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.
The latest issue (Volume 12, No. 3) features six papers by
Middle Eastern authors from the U.S.-Middle East Conference and
Workshop on "Dryland Farming Systems and Technologies for a More
Sustainable Agriculture," held in Moscow, Idaho in 1993. A group
of 13 papers by U.S. authors was published in AJAA in 1996
(Volume 11, Nos. 2-3). The Middle Eastern authors' papers
examine dryland farming in Jordan, barley and wheat yields in
Tunisia, rainfed farming in Palestine, agricultural development
in Israel, dryland research in Egypt, and dryland farming
practices in Turkey. Topics of other articles include organic
dairy farming in Ontario, and management of natural Kentucky
bluegrass-white clover pasture.
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;
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site, http://www.hawiaa.org
Table of Contents:
Emphasize Sustainable Ag, Small Farms Commission Recommends, p. 1
Animal Waste is Major Water Pollutant, Says Senate Report, p. 3
Positions, p. 3
Maryland Governor Seeks Fertilizer Limits to Fight Pfiesteria, p.
Oats Make a Comeback in Cash Crop Rotations, p. 4
Comment Period on Organic Standards Extended Till May 1, p. 4
EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Residue Brochure, p. 4
Resources, p. 5
Upcoming Events, p. 5
EMPHASIZE SUSTAINABLE AG, SMALL FARMS COMMISSION RECOMMENDS
One of the policy goals recommended in the USDA National
Commission on Small Farms' report to USDA Secretary Dan Glickman,
released in late January, is to "emphasize sustainable
agriculture as a profitable, ecological, and socially sound
strategy for small farms." The pace of industrialization of
agriculture "has quickened," according to the 120-page report,
entitled "A Time to Act." "The dominant trend is a few, large,
vertically integrated firms controlling the majority of food and
fiber products in an increasingly global processing and
distribution system. If we do not act now, we will no longer
have a choice about the kind of agriculture we desire as a
The Commission outlined eight policy goals for a national
strategy for small farms in its report, and stated that
"sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals --
environmental health, economic profitability, and social and
economic equity. Farming systems that simultaneously pursue
these three goals hold great potential for maintaining the
viability of small farms, and they contribute to the well-being
of rural communities and stewardship of our natural resources."
To meet that goal, the Commission made 16 recommendations,
-- The USDA Office of Communications should develop and
conduct a communications campaign to inform farmers of the new
farming systems, strategies, practices, and technologies emerging
from the 10 years of SARE research.
-- Cooperative Extension, Natural Resources Conservation
Service, and Farm Service Agency field staff should identify
places where small farms have particularly high reliance on
pesticide and nutrient use, and provide those farmers with
information on sustainable practices.
-- The Office of Communications should develop an effort on
organic farming to coincide with the publication of the final
rule for the national organic standards.
-- The USDA Office of Outreach should work with the
President's Commission on Sustainable Development to link
citizens interested in sustainable development with sustainable
agriculture and farmers.
-- The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension
Service should encourage land-grant university colleges of
agriculture to offer courses in sustainable agriculture and
organic farming as electives for degrees in agriculture.
Another policy goal is to "dedicate budget resources to
strengthen the competitive position of small farms in American
agriculture," which includes a recommendation to increase
appropriations for the SARE program by $10 million each year over
three years to reach its authorized funding level of $40 million,
and to fund the SARE Chapter 3 Professional Development Training
Program at $10 million.
"We look forward to joining with you and others in helping
to fashion policies, programs, and partnerships that will bring
economic vibrancy to rural communities, wholesome and nutritious
food for consumers, stability to our small farm enterprises, and
an improved quality of life to our small farmers and our
farmworkers," the members of the Commission wrote.
Appointed by Secretary Glickman in July, 1997, the
Commission has 30 members, including two members of the Wallace
Institute's Board of Directors: Commission Vice Chair Desmond
Jolly of California, and Frederick Magdoff of Vermont. Its
report is available from Jennifer Yezak Molen, (202) 720-0122; e-
mail email@example.com; from the National Commission on Small
Farms, P.O. Box 2890, Washington, D.C. 20013; or on the USDA's
Web site at http://www.usda.gov/news/news.htm.
