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. 4) features articles on the
effects of clover and small grain cover crops, and tillage
techniques on seedling emergence of some weed species; the growth
of apple trees, nitrate mobility, and pest populations; growth of
corn roots under low-input and conventional farming systems;
effects of pearl millet in an arid region; and a regional
approach to soil erosion and productivity research.
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:
New Plan Boosts Clean Water Issues, But Raises Questions, p. 1
USDA's 1999 Budget Looks Good for Sustainable Ag, p. 2
Report Calls for New Plans to Save Bt, p. 3
Whole Foods Market Benefits from Boom in Organic Food, p. 3
Monsanto Pays Farmers for Genetic Cotton Failures, p. 3
Farmers Fight Maryland Plan to Limit Fertilizer, p. 4
Rep. Miller's Bill Would Reduce Animal Waste Pollution, p. 4
Resources, p. 4
Position, p. 5
Upcoming Events, p. 5
NEW PLAN BOOSTS CLEAN WATER ISSUES, BUT RAISES QUESTIONS
President Clinton last month proposed a Clean Water Action
Plan that was perceived as a boost for clean water issues, but
consisted primarily of "doing existing programs smarter,"
according to David Ervin, Director of the Wallace Institute's
Policy Studies Program. The President requested an additional
$568 million in Fiscal Year 1999 to implement the plan, bringing
total expenditures on the package to $2.3 billion over five
years. The plan lists 110 key action steps, including asking for
$120 million in new assistance to states and tribes to curb
polluted runoff and encourage the adoption of enforceable
The most significant actions, according to Ervin, are a
commitment to create numeric criteria for nutrients, such as
nitrogen and phosphorous, in water bodies by 2000 and initiate
standards to enforce them if states do not; and a new strategy to
control runoff from cattle, poultry, and pig farms with a goal of
issuing discharge permits to the largest farms by 2005.
"These are steps in the right direction," Ervin said. "We
hope they will be done sooner, and that the criteria and
standards are well set." The plan, however, lacks an aggressive
research and technology innovation strategy, and a clear approach
for solving transboundary water pollution issues, he said.
Although the plan highlights the Conservation Reserve
Program and Buffer Initiative, the related actions raise
questions, according to Kathleen Merrigan, the Wallace
Institute's Senior Analyst. The plan would cut the acres
reserved for the CRP continuous sign-up of special conservation
practices, including buffers, and the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program from 7 million acres to 5 million. Under the
plan, incentive rates for buffer enrollments continue to be
"under review," and no action is taken to add other conservation
practices and high-priority partial field enrollments to the
USDA'S 1999 BUDGET LOOKS GOOD FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
The USDA budget submitted by President Clinton for Fiscal
Year 1999, which begins in October, contained solid funding --
and some increases -- for sustainable agriculture programs. Here
are the proposed appropriations for several sustainable
agriculture discretionary programs:
SARE: A $10 million appropriation is requested for the
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, an
increase from the FY98 appropriation of $8 million.
SAPDP: A $3.3 million appropriation is requested for the
SARE (Chapter 3) Professional Development Program, the same as
the FY98 appropriation.
ATTRA: A $2 million appropriation is requested for the
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, an increase from
the FY98 appropriation of $1.3 million.
OFPA: A $1 million appropriation is requested for the
Organic Foods Production Act, a doubling of the FY98
appropriation of $500,000.
In addition, the following appropriations were requested for
mandatory programs: CFO: A $25 million appropriation is requested
for the Conservation Farm Option, an increase from the FY98
appropriation of $15 million. EQIP: A $300 million appropriation
is requested for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, an
increase from the FY98 appropriation of $200 million. WRP: A
$124 million appropriation is requested for the Wetlands Reserve
Program, a decrease from the estimated final FY98 appropriation
of $219 million. CFSA: A $2.5 million appropriation is requested
for the Community Food Security Act, the same appropriation as
FY98. FRA: A $100 million appropriation is requested for the
Fund for Rural America, which was appropriated $80 million in
FY97. The Farm Bill did not authorize any FRA funds for FY98.
REPORT CALLS FOR NEW PLANS TO SAVE BT
The Bt toxins, natural pest-control products, are threatened
by the development of genetically engineered crops which will
make insects resistant to Bt, according to a new report by the
Union of Concerned Scientists. "Now or Never: Serious New Plans
to Save a Natural Pest Control" recommends ways to strengthen the
resistance management plans for the three genetically engineered,
or transgenic, Bt crops currently commercialized in the United
States. These three crops -- corn, cotton, and potato -- are
genetically engineered to produce Bt toxins. "Transgenic crops
are a threat to Bt because they produce toxin throughout much, if
not all, of the plant's life," the report says. "Constant long-
term exposure of pest populations to Bt encourages survival of
individual pests that are genetically resistant to the toxin.
