Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenbelt, 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 current issue (Volume 11, No. 1) cover low-
input, on-farm composting; a case study on evaluating the
sustainability of alternative farming systems; soil and water
conservation and improved crop management effects on watershed
productivity in India; a review of the literature on economic
methods for comparing alternative crop production systems;
expansion of the organic food market in Denmark; a South Dakota
case study comparing organic and sustainable fed cattle
production; and effects of free-range chickens and geese on
insect pests and weeds in an agroecosystem. Subscriptions to
AJAA are $24 a year for individuals; $12 for students; and $44
for libraries. Contact the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston
Road, #117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777; e-mail
Alternative Agriculture News: Table of Contents
Conference Looks at Environmental Impact of Coffee Farming 1
USDA Announces Changes in CRP, Other Programs 2
Wallace Institute Board Elects New Members 3
Thompson Farm Publishes Annual Research Report 3
Members of New USDA Advisory Board Named 4
Peterson, Sinclair Honored With "Golden Carrot" Award 5
Upcoming Events 5
CONFERENCE LOOKS AT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CHANGES IN COFFEE
The environmental impact of coffee production, particularly
the conversion of much of the world's coffee lands from
traditional shade plantations to "technified" coffee farms, was
examined at a three-day "Sustainable Coffee Congress," sponsored
last month by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in
Washington, D.C. The Congress was "the result of international
concern over major changes in the way that coffee is grown," the
Center said, including concern about environmental, social, and
economic issues affecting coffee farms and farmers.
In the 1970s, coffee farmers began to abandon traditional
growing methods in favor of new methods that relied on high-
yield, densely packed dwarf coffee plants that grow in full sun.
"These plants must be nurtured with fertilizer and protected
against attack with an array of insecticides, herbicides, and
fungicides," according to the Center.
"Lured by the prospect of higher yields, many farmers
willingly chopped down the overstory, ripped out the old coffee
plants, and replaced them with new ones, exposing bare soils to
wind, sun, and rain. The main results have been increased
erosion, polluted runoff, a substantial reduction in wildlife
habitat, and increased exposure of workers to hazardous
Research has revealed the importance of traditional coffee
plantations worldwide, especially with natural forests dwindling,
according to the Center.
"In the midst of altered and shrinking habitat, migratory
birds have found a sanctuary in the forest-like environment of
traditional coffee plantations," says the Center, which adds that
many migratory birds prefer coffee plantations over natural
"Of all agricultural systems in the tropics, shade coffee
plantations have been found to have some of the highest numbers
of individuals and species of migratory birds."
In addition to raising environmental issues, sun coffee
farms pose economic problems for small farmers, who are often the
farmers maintaining the traditional shade coffee plantations "in
the face of broad-scale modernization," according to the Center.
Goals of the Coffee Congress, the first of its kind,
included developing field criteria for sustainable coffee,
strategies for increasing consumer awareness, and ways to
incorporate new productive certification systems with existing
systems. Representatives from 19 countries, including Colombia,
Sweden, Uganda, and El Salvador, attended the Congress.
USDA ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN CRP, OTHER CONSERVATION PROGRAMS
The USDA last month announced changes in the Conservation
Reserve Program (CRP) and several other conservation programs,
all designed to create more flexible and environmentally
sensitive programs. A proposed rule for revising the CRP would
expand the types of land covered by the CRP, including cropped
wetlands, and target the most environmentally sensitive acreage
for enrollment. Only highly erodible land, or highly
environmentally sensitive land, would be enrolled in the program;
less erodible land could enter the program if it contributed to
other environmental needs, such as improving water quality or
wildlife habitat. All contracts expiring in 1997 would expire,
with no contract extensions; farmers with expiring contracts
would have to submit bids for their land and compete with other
bidders. The program has a 36 million acre maximum enrollment
size. The USDA also announced changes in several other
conservation programs, including providing more flexibility to
mitigate the loss of wetland functions, establishing a process to
identify practices that have a minimal effect on wetlands, and
assuring producers that conservation compliance variances needed
because of weather, pests, or disease problems will be expedited.
WALLACE INSTITUTE BOARD ELECTS FOUR NEW MEMBERS
The Wallace Institute's Board of Directors, at its mid-year
meeting on September 6-7 in Gainesville, Florida, elected four
new members who will start their terms in March, 1997. The board
meeting was preceded by a reception hosted by the Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.
