Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, AR 72702
FAX: (501) 442-9842
*WINROCK & ATTRA PUBLISH AGROFORESTRY DIRECTORY
*ATTRA CO-SPONSORS DELAWARE WATER GAP WORKSHOP
*LUKENS TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE
*SUSTAINABLE AG LEADERS SAY POLICY CHANGES, FUNDING NEEDED
*RON KROESE, FORMERLY OF LSP, IS NCAT PRESIDENT
*SULLIVAN SPEAKS AT NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY WORKSHOP
*NEW SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE CONSORTIUM CREATED
*LUKENS TO BE NAMED SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK CHAIRMAN
*ATTRA WELCOMES TWO NEW STAFF MEMBERS
*SCHILLER TAKES TENNESSEE TEACHING POSITION
*ALICE JONES IS INTERIM SARE DIRECTOR
*AMES, MAURER HELP SELECT SOUTHERN SARE/ACE APPLICANTS
*SUSTAINABLE AG PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE ON FOLIOVIEWS
*ATTRA GIVING SPEEDIER RESPONSES TO 20% MORE CALLERS
*NEW OR REVISED ATTRA MATERIALS OFFERED
WINROCK & ATTRA PUBLISH AGROFORESTRY DIRECTORY
In cooperation with Winrock International Institute for
Agricultural Development, ATTRA in August published the Mid-South
Directory of Agroforestry Producers and Researchers.
The 150-page directory was funded by the Southern Regional SARE
program and compiled by Douglas R. Henderson of Winrock and ATTRA
staff members Teresa Maurer, Bob Wilson, Katherine Adam and David
Zodrow. It includes contact information and data about the
operations and projects of 278 agroforestry farmers,
Extensionists, consultants and researchers in 20 states. ATTRA
will maintain updates of the printed directory in electronic form.
A limited number of directories are available free of charge from
Winrock International, c/o Fee Busby and Brenda Swain, Route 3,
Box 376, Morrilton, AR 72110-9537.
ATTRA CO-SPONSORS DELAWARE WATER GAP WORKSHOP
By invitation of the National Park Service, ATTRA is co-sponsoring
a sustainable agriculture workshop on Nov. 3 at the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area at Milford, PA.
Titled "Moving Toward Sustainability - Agriculture in the Middle
Delaware River Valley," the workshop's goal is to encourage
farmers who grow crops there on leased land and park service
personnel to adopt sustainable agriculture practices. About 3,000
acres of the 70,000-acre park is devoted to cropland. Established
27 years ago, the park is 37 miles long by four miles wide.
Recreation area official Wayne Millington said the Park Service is
not under mandate to establish sustainable agriculture programs
but is encouraging sustainable systems for the sake of the
environment, park workers and visitors, farm land and wildlife at
Other sponsors include the National Park Service, Pike County
Conservation District, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable
Agriculture, U.S. Soil Conservation Service - RC&D of Northeast
Pennsylvania and the Pike County Cooperative Extension Service.
For a flyer listing workshop speakers or further information about
the workshop, call Millington at (717) 296-6952 or ATTRA Program
Manager Jim Lukens at 1-800-346-9140.
LUKENS TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE
Alternative agriculture with its new technologies must have far
greater support from the federal government if it is to become a
real catalyst for rural economic development, ATTRA Program
Manager Jim Lukens testified at a senate subcommittee hearing on
July 14 in Washington, D.C.
Several other people prominent in the sustainable agriculture
movement also told the Senate Small Business Subcommittee on Rural
Economy and Family Farming about the need for federal policy
changes and greater funding levels for alternative agriculture
research and information dissemination.
"A healthy agriculture and a healthy rural economy are mutually
dependent," Lukens said. "A rural community cannot be economically
healthy and vibrant with a bankrupt agricultural sector. The good
health of farms, farm families and the farm economy similarly
requires a rural community that is economically, environmentally
and socially sound."
Subcommittee Chairman Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) said the
hearing was the first in a series which will examine the state of
rural America and promising strategies for rural economic
"Therefore, our principal question today is a simple one," he
said. "Is alternative agriculture a promising strategy for rural
economic development?...Then what impediments exist to its further
progress, and what is the proper federal role in promoting it?"
Wellstone cited a report released in June by the National Academy
of Sciences which criticized the way the federal government
assesses the health effects of pesticides in food on children and
infants. He intends to present "concrete suggestions" from the
hearing to Congress "regarding how to improve or extend our
current programs that promote alternative agriculture."
