Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenbelt, MD 20770
* * *
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.
The current double issue (Volume 11, Numbers 2 and 3)
features the 13 papers presented by U.S. scientists at a U.S.-
Middle East Conference and Workshop on "Dryland Farming Systems
and Technologies for a More Sustainable Agriculture," held in
October, 1993, in Moscow, Idaho. That landmark conference was
conducted under the auspices of the Multilateral Working Group on
Economic Development of the Middle East Peace Process, and was
attended by approximately 50 scientists from the United States,
Russia, Egypt, Israel, Tunisia, Turkey, Jordan, Oman, and the
emerging Palestine State. Topics of the papers include farming
systems and conservation needs in the Northwest Wheat Region;
water conservation practices for sustainable dryland farming
systems in the Pacific Northwest; agricultural wind erosion and
air quality impacts; advances in the production of cool season
food legumes; diversification for new management systems
opportunities in the Pacific Northwest; and crop traits for water
Subscriptions to AJAA are $44 for libraries; $24 for
individuals; and $12 for students; contact the Wallace Institute,
9200 Edmonston Road, #117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; e-mail
Table of Contents:
Organic Produce Making Its Ways Into Mainstream 2
Applications for Ward Sinclair Internship Due 3/15 3
U.S. Farming Regulations Are Nothing Compared to Europe's 3
House, Senate Announce New Ag Committee Members 4
Attorneys General Urge Glickman to Examine Concentration 5
Excess Nitrogen Causing Serious Environmental Problems 5
Upcoming Events 5
ORGANIC PRODUCE MAKING ITS WAY INTO MAINSTREAM, SAYS SURVEY
Organic produce is "making its way into the mainstream" and
"will become more prominent in produce departments" of
supermarkets across the country, according to "Fresh Trends
1996," a detailed magazine summary of The Packer's most recent
survey of consumer trends in the purchasing and consumption of
fresh produce. One reason for the increase in organics at
traditional stores may be the fact that natural foods stores are
growing at a faster rate than mainstream grocery stores: 14
percent a year during the past five years, compared to 3.3
percent a year for supermarkets. "Grocery stores are aware of
that situation and want a piece of that growth," says the
magazine. Another reason for the increase is "the good taste of
organic produce," the survey found.
Here are some of the other findings of the Fresh Trends 1996
survey on consumers and organic produce:
-- Is organic produce available? Asked if their supermarket
sells organic produce, 54% of all respondents said yes; 32% said
no; and 14% didn't know.
-- Who buys organic produce? Asked if they had purchased
organic produce during the six months prior to the survey, 23% of
all respondents said yes; 72% said no; and 5% didn't know. Of
those who said organic produce is available in their supermarket,
36% said they had purchased it during the six months prior to the
survey; 62% said they had not; and 2% didn't know.
-- What kind of organic produce are consumers buying?
According to the survey, the top organic items consumers
purchased in the six months prior to the survey were (in order)
tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, apples, squash, and broccoli.
-- Why are consumers buying organic produce? Of those who
had purchased organic produce in the six months prior to the
survey, 24% said their reason was that they liked the produce's
appearance, or it looked good; 17% said it looked fresher and
riper; 16% said they wanted to try it to see if it was different
from conventional produce; 16% said it was healthier and better
for them; 15% said it tasted good and flavorful; 15% said it was
the only thing available; and 12% said it contained no
pesticides, fertilizers, or insecticides.
-- Why are consumers not buying organic produce? Of
consumers who had not purchased any organic produce, 35% said it
was because the produce had not been available, it had not been
marked organic, or it was in too small a section of the
supermarket; 28% said because it was too expensive or a higher
price; 19% said they didn't see a need for it or a difference in
it; 8% were not aware of what organic produce was; 6% said the
quality was not as good; 6% did not intentionally select it; and
5% had no particular reason.
-- How satisfied are consumers with organic produce? Of
consumers who had purchased organic produce, 24% were extremely
satisfied with it; 51% were very satisfied; 20% were somewhat
satisfied; 5% were less than satisfied; and no one was extremely
-- Will consumers buy organics in the future? All
respondents were asked if they plan to purchase organic produce
in the six months following the survey; 20% said they were
extremely likely or very likely to do so; 27% said somewhat
likely; 20% said somewhat unlikely; 31% said very or extremely
unlikely; and 2% were not sure.
The magazine summary of "Fresh Trends 1996" is $10 from
Vance Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 2939, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-
1339; 1-800-255-5113. The in-depth "Fresh Trends 1996
Demographic Data Report" is $175.
APPLICATIONS FOR 1997 WARD SINCLAIR INTERNSHIP DUE MARCH 15
To honor the late Ward Sinclair -- an organic farmer, a
writer, and a member of the Wallace Institute's Board of
Directors -- the Wallace Institute awards one internship each
year to a person desiring the "hands-on" experience of working on
a farm that produces and direct-markets food, combined with a
policy exercise dealing with the direct marketing of food.