The four new members elected to the Wallace Institute Board
Desmond A. Jolly, Agricultural and Consumer Economist,
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of California,
Davis; Extension Economist, University of California; and
Director, Small Farm Program, University of California. Deborah
A. Neher, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University
of Toledo; former Visiting Assistant Professor and Research
Associate, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State
University; and former Research Assistant, Department of Plant
Pathology, University of California, Davis. Robert I. Papendick,
Soil Scientist, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington
State University; former Research Leader and Supervisory Soil
Scientist, Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit,
USDA-ARS, Pullman, Washington; and former Research Leader,
Subarctic Agricultural Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Fairbanks,
Alaska. Frederick V. Payton, Assistant Professor, Institute of
Community and Area Development, University of Georgia; Director,
Southwest Georgia Alternative Agriculture Project; and former
Senior Scientist and Interim Director, Central America and
Caribbean Region, International Potato Center.
THOMPSON FARM PUBLISHES ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT
"Alternatives in Agriculture," the 1996 annual research
report of Thompson On-Farm Research in Boone, Iowa, is now
available. This year's report updates all previous reports with
summaries of the research done by Dick and Sharon Thompson, and
is published to be "helpful to both farmers and the research
community." Research is categorized in nine chapters:
Inspiration, Documentation, Education; Fertility; Cover Crops;
Alternative Weed Management; Crops; Water Quality-Soil Health;
Economics; Livestock; and Farming for Better Communities. The
publication of the report and the 1996 research work at the
Thompson Farm is made possible by the financial support of Mrs.
Jean Wallace Douglas through the Wallace Institute. Copies of
the report are $10 each from Thompson On-Farm Research, 2035
190th Street, Boone, IA 50036-7423; (515) 432-1560.
"Becoming Native to this Place," six essays by Wes Jackson,
is available for $12.50 from Publishers Group West, P.O. Box
8843, Emeryville, CA 94662; 1-800-788-3123.
"Beyond the Last Fencerow: The Future of the Food & Farm
System in Southeast Pennsylvania" is available from Kathy
Koehler, Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA
19530; (610) 683-1421.
"Pesticides in Ground Water: Current Understanding of
Distribution and Major Influences" (FS-244-95) is available from
U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Information
Clearinghouse, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, 421 National Center,
Reston, VA 20192.
"Religious Congregations on the Land: The Practical Links
Between Community, Sustainable Land Use, and Spiritual Charisma"
is $15 from National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver
Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310; (515) 270-2634; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MEMBERS OF NEW USDA ADVISORY BOARD NAMED
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman last month announced the
members of the newly created National Agricultural Research,
Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, authorized by
the 1996 farm bill. The board will advise the secretary and
land-grant colleges and universities on agricultural research,
extension, education, and economic policy and priorities. The
board members are:
Frank Busta, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Zerle
Carpenter, Texas A&M University, Bryan, TX; Gail Cassell,
University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Mary Clutter,
National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.; John Dillard,
self-employed farmer, Leland, MS; Dan Dooley, self-employed
farmer, Visalia, CA; Kirk Ferrell, National Pork Producers
Council, Arlington, VA; Hector Garza, America Council on
Education, Silver Spring, MD; David Gipp, United Tribes
Technology College, Mandan, N.D.; Jerry Don Glover, Texas Corn
Producers Board, Muleshoe, TX; Miley Gonzalez, New Mexico
Cooperative Extension Service, Las Cruces, N.M.; Victor
Lechtenberg, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Thomas Lyon,
Cooperative Resources International, Shawano, WI; Sam Minor, The
Springhouse Co., Washington, PA; Janice Nixon, Colorado State
University Cooperative Extension, Sterling, CO; Russ Notar,
National Cooperative Business Association, Wheaton, MD;
Ralph Paige, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, LaGrange,
GA; Skee Rasmussen, self-employed rancher, Belvidere, S.D.;
Richard Ross, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; Barbara Schneeman,
University of California-Davis, Davis, CA; Ann Sorensen, American
Farmland Trust, Oregon, IL; Dolores Spikes, Southern University
and A&M College System, Baton Rouge, LA; Joe Stewart, Kellogg
Co., Battle Creek, MI; Barbara Stowe, Kansas State University,
Manhattan, KS; Larry Tombaugh, North Carolina State University,
Cary, N.C.; Ann Vidaver, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln,
NE, and President of the Wallace Institute Board of Directors;
Kaye Wachsmuth, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service,
Washington, D.C.; Ronald Warfield, Illinois Farm Bureau, Gibson
City, IL; Steven Watts, The McGregor Co., Colfax, WA; and Nancy
Wellman, Florida International University, Miami, FL.
The board met last month and reviewed the USDA Research,
Education, and Economics Draft Strategic Plan; nominations to the
15-member Strategic Planning Task Force; and implementation of
the Fund for Rural American competitive grants program. The
board is expected to meet next in early 1997.
