The Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (CSAS) in the Institute of
Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is an interdisciplinary center formed in 1991 for the
purpose of bringing together people and resources to promote an agriculture
that is efficient, competitive, profitable, environmentally and socially
sustainable for the indefinite future. The electronic version of this
bimonthly newsletter is sent to SANET and PENPages 10-14 days before those
on our mailing list receive their hard copy. The newsletters are also
available along with other sustainable ag information on our World Wide Web
Note: The electronic version is not sent to individual e-mail addresses. To
be added to the "hard copy" newsletter mailing list beginning with the next
bimonthly issue (not sent to overseas addresses), or for questions or
comments, contact the newsletter editor, Pam Murray, Coordinator, Center for
Sustainable Agricultural Systems, PO Box 830949, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68583-0949, 402-472-2056, fax -4104, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments about the content or usefulness of this
newsletter are always welcome.
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GRANTS TO TEACH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
HIGHLIGHTS OF UPCOMING BOOK: UNDER THE BLADE
WATERSHED INFORMATION FLOWS ALONG THE INTERNET
NORDIC AGROECOLOGY PROGRAM BEGINS AUGUST 1999
SPRING CSAS SEMINAR SERIES: RE-INTEGRATING AGRICULTURE
AND COMMUNITY IN THE MIDWEST
TWO ON-FARM ASSESSMENT TOOLS
BEEF HOME STUDY COURSES BEGIN FIFTH YEAR
DID YOU KNOW...
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GRANTS TO TEACH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
To help provide Extension and NRCS professionals with knowledge they need to
assist their clients, the North Central Region (NCR) Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE) program is calling for grant proposals from
experienced educators. Funds will be dispersed through NCR SARE's
Professional Development Program (PDP). Nearly $500,000 will be available
for one- to two-year grants. Individual grants have generally ranged from
$10,000 to $80,000 each.
Priority areas for the 1999 grant portfolio are: marketing and value-added
processing, farming and ranching systems-level education, economics of
sustainable agriculture, sustainable weed and pest management, measuring
soil quality and soil health, and emerging issues.
Applications are available Dec. 4, 1998, and proposals are due Feb. 12,
1999. Applicants must reside in the 12-state North Central region. For
applications, contact: NCR SARE Office, University of Nebraska, 13A
Activities Bldg., Lincoln, NE 68583-0840, 402-472-7081,
email@example.com. The PDP Call for Proposals will also be available at
the NCR SARE Web site, www.sare.org/ncrsare, on Dec. 4.
HIGHLIGHTS OF UPCOMING BOOK: UNDER THE BLADE
[This is the fourth in a series of articles that highlight information in a
book titled Under the Blade: The Conversion of Agricultural Landscapes.
Information in this article is from a chapter by T.A. Lyson, C.C. Geisler,
and C. Schlough. Lyson and Geisler are faculty in the Department of Rural
Sociology at Cornell University, and Schlough is an agriculture planning
associate with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Additional authors who
contributed chapters in the book are from universities around the country.
The book is co-edited by Richard Olson, University of Nebraska and Tom
Lyson, Cornell University. For more information, contact Richard Olson at
the CSAS office, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To order the book,
see the References section of this newsletter.]
Preserving Community Agriculture in a Global Economy
Agriculture is far more than just farmland. It is a complex socio-economic
system in which the input and marketing sectors have become as or more
important than the production sector. Neil Hamilton of Drake University
writes that "Another way of looking at the structure of agriculture is to
consider who will control agriculture – who will own the land, perform the
labor, market the food, and profit from agriculture?"
The structure of agriculture in the U.S. has changed significantly in the
past half-century – part of a process of industrialization and globalization
that is altering the agricultural landscape. These structural changes have
important implications for how land is treated, including the likelihood of
its conversion to non-agricultural uses.
Agriculture since 1950 has been characterized by large decreases in the
number of farms and farmers, and a corresponding increase in average farm
size (Table 1). Smaller, family-labor farms have declined substantially in
number as larger, increasingly industrial-like operations have become the
primary source of food and other agricultural products. The largest 9% of
U.S. farms control two-thirds of all farmland, and in terms of gross sales,
approximately 90% of U.S. agricultural output is produced by only 522,000
farms. Among the 271 million U.S. residents, there are only about three
million private owners of agricultural land.