Wellstone said EPA Administrator Carol Browner in June also called
for "a dramatic shift in policy to reduce the use of pesticides
and promote sustainable agriculture."
"I strongly support such a policy shift," he said. "For both
health and environmental reasons, we must move quickly and
decisively toward more ecologically-sound farming practices."
Other Congressmen attending the hearing were Senator Herb Kohl
(D-WI), Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), and Senator Larry Pressler
Lukens said an increasing number of American farmers are turning
to alternative agriculture to help both their families and ailing
communities. "American farmers, long known for their ability to
innovate, are today strongly motivated to try new and different
enterprises and methods," he said.
Between 10,000 and 12,000 farmers, Extensionists, researchers and
agribusiness people call ATTRA each year for the latest
information on alternative agriculture practices, Lukens said.
Other sustainable agriculture organizations - such as the
University of Minnesota Center for Alternative Plant and Animal
Products and the Farming Alternatives Center at Cornell University
- are providing a growing number of farm callers with business,
marketing and technological assistance, he explained.
"The farmers who are calling ATTRA are improving their economic
plight by substituting on-farm resources for purchased inputs,
adding or switching to alternative higher-profit crops and
livestock, and adding innovative marketing or on-farm processing
to their farming activities," Lukens told senators.
Alternative agriculture has two "distinct relationships" with
rural economic development, Lukens said.
First, agriculture is still the base for the rural economy, and
alternative agricultural enterprises and practices are among the
most promising economic development tools available.
Secondly, alternative agriculture serves as a model for rural
economic development because of its practical and theoretical
exploration of economic viability, protection of natural resources
and social values.
"Applying the same yardstick of sustainabiliy to American rural
economic development activities has only recently begun," Lukens
said. "Rural communities, like farms, will benefit from greater
reliance on internal resources, and more attention to protecting
and conserving natural and human resources."
Lukens said rural communities and businesses could learn from
farmers about the advantages of "enterprise diversification, and
movement toward management- and information-intensive management
Three things are needed to reverse the downward trend and spur
economic development in rural communities, Lukens said. They are:
1) Availability of reliable technical information, appropriate
to the rural setting, with farmers teaching farmers, are highly
effective ways to transfer new farming approaches.
2) Better access to financing is badly needed. Innovative,
small-scale entrepreneurs frequently have difficulty borrowing
money because of the smallness of their loans, which require lots
of time on the part of a loan officer, and because they are trying
something which is not familiar to the lender.
3) Rural entrepreneurs need business management, planning, and
market development assistance. They also need help finding their
way through a maze of state and federal regulations. Rural
economic incubator projects can be very successful in providing
both encouragement and information at every step of business
SUSTAINABLE AG LEADERS SAY POLICY CHANGES, FUNDING NEEDED
Other witnesses and their testimonies at the Senate Small Business
Subcommittee on Rural Economy and Family Farming included:
*Dr. George Bird, who was then director of the USDA's Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and has now
returned to Michigan State University where he is a professor of
nematology, who explained how the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE) program (known then as LISA) was
created in 1988 by Congress to emphasize environmentally-sound
farming and research quality of life issues for farmers and rural
*Paul O'Connell, director of USDA's Alternative Agricultural
Research and Commercialization (AARC) Center, who said the center
is exploring ways to expand commercial uses for farm products into
industrial products that will create jobs in rural communities.
The AARC with $10 million in funds is helping to finance 26
research projects (which were selected from 407 proposals) with
individuals in the U.S. If successful in their business venture,
recipients must reimburse AARC for start-up costs.
*Don Taylor, South Dakota State University, who described research
there showing that sustainable farming systems are less costly,
provide comparable or greater yields and profits, and are more
socially efficient than conventional ag systems.
*Ron Kroese, who was then executive director of the Land
Stewardship Project of Minnesota and now is president of the
National Center for Appropriate Technology, who said there is a
vital need to translate the good stewardship values which guide
sustainable farmers into public policies. Reinforcing these
values and rewarding farmers who put them into practice should be
the basis for federal policy.
*Kathy Ozer of Washington, D.C., executive director of the
National Family Farm Coalition which is comprised of 38 family
farm and rural advocacy organizations in 30 states, who said
federal farm polices the past 12 years have forced over half a
million farmers out of business, with thousands more on the brink
of economic collapse. The increased "efficiency" of corporate
farming the past 30 years has taken an enormous toll on the
environment, human health, family farm income and the quality of
rural life, she said. America needs a vast overhaul of farm and
food policy from the farm fields to the checkout counter.