Over many generations, the proportion of resistant individuals in
pest populations can increase, reducing the efficacy of the Bt
toxin as a pesticide."
Scientifically credible resistance management plans, which
consist of measures to delay or prevent resistance, are the key
element of any strategy to save Bt, according to the report. The
scientists contributing to the UCS report developed plans they
say would substantially delay the evolution of resistance to Bt.
They make recommendations specific to each Bt crop, and several
recommendations for all three, including implementing mandatory
resistance management plans for each Bt crop, and monitoring the
susceptibility of pest populations to evaluate the success of
resistance management plans.
"Now or Never" is $14.95 plus $3 shipping/handling from UCS
Publications, Department N, Two Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA
02238-9105; (617) 547-5552.
WHOLE FOODS MARKET BENEFITS FROM BOOM IN ORGANIC FOOD
The chief beneficiary of the boom in organic food during the
past decade is Whole Foods Market, "whose 900% growth in the
1990s has produced a billion-dollar juggernaut with 78 stores in
17 states," according to Time (February 23, 1998). "Consumers
aren't willing to pay a hefty premium for organic, nor do they
want to give up any of the conveniences of shopping in large
stores that stock everything from soup to lug nuts." Whole Foods
meets those goals by offering chemical and preservative-free
foods, organic produce, hormone-free meats, cruelty-free
cosmetics, and ecologically friendly household products. But the
stores also stock conventional items and non-organic produce.
Having bought out several of its competitors in the last three
years, Whole Foods is expected to grow 25% annually for the next
MONSANTO PAYS FARMERS FOR GENETIC COTTON FAILURES
The Monsanto Company has begun paying settlements to
Mississippi Delta farmers who say that a strain of cotton,
genetically engineered to resist spraying with Roundup weed
killer, failed to perform as promised and produced considerable
losses, according to The New York Times (Feb. 24, 1998). "In
Mississippi, Monsanto has offered settlements of several million
dollars in total to about 45 of the 60 complaining farmers," the
article said. "At least 10 farmers have spurned offers that fall
far short of their losses." In addition, Monsanto and the Delta
Pine and Land Company have withdrawn from sale 100,000 50-pound
bags of a different strain of genetically altered seed for
reasons that the companies say are not related to the Mississippi
problems. "State and federal agricultural experts in
Mississippi, often clashing with company salesmen and executives,
have cautioned farmers about planting the new varieties too
widely too soon," according to the article.
FARMERS FIGHT MARYLAND PLAN TO LIMIT FERTILIZER
At hearings in Maryland last month, farmers in the
Chesapeake Bay area objected to mandatory fertilizer limits
proposed by Maryland Governor Parris Glendening as a way to
control the toxic microbe called Pfiesteria. Many objected to
the idea of enforcement teams which would ensure that farmers
follow fertilizer plans or be fined. "Fueling farmers' anger is
their feeling that they already are doing their part to protect
the Chesapeake Bay by participating in now-voluntary state
programs advising them how to conserve their use of fertilizers,"
wrote The Washington Post (Feb. 14, 1998). According to the
Associated Press, farmers also argued that "burdening farmers
with costs of trucking away their manure, rather than spreading
it on crop fields, could drive them out of business." Responding
to criticism that poultry pollution is linked to Pfiesteria
outbreaks, the National Broiler Council, environmentalists, and
government representatives met last month in Atlanta to develop
ways for the poultry industry to "assume greater responsibility
for the environment and public health."
REP. MILLER'S BILL WOULD REDUCE ANIMAL WASTE POLLUTION
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) last month introduced a bill to
reduce the pollution caused by animal waste runoff from large
farms and dairies by expanding existing regulation of
concentrated animal feeding operations under the Clean Water Act.
The Farm Sustainability and Feedlot Enforcement Act would extend
the Clean Water Act to require that feed operations be inspected
and that operators monitor water quality to prevent pollution.
It would also require such facilities to adopt a whole farm waste
management plan, and limit land application of animal waste.
Although Rep. Miller's bill is similar to one introduced last
year by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), it would have EPA enforce its
policies under the Clean Water Act; Senator Harkin's bill would
require USDA to enforce its policies and approve waste management
"Produce Handling for Direct Marketing" ($10.50) and
"Farming Alternatives: A Guide to Evaluating the Feasibility of
New Farm-Based Enterprises" ($11.50) are available from Northeast
Regional Agricultural Engineering Service, 152 Riley-Robb Hall,
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853; (607) 255-7654; e-mail email@example.com.