Table 1. Structural changes in U.S. agriculture since 1950.
Characteristic 1950 1982 1992
Number of farms 5,388,000 2,240,976 1,925,300
Average farm size (acres) 216 440 491
Farm population 23,048,000 5,620,000 4,632,000*
Farm population as percent of U.S. total 15.3 2.4 1.9
*Farm population data from 1991.
One reason for the reduction in the number of farms is the decline in the
farm sector's share of total agricultural economic activity from 21% in 1910
to less than 5% today, with the remainder controlled by the marketing and
inputs sectors. Farms consolidate to capture enough of the shrinking farm
share to remain viable.
A trend toward consolidation is also evident in the inputs and marketing
sectors. The top 10 agrochemical companies accounted for 82% of global
agrochemical sales in 1996, while the top 10 seed companies control about
40% of the global seed market. Four companies control 80% of the U.S. farm
machinery market. Three packers control the slaughter of more than 80% of
the beef in the U.S., and two companies control 50% of U.S. grain exports.
Six multinational corporations account for more than 46% of the retail
purchases of food in the U.S.
The globalization of the economy and the increase in the power of
multinational corporations have been accelerated by the adoption of world
and regional trade agreements that limit the power of national, state or
local governments to impose restrictions on commercial activities. As stated
in The Wall Street Journal, GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)
"represents another stake in the heart of the idea that governments can
direct economies. The main purpose of GATT is to get governments out of the
way so that companies can cross jurisdictions (i.e., national boundaries)
with relative ease." Under international trade rules, efforts to promote
local agriculture can be challenged as unfair government intrusion in food
Implications for farmland conversion
The United States is both the world's largest food exporter and importer. In
the global industrial food system, U.S. corporations have no need to protect
specific pieces of farmland from development – production is simply moved
elsewhere. When food travels an average of 1300 miles from field to table,
consumers see little reason to protect local farmland. When farmers can't
make a decent living, selling to a developer is very attractive.
As communities lose local farmland, they also lose the possibility of a
local food system with its economic and social benefits and enhanced food
security. Relocalizing the food system both requires, and is necessary for,
the preservation of farmland. In a local food system, land that might
otherwise be taken out of farming because it cannot profitably produce for
the global marketplace can be kept in production because it serves the needs
and tastes of local consumers. Farmland is transformed from simply a
"substitutable" factor of production in a global food economy to an integral
part of the local community.
WATERSHED INFORMATION FLOWS ALONG THE INTERNET
This past summer the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Training Project
co-sponsored three workshops titled Facing a Watershed: Managing Profitable
and Sustainable Landscapes in the 21st Century. The watershed theme
reflected a primary interest of midwestern educators. Everyone lives in a
watershed, and watershed boundaries define natural management units for
hydrological, water quality, and other environmental issues.
Each workshop watershed in Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa were influenced by a
different combination of land use pressures – urbanization, tourism, and
large-scale row cropping. Facing a Watershed highlighted interactive and
hands-on exercises tailored to regional problems. Participants went home
with skills and materials they could use in local planning efforts. For
educators unable to attend the workshops, the following synopses will
provide an introduction to some of the resources most highly rated by
Severe flooding in the late 1990s and concern about the impacts of
urbanization prompted formation of the Blackberry Creek Watershed Committee
near St. Charles, Illinois. This committee is a consortium of
representatives from local and county governments, environmental and
agricultural organizations, and private landowners. The Blackberry Creek
Watershed Management Plan defines the existing and future needs of the
watershed and identifies a set of actions to address those needs. For
example, objectives for improving water quality include restoring wetlands,
retrofitting stormwater facilities, and reducing agricultural runoff.
Contact: John Church, Rockford Extension Center, 815-397-7714,
The Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative was created in 1992 to mitigate
the effects of being one of Michigan's favorite tourist destinations. The
initiative is the collective work of 105 partners who conduct programs, such
as a watershed festival to educate the community and Water Watch, a
student-run water quality monitoring project. Every two years partners renew
their Partnership Agreement to provide technical and financial assistance.
The Agreement is a concise document that unifies diverse groups around a
common cause. Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative contact: Chris Wright,
director, 616-935-1514, email@example.com. Partnership Agreement contact:
Jim Haveman, Conservation Resource Alliance, 616-946-6817.
