Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenbelt, MD 20770
World Wide Web: http://www.hawiaa.org
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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 performance, economics, and adoption of cover crops in
Wisconsin cash grain rotations are examined in the latest issue (Volume
13, No. 1, 1998). Other articles cover reduced chemical input cropping
systems in the Southeastern United States, small-scale intensiv
cultivation methods, and creating positive incentives for farm
composting. 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
Table of Contents:
Sustainable Ag Funds Are Dealth "Crushing Blows," p. 1
Supermarkets Welcomed Natural Products in 1997
Humanity Is Perpetrating A Major Extinction, Says NY Times
Oklahoma Cracks Down on Corporate Hog Farms
Coffee Farmers' Cooperative Promotes Fair Trade
SARE Highlights Ten Years of Research and Education
SUSTAINABLE AG FUNDS ARE DEALT "CRUSHING BLOWS"
Federal funding for sustainable agriculture programs in Fiscal
Year 1999 was dealt "two crushing blows" in the USDA budget approved late
last month by the House of Representatives, according to Ferd Hoefner of
the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The House deleted all funding for
the Fund for Rural America, which funds agriculture research, and the
Conservation Farm Option, which had been created last year to foster
innovation in natural resource protection and enhancement. A Senate
Committee had also deleted all funds for the Fund for Rural America and
the Conservation Farm Option. The full Senate is expected to vote on the
USDA budget this month.
"The prospects for restoring funds for the Fund for Rural America
in the Senate are slim," said Hoefner. "The chances for restoring funds
for the Conservation Farm Option are middling."
Here are the appropriations approved by the House of
Representatives last month for several sustainable agriculture programs:
SARE: $8 million appropriation approved for the Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education program, the same as FY98.
SAPDP: $3.3 million appropriation approved for the SARE (Chapter
3) Professional Development Program, the same as FY98.
ATTRA: $1.3 million appropriation approved for the Appropriate
Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, the same as FY98.
CFO: All funds deleted for the Conservation Farm Option; the
President had requested a $25 million appropriation. FY98's
appropriation was $15 million.
EQIP: $176 million appropriation approved for the Environmental
Quality Incentives Program, a decrease from the FY98 appropriation of
WRP: $97.7 million appropriation approved for the Wetlands
Reserve Program, a decrease from the FY98 appropriation of $219 million.
CFSA: $2.5 million appropriation approved for the Community Food
Security Act, the same as FY98.
FRA: All funds deleted for the Fund for Rural America; the
President had requested a $100 million appropriation. The Farm Bill did
not authorize any FRA funds for FY98.
SUPERMARKETS WELCOMED NATURAL PRODUCTS IN 1997
Supermarkets in 1997 started to "boast about the organic produce
available in their produce section, while their grocery shelves are lined
with integrated conventional, organic and natural products," according to
Natural Food Merchandiser's 17th Annual Market Overview 97. There are
three reasons for the mass-market interest in natural products: "consumer
demand, a new customer base, and higher margins," according to the
survey. "Today's mainstream supermarkets are more respectful of
organics. Larger chains are feeling a sharp competitive thrust from
natural products stores...and consumers are asking for organics."
The organic produce supply is still lower than demand, according
to the report. "So, supermarkets are now avidly looking for organic
growers and food manufacturers....As if consumer demand isn't enough,
natural products also offer supermarket retailers higher profit margins."
HUMANITY IS PERPETRATING A MAJOR EXTINCTION, SAYS N.Y. TIMES
Humanity has become "so dominant on the planet and so powerful an
influence on the rest of the biosphere that many experts fear it is
perpetrating, willy-nilly, a sixth major extinction," according to a
special section of The New York Times focusing on biological diversity,
called "The Natural World" (June 2, 1998). Biodiversity is expressed in
the "bewildering variety" of plants, animals, and ecosystems which
support the human economy by providing services such as water
purification, soil formation, pollination, flood control, and outdoor
recreation. But human activity is "narrowing the variety of life...on
According to an article in the section on preserving a diversity
of plant strains, "since the early 70's, plant breeders have worried that
the abundance of the world's food supply is balanced on a narrowing
supply of wild and domestic plant genes." A handful of varieties make up
most of the world's rice production, while "irreplaceable genetic traits
that enabled old varieties of rice to grow in harsh conditions have
disappeared." Growers are reluctant to experiment by introducing
unfamiliar varieties because production costs are too high and profit
margins too slim, according to the article. But there are places such as
Cornell University, which keeps a "well-stocked germ-plasm repository" of
apple varieties in Geneva, N.Y., and is collecting wild seeds from the
Casian Sea region and from Kazakhstan.
