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:
U.S. Geological Survey Finds Widespread Pesticides in Water 1
Chemicals Possible Cause of Rise in Children's Cancer 2
Wallace Board Approves New Journal Editor 3
President's Council Members Named 3
Final Conference Maintains Funding for Sustainable Ag 4
USDA Creates New Office of Pest Management 4
Farmers Take the Lead in Protecting Ohio Watershed 4
Nominations Sought for Steward of Land Award 5
Upcoming Events 6
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY FINDS WIDESPREAD PESTICIDES IN WATER
The first cycle of the U.S. Geological Survey's National
Water Quality Assessment has found widespread pesticides in
streams and groundwater, with most of the 84 pesticide compounds
investigated detected in those waters at least once, according to
a preliminary summary of the assessment's first results. The
assessment was conducted on 5,000 samples of groundwater and
surface water in 20 major hydrologic basins from 1991 to 1995,
predominantly in agricultural and urban settings. The data
collected are the most extensive ever compiled for such a wide
range of pesticides and locations. The 84 pesticides
investigated account for approximately 75% of the agricultural
uses and a substantial portion of urban and suburban uses in the
The assessment found pesticides more often in streams than
in groundwater, with most streams containing low-level mixtures
of pesticides during much of the year. Other findings include:
-- At least one pesticide was found in every stream and in
half the wells sampled. There was an average of seven to eight
pesticides in each stream sample.
-- The same herbicides were most commonly found in streams
and groundwater: atrazine and metolachlor, used primarily on corn
and soybeans; prometon, used primarily in urban and suburban
settings; and simazine, used in both agricultural and non-
-- Insecticides were not found often in groundwater, but
those most frequently detected in streams were diazinon,
chlopyrifos, and carbaryl, all of which have substantial urban
and suburban use.
-- In most agricultural areas, the highest levels of
pesticides, often above drinking water standards, occur as
seasonal pulses lasting from a few days to several months.
The final assessment and other publications related to the
assessment are expected to be available by the end of this year.
For more information, contact Tim Miller, Chief of the National
Water Quality Assessment, at (703) 648-5716.
CHEMICALS POSSIBLE CAUSE OF RISE IN CHILDREN'S CANCER
The rate of cancer among American children has been rising
almost one percent a year for decades, with many experts
suspecting "the increase may be partly the result of growing
exposure to new chemicals in the environment," according to The
New York Times (September 29, 1997). "Although the causes are
not known and are probably many, some experts say, toxins in the
air, food, dust, soil and drinking water are prime suspects."
According to Dr. Philip Landrigan, senior adviser to the EPA's
office of children's health, "the strong probability exists that
environmental factors are playing a role." In their research,
experts will probably examine "the estimated 75,000 new synthetic
chemicals introduced in the last half century, the emissions from
cars, the pesticides in foods and in neighborhoods -- the whole
collection of chemicals out there, mostly untested for toxicity
If there is a link between childhood cancer and chemicals,
the results could be an expansion of federally supported research
and eventually, tighter controls on pesticides, toxic wastes, and
other chemicals, according to the article. "I'm talking about
new research on air pollutants, water pollutants and pesticides,
and their effects on children," said EPA Administrator Carol
Browner. She also promised to pursue better interdisciplinary
and collaborative studies of suspected environmental causes and
mechanisms of childhood cancer.
WALLACE BOARD APPROVES NEW JOURNAL EDITOR AT MID-YEAR MEETING
The Wallace Institute's Board of Directors, at its mid-year
meeting in Salinas, California, on September 5-6, approved the
appointment of Dr. Robert I. Papendick to be the new Editor of
American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, the Institute's
quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of research on alternative
agriculture. Dr. Papendick, currently Professor Emeritus in the
Department of Crop and Soil Science at Washington State
University, had previously been a research soil scientist with
the USDA's Agricultural Research Service for almost 30 years.
Dr. Papendick, who assumes the editorship in January, 1998,
succeeds Dr. Willie Lockeretz, Research Professor at Tufts
University, who has edited AJAA since its inception in 1986.