Interns spend approximately half their time working at the
Flickerville Mountain Farm and Ground Hog Ranch in Dott,
Pennsylvania, the farm established and managed by the late Ward
Sinclair, and Cass Peterson, who supervises this half of the
internship. In 1997, the other half of the internship will be
spent working with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable
Agriculture on marketing issues. Applications for the 1997 Ward
Sinclair Memorial Internship Program are due on March 15. For
more information or a brochure about the internship, contact the
Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road, Suite 117, Greenbelt, MD
20770; (301) 441-8777.
U.S. FARMING REGULATIONS ARE NOTHING COMPARED TO EUROPE'S
European farmers live under "layers of rules and regulations
that would drive many North American farmers batty," according to
an article in The Furrow (December, 1996). The Dutch government
has set limits on the amount of manure and commercial fertilizer
farmers can apply to their land, for example. For ten years, the
Danish government has put pesticides through a registration
process, with standards for leachability and toxicity, in order
to reduce pesticide use by half. And the European Union has
regulations from setting minimum cage space for laying hens to
requiring truckers to schedule regular water stops for the
livestock they're transporting. There are reasons for the
regulations: the population is dense, and most farms are not far
from major population centers. "Because of the lack of
wilderness and open space, people are especially sensitive about
how farmers treat the land," the article says.
"Direct Marketing Resource Notebook," produced by the
Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, is $20 from
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, P.O. Box 736,
Hartington, NE 68739; (402) 254-2289. Nebraska residents should
add 5% sales tax.
"Alternative Farming Systems -- Economic Aspects, March
1993-June 1996," a bibliography, is available from Alternative
Farming Systems Information Center, National Agricultural
Library, 10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 304, Beltsville, MD 20705-
2351; (301) 504-6559; e-mail email@example.com; Internet --
"New Partnerships for Sustainable Agriculture," 148 pages,
is $14.95 plus $3.50 shipping from World Resources Institute
Publications, P.O. Box 4852, Hampden Station, Baltimore, MD
21211; 1-800-822-0504 or (410) 516-6963; e-mail ChrisD@wri.org.
"Integrated Animal Waste Management," 87 pages, is $20 from
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, 4420 West
Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014; 1-800-375-CAST.
"The Case of Organic Farming: Research Implications for a
Paradigm Shift in Agriculture" is available for $20 from Centre
for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National
University, Canberra ACT 0200 Australia; phone (06) 249-4598; e-
mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet --
"Knee Deep in Grass," a study of 29 grazing operations
published by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture,
is $7 ($7.35 in Minnesota) for item BU-6693-NR from Minnesota
Extension Service Distribution Center, 1-800-876-8636 or (612)
HOUSE AND SENATE ANNOUNCE NEW AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have
announced the members of the new Agriculture Committees for the
105th Congress. Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture
is Rep. Bob Smith (R-OR), who ended a two-year retirement to run
for the House again; upon re-election, his seniority was
restored. Other Republican members are Larry Combest (TX), Bill
Barrett (NE), John Boehner (OH), Thomas Ewing (IL), John
Doolittle (CA), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Richard Pombo (CA), Charles
Canady (FL), Nick Smith (MI), Terry Everett (AL), Frank Lucas
(OK), Ron Lewis (KY), Helen Chenoweth (ID), John Hostettler (IN),
Ed Bryant (TN), Mark Foley (FL), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Ray LaHood
(IL), JoAnn Emerson (MO), Jerry Moran (KS), Roy Blunt (MO), Chip
Pickering (MS), Bob Schaffer (CO), John Thune (SD), William
Jenkins (TN), and John Cooksey (LA). Democratic members are
Ranking Minority Member Charles Stenholm (TX), and George Brown
(CA), Gary Condit (CA), Collin Peterson (MN), Calvin Dooley (CA),
Eva Clayton (NC), David Minge (MN), Earl Hilliard (AL), Earl
Pomeroy (ND), Tim Holden (PA), Scotty Beasler (KY), Sanford
Bishop (GA), Bennie Thompson (MS), Sam Farr (CA), John Baldacci
(ME), Marion Berry (AR), Virgil Goode (VA), Mike McIntyre (NC),
Debbie Stabenow (MI), Bobby Etheridge (NC), and Chris Jon (LA).
Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee is Richard
Lugar (IN). Other Republican members are Jesse Helms (NC), Thad
Cochran (MS), Mitch McConnell (KY), Paul Coverdell (GA), Rick
Santorum (PA), Pat Roberts (KS), Charles Grassley (IA), Phil
Gramm (TX), and Larry Craig (ID). Democratic members are Ranking
Minority Member Tom Harkin (IA), and Patrick Leahy (VT), Kent
Conrad (ND), Thomas Daschle (SD), Max Baucus (MT), Robert Kerrey
(NE), Tim Johnson (SD), and Mary Landrieu (LA).
