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 start-up of a successful alternative dairy farm in Wisconsin
is profiled in an article in the newest issue of AJAA (Volume 13, No. 2,
1998). Other articles cover feedlot manure nutrient loadings on South
Dakota farmland, organic vegetable production in the United States,
natural terrace formation through vegetative barriers on hillside farms
in Honduras, erosion effects on soil moisture and corn yield on two soils
in Tanzania, and a behavioral approach to alternative agriculture
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
Table of Contents:
USDA, EPA Plan Would Clean Up Animal Feeding Operations, p. 1
Hog Farming on the Ballot Next Month in Colorado and S.D., p. 2
Wallace Board Meets in Iowa, Names President's Council, p. 2
Resources, p. 3
Organic Acres Increasing in Iowa, p. 4
Genetically Engineered Plants Backfire, p. 4
Annual Thompson Farm Report Details Research, p. 4
Organic Standards Board to Meet This Month, p. 4
Position, p. 5
Upcoming Events, p. 5
USDA, EPA PLAN WOULD CLEAN UP ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS
The USDA and EPA last month announced a draft voluntary and
regulatory strategy to reduce the pollution from animal feeding
operations. The draft strategy's goal is for all animal feeding
operations to develop and implement comprehensive nutrient management
plans by the year 2008. These plans would include manure handling and
storage, application of manure to the land, record-keeping, feed
management, integration with other conservation measures, and other
manure utilization options. Of the country's 450,000 animal feeding
operations, about 6,600 are large operations with more than 1,000
animals, called concentrated animal feeding operations. The regulatory
part of the plan intends to focus its permitting and enforcement
activities on these large operations.
An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 livestock operations will be
required to develop comprehensive nutrient management plans as part of
permits under the Clean Water Act; the other operations will be
encouraged to implement voluntary plans. EPA and the states will expand
their efforts to ensure that all permits include comprehensive management
requirements, including land application conditions, and will revise
regulations by December, 2001. In addition, EPA will revise national
environmental guidelines to limit discharge from poultry and swine
facilities by December, 2001, and national guidelines for cattle and
dairy facilities by 2002.
The draft strategy contains "significant flaws," according to
Martha Noble of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, including:
There is no moratorium on construction of large-scale animal
feeding operations while USDA and EPA revise their standards and regulations.
The strategy places the entire financial burden of dealing with
animal feeding operations on taxpayers and individual growers.
The strategy ignores sustainable, non-confined livestock
production systems as an alternative to concentrated, confined animal
USDA and EPA will be accepting public comments on the draft
strategy until mid-January. They should be addressed to Denise C.
Coleman, Program Analyst, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service,
P.O. Box 2890, ATTENTION AFO, Washington, D.C. 20013-2890.
The draft strategy is available on the Internet at
HOG FARMING ON THE BALLOT NEXT MONTH IN COLORADO AND S.D.
Voters in Colorado and South Dakota will decide on ballot
initiatives restricting large commercial hog facilities when they go to
the polls on Election Day, November 3. In Colorado, Initiative 113 would
further regulate the construction and operation of large commercial hog
feeding facilities, and the disposal of manure and wastewater to minimize
odor and water pollution. It would also require the facilities to
monitor water quality and pay a permit fee to help reduce the costs of
enforcing water quality laws. In South Dakota, a proposed Constitutional
Amendment would prevent concentrated animal feeding operations from
acquiring or otherwise obtaining an interest in any land used for farming
in the state. An organization called "Vote Yes For the Future of Family
Farms" sponsored the initiative, which the group says will protect family
WALLACE BOARD MEETS IN IOWA, NAMES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL
The Wallace Institute's Board of Directors held its mid-year
meeting in Ames, Iowa, on September 10-12, when members attended the Dick
and Sharon Thompson Annual Field Day and Farm Tour in Boone, Iowa. They
also toured a Murphy Family Farms hog facility, and the Optimum Quality
Grains operation in Des Moines, which is a joint venture of Pioneer
Hi-Bred International, Inc., and the DuPont Co.; that evening, the board
attended a reception sponsored by the College of Agriculture at Iowa
State University and the North Central Regional Center for Rural
Development. Most of the board meeting was devoted to reviewing a
proposed long-range plan to guide the Institute for the next 5 to10
years. Following the meeting, the board attended a dinner at the Wallace
House in Des Moines.
Institute President Dr. Cornelia Flora has announced the members
of the 1998-1999 President's Council, formed eight 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; 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, President, The Sampson
Group, Inc.; 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.
"Natural Enemies Handbook" is $35 from University of California,
DANR Communications Services-Publications, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland,
CA 94608; 1-800-994-8849.
"Statistical Review of California's Organic Agriculture,
1992-1995" is $18 from Agricultural Issues Center, One Shields Ave.,
University of California, Davis, CA 95616; (530) 752-2320.
"Women in Agriculture and Rural Life: An International
Bibliography" is available from USDA's Alternative Farming Systems
Information Center, National Agricultural Library, Room 304, 10301
Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705; (301) 504-6559; e-mail
"Whole Farm Planning: Combining Family, Profit and Environment"
is $2.50 from University of Minnesota Extension Service, 1-800-876-8636.
"Sharing the Responsibility: What Agricultural Landowners Think
About Property Rights, Goverment Regulation and the Environment" is
available from American Farmland Trust, 1920 N St., NW, #400, Washington,
D.C. 20036; (202) 659-5170.