Restoration efforts in the Bear Creek Watershed near Ames were begun in 1990
by the Agroecology Issue Team of the Leopold Center for Sustainable
Agriculture and the Iowa State University Agroforestry Research Team.
Watershed residents and landowners were surveyed at that time for their
input. The focus of the work is the development and establishment of a
riparian management system and evaluation of the system's effectiveness in
reducing nonpoint source pollution. The four components of the system are a
multispecies riparian buffer strip, streambank stabilization, constructed
wetlands, and rotational grazing systems. Contact: Tom Isenhart, Department
of Forestry, 515-294-8056, firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the only national, private, nonprofit
organization dedicated to protecting agricultural resources. The heart of
AFT's work is saving U.S. farmlands, which are essential to the optimal
functioning of watersheds. Well managed agricultural land produces food and
fiber, protects soil and water quality, reduces flooding, offers
recreational opportunities, and contributes to state and local economies.
AFT's activities include public education and technical assistance, policy
research and development, and individual protection projects. Contact:
The Conservation Technology Information Center offers a large selection of
watershed management materials in its catalog, including videos, guides,
directories, maps, and kits. For example, the Managing Conflict Guide
explains the nature and sources of conflict, assessment, and a three-stage
process for resolving conflict. The Walk Your Watershed Festival Organizing
Kit outlines practical steps of getting started, choosing activities,
finding volunteers, and securing financial support. Contact: 765-494-9555,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its new Index of
Watershed Indicators program that provides information on 15 indicators of
watershed health. For access to the data, go to http://www.epa.gov/surf/IWI.
Specific watersheds can be called up by entering a zip code or the name of a
city, and the site also contains detailed maps. The EPA Office of Water:
Watershed Protection is another valuable site at http://epa.gov/owow/watershed/.
Decision cases tell a true story of a problem or dilemma that has no single
right answer. The teaching method involves participants as active decision
makers and encourages collaboration. The Clearinghouse for Decision Case
Education distributes decision case materials and updates directories of
teaching aids and other relevant resources. The clearinghouse is focused on
decision cases developed for the areas of agriculture, food, natural
resources, and the environment. The Web site is http://www.decisioncase.edu.
For more information, contact Heidi Carter in the CSAS office,
Submitted by Heidi Carter and Richard Olson
NORDIC AGROECOLOGY PROGRAM BEGINS AUGUST 1999
Future farming and food systems need people with broad knowledge and skills
in managing complexity and change as well as communicating with the public.
To meet this need, a new master of science program to begin in August 1999
in Norway will feature systems approaches to learn how natural resources,
people, and science are brought together to design and implement sustainable
food systems for a growing population. Concerns are global, but applications
are local and specific to needs and resources in each location.
This program in Agroecology in Scandinavia bridges ecology and agriculture,
and provides a foundation for developing ecological agriculture and food
systems, more often known as organic agriculture in the U.S. Although many
examples are taken from ecological systems, the program is designed for all
students who want to take a systems approach to study and research in food
systems. The curriculum includes flexibility and access to many courses from
traditional departments. As the promotional brochure states, the program is
for students "who will take responsibility for their education, who seek
challenges and relevance."
