Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenbelt, MD 20770
World Wide Web: http://www.hawiaa.org
* * *
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.
A comparison of organic versus conventional grain production
in the Mid-Atlantic region, with an economic and farming system
overview, highlights the most recent issue (Volume 12, No. 1) of
AJAA. Other articles examine a laboratory experiment involving
nutrient release from decomposing crop residues; farm structure,
market structure and agricultural sustainability goals in New
York state dairying; farmers' commitment to continued use of the
late spring soil nitrogen test; local food systems and
sustainable communities; and community-controlled economic
development as a strategic vision for the sustainable agriculture
movement. 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; (301) 441-8777.
Table of Contents:
Senate Committee's Title Bill Include New Initiative 1
Organic Standards Are "Good News," Says Wall St. Jnl. 2
New Report Examines Industrialized Agriculture, Marketing 3
Settlement Allows Dairy Products to be Labeled BGH-Free 3
SARE Requests Proposals for Innovative Marketing 3
Pesticides Are Culprits Behind Britain's Disappearing Birds 4
Swissair Now Serving Organic Food on Its Flights 4
Senator Leahy Wins Organic Leadership Award 4
Upcoming Events 5
SENATE COMMITTEE BILL INCLUDES NEW RESEARCH INITIATIVE
The Senate Agriculture Committee last month approved the
"Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of
1997," or research title, whose centerpiece is a new five-year
research initiative with mandatory funding levels greater than
those of the Fund for Rural America. The "Initiative for Future
Agriculture and Food Systems," which would be funded at $780
million over five years, would underwrite research in its first
two years for food genome mapping; biotechnology; natural
resource management, including precision agriculture; food safety
and food technology; and new uses and products for agriculture
commodities. After those two years, the Research Education and
Economics Advisory Board would determine the initiative's future
The Senate bill extended funding for the Fund for Rural
America through 2001, at its current $100 million annual level.
Under the bill, 50% of these funds would be allocated for rural
development, 33% for research, and 17% for either purpose at the
discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture. The Senate bill also
incorporates a precision agriculture bill as an authorization for
the USDA to conduct precision agriculture research.
The new research initiative, which emphasizes "technology
silver bullets" such as precision agriculture and genome mapping,
could eventually be merged with the Fund for Rural America, which
emphasizes rural development, according to Kathleen Merrigan,
Senior Analyst for the Wallace Institute. "We hope that won't
happen, and would oppose that," she said.
The debate about the research title will be focused on the
new Initiative, according to Merrigan. Questions to be resolved
* Will the House of Representatives approve the bill's
mandatory research funding?
* Will the money needed to fund the new research initiative
be successfully taken from savings from nutrition programs, as
proposed in the Senate bill?
* How will the trend of creating mandatory funding programs
affect appropriations for research and extension in the long run?
The full Senate is expected to vote on the research title
bill this month.
ANTICIPATED ORGANIC STANDARDS ARE "GOOD NEWS," SAYS WALL ST.
Long-anticipated federal organic standards, expected this
fall, will be "good news for consumers who want more options for
healthful dining, and the standards to back them up," according
to The Wall Street Journal (August 18, 1997). The standards
could be published in the Federal Register any time between now
and Christmas, according to Kathleen Merrigan, Senior Analyst for
the Wallace Institute and a member of the National Organic
Standards Board. "Consistency of standards will lead to less
misuse of the term 'organic,' and better information for
consumers," according to the article. "Public appetite is
expected to push annual organic sales, now at $2.5 billion, to
$10 billion within five years, according to the USDA....The look
of organic produce has changed...Organic growers can offer better
variety and quality because of the industry's overall growth, and
because of higher demand in the processed food market." After
the proposed standards are released, the National Organic
Standards Board will meet to compare the standards to the Board's
recommendations to the USDA, and respond collectively to them,
Merrigan said. According to The Wall Street Journal, consumers
can also examine the government's organic guidelines and "offer
their feedback" on the Internet's World Wide Web at
NEW REPORT EXAMINES INDUSTRIALIZED AGRICULTURE AND DIRECT
A new report from the Wallace Institute focuses on the rise
of "industrialized" agriculture and the increasing popularity of
direct marketing of agricultural products. "In industrialized
agriculture, farm-level control over agricultural production
operations is being replaced by corporate control, which
relegates farm-level workers to the role of hired labor,"
according to Reorganizing U.S. Agriculture, the second
installment in the Institute's ongoing investigation of
structural change in U.S. agriculture. "In direct marketing,
farmers exercise substantial control over their products, from
cultivation or weaning to final sale." The report looks at the
legal environment in which industrialized agriculture and direct
marketing have evolved; how they have affected the distribution
of control within agriculture; and what measures have been taken
to alter that distribution of control. It recommends research to
answer questions posed by the changing structure of agriculture.