Sustainable Agriculture Source Lists are available free from
North Central Region SARE, 13A Activities Bldg., University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68583; (402) 472-7081; e-mail email@example.com; on the
ORGANIC ACRES INCREASING IN IOWA
Iowa's organic farming acres have increased from less than 10,000
in 1993 to more than 62,000 in 1997, according to an article in Wallaces
Farmer (September, 1998). "The acreage of organically-produced crops in
Iowa is increasing, as consumers are demanding more organic food and
closer connections to local food systems," the article concludes. Only
half of one percent of the organic crops are horticultural crops; the
majority of organic acreage is in corn, soybeans, small grains, and
forage. The value of the organic crops is more than $22 million a year,
with organic soybeans and soybean products accounting for $15.5 million.
Responding to the increase in organic acres, the Iowa Legislature this
past spring passed a bill providing funding for an organic certification
program. Currently, six private certification operations handle that
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED PLANTS BACKFIRE
Genetically engineered plants are backfiring, helping weeds and
killing beneficial insects, according to an article in The Washington
Post (September 21, 1998). In the September 3 issue of Nature,
researchers described "their shocking discovery that mustard plants
engineered to be tolerant of a DuPont Co. weedkiller passed their fancy
genes to nearby wild mustard plants." Another scientist found that
"weeds that are pollinated by engineered plants can pass those new genes
to their offspring for generations. With additional pollinations from
other engineered varieties, that could lead to the creation of weeds
resistant to multiple herbicides," reported the article. Beneficial
insects such as ladybug beetles and lacewings may also be inadvertently
harmed by Bt when they feed on insects that have fed on Bt plants,
according to several studies. "In some cases, mortality rates for these
insect predators were about double those seen in predators raised on
ANNUAL THOMPSON FARM REPORT DETAILS RESEARCH
"Alternatives in Agriculture," the 1998 annual report just
published by Thompson On-Farm Research, details the research conducted by
Dick and Sharon Thompson on their farm in Boone, Iowa. The new report
updates all previous reports, and includes major changes in fertility,
economics, and livestock research. The introductory chapter describes
the "Inspiration, Documentation and Education" for the Thompsons' new
ideas. Descriptive chapters cover Fertility, Cover Crops, Alternative
Weed Management, Rotation of Crops and Tillage, Water Quality and Soil
Health, Economics, Livestock, and Farming Systems and the Viability of
Rural Communities. Detailed tables accompany each chapter. The
publication of the report and the 1998 research work is made possible by
the financial support of Mrs. Jean Wallace Douglas through the Wallace
Institute. The report is available for $10 from Thompson On-Farm
Research, 2035 190th St., Boone, IA 50036-7423; (515) 432-1560.
ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD TO MEET THIS MONTH
The National Organic Standards Board will meet in Washington,
D.C., October 27-29, with October 27 reserved for public comment. The
Board has asked the USDA to develop "current thinking" papers on various
aspects of the next proposed National Organic Standards rule and make
them available to the public at the meeting. According to the Board,
these papers would give the public an idea of the USDA's direction and
encourage public feedback.
Organic Materials Review Institute seeks members for its Advisory
Council; for information, contact Kathleen Downey, Executive Director,
OMRI, Box 11558, Eugene, OR 97440; (541) 343-7600; fax (541) 343-8971.
October 27-28, Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Workshop will be held in
Fair Oaks, CA; contact Collective Heritage Institute, Sante Fe, NM,
toll-free 1-877-246-6337; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
October 30-November 1, "Biodynamics at Work" will be held in
Penticton, British Columbia, Canada; contact Bio-Dynamic Farming and
Gardening Association, P.O. Box 29135, San Francisco, CA 94129;
November 5-7, "Food: Nature and Culture" will be held in New York
City; contact the New School for Social Research, (212) 229-2488; e-mail
November 6-8, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 13th
Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference will be held in Clemson, SC;
contact Alyx Perry, CFSA, (919) 542-2402.
November 6-7, National Small Farm Trade Show & Conference will be
held in Columbia, MO; contact Small Farm Today, 1-800-633-2535.
November 8, "New Crops & New Uses: Biodiversity & Agricultural
Sustainability" will be held in Phoenix, AZ; contact David Dierig,
Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops, (602) 379-4356 ext.
265; e-mail email@example.com
November 9-11, "The Science of Managing Forests to Sustain Water
Resources" will be held in Sturbridge, MA; contact Mike Whalen,
Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, 463 West St., Amherst, MA 01002; (413) 256-1607;
November 13, in Shelocta, PA, and November 24, in Creamery, PA,
"Passing on the Farm" workshop will be held; contact Pennsylvania Farm
Link, Inc., Point Shopping Center, #205, Harrisburg, PA 17111; (717)
558-7726; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
November 13-14, "Celebrating 75 Years of Service to Rural America
and the Church" will be held in Des Moines, IA; contact National Catholic
Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310; (515)
270-2634; e-mail email@example.com
November 15-19, "Beyond Growth: Policies and Institutions for
Sustainability" will be held in Santiago, Chile; contact International
Society for Ecological Economics, phone 56-2-6782308, e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org; on the Internet,
November 16-17, "Celebrate Wildlife," the Wildlife Habitat
Council's 10th Annual Symposium, will be held in Bethesda, MD; contact
WHC, 1010 Wayne Ave., #920, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 588-8994;
November 16-19, 12th International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movements' Scientific Conference will be held in Mar del
Plata, Argentina; contact IFOAM, phone 49-6853-30110; e-mail
IFOAM@T-online.de; on the Internet, http://ecoweb.dk/ifoam
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