*THREE PROPOSALS OFFER REVISION OF FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS
*EPA PROMOTES USE OF LOWER-RISK PESTICIDES
*NATIONWIDE EXPANSION OF INTEGRATED CROP MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
*SUSTAINABLE FARMING QUARTERLY SPREADS THE WORD
*ORGANIC PRODUCT SALES INCREASE 23 PERCENT TO $1.5 BILLION IN
THREE PROPOSALS OFFER REVISION OF FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS
As early as this month, the Clinton Administration may
propose legislation to revise food safety standards, including a
possible relaxation of the Delaney Clause, which bans the use of
carcinogenic pesticides in processed food. A draft
Administration proposal was released last month, joining two
existing bills already introduced in Congress as the primary
vehicles for reform of food safety standards. Here are summaries
of those three proposals:
Clinton Administration Draft Proposal: The draft proposal
would replace the existing ban on carcinogenic pesticides that
concentrate in processed foods, the Delaney Clause, with a
health-based standard that would apply to all foods; this uniform
approach would determine the level at which a substance posed a
"negligible" risk to human health. For cancer-causing
substances, that would be the level of residues that would lead
to one additional cancer case for every million people; for
substances that cause other health problems, regulators would
determine the level below which there are no detectable adverse
effects in laboratory animals, and increase the safety factor by
a hundredfold. The proposal would also ban the export of
pesticides that have been canceled in the United States for
health or safety concerns, referred to as the "circle of poison;"
encourage pesticide producers to keep safe pesticides on the
market; and shift the burden of proof on potentially dangerous
pesticides, so that industry would have to prove them safe.
Kennedy-Waxman Bill (S.331, H.R. 872): The Pesticide Food
Safety Act of 1993 to amend the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and
in the House by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), would establish a
"negligible risk" standard, defined as an amount of pesticide
chemical and/or residue on foods that is not likely to have
adverse human health effects below an identifiable level. It
would establish a mechanism to more realistically calculate
negligible risk for children ages 0-5 by taking into account
their unique physiologies, limited diet, and low bodyweight
relative to exposure. The bill would eliminate economic benefits
from the consideration of whether a pesticide is safe for use on
food, thereby making this law consistent with all other food
safety issues, where risk of harm is the only standard assessed.
It would also simplify the procedures for taking a pesticide off
the market if data are not adequate to support its safety or
where data demonstrate that the pesticide does not meet
Lehman-Bliley Bill (H.R.1627): The Food Quality Protection
Act of 1993, introduced by Reps. Richard Lehman (D-CA) and Thomas
J. Bliley (R-VA), would eliminate application of the Delaney
Clause to pesticide residues in processed food and establish a
single negligible risk standard to apply to tolerances for
pesticide residues in raw commodities and processed food. It
would direct EPA to establish a tolerance for a pesticide residue
posing greater than a negligible risk if it determines that there
are countervailing benefits, and to take into account health,
nutritional, and consumer benefits, including the impact of the
loss of a pesticide on the availability of an adequate, wholesome
and economical food supply. The bill would also prohibit states
and political subdivisions from issuing tolerance limits, warning
requirements or other restrictions on pesticide residues in food.
It would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to require EPA and USDA to research,
develop, and disseminate IPM techniques that would facilitate
reduction of the use of pesticides that pose greater than a
negligible risk, with special focus on minor crops.
EPA PROMOTES USE OF LOWER-RISK PESTICIDES
EPA last month issued a regulation notice promoting the
registration and use of pesticides that pose lower risks than
other pesticides, and granting priority treatment to applications
for registration of pesticides that have been shown to lessen the
risks to humans and the environment. Applicants must address how
the new pesticides will manage pest resistance, how they may be
suitable for use in an integrated pest management program, and
how the new active ingredient being proposed for registration
compares to alternative pesticide products. As a consequence of
this regulation, "reduced-risk pesticides have the advantage of
coming on to the market more quickly," according to EPA.
SUSTAINABLE FARMING QUARTERLY SPREADS THE WORD
The Sustainable Farming Quarterly is a unique regional
newsletter, funded by the SARE program, that spreads the word
about regionally appropriate sustainable farming technology and
information to producers and the agricultural research and
service sectors in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and
Wyoming. The newsletter's information is compiled from
interviews with and articles by scientists and farmers, from
unpublished research reports, and from research bulletins and
other types of material not readily accessible to the general
Since its inception in December, 1989, Sustainable Farming
Quarterly has provided high quality, current, useful sustainable
farming information to the public in a timely fashion. It is
available at no cost to farmers in the six-state region,
extension staff, Soil Conservation Service staff, and the media;
subscriptions for people outside the six-state region are $8.