ANIMAL WASTE IS MAJOR WATER POLLUTANT, SAYS SENATE REPORT
Agricultural runoff that includes nutrients from animal
waste is the largest contributor to the pollution in 60 percent
of rivers and streams that the EPA has identified as "impaired,"
according to a report released by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on
the environmental problems caused by animal waste. "Increasing
concentration in the livestock and poultry industry has greatly
increased the risk of large waste spills, and has produced huge
volumes of manure that often exceed amounts that can be safely
applied to nearby cropland," according to the report. During the
past 15 years, it said, the number of hog farms has dropped from
600,000 to 157,000, but these farms produce a higher number of
"Nationwide, 130 times more animal manure is produced than
human waste," according to the report. "Inadequate animal waste
management practices often lead to water pollution, yet there are
no Federal regulations for waste handling, storage, use or
disposal. Waste spills occur when earthen manure storage lagoons
collapse, equipment breaks, or people make mistakes -- and
leaking lagoons and runoff from fields can cause chronic animal
waste pollution of both surface and ground water."
Senator Harkin last year introduced the Animal Agriculture
Reform Act (S. 1323) which would set environmental standards for
animal waste handling by large livestock and poultry operations,
and require those operations to follow waste management plans
approved by the USDA. Congressional hearings on the bill are
expected to be held this winter.
Center for Rural Affairs seeks a project leader with its
Research and Technology Policy Project; for announcement and
application instructions, contact the Center, Box 406, Walthill,
NE 68067; (402) 846-5428.
University of California at Berkeley, Department of
Environmental Science, Policy and Management, seeks an assistant
professor in environmental policy to begin July 1; by March 1,
send letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and names of four
references to Chair, Environmental Policy Search Committee,
Division of Resource Institutions, Policy and Management, 217
Giannini Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720;
contact Jeff Romm, (510) 642-6499.
Drumlin Farm is offering internships in sustainable
agriculture and experiential education, from March 15 to November
15; contact Stacy Miller, Drumlin Farm, South Great Road,
Lincoln, MA 01773; (781) 259-9506, ext. 7700.
MARYLAND GOVERNOR SEEKS FERTILIZER LIMITS TO FIGHT PFIESTERIA
Maryland Governor Parris Glendening last month proposed
mandatory farm-by-farm fertilizer limits as part of a statewide
plan to control the toxic microbe known as Pfiesteria, which
contaminated tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay last summer,
killing 30,000 fish and making people ill. A citizens' panel
last year concluded that excess nutrients, including agricultural
runoff, encouraged last summer's outbreaks of Pfiesteria. The
Governor's proposal aims to limit the amount of phosphorous that
reaches waterways; current programs focus only on limiting
The plan would impose strong curbs on the practice of
spreading chicken manure on fields, but would not require the
major poultry producers in the state to take responsibility for
the manure, or help pay the costs of disposing of the manure.
The plan would require farmers to adopt nutrient management plans
by 2000 and implement them by 2002, or be subject to penalties.
It would continue a $1.5 million ground cover program to limit
runoff and take up nutrients from the soil during the winter, and
allocate $1 million over the next three years to establish an
Animal Waste Technology Fund to dispose of excess manure.
OATS MAKE A COMEBACK IN CASH CROP ROTATIONS
Oats are making a comeback among "profit-conscious farmers"
because of their potential as a cash crop, according to an
article in The Furrow (January, 1998). "Besides beating summer
droughts, oats can disrupt weed and disease cycles, as well as
improve soil tilth," the article says. Farmers can also use oats
to diversify corn-bean rotations that are troubled by
infestations of extended-diapause corn root-worms or soybean cyst
nematodes, or to replace winter-killed wheat stands. According
to a crop consultant who also works with the Michael Fields
Agricultural Institute, "Given their yield potential and
versatility, oats deserve a place in more crop rotations.
Increasing oat acreage would have a beneficial trickle-down
effect on rural economies and would improve the stability of U.S.
COMMENT PERIOD ON ORGANIC STANDARDS EXTENDED TILL MAY 1
The deadline for public comment on the USDA's proposed
national organic standards has been extended until May 1.
Written comments may be sent to Eileen S. Stommes, Deputy
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Room 4007-S,
Ag Stop 0275, P.O. Box 96456, Washington, D.C. 20090-6456; fax,
(202) 690-4632. They can also be sent via the Internet through
the National Organic Program Web page at
http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop, where the rules are posted, and
other public comments are available for review.