PETERSON, SINCLAIR HONORED WITH "GOLDEN CARROT" AWARD
Cass Peterson, a member of the Wallace Institute Board of
Directors, and the late Ward Sinclair were honored last month
with a "Golden Carrot" award from Public Voice for Food & Health
Policy. The annual awards honor two legislators for "advancing
the consumer interest in nutrition, food, and agriculture
policy;" an additional award recognizes special achievement.
"While selling specialty produce to Washington area restaurants
and at Maryland farmers markets, both [Peterson and Sinclair]
became well-known advocates of nonchemical farming," the award
said. They "symbolize the spirit and vitality of today's organic
farming movement." Other recipients were Senator Richard Lugar
(R-IN) and Rep. E (Kika) de la Garza (D-TX).
Southern Rural Development Center, Mississippi State
University, seeks applications for Director of the Center, one of
four regional centers; applicant must have doctorate in
Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology, or closely related area;
send letter specifying interests and administrative philosophy,
curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and materials
demonstrating accomplishments and writing skills to Chair, SRDC
Search Committee, Mississippi State University, Box 9656,
Mississippi State, MS 39762.
Center for Rural Affairs seeks a Program Leader; for job
description, contact the Center, P.O. Box 406, Walthill, NE
68067; (402) 846-5428.
October 29 is the presentation application deadline for
"Communities Working for Wetlands," to be held in Alexandria, VA,
May 7-9, 1997; contact Communities Working for Wetlands, 1-800-
October 31-November 1, "Forest and Woodland Resources for
Sustainable Community Development" will be held in Fayetteville,
AR; contact Donald E. Voth, Professor of Rural Sociology,
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology,
University of Arkansas, A227, Fayetteville, AR 72701; (501) 575-
2409; e-mail email@example.com
November 1-2, "Profit From Diversity," the Small Farm
Seminars and Trade Show, will be held in Columbia, MO; contact
Small Farm Today Magazine, Chuck DeCourley, 1-800-633-2535.
November 1-3, "The Whole Farm: Renewing Healthy
Relationships Between Humans and Animals in Agriculture" will be
held in Minneapolis, MN; contact Biodynamic Farming and Gardening
Association, P.O. Box 550, Kimberton, PA 19442; 1-800-516-7797.
November 4-6, Annual International Research Conference on
Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reduction will be held
in Orlando, FL; contact Margie, Methyl Bromide Alternatives
Outreach, (209) 244-4710.
November 4-15, "Community Supported Agriculture," a ten-day
course, will be held at New Farms, HC 69 Box 62, Rociada, N.M.
87742; (505) 425-5457.
November 6-8, "21st Century Solutions: New Uses for
Agricultural Products, and Biomass Workshop" will be held in
Tulare, CA; contact Dr. Kennith Foster, University of Arizona,
(520) 621-7900; e-mail
November 6-8, "Biofair: The Second World Trade Fair for
Certified Organic Products" will be held in Costa Rica; contact
AgriSystems International, 125 West Seventh St., Wind Gap, PA
18091; (610) 863-6700.
November 8-10, "Agriculture, Community, and Economy: Weaving
a Sustainable Future," the Carolina Farm Stewardship
Association's 11th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference will
be held in Rock Hill, S.C.; contact Alyx Perry, CFSA, 115 W. Main
St., Carrboro, N.C. 27510; (919) 968-1030.
November 8-10, fourth annual conference of Tilth Producers
will be held in Leavenworth, WA; contact Tilth Producers, P.O.
Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145; 1-800-731-1143.
November 8-10, "Food, Farming and Family: Regenerating the
Tapestry of Life," the sixth annual Urban-Rural Conference of the
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, will be held in East Troy,
WI; contact Gail Kahovic, MFAI, W2493 County Road ES, East Troy,
WI 53120; (414) 642-3303.
November 13-15, "Mapping the Future," the Composting
Council's Seventh Annual Conference," will be held in Arlington,
VA; contact the Council, 114 South Pitt St., Alexandria, VA
22314; (703) 739-2401.
November 14-17, "Seeds of Hope in a Changing Agriculture,"
will be held in St. Paul, MN; contact the Farmers Dialogue, 661
Western Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103; (612) 698-7382.
November 18-19, "Corporations, Conservation &
Collaborations," the 8th Annual Symposium of the Wildlife Habitat
Council, will be held in Washington, D.C.; contact the Council,
1010 Wayne Ave., #920, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 588-8994;
November 20-22, "New Opportunities in Composting and
Organics Recycling" will be held in Des Moines, IA; contact
BioCycle, 419 State Avenue, Emmaus, PA 18049; 1-800-661-4905.
November 21-22, Wyoming Pasture Management Workshop will be
held in Riverton, WY; contact Kirk Faught, University of Wyoming,
Ocean Lake Field Office; (307) 857-3918.
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