*Margaret Krome, agricultural policy coordinator of the Wisconsin
Rural Development Center, who said that many rural banks do not
offer adequate credit to farmers and rural small businesses in
their home towns. Farmers also need good sources of expert
information to help guide them to farm sustainably, she added.
RON KROESE, FORMERLY OF LSP, IS NCAT PRESIDENT
Ron Kroese, co-founder and former executive director of the Land
Stewardship Project at Marine, Minn., has been named president of
the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) which
administers ATTRA. Kroese replaces former NCAT President George
Turman, who served in the position for four years and is now
retiring to his native town, Missoula, Mont.
George Boody, who has served the past two years as managing
director of Land Stewardship Project, has been named LSP interim
"We are extremely pleased with the selection of Ron Kroese as
NCAT's new president," NCAT Chairman Jack Young, senior vice
president of the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, D.C.,
said. "We're confident that Kroese will continue to strengthen
NCAT's national leadership roles in the sustainable agriculture,
energy conservation and affordable, resource-efficient housing
Based at Butte, Mont., NCAT is a national nonprofit organization
working to find technical solutions that use local resources and
labor to address problems facing all Americans, but especially
society's most disadvantaged citizens. To accomplish this
mission, NCAT has three main program areas: sustainable energy,
resource efficient housing and sustainable agriculture. Among
these programs are the National Appropriate Technology Assistance
Service (NATAS), an energy information service based at Butte,
Mont., ATTRA, a sustainable agriculture information service at
Fayetteville, Ark., and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Clearinghouse project, also at Butte, MT.
Beginning in 1982, Kroese served as executive director of the Land
Stewardship Project (LSP) at Marine, MN, which he co-founded with
former National Farmers Union Vice President Victor Ray. LSP is a
non-profit, grassroots organization which promotes and develops
environmentally sustainable approaches to agriculture and fosters
an ethic of stewardship towards farmland in the Midwest.
Kroese has an extensive background in the sustainable agriculture
and rural development fields. From 1981 to 1982, he served as
director of the American Farm Project, a rural humanities
education program sponsored by the National Farmers Union and
funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He currently
serves on numerous councils and boards dedicated to American rural
life, which include the Minnesota Governor's Sustainable
Development Initiative, the National Rural Life Conference, the
Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and the Minnesota
Extension Service Citizen's Advisory Committee.
An experienced journalist, Kroese has written a number of articles
for publications such as the American Journal of Alternative
Agriculture, Seed Savers Exchange and the LSP quarterly
newsletter, Land Stewardship Letter. After graduation from South
Dakota State University with a BS in journalism/English, he worked
for four years as a reporter and columnist for newspapers in South
Dakota and Hawaii. Kroese also served as press secretary to U.S.
Senator James Abourezk (D-SD) and the Senate Indian Affairs
Committee from 1975-78. He currently serves on the editorial
advisory committee of three publications, E Magazine, Organic
Farmer and Earth Ethics.
Kroese's educational credits include graduate study in American
Literature at Kansas State University at Manhattan; completion of
the Reflective Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota's
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs from 1984-85; and serving
from 1991-92 as a visiting faculty member and researcher at the
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the Humphrey Center,
University of Minnesota.
SULLIVAN SPEAKS AT NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY WORKSHOP
ATTRA technical specialist Dr. Preston Sullivan spoke on adopting
alternative agriculture, alternative weed control and alternative
economic options at the "National Park Service Natchez Trace
Parkway Sustainable Agriculture Workshop" at Tupelo, MS, from
The goal of the workshop, which ATTRA helped to organize with Park
Service IPM Coordinator Terry Cacek, was to help implement
sustainable agriculture practices for Park Service personnel and
farmers who grow crops along the 500-mile Parkway.
Declared an official post road in 1801 by President Thomas
Jefferson, the historical highway corridor extends through 300
farms and three southern states (Mississippi, Alabama and
Tennessee). About 5,500 acres, or 12 percent, of the Parkway are
farmed on annual leases, mostly in corn, soybeans and cotton.
Current cropland management methods rely heavily on pesticides.
Workshop organizers plan to gradually incorporate sustainable
agriculture practices on Parkway lands and to offer participating
farmers multi-year, longterm leases as an incentive for improved
Other workshop speakers were from the U.S. Park Service, USDA
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, Tennessee
Valley Authority, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Mississippi
Department of Agriculture, Mississippi Cooperative Extension
Service and U.S. Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation
NEW SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE CONSORTIUM CREATED
Creation of the "Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research
and Education" has been scheduled for October 26 at Bellevue, WA.