EPA SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON PESTICIDE RESIDUE BROCHURE
The EPA is seeking public comment on a draft consumer
brochure about the public's right to know about pesticides and
food. Required by the new Food Quality Protection Act, the
brochure is being developed by the EPA, USDA, Food and Drug
Administration, and the public. Public comment will be accepted
until March 2 and can be sent to Public Response and Program
Resources Branch (7502C), Office of Pesticide Programs, EPA, 401
M St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20460; by e-mail,
firstname.lastname@example.org. The draft brochure is available on
the Internet under "Laws and Regulations" at
"Urban Agriculture: An Abbreviated List of References and
Resource Guide" is available from Alternative Farming Systems
Information Center, National Agricultural Library, ARS, USDA,
10301 Baltimore Ave., #304, Beltsville, MD 20705; (301) 504-6559;
or on the Internet at http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic
"The Future Agenda for Organic Trade," proceedings of the
1997 Organic Trade Conference, are $30 from IFOAM, fax +49-6853-
30110, or e-mail ifoam@T-Online.de
March 2-3, Eco-Ag/East, an Acres U.S.A. conference on
ecological agriculture, will be held in Lancaster, PA; contact
Acres U.S.A. at 1-800-355-5313.
March 2-3, "Hello Dolly: The Biotechnology Revolution for
Agriculture Has Arrived" will be held in Des Moines, IA; contact
the National Forum for Agriculture, (515) 286-4965; information
is available on the Internet at
March 2-4, "Composting and Recycling: Meeting the Challenges
to Expand Programs" will be held in Seattle, WA; contact
BioCycle, 419 State Ave., Emmaus, PA 18049; 1-800-661-4905.
March 5-7, "Building on a Decade of Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education: Sharing Experiences to Improve Our
Agriculture," sponsored by the USDA SARE program, will be held in
Austin, TX; contact SARE, 0322 Symons Hall, University of
Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; (301) 405-5270; e-mail
March 6-8, "Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming Workshop"
will be held in Willits, CA; contact Cynthia Raiser Jeavons,
Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490; (707)
March 7, "New and Beginning Farmer Workshop" will be held in
Harrisburg-Hershey, PA; contact Pennsylvania Farm Link, Inc.,
Point Shopping Center, #205, I-83 and Union Deposit Road,
Harrisburg, PA 17111; (717) 558-7726; e-mail
March 9-13, International Conference on Sustainable
Agriculture in Tropical and Subtropical Highlands with Special
Reference to Latin America will be held in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil; contact Dr. Irene Baptista de Alleluia, Instituto
Nacional de Techologia, Ave. Venezuela, 82-sala 308-Centro,
20081-310 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; phone (+55) 21-296-6611, ext.
1308; e-mail email@example.com
March 11-15, Natural Products Expo West 1998 will be held in
Anaheim, CA; contact Natural Products Expo, 1301 Spruce St.,
Boulder, CO 80302; (303) 939-8440; information is on the Internet
March 12, Organic Day will be held at the Natural Products
Expo West in Anaheim, CA; contact Kelly Garner, Natural Products
Expo, 1301 Spruce St., Boulder, CO 80302; (303) 939-8440.
March 14-15, "Biological Balance: Growing Healthy Farms,
Folks, and Foods," the 19th Annual Conference of the Northeast
Organic Farming Association of New York, will be held in Dryden,
N.Y.; contact NOFA-NY, P.O. Box 21, South Butler, N.Y. 13154;
March 17-21, 20th annual International Association for
Landscape Ecology meeting will be held at Michigan State
University; contact Chris Lepczyk, MSU Department of Fisheries
and Wildlife, Natural Resources Building, MSU, East Lansing, MI
48824-1222; (517) 355-4477; information is available on the
Internet at http://www.fw.msu.edu/iale98
March 20-22, "Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming
Workshop" will be held in Chambersberg, PA; contact Cynthia
Raiser Jeavons, Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA
95490; (707) 459-0150.
March 20-24, 63rd North American Wildlife and Natural
Resources Conference will be held in Orlando, FL; contact
Wildlife Management Institute, 1101 14th St., NW, #801,
Washington, D.C. 20005; fax (202) 408-5059.
March 21, 5th annual conference on Providing Education
Through Agriculture for Students will be held in Natick, MA;
contact Stacia Caplanson, Northeast Organic Farming Association
of Massachusetts, (413) 245-7402; or Stacy Miller, Massachusetts
Audubon Society/Drumlin Farm, (617) 259-9506.
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