University of California Statewide IPM Project Annual Report
is available from the Project, University of California, One
Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Walnut Production Manual," 317 pages, is $35 from
University of California, DANR Communication Services, 6701 San
Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608; 1-800-994-8849.
"1998 Directory of Flower & Herb Buyers" is $10 from Prairie
Oak Seeds, P.O. Box 382, Maryville, MO 64468; (816) 582-4084.
"Wisconsin Farmers' Views on Livestock Expansion" is
available from the Program on Agricultural Tech. Studies, 1450
Linden Dr., #146, UW-Madison, WI 53705; (608) 265-2908.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association seeks
applicants for its apprenticeship program, to work year-round on
farms in Maine; contact MOFGA, Dept. H, P.O. Box 2176, Augusta,
ME 04339; (207) 622-3118.
March-November, classes in draft animal power, small-scale
farming, blacksmithing, and woodworking will be held in
Kalamazoo, MI, by Tillers International; for catalog, contact
Tillers, 5239 South 24th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49002; 1-800-498-
2700; e-mail TillersInt@aol.com.; on the Internet,
March 22, "40 Acres and 15 College Kids: Lessons Learned
After 25 Years," a lecture by Chip Planck, will be held at the
Accokeek Foundation, 3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD 20607;
March 23-24, "Ensuring Safe and Healthy Food: Finding the
Right Solutions," the 21st annual National Food Policy
Conference, will be held in Washington, D.C.; contact Public
Voice for Food and Health Policy, 1012 14th St., NW, #800,
Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 347-6200.
March 24, Women in Agriculture Symposium will be held in
Greensboro, N.C.; contact Mary Mafuyai, Cooperative Extension
Program, North Carolina A&T State University, P.O. Box 21928,
Greensboro, N.C. 27420-1928; (336) 334-7734; e-mail
March 25 (Atlanta, GA), March 26 (Knoxville, TN), March 27
(Raleigh, N.C.), and March 31 (Rochester, N.Y.), April 3 (Des
Moines, IA), April 6 (Detroit, MI), April 14 (Tacoma, WA), and
April 17 (New Brunswick, N.J.), Community Food Security Training
Workshops will be held, sponsored by Community Food Security
Coalition; in N.Y., N.J., contact Mark Winne, Hartford, CT, (860)
296-9325; in GA, TN, N.C., contact Kate Fitzgerald, Austin, TX,
(512) 385-0080; in IA, MI, and WA, contact Andy Fisher, Venice,
CA, (310) 822-5410.
March 25-26, "Grazing in the Northeast: Assessing Current
Technologies, Research Directions, and Education Needs" will be
held in Camp Hill, PA; contact Northeast Regional Agricultural
Engineering Service, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Cooperative Extension,
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853; (607) 255-7654; e-mail email@example.com; on
the Internet, http://rcwpsun.cas.psu.edu/NRAES
April 2, 37th Annual Southern Regional Science Association
Meetings will be held in Savannah, GA; contact Andy Bernat,
Southern Regional Science Association, (202) 606-9235; e-mail
April 3-5, "Beyond Pesticides: Empowering Communities for
Change," the 16th National Pesticide Forum and 7th Annual
California Pesticide Organizing Conference, will be held in
Watsonville, CA; contact National Coalition Against the Misuse of
Pesticides, 701 E St., SE, Washington, D.C. 20003; (202) 543-
5450; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 6-7, First National Mitigation Banking Conference will
be held in Washington, D.C.; contact Terrene Institute, 4 Herbert
St., Alexandria, VA 22305; 1-800-726-4853 or (703) 548-5473; e-
April 15-17, "Team Wetlands: 101 Ways to Win for Wetlands"
will be held in Arlington, VA; contact Terrene Institute, 4
Herbert St., Alexandria, VA 22305; 1-800-726-4853 or (703) 548-
5473; e-mail email@example.com.
April 25-28, "Rally for America's Real Places: Best
Practices in Heritage Development and Cultural Tourism" will be
held in Chicago, IL; contact National Center for Heritage
Development, 5520 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20015;
information available on the Internet at http://www.nchd.org.
April 27-28, Amish Community Study Tour will be held;
contact Ed Martsolf, A Whole New Approach, 1039 Winrock Dr.,
Morrilton, AR 72110; (501) 727-5659.
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