Study objectives for the program include learning:
• how ecology relates to agriculture
• systems thinking for complex problems
• farming and food system plans from farm to consumer
• emergent properties of systems
• communication skills and practicing them
• how to integrate natural and social science approaches
Students will learn through practical, real-world case studies, with much of
the education happening outside the classroom. In addition to individualized
advising, course planning and lecture-discussions with faculty, students
will learn from farmers, processors, government officials and consumers who
are active in the food system. Focus is on team skills and multidisciplinary
The two-year program includes an introductory summer orientation in
classroom and field, identifying practical constraints in the system and
building context for learning. An intensive, full-time thematic semester
includes 16 weeks or modules on ecology in agriculture, systems research
methods, nutrient and energy flow, systems interactions and emergent
properties, whole farm evaluations, farms in the landscape and community,
value added on farm and in local places, economic and environmental impact
analysis, and communications. Students then take two semesters of courses
from the current curriculum, including ecological agriculture. A summer
field experience provides practical applications of courses and helps them
define a thesis topic. The MSc thesis is developed and finalized during the
final semester, and presented at an international symposium in June of the
second year. Students can also take the thematic semester as a stand-alone
The Agroecology MSc is organized under the banner of the Nordic Forestry,
Veterinary, and Agricultural University (NOVA). The courses and curriculum
will be administered by the faculty of the Agricultural University of Norway
(NLH). Also participating are the agricultural universities in Denmark,
Finland, Sweden and Iceland, and students will come from these Nordic
countries, from the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and
from outside the region. The course is in English. For students from the
U.S., there is no additional charge for tuition and fees if there is a
cooperative agreement between their university and NLH (check with your
international student office). There are places for 40 students to begin
For more information on the course and application procedure, please consult
one of these Web sites:
Submitted by Charles Francis (permanent CSAS director on professional
development leave) and Geir Lieblein, NLH, Norway
SPRING CSAS SEMINAR SERIES: RE-INTEGRATING AGRICULTURE AND COMMUNITY IN THE
The CSAS, the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education program, and eight other entities are co-sponsoring a seminar
series designed to explore alternatives to the ongoing loss of small farms
and the increasing globalization and industrialization of the U.S. food
system. The just-concluded Fall series showcased several successful small
farming operations. The theme for the Spring series is "Re-integrating
Agriculture and Community in the Midwest."
U.S. agriculture is undergoing a massive restructuring (see Under the Blade
article) that threatens not only the livelihood of most farmers, but also
the economic vitality of many rural communities, and the food security of
all Americans. Under this restructuring, money is drained from local
economies to purchase highly-processed foods, local employment suffers, and
local farmland is lost as farmers growing bulk commodities for sale in
international markets cannot earn a profit.
The Spring seminar series looks at ways to increase local food security and
keep more of the food dollar within the local community. Speakers from
throughout the Midwest will describe their successes in fostering local
production, processing, and marketing, and in strengthening the ties between
farmers and consumers.
Videotapes of each presentation in the Fall and Spring seminar series are
available from IANR Communications and Information Technology, Electronic
Media, ACB 207, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0918,
402-472-3035. The cost for each video is $10 to purchase, $5 to rent. Videos
also may be viewed in or checked out in person from the CSAS office at no
charge. For a list of topics and speakers for the Fall series, see
http://ianrwww.unl.edu/ianr/csas/majorSEM.htm, or contact the CSAS office.
The Web page also has abstracts of all seminars as they become available. At
the conclusion of the seminars, series organizer Richard Olson will edit a
report containing information from all seminars. For more information,
contact Olson at the CSAS office, email@example.com.
Co-sponsors of the series are: the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural
Resources (Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Food Processing
Center, Center for Rural Community Revitalization and Development,
Departments of Nutritional Science and Dietetics, Agricultural Economics,
and Agronomy); USDA (National Agroforestry Center, Natural Resources
Conservation Service); and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.
Series schedule (all seminars are at 3:00 in the UNL East Campus Union):
12 Jan, Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin – "Localizing the food
system: Myths and realities"
19 Jan, Kate Brown , Omaha City Sprouts – "Urban gardening"
26 Jan, Billene Nemec, Lincoln Farmers' Market – "From hobby to hope:
Lincoln's Haymarket Farmers' Market"
2 Feb, Michael Pressman, 1000 Friends of Minnesota – "Community strategies
for preserving farms and farmland"
9 Feb, Molly Bartlett, Silver Creek Farm (OH) – "Community supported
16 Feb, Kamyar Enshayan, U. Northern Iowa – "A tale of two chickens:
Economic results of our food choices"
23 Feb, Diana Endicott, Rainbow Organic Farms (KS) – "Producer cooperatives"
2 Mar, Neil Hamilton, Drake U. Law School – "Resources and regulations for
local food systems"
9 Mar, Jill Gifford & Steve Wang, UNL Food Processing Center – "Developing
an infrastructure for local processing of agricultural products"
23 Mar, Robert Karp, Field to Family Project (IA) – "Growing the three
sisters: Community organizing and local food systems"
TWO ON-FARM ASSESSMENT TOOLS
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy is working to reduce the
environmental impacts of agriculture and improve water quality through the
voluntary adoption of on-farm assessment and decision tools.