For further information, contact Sally Hilander, Editor, c/o
Alternative Energy Resources Organization, Helena, MT 59601;
(406) 443-7272 or (406) 442-8396.
NATIONWIDE EXPANSION OF INTEGRATED CROP MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
The USDA has authorized the Integrated Crop Management (ICM)
program as a nationwide cost-share option under its Agricultural
Conservation Program (ACP). As reported in Alternative
Agriculture News (April, 1993), expansion of ICM from a pilot
basis to a nationwide option had been recommended in the latest
annual review of ACP. Actual implementation of the expanded ICM
program will now depend on acceptance by individual state
technical committees and the availability of qualified technical
ICM provides farmers with assistance to implement
sustainable systems involving practices such as integrated pest
management, conservation tillage, and nutrient management. The
cost-sharing is set at 75% of the system cost, with current upper
limits of $7 per acre for small grain, forage, hay and row crops,
and $20 per acre for specialty crops such as vegetables and
fruits. Participating farmers are expected to carry out the
practices for three consecutive years. Proponents of ICM point
out that successful implementation of ICM and similar state
programs has led to significant reductions in farm-level use of
commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and energy. A similar state
program in Iowa, started in 1987, has helped farmers reduced
their nitrogen use on corn by 20 percent, while maintaining high
ORGANIC PRODUCT SALES INCREASE 23 PERCENT TO $1.5 BILLION IN 1992
Aided by increased availability, new markets, and new
organic product introductions, sales of organic products
increased 23% to $1.5 billion in 1992, and accounted for 28% of
overall natural products industry sales, according to the 1992
Organic Market Overview by Natural Food Merchandiser and Organic
Times. Sales of organic produce increased 30% to $242.3 million
in 1992; organic deli sales increased more than 80% to $114.7
million. Organic product sales directly from farmers to
consumers were estimated at $315 million in 1992, a 16% annual
increase, because of more farmers' markets, "pick your own"
farms, and Community Supported Agriculture groups. New organic
markets and products include organic cotton clothing, gourmet
organic specialty foods and eateries, and organic beverages such
"Showcase of Sustainable Agriculture Information and
Educational Materials," 79 pages, is $4.95 from Sustainable
Agriculture Publications, Hills Building, Room 12, University of
Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405.
"National Directory of Organic Wholesalers" is $34.95 plus
$4 shipping/handling (California residents add $2.53 sales tax)
from Community Alliance with Family Farmers, PO Box 464, Davis,
CA 95617; 1-800-852-3832.
"Assessment of 1992 Wisconsin Atrazine Rule (Ag30)" is $5
from College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of
Wisconsin, 420 Agriculture Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI
53706; (608) 262-6049.
"Sustainable Agriculture Resources and Information
Directory, Minnesota 1993" is available from Minnesota Department
of Agriculture, Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Program, 90
West Plato Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55107; (612) 296-7673.
"Organic Market Guide: New Jersey Region 1993-94," 192
pages, is $9.95 plus $2.50 postage from Northeast Organic Farming
Association of New Jersey, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, N.J.
08534; (609) 737-6848.
"Bromacil as a Ground-Water Contaminant," a report prepared
for the United Mine Workers of America, is available from
Disposal Safety Incorporated, 1660 L St., NW, #314, Washington,
D.C. 20036; (202) 293-3993.
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas in
Fayetteville, AR, seeks a technical specialist in agriculture.
For application materials, call Marlene Breese, (501) 442-9824.
Application deadline is October 1.
Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition seek a policy analyst to work
on the 1995 farm bill in Washington, D.C., starting between Nov.
15 and Jan. 10, 1994. For application, contact Kris Thorp,
Center for Rural Affairs, 101 S. Tallman St., Walthill, NE 68067.
Deadline is October 18.
Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be seeking a
person for a collaborative project aimed at helping community-
based groups develop strategies and plans of action to further
sustainable agriculture and integrated farming systems locally.
For a job description, contact Gary Huber or Rick Exner, 2104
Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011; (515) 294-
Regional Infrastructure for Sustaining Agriculture seeks a
project associate to work on a collaborative project of the Penn
State/Rodale Institute Research Center for Sustaining Agriculture
and Natural Resources in Urbanizing Environments, and the
Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture. Send resume
and three references to Human Resource Services, Box PS, 307
Agricultural Administration, Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802; call (814) 863-0644 for information.