According to the 14-member initiating committee, the consortium
will work to shape "national research and extension policy to
support a more sustainable agricultural system...to evaluate the
outcomes and achievements of research and extension programs in
light of sustainable agriculture goals...and articulate the
rationale for increased federal funding for sustainable
agriculture research and education based on past accomplishments,
critical gaps and relevant unfunded or underfunded projects."
The consortium organizational meeting will be held beginning at
noon Oct. 26 at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue, WA, directly
following the Conference on Science and Sustainablility: Reshaping
Agricultural Research and Education.
For more information about the conference or the consortium,
please contact Elizabeth Bird at 402-846-5428 (telephone),
402-846-5420 (FAX), or Internet:email@example.com.
LUKENS TO BE NAMED SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK CHAIRMAN
ATTRA Program Manager Jim Lukens will be named chairman of the
Sustainable Agriculture Network for a three-year term when the SAN
Coordinating Committee convenes for its annual planning meeting at
Bellevue, WA, from October 23-24. He will succeed current SAN
Chairwoman Jill Auburn of the University of the California
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
Members of the committee will attend the "Conference on Science
and Sustainability: Rehaping Agricultural Research and Education"
and will seek suggestions from other conference participants on
ways to make SAN more responsive to their sustainable agriculture
Established in 1990, SAN is a cooperative effort of people from
private nonprofit groups, Extension, land grant universities and
agribusinesses involved in offering and promoting effective
decentralized communication about sustainable agriculture. The
group offers such publications as the Sustainable Agriculture
Directory of Expertise and coordinates the Sanet computer
ATTRA WELCOMES TWO NEW STAFF MEMBERS
ATTRA welcomed two new staff members this fall - Dr. Douglas
Wilde, from Dallas, TX, as development specialist, and Tracey
Smith of Forrest City, AR, as an intern working in ATTRA's
Wilde, trained as a wildlife biologist, worked for five years as
assistant director and as a grants/contract specialist in the
Office of Research Administration at Southern Methodist University
at Dallas, TX. Until moving to Dallas in 1986, he lived in Hawaii
where he owned a rowing shells business and a gardening services
firm and managed a macadamia nut farm. At ATTRA, he will help to
develop new services and programs.
Smith is a freshman who is majoring in mechanical engineering at
the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Raised on a family
farm, he gained additional agricultural experience through high
school by working in the Farmer's Home Administration office at
Forrest City, serving as president of his school's Future Farmers
of America chapter and joining the "Youth Enterprise in
Agriculture (YEA)" program. The YEA is a career and leadership
development program for Arkansas Youth which is sponsored by the
Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (ALFDC).
SCHILLER TAKES TENNESSEE TEACHING POSITION
Dr. Joe Schiller, a technical specialist with ATTRA since March of
1991, has taken a teaching position at Austin Peay State
University at Clarksville, TN. Previous to working at ATTRA,
Schiller taught college courses at San Diego, CA, and Salt Lake
City, UT. In Tennessee, he will teach biological sciences.
While at ATTRA, Schiller researched cases involving aquaculture,
wetlands and riparian zone management, water quality and real or
potential impacts of agriculture on aquatic eco systems. He also
authored numerous information packages, which included production
of catfish, trout, tilapia, prawn, crawfish and the integration of
aquaculture with hydroponics.
Schiller's wife, Sally, is also an instructor of biological
sciences at the college. They have one child, Eric.
ALICE JONES IS INTERIM SARE DIRECTOR
Alice Jones, former program manager for the USDA water quality
grants program, has been named interim director of the Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education program. She succeeds former
director Dr. George Bird, who served in the position for two years
and has returned to Michigan State University where he is a
professor of nematology.
Patrick Madden, executive vice president of the World Sustainable
Agriculture Association (WSAA), will continue to serve as SARE
The 1994 appropriation for SARE has been increased from $6.7
million to $7.4 million.
Jones can be reached at: SARE Program, CSRS-USDA, 342 Aerospace
Bldg., 14th and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.
