculture and
environmental interests attributed relatively more importance to WFP
policy's ability to account for off-farm environmental effects and achieve
Ervin and Smith conclude that four things must happen before one can
expect the development of a WFP policy that satisfies varying
perspectives: (1) Locally based stakeholders must be involved early in the
policy design process; (2) Close collaboration is essential among federal
agencies and between federal and local stakeholders, to set environmental
performance targets for WFP policy; (3) The provision of some type of
incentive for WFP adoption is necessary; and (4) The private sector needs
to be given an explicit role in WFP policy implementation.
2. "The Industrial Reorganization of U.S. Agriculture: an Overview and
Background Report," by Rick Welsh. Policy Studies Report No. 6. April
1996. 48 pp.
Cost per copy $5.50
"Our town has a large-scale corporate hog production facility and it
employs 250 people...They are helping our main street stay alive and
viable. (But) there is a cost for having those jobs: a drop in farm
numbers,"concludes the mayor of a small rural town in Iowa.
This statement, taken from the new report, "The Industrial Reorganization
of U.S. Agriculture: an Overview and Background Report," by Rick Welsh of
the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, illustrates
the far ranging impacts of structural change in agriculture. Welsh
discusses and outlines the causes of farm concentration, the vertical
integration of farms with food processing and marketing firms, and the
globalization of agriculture. He then explores, with the input of people
experiencing agricultural industrialization, what these trends mean for
farm households, consumers, agricultural labor, rural residents, the
natural environment and agricultural sustainability.
The report concludes that if current trends continue, a bimodal system of
agricultural production will dominate U.S. agriculture. An industrial
mode of production will be characterized by capital intensive technology
development and adoption, worldwide marketing and distribution, organizing
efforts on the part of growers, food processing workings and farm workers,
command and control environmental regulation and government regulation of
production contracts. An alternative mode will consist of smaller scale
farms which employ market development strategies based on locality of
production, specific production practices, consumer health concerns and
diversity of crop and livestock products.
Research is called for which can drive policy reform to prevent
agriculture from losing its uniqueness relative to other sectors, "leaving
in its wake abandoned cultures, communities and relationships long valued
by the American people."
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