Agroecology Program and the University of California
Extension offer a six-month residential Apprenticeship in
Ecological Horticulture, April 4-October 1, 1994, at the Farm and
Gardens, U.C. Santa Cruz. Contact Apprenticeship, Agroecology
Program, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064; (408)
September 25-October 1, "Sustainable Village-Based
Development," sponsored by Colorado State University, will be
held in Fort Collins, CO; contact Maurice L. Albertson, Room 203
Weber Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
80523; (303) 491-5753.
October 1-2, "Legal Aspects of Organic Agriculture and
Product Regulation" will be held in Oakland, CA; contact Mimi
Luebbermann, Organic Farming Research Foundation, (510) 654-8419.
October 1 is the deadline for submission of proposals for
papers for "Systems-Oriented Research in Agriculture and Rural
Development," to be held in Montpellier, France, November 21-25,
1994; contact Jacques Faye, International Symposium, BP 5035,
34032 Montpellier, France; phone (33) 67-61-7185.
October 1-4, "Sustainable Communities through Greening,"
sponsored by American Community Gardening Association, will be
held in Louisville, KY; contact Donna Michael/Brett Mills,
Jefferson County Extension Service, 8012 Vincrest Ave., Building
B, Suite 1, Louisville, KY 40222; (502) 425-4482.
October 2, "Citizens' Pesticide Organizing Conference,"
sponsored by The New York Coalition for Alternatives to
Pesticides, will be held in Rensselaer, NY; contact NYCAP, (518)
October 5-7, "Nature Farming for a Sustainable Agriculture,"
the Kyusei Nature Farming conference, will be held in Santa
Barbara, CA; contact Nature Farming Research and Development
Foundation, (805) 737-1536.
October 7-11, "Building Sustainable Communities," the
Eastern North American Permaculture Conference, will be held in
Prospect, PA; contact John Irwin, 104 Gaywood Dr., St.
Clairsville, OH 43950; (614) 695-3008.
October 9-10, annual meeting for Alternative Energy
Resources Organization will be held in Hardin, MT; contact AERO,
25 S. Ewing, #214, Helena, MT 59601; (406) 443-7272.
October 9-10, Sorghum Cooking Days, sponsored by Kerr Center
for Sustainable Agriculture, will be held in Sallisaw, OK;
contact Jim Combs, RR2, Box 693, Keota, OK 74941; (918) 966-3282
October 12-16, "Systems Approaches in North American
Agriculture and Natural Resources: Broadening the Scope of
Farming Systems Research-Extension" will be held at the
University of Florida, Gainesville; contact AFSRE/NA Symposium,
University of Florida, 1221 NW 22 Ave., Gainesville, FL 32609;
October 18-21, "Biological Control of Insects" will be held
at University of Wisconsin, Madison; contact CALS Conference
Office, 620 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 263-1672.
October 22, Annual Sustainable Agriculture Research
Reporting Day will be held at Michael Fields Agricultural
Institute, East Troy, WI; contact Gail Kahovic, John Hall, Walter
Goldstein, (414) 642-3303.
October 22-November 5, a course in Permaculture Design will
be held in Greensboro, N.C.; contact Janus Farms Institute, Route
3, Box 494, Siler City, N.C. 27344; (919) 742-4672.
October 24-26, "Science and Sustainability: Reshaping
Agricultural Research and Education," sponsored by Washington
State University, will be held in Bellevue, WA; contact Norma
Fuentes-Scott, (509) 335-2921.
October 25-26, "Substituting Legumes for Fallow in the U.S.
Great Plains" will be held in Rapid City, S.D.; contact
Carrington Research Extension Center, N.D. State University, Box
219, Carrington, N.D.; (701) 652-2951.
October 30, Annual Urban-Rural Day, "Choices from Field to
Table: Taking Responsibility for the Quality of Our Food," will
be held in Pewaukee, WI; contact Gail Kahovic, Michael Fields
Agricultural Institute, (414) 642-3303.
October 30, "Land Application in New Hampshire," a
conference on municipal sludge sponsored by the New Hampshire-
Vermont Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and
Resource Conservation Services, will be held in Concord, N.H.;
contact Jim Hersey, SWCS, (602) 528-8713.