"The Greatest Story Never Told: The Food Miracle in America," the
text of the 1998 Henry A. Wallace Annual Lecture by Hugh Sidey,
Contributing Editor, Time Magazine, is $5 from the Wallace Institute,
9200 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777.
"Hungry for Profit: Agriculture, Food and Ecology," a special
double issue of Monthly Review co-edited by Fred Magdoff, a member of the
Wallace Institute's Board of Directors, is $10 plus $3 postage from
Monthly Review, 122 West 27th St., New York, N.Y. 10001.
Resources from the Sustainable Agriculture Network include "Steel
in the Field: A Farmer's Guide to Weed Management Tools," $18; "Managing
Cover Crops Profitably," $19; "Sustainable Agriculture Directory of
Expertise," $18.95; "Source Book of Sustainable Agriculture," $12; and
"The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell About Organic and Low-Input Practices in the
Northeast," $13.95; all are available from SAN Publications, Hills
Building, Room 12, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0082;
(802) 656-0471; e-mail email@example.com
"Integrated Pest Management for Tomatoes," an illustrated manual,
is $30; "Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook, Second Edition" is $42.89;
both are available from University of California, DANR Communication
Services-Publications, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608;
1-800-994-8849; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
"Water Quality in the San Joaquin-Tulare Basins, California
1992-95" is free from USGS California District Office, Placer Hall, 6000
J St., Sacramento, CA 95819; (916) 278-3000; an order form is on the
Internet at http://www-nmd.usgs.gov/esic/to order.html
"Sustainability Assessment in Agriculture: Annotated Bibliography
and Resource List of Methods" is available from Luanne Lohr, Assistant
Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 301 Conner
Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7509.
OKLAHOMA CRACKS DOWN ON CORPORATE HOG FARMS
Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating last month signed into a law a
bill strengthening regulations on large confined hog feeding operations.
The bill was opposed by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, which called it the
nation's toughest hog law, but praised by the Oklahoma Family Farm
Alliance, which said it would "give independent family producers some
breathing room," according to Feedstuffs (June 6, 1998). The law
requires odor control plans, waste tracking systems and analysis, and
certified evidence of no connection between effluent and groundwater.
According to The New York Times (June 24, 1998), the rapid growth
of hog factory farms is "perhaps the most contentious issue in the
nation's farm country....The desperation of smaller farmers, along with
anger among townspeople in rural areas offended by the foul smell of the
huge hog barns, has stirred debate in a dozen states that are now
considering plans to curb such plants, which can threaten underground
water supplies." South Dakota residents will vote in November on a
ballot initiative that would "effectively outlaw corporate livestock
production," the article said.
COFFEE FARMERS' COOPERATIVE PROMOTES FAIR TRADE
Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative, works to promote
sustainable agriculture and maximize benefits to small-scale coffee
farmers in the developing world by trading according to European Fair
Trade standards, according to an article in Ecological Economics Bulletin
(Second Quarter, 1998). It works with 12 farmer cooperatives in eight
countries, and offers more than 50 types of coffee. In Mexico, the
Union of Indigenous Communities of the Region of the Isthmus improved its
revenue and power after launching its organic coffee program. The
program was accompanied by a series of seminars on organic fertilizer
production, soil conservation, terracing, intercropping, and pest
control. In Nicaragua, the PRODECOOP cooperative has provided farmers
"a stable and profitable venture in growing for the organic fair trade
market," according to the article. The benefits of the Equal Exchange
include doubling of per capita incomes, secondary schools, health
clinics, farming seminars, health clinics, quadrupling of prices paid to
farmers, and family self-sufficiency "because farmers have organized and
used their resources wisely, and because consumers in other countries
have supported that work by buying their coffee."