ATTORNEYS GENERAL URGE GLICKMAN TO EXAMINE CONCENTRATION PROBLEMS
A committee of 20 state attorneys general has written to
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, urging him to "closely
examine" concentration in the livestock industry, according to a
story in Feedstuffs (November 25, 1996). The officials said they
are "troubled" by a continuing trend toward concentration and
vertical integration in the livestock industry, the impact on
producers, and the impact of mergers and acquisitions on the
competitiveness of the marketplace. The 20 attorneys are from
Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont,
Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
EXCESS NITROGEN CAUSING SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, SAYS
Excess nitrogen in the air, produced by synthetic
fertilizers and the burning of coal and oil, "is causing serious
and long-term environmental consequences across large regions of
the earth," a panel of experts said in a report described by The
New York Times (December 10, 1996). This nitrogen overload can
have negative effects, including oxygen deprivation and
biological degradation in coastal waters; local extinction of
some plants; increases in atmospheric concentrations of nitrous
oxide, which causes global warming and ozone depletion; and
increases in nitric oxide, a major contributor to smog and acid
rain. "The problem is so newly appreciated, said Dr. [Robert W.]
Howarth, that attention has yet to focus on solutions. More
efficient use of fertilizer might help, he said, as might more
efficient combustion engines."
University of Wisconsin seeks an Outreach Specialist,
Program on Agricultural Technology Studies; send letter, C.V.,
writing sample, and names of three references to Brad Barham and
Fred Buttel, Program on Agricultural Technology, University of
Wisconsin, 1450 Linden Dr., Room 146, Madison, WI 53706; (608)
265-2908; e-mail email@example.com.
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association seeks
applicants for its apprenticeship program; contact MOFGA, P.O.
Box 2176, Augusta, ME 04338; (207) 622-3118.
February 1, "Staking Our Claim in the Future: Practices &
Partnerships for the 21st Century, the fifth Annual Western
Conference of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, will
be held in Sidney, NE; contact Jane Sooby, NSAS, 3257 Rd. 109,
Sidney, NE 69162-3129; (308) 254-3918.
February 5-6 (Hollister, CA); and February 17-19, February
20-21, and February 24-27 (Horsham, PA), Controlled Microbial
Composting courses will be held; for specific information,
contact George Leidig, PA (610) 825-2973; or Patty Herbert, CA
February 6-7, Farmer-Led Watershed Initiatives Conference
will be held in Mankato, MN; contact Jim Kleinschmit or Emily
Green, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 1313 5th St.
SE, #303, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 379-5980; e-mail
February 6-9, "Community Gardening: Beyond Food Production"
will be held in Atlanta, GA; contact Bobby Wilson, Extension
Education Center, 1757 Washington Road, East Point, GA 30344;
February 7-8, "Cooperating for a Change," the Sixth Annual
Farming for the Future Conference, will be held in University
Park, PA; contact Lauren Shorsher, Pennsylvania Association for
Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 419, 114 West Main St.,
Millheim, PA 16854; (814) 349-9856.
February 14-16, March 14-16, and April 18-20, "Introduction
to Biodynamic Agriculture for Beginners" will be held at Michael
Fields Agricultural Institute; contact Walter Goldstein, MFAI,
W2493 County Road ES, East Troy, WI 53120; (414) 642-3303.
February 15, "Is Organic Enough?", the 15th annual Winter
Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of
Vermont, will be held in Randolph, VT; contact NOFA-VT Winter
Conference, P.O. Box 697, Richmond, VT 05477; (802) 434-4122.
February 17-18, Great Lakes Grazing Conference will be held
in Battle Creek, MI; contact Ben Bartlette, MSU Extension, U.P.
Experiment Station, Box 168, Chatham, MI 49816-0160; (906) 439-
February 18-20, New York State Farmers' Direct Marketing
Conference and Trade Show will be held in Owego, N.Y.; contact
Andrea Eichhorn, Conference Chair, (607) 862-3985.
February 18-21, "Sensors for Nondestructive Testing:
Measuring the Quality of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables" will be
held in Orlando, FL; contact Northeast Regional Agricultural
Engineering Service, Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall,
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853-5701; (607) 255-7654; e-mail
February 21-22, "Grow Better, Not Bigger," the Annual
Meetings of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and
Nebraska Fruit and Vegetable Growers, will be held in Columbus,
NE; contact NSAS, (402) 254-2289.
February 23-25, 14th annual California Farm Conference will
be held in Riverside, CA; contact Mary Lou Weiss, University of
California, (310) 781-7520; or UC Small Farm Center, (916) 752-
February 24-25, "Charting a New Course," the Agricultural
Outlook Forum '97 sponsored by the USDA, will be held in
Washington, D.C.; contact USDA Graduate School, 600 Maryland
Ave., SW, Room 142 (IH), Washington, D.C. 20024; (202) 401-9421.
February 27-March 2, Bio Fach '97, the World Organic Show,
will be held in Frankfurt, Germany; contact Sunder & Rottner,
Von-Vollmar-Str.4, D-91154 Roth; phone (+49) 09171/4011.
March 1, Northeast Organic Farming Association-New Jersey's
Annual Winter Conference will be held in New Brunswick, N.J.;
keynote speaker will be Kathleen Merrigan, Senior Analyst of the
Wallace Institute; contact NOFA-NJ, 33 Titus Mill Rd.,
Pennington, N.J. 08540; (609) 737-6848.
* * *