The report is $6 from the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777; e-mail
SETTLEMENT ALLOWS DAIRY PRODUCTS TO BE LABELED BGH-FREE
A settlement announced last month between the state of
Illinois and a coalition of organic food companies allows
manufacturers to say on their labels that they don't use bovine
growth hormone (BGH). Illinois is one of four states, along with
Hawaii, Nevada, and Oklahoma, that had forbidden these labels in
the past. "Illinois's 1994 decision to do so basically stopped
anti-BGH labeling across the country because it is not feasible
for companies such as Ben and Jerry's to label their products
differently for individual markets," according to The Washington
Post (August 15, 1997). Ben and Jerry's had sued Illinois last
year, charging their ban on the labels violated the company's
right to inform their customers of their products' contents.
SARE REQUESTS PROPOSALS FOR INNOVATIVE MARKETING STRATEGIES
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research
and Education (SARE) program is requesting applications for
competitive grants addressing Innovative Marketing Strategies.
Priority areas include improving producers marketing
relationships with local and regional consumers and businesses,
assisting with development of community markets, and examining
consumer preferences of local food. The call for proposals is
available on the World Wide Web at
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/ncrsare. For more information, contact
the NCR SARE Office at (402) 472-7081; e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals are due January 23, 1998.
Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture seeks
a part-time administrative assistant to support the staff of the
Institute's Agricultural Policy Project; send resume and cover
letter to Kate Clancy, Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition seeks a policy associate
to work on family farm and environmental issues; call (202) 547-
5754 for complete job announcement; send cover letter, resume,
references, and writing sample to the Coalition, 110 Maryland
Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 by October 31.
Rural Development Leadership Network seeks individuals to
earn a degree while working in rural community development;
contact Starry Krueger, President, RDLN, P.O. Box 98, Prince
Street Station, New York, N.Y. 10012; (212) 777-9137; e-mail
PESTICIDES ARE "MAIN CULPRITS" BEHIND BRITAIN'S DISAPPEARING
Great Britain's birds are disappearing, and "the main
culprits posing the threat to birds are pesticides, not by
killing them directly but by removing the food sources from the
fields and hedges on which our birdlife depends," according to an
article in Living Earth (July, 1997), published by the Soil
Association of England. "The threat that pesticides pose to
farmland wildlife is highlighted graphically by the shocking
decline in numbers over the last 25 years of once extremely
common birds such as the blackbird, starling, lapwing and tree
sparrow," the article says, summarizing the research done by the
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Pesticide use in
Great Britain has been steadily rising since the 1970s: "cereal
crops are now sprayed with six times as much fungicide as in the
'70s and twice as much herbicide." The Society is pressing for
major support for organic farming to combat the birds' decline,
the magazine reports. "In a whole farm system, where there is a
range of habitats, where no sprays are used...and where
conservation principles are woven into commercial production, the
opportunities for wildlife are bound to be greatly enhanced," it
SWISSAIR NOW SERVING ORGANIC FOOD ON ITS FLIGHTS
Swissair is now serving organically-grown products in all
classes of its inflight food service on its flights departing
from Switzerland. "The trend towards healthier foods is
increasing all over the globe," according to the airline.
"Swissair sees this as a chance to contribute to the health and
well-being of its passengers." In a recent survey of Swissair's
frequent flyers, respondents felt that "organically-grown
products should be used as much as possible." Within three
years, the airline's "Naturalgourmet" organic food service is
expected to be expanded to cover Swissair's entire route network,
according to the airline, which is working with BioSuisse, the
association of Swiss organic farmers, and the Swiss Consumer
Protection Association on the project.
SENATOR LEAHY WINS ORGANIC LEADERSHIP AWARD
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a member of the Wallace
Institute's President's Council, is the first recipient of the
Organic Trade Association's Organic Leadership Award, which will
be presented to him this month. The new award acknowledges
"leadership and vision in the furtherance of organic
agriculture," and is being given to Senator Leahy for his
"leadership in sponsoring the Organic Foods Production Act and
his long-standing support of organic agriculture," according to
the association. "During his 23-year tenure on the Senate
Agriculture Committee, Leahy has been a steadfast supporter of
organic agriculture and farmers."