After a reception on September 5 at the Emma Prusch Farm
Park in San Jose, the Board of Directors met on September 6 at
the Rural Development Center, directed by Jose Montenegro, a
member of the Wallace Board. The Center, a project of the
Association for Community Based Education, runs a Small Farm
Education Program, a community-based agricultural education
program designed to meet the needs and aspirations of low-income
people seeking greater self-reliance. After its meeting, the
Board toured the Center and sustainable agriculture activities
nearby, including the Elkhorn Slough Watershed Project, which
seeks to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality in the
strawberry fields of the watershed. The Board also toured the
organic family farm of Phil Foster in Hollister.
WALLACE INSTITUTE NAMES MEMBERS OF PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL
Dr. Frederick L. Kirschenmann, President of the Wallace
Institute, has announced the members of the 1997-1998 President's
Council, formed seven years ago to provide guidance and support
for Wallace Institute activities in promoting a more sustainable
agricultural system in the United States and abroad.
Members are: Dr. Charles Benbrook, Benbrook Consulting
Services; Norman A. Berg, Washington Representative, Soil and
Water Conservation Society; Hon. George E. Brown, Jr., U.S. House
of Representatives; Robert Gray, Resource Management Consultants;
Ralph Grossi, President, American Farmland Trust; Dr. R. Jim
Hildreth, Elmhurst, IL; Ms. Dana Jackson, Land Stewardship
Project; Dr. Dennis R. Keeney, Director, Leopold Center; Hon.
Patrick J. Leahy, U.S. Senate; Dr. Ned S. Raun, Stillwater, OK;
Ronald L. Rosmann, farmer, Harlan, IA; R. Neil Sampson, Executive
Vice President, American Forestry Association; Edward Sills,
Pleasant Grove Farms, Pleasant Grove, CA; Dr. David G. Topel,
Dean, College of Agriculture and Director of Experiment Station,
Iowa State University; and Dr. Stephen Viederman, President,
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation.
National Center for Appropriate Technology seeks an
Associate Director; applications are available from Jeanne Weiss,
NCAT Personnel Office, P.O. Box 3838, Butte, MT 59702; (406) 494-
4572; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will
award fellowships in 1998 to scientists willing to research "Safe
Exploitation of Micro-Organisms in Plant/Soil Systems;"
applications are due November 21; contact Prof. J.M. Lynch,
School of Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford,
Surrey GU2 5XH, United Kingdom; phone (44) 1-483-259-721; e-mail
FINAL CONFERENCE MAINTAINS FUNDING FOR SUSTAINABLE AG PROGRAMS
The House-Senate Agriculture Appropriations conference
committee last month approved final appropriations for Fiscal
Year 1998 that maintain funding levels for most sustainable
agriculture programs. Funding levels approved for discretionary
programs included: SARE: $8 million was approved for the
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, the same
as last year. SAPDP: $3.3 million was approved for the SARE
(Chapter 3) Professional Development Program, the same as last
year. ATTRA: $1.3 million was approved for Appropriate
Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, the same as last year.
OFPA: $500,000 was approved for the Organic Foods Production Act,
the same as last year. Funding for mandatory programs was
unchanged from the requested amounts: CFO: $15 million was
approved for the new Conservation Farm Option. EQIP: $200
million was approved for the Environmental Quality Incentives
Program, the same as last year. WRP: $164 million was approved
for the Wetlands Reserve Program, an increase from last year's
appropriation of $119 million. CFSA: $2.5 million was approved
for the Community Food Security Act, the same as last year. FRA:
$100 million was approved for the Fund for Rural America, the
same as last year.
USDA CREATES NEW OFFICE OF PEST MANAGEMENT
The USDA last month announced the creation of an Office of
Pest Management that will serve as the agency's focal point for
pesticide regulatory issues, and part of a new approach to minor
use pesticides for the USDA and the EPA. The new office is
charged with integrating and coordinating pesticide issues within
the USDA, along with improving communications with and
strengthening the existing network of grower organizations and
crop specialists at land grant institutions. The agency can now
be more responsive to the agricultural community in developing
alternative pest management practices to meet critical needs that
develop as a result of the regulatory process, according to
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Richard Rominger.
FARMERS TAKE THE LEAD IN PROTECTING OHIO WATERSHED
Farmers are taking the lead in the Big Walnut Water Quality
Partnership, a project designed to protect the natural resources
of an important watershed in central Ohio. The initiators and
decision-makers of the partnership are farmers and other land
owners from the Big Walnut Creek watershed who serve on the board
of trustees. "This is the first time that I know of that farmers
have been in on a watershed project from the very beginning
instead of being told what to do," said Bob Weiler, a farmer from
the area. Farmers in the project are committed to soil-
conserving farming techniques, other best management practices,
and responsible use of pesticides to ensure water quality.