SARE HIGHLIGHTS TEN YEARS OF RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Celebrating "a decade of programs, partnership and progress in
sustainable agriculture research and education," the SARE program has
published "1998 Project Highlights" that review its achievements and look
ahead to the next decade. The 10 research projects highlighted in the
report include work that tested cover crops and new tillage regimes,
established a vegetable producers cooperative, harbored beneficial
insects, trained farmers and ranchers in management-intensive grazing,
and boosted profits of organic dairies. For a copy of the highlights,
contact Sustainable Agriculture Publications, Hills Building, University
of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0082; (802) 656-0471; e-mail
Community Alliance with Family Farmers seeks an Executive
Director; for full job description, application, and schedule for hiring
process, contact Mary Westcot, CAFF, P.O. Box 363, Davis, CA 95617; (530)
756-8518, ext. 10.
Center for Agroecology and the University of California Extension
are offering a six-month Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, from
April-October, 1999; for information and application brochure, contact
Apprenticeship Information, Center for Agroecology, UC Santa Cruz, 1156
High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064; (408) 459-4140.
July 23, Milan No-Till Crop Production Field Day and Research
Tours will be held in Milan, TN; contact Dr. Blake Brown, Milan
Experiment Station, 6505 Ellington Drive, Milan, TN 38358; (901)
686-7362; e-mail email@example.com
July 24, "Agricultural and Conservation Policies: 2002 and
Beyond," a workshop in honor of Norman A. Berg co-sponsored by the
Wallace Institute, will be held in Sycamore, IL; contact Teresa Bullock,
American Farmland Trust, P.O. Box 987, DeKalb, IL 60115; (815) 753-6365;
July-August, Farm Ecology Tours will be held in Ohio: July 26,
Sassafras Farm, New Marshfield; August 1, George Clutts Farm,
Circleville; August 22, Curly Tail Organic Farm, Fredericktown; August
27, Hartzler Farm & Dairy, Smithville, Riggenbach Farm, Wooster, and
Logan Brothers Farm, Kinsman; contact Ohio Ecological Food & Farm
Association, P.O. Box 82234, Columbus, OH 43202; (614) 267-3663.
July 29, "Tools for Transition" Field Day will be held in
Holtwood, PA; contact Steve Groff, Cedar Meadow Farm, 679 Hilldale Road,
Holtwood, PA 17523; (717) 284-5152; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; information
is available on the Internet at http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com
August 5-9, "Beyond Politics: Rethinking the Future of
Democracy," the 61st Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society,
will be held in Portland, OR; contact RSA, Rabel Burdge, Treasurer, c/o
Department of Sociology, 510 Amtzen Hall, Western Washington University,
Bellingham, WA 98225-9081; (360) 650-7295; e-mail email@example.com
August 7, Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Meeting
will be held at Stratford Ecological Center, OH; contact Duane Hovorka,
(402) 994-2021; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 7-9, 24th Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer
Conference will be held in Amherst, MA; contact NOFA, 411 Sheldon Road,
Barre, MA 01005; (978) 355-2853.
August 10-14, "Ecology and Design: Northeastern Landscapes," and
August 21-23, "Selecting a Native Plant Palette: Using Native Plants in
Public and Private Landscapes" will be held at Conway School of Landscape
Design, P.O. Box 179, Conway, MA 01341; (413) 369-4044; e-mail
August 13-21, "Permaculture Fundamentals for Women" will be held
at Culture's Edge, 1025 Camp Elliott Road, Black Mountain, N.C. 28711;
(828) 298-2399; e-mail culturesedge.earthaven.org
August 14-16, "HerbFest'98" will be held in Norway, IA; contact
HerbFest '98, P.O. Box 299, Norway, IA 52318; 1-800-669-3275.
August 22, "Organic Farming for the Future: Views from Illinois
Farmers and Consumers" will be held in Decatur, IL; contact Illinois
Stewardship Alliance, P.O. Box 648, Rochester, IL 62563; (217) 498-9707.
September 10, Thompson On-Farm Research Field Day will be held at
the Thompson Farm, Boone, IA; contact Dick and Sharon Thompson, 2035
190th St., Boone, IA 50036; (515) 432-1560.
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