20250-2200, telephone (202) 401-4640, email
AMES, MAURER HELP SELECT SOUTHERN SARE/ACE APPLICANTS
Two ATTRA staff members - Guy Ames and Teresa Maurer - are helping
to select top applicants for 1994 Southern Regional SARE/ACE
Ames, an ATTRA technical specialist who also operates a northwest
Arkansas orchard and nursery, is a member of the preproposal
review panel. He will critique from 15 to 20 applications for
grants from the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education program and the EPA Agriculture in Concert with the
Environment program. The preproposal evaluation panel consists of
reviewers from academia, non-governmental organizations and
producers with expertise in sustainable agriculture. Selected
preproposals will be developed as full proposals and forwarded to
the Technical Review Committee.
Maurer, assistant ATTRA program manager, is chairwoman of the SARE
Southern Regional Technical Review Committee which will meet in
January at the University of Georgia at Griffin to review
proposals from 13 southern states. Maurer also chaired the
27-member committee of farmers, agency representatives and
university researchers in 1993.
SUSTAINABLE AG PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE ON FOLIOVIEWS
Several sustainable agriculture publications are now available on
"FolioViews" diskettes for a nominal price, according to Phil
Rasmussen, director of Agricultural Systems Technology at Utah
State University at Logan, UT. Rasmussen as a member of the
Sustainable Agriculture Network Committee, transferred electronic
versions of the publications to diskettes.
Available publications include: Sustainable Agriculture Directory
of Expertise, Showcase of Sustainable Agriculture Information and
Education Materials, SARE/ACE Research Reports and Agronomy
Handbook (contains both conventional and sustainable information).
People may send either two high-density, 3.5-inch diskettes or $10
for each publication to Rasmussen at Agricultural Systems
Technology, Utah State University, UMC-2300, Logan, UT 84322-2300.
He may be contacted by telephone at (801) 750-2230 or 3394.
ATTRA GIVING SPEEDIER RESPONSES TO 20% MORE CALLERS
September 30 always finds me looking backward. That is the end of
ATTRA's accounting year, and I am looking back to see how ATTRA
has done. How many questions have we answered for U.S. farmers?
How many magazines and newsletters have we scanned, looking for
information that our callers need? How many conferences have we
attended to gather people contacts and information not yet in
print? And I find looking back at these numbers to be
We've been busy this year! We responded to 20% more
inquiries than we did last year -- 12,000 total for the year. We
regularly perused over 450 different periodicals, and attended
more than 50 conferences and meetings across the country.
And although I haven't found a completely satisfactory way to
count our quality, feedback I have received leads me to believe
that the information we are sending out is getting better, too.
One quality factor that is easy to put numbers on -- timeliness of
response -- continues to improve. In the past year we have
completed 25% of all inquiries within one week, and 92% within
four weeks. This is a good response rate for the kind of
individualized research many of our questions require.
Although looking back is useful, October 1, the beginning of our
accounting year, finds me looking forward. I know that there are
additional farmers with information needs we should be serving,
additional state and local agencies and organizations with whom we
should be partnering, new ways of presenting information we should
be exploring. I would like to see 40% of all inquiries answered
within one week and 95% within four weeks. As I look forward I
see opportunities to do more and better.
To be able to provide more useful information to more farmers more
quickly, we are making some changes that probably seem mundane
when viewed from outside. We are gradually and thoughtfully
changing the ways we work with each other within our office, both
in the flow of work and in the ways we help each other and treat
each other as people.
In a sense we are looking at our office and our program in the
same way farms should be viewed -- as a whole system with many
interdependent parts. The soil, crops, livestock, people, etc.
must all contribute and interact in complementary and synergistic
At ATTRA, I am blessed to be working with colleagues who are both
competent and dedicated to helping farms, farm families, and
rural communities. And I am confident that, in the coming year,
we will continue to improve the complementary and synergistic ways
we each contribute to the system which is ATTRA, helping ATTRA
contribute to the system which is U.S. agriculture. If you have
suggestions of ways we can be of greater help to you, please drop
me a line. We want to keep getting better!
NEW OR REVISED ATTRA MATERIALS,
CALL 1-800-346-9140 and ask for:
*Organic/Low Spray Apple Production
*Organic Culture of Blackberries & Raspberries
*Sustainable Beef Production
*Sustainable Dairy Production
"Rivers must succeed, mountains must succeed, wilderness and
prairies must succeed, oceans must succeed; possums and black
snakes must succeed; whole ecologies must succeed; the human
endeavor must succeed. Everything must succeed so that the whole
of the life system succeeds so that Earth succeeds." - James F.
Berry, Center for Reflection on the Second Law