Support for the project comes from local, state, and federal
agencies, including the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation
NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR STEWARD OF THE LAND AWARD
American Farmland Trust seeks nominations for its second
annual Steward of the Land Award, which recognizes efforts by an
individual farmer or farm family in land stewardship,
agricultural conservation policy, or the use of environmentally
and economically sustainable farming practices. Nominations for
the $10,000 award must be received by AFT by December 1. For a
brochure and nomination form, contact Shannon Weller, AFT, 1920 N
St., NW, #400, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 659-5170, ext. 3034.
"Sustainable Agriculture in Print: Current Books" is
available from Alternative Farming Systems Information Center,
National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Blvd., Beltsville,
MD 20705; (301) 504-6559; e-mail email@example.com.
"Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing" is $39.50 plus
$4.50 shipping from Back Forty Books, Dept. A, 26328 Locust Grove
Road, Creola, OH 45622; (614) 596-4379.
October 28-31, "Regenerative Agriculture for the 21st
Century" will be held at the Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale
Road, Kutztown, PA 19530; contact Jane Fisher at (610) 683-1428;
November 1, 2nd Annual Membership Meeting of the Wisconsin
Rural Development Center will be held in Verona, WI; contact
WRDC, (608) 437-5971.
November 1-3, "Teaching Sustainable Agriculture to Students,
Apprentices and Farm Workers" will be held at NewFarms, NC 69 Box
62, Rociada, N.M. 87742; (505) 425-5457.
November 2-4, "Food Safety, Sufficiency, and Security" will
be held in Chicago, IL; contact Council for Agricultural Science
and Technology, 4420 West Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014; (515) 292-
2125; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; World Wide Web,
November 3 is the application deadline for the Center for
Agroecology and University of California Extension's course,
Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, in 1998; contact Farm
and Garden Apprenticeship, UCSC, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA
95064; (408) 459-4140.
November 3-4, 9th Annual Symposium and Banquet of the
Wildlife Habitat Council will be held in Bethesda, MD; contact
WHC, 1010 Wayne Ave., #920; Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 588-
November 3-5, Research Conference on Methyl Bromide
Alternatives will be held in San Diego, CA; contact Methyl
Bromide Alternatives Outreach, (209) 244-4710.
November 5-7, Agriculture and Natural Resources Products
Tourism Conference will be held in Benton Harbor, MI; contact Bob
Neumann, Michigan State University Extension, (517) 432-1555.
November 7-8, 5th Small Farm Trade Show and Conference will
be held in Columbia, MO; contact Small Farm Today, 1-800-633-
November 7-9, "Mediator Between Heaven & Earth: Towards a
New Consciousness of Water" will be held in Pasadena, CA; contact
Faith Perry, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, (909)
November 7-9, "California Gold Rush Tour" will be held in
Sacramento and several other cities; contact Pacific Northwest
Farm Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 4612, Pasco, WA
99302; (509) 547-5538.
November 14-15, "Preserving Crop Biodiversity and Saving
Seeds in the Northeast" will be held in State College, PA;
contact Carolyn Sachs, Penn State University, (814) 863-8641.
November 14-16, "Local Food, Local Farms, Local Futures,"
the 12th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, will be held
in Flat Rock, N.C.; contact Carolina Farm Stewardship
Association, P.O. Box 448, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312; (919) 542-2402;
November 14-16, "Growing Together: Exploring a New Vision of
Agriculture and Community" will be held in Mt. Vernon, WA;
contact Washington Tilth Producers, 1-800-731-1143.
November 16-19, 6th International Conference of the Greening
of Industry Network will be held in Santa Barbara, CA; contact
Monica Dunne, School of Environmental Science and Management,
4670 Physical Sciences North, University of California, Santa
Barbara, CA 93106; (805) 893-7979.
November 17-19, "New Opportunities in Composting and
Organics Recycling" will be held in Dallas/Forth Worth, TX;
contact BioCycle, 1-800-661-4905.
November 21-23, Advanced Organic Vegetable Farming Workshop
will be held in Hudson Valley, N.Y.; contact Regional Farm & Food
Project, 27 Elm St., Albany, N.Y. 12202; (518) 426-9331.