"Steel in the Field: A Farmer's Guide to Weed Management
Tools" is $18 from Sustainable Agriculture Publications, Hills
Building, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0082; (802)
"New Opportunities For No-Till Rotations" is $8.95 from No-
Till Farmer, P.O. Box 624, Brookfield, WI 53008-0624; 1-800-645-
"Good Earth Guide" to organic growers is $5 from Ohio
Ecological Food and Farm Association, P.O. Box 82234, Columbus,
OH 43202; (614) 294-3663.
"Sustainable Agriculture in Montana: Its Social, Economic
and Agronomic Impacts" is available from Alternative Energy
Resources Organization, 25 S. Ewing, #214, Helena, MT 59601;
(406) 443-7272; e-mail email@example.com.
Sandy Bar Ranch seeks people interested in collective living
and permaculture; contact the Ranch, P.O. Box 347, Orleans, CA
95556; (916) 627-3379; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Tough to Swallow: How Pesticide Companies Profit from
Poisoning America's Tap Water" is $23 from Environmental Working
Group, 1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, #600, Washington, D.C. 20009;
(202) 667-6982; or on the World Wide Web at http://www.ewg.org.
September 30-October 1, Biomass Fuel Cell Power for Rural
Development/Ethanol Fuel Cell Workshop will be held in Nebraska
City, NE; contact Jean Ku, Energy Research Corporation, (203)
825-6215; e-mail email@example.com.
October 3, "Provender Alliance's 20th Annual Conference:
Cultivating Green Economics" will be held in Wilsonville, OR;
contact Kathleen Downey, Provender Alliance, (541) 688-4415; e-
October 3-5, "Winning Justice Step by Step," the 4th
National Grassroots Convention of the Center for Health,
Environment, and Justice (formerly Citizens Clearinghouse for
Hazardous Waste), will be held in Arlington, VA; contact CCHW
Convention, P.O. Box 7010, Falls Church, VA 22040; (703) 237-
October 4, 3rd Annual PASA Harvest Festival will be held at
Walnut Acres Organic Farms in Penns Creek, PA; contact Lauren
Shorsher, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture,
October 4, "Hoes Down Harvest Festival," the 11th Annual
Celebration of Rural Living, will be held in Guinda, CA; October
5, Organic Farm Bus Tour will be held in Capay Valley, CA; for
both events, contact Dru Rivers, Committee for Sustainable
Agriculture, PO Box 222, Guinda, CA 95637; (916) 796-3464.
October 4, Farm Aid '97 concert will be held in Dallas, TX;
contact Farm Aid, (617) 354-2922; e-mail Farmaidl@aol.com.
October 6, "Agricultural Research Institute 46th Annual
Meeting: Agricultural Funding Now to Ensure Food for the Future"
will be held in Rockville, MD; contact ARI, (301) 530-7122.
October 6-8, "Partnerships for Global Ecosystem Management:
Science, Economics and Law," the 5th Annual World Bank Conference
on Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, will be
held in Washington, D.C.; contact the World Bank, ESSD5, Room S7-
040, 1818 H St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20433.
October 7, "Sustainable Beef Management Workshop" will be
held in Springfield, TN; contact Ann Wells or Ron Morrow,
NCAT/ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas), 1-
October 11, "Pesticides, Communities, and Change:
Celebrating 20 Years of Activism" will be held in Portland, OR;
contact Becky Long, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to
Pesticides, (541) 344-5044.
October 15-18, "Local and Global Communities: Complexity and
Responsibility," the 9th International Conference of the Society
for Human Ecology, will be held in Bar Harbor, ME; contact Dr.
Melville Cote, Executive Director, c/o College of the Atlantic,
105 Eden St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609; e-mail
October 17-19, Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming
Workshop will be held in Waimea, HI; contact Cynthia Raiser
Jeavons, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490; (707) 459-0150.
October 18-22, Water Environment Federation's annual meeting
will be held in Chicago, IL; contact WEF, 1-800-666-0206; e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org; on the World Wide Web, http://www.wef.org.
October 19-24 or October 26-31, "Herbicide Action," a course
on herbicides in plants and the environment, will be held at
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; contact S.C. Weller, (765)
494-1333; or Kathy Hyman, 1-800-359-2968 or (765) 494-2758.
October 24-26, annual meeting and first national conference
of the Community Food Security Coalition will be held in Los
Angeles, CA; contact Andy Fisher, CFS Coalition, P.O. Box 209,
Venice, CA 90294; (310) 822-5410; e-mail email@example.com.
October 28-31, "Regenerative Agriculture for the 21st
Century" will be held in Kutztown, PA; contact Jane Fisher,
Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530;
(610) 683-1428; e-mail Jfishe@rodaleinst.org.