Pesticide Decision Tool (PDT) facilitates the adoption of environmental
impact assessment in the selection and management of pesticides in arable
crop production. The approach is to integrate environmental criteria with
non-environmental decision factors such as production cost, persistence
(carry over) ratings, and resistance risk ratings. Qualitative categories of
high, intermediate and low for each soil type and pesticide active
ingredient indicate the relative likelihood that a pesticide will leave the
site of application via runoff or move down through the soil below the root
zone. Three modes of water contamination are considered: groundwater
contamination via leaching; surface water contamination via dissolved
pesticides, and via pesticides adsorbed to soil particles. A project
description is available at:
http://www.iatp.org/enviroag/pesticidesummary.htm. IATP is seeking
participants, collaborators, and sponsoring organizations for field
implementation and technical review and improvement in 1999. Efforts will
concentrate on corn and soybeans in the Midwest, but other crops and regions
will be considered.
Nutrient Management Yardstick is a system that tracks nutrients entering and
leaving a farm. See http://www.iatp.org/enviroag/yardsticksummary.htm.
For additional information, contact John Vickery, Institute for Agriculture
and Trade Policy, 2105 First Ave., S., Minneapolis, MN 55404-2505,
BEEF HOME STUDY COURSES BEGIN FIFTH YEAR
The Beef Basics home study courses will again be offered across Nebraska
this year. These courses are designed to assist beef producers and farm and
ranch managers in making management decisions for improving profitability.
Topics address reproduction, genetics, selection, nutrition, health, and
forage utilization at a basic level. Over 4000 producers from 40 states have
participated in Beef Basics courses. Last year's producers estimated that
they would save over $16 per cow using the management and production ideas
presented in the home study courses. For more information, contact Bud
Stolzenburg, 800-657-2188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or see
http://www.ianr.unl.edu/beefbasics/index.htm (where you can enroll
Under the Blade: The Conversion of Agricultural Landscapes. $25. This new
(December 1998) book edited by Richard Olson (U. of Nebraska) and Thomas
Lyson (Cornell U.) examines the patterns, causes and consequences of current
land use decisions in the U.S. It examines farmland loss from several
perspectives, and then integrates the results into policy recommendations
(see related article in this newsletter). Westview Press, 5500 Central Ave.,
Boulder, CO 80301-2877, 303-444-3541. To order a $5 course examination copy,
A Guide to USDA and Other Federal Resources for Sustainable Agriculture and
Forestry Enterprises. Free. Features information on federal programs that
spearhead innovations in agriculture and forestry. Addresses resources in
value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry, sustainable land
management and community development. Written for farmers and ranchers,
entrepreneurs, community developers and conservationists. North Central
Region SARE Office, 402-472-7081, email@example.com,
Alternatives in Agriculture. $10. The 1998 annual report of research on the
Thompson farm in Iowa updates all previous reports, and includes major
changes in fertility, economics, and livestock research. 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. Thompson On-Farm Research,
2035 190th St., Boone, IA 50036-7423, 515-432-1560.
Two new reports published by the Wallace Institute examine soil quality's
contribution to environmental health, and industrialization in U.S. rural
communities. From the Ground Up: Exploring Soil Quality's Contribution to
Environmental Health, by Edward Jaenicke of the University of Tennessee,
investigates the current state of scientific knowledge on soil quality and
points out research gaps that must be filled before soil policy can target
potential social benefits. Agricultural Industrialization in the American
Countryside, by Emery Castle of Oregon State University, offers an approach
for rural communities as they face conflicts resulting from the spread of
industrialization, particularly large confined animal feeding facilities.
The reports are $10 each from the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; 301-441-8777. Also available at
Contact CSAS office for more information.
Jan. 8-9 – Great Plains Regional Vegetable Conference, St. Jo, MO
Jan. 11 – Organic Crop Training, Hastings, NE
Jan. 19 – Organic Crop Training, Tecumseh, NE
Jan. 21-22 -- Farm Marketing into the Next Millenium - joint conference of
the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association and the Great Lakes
Vegetable Growers Convention, Grand Rapids, MI
Feb. 5-6 – Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society's Annual Winter
Conference, Bismarck, ND
Feb. 17 – Leopold Center conference, Swine System Options, Ames, IA
Feb. 23-25 – Advanced Organic-Biodynamic Vegetable Production Workshop, St.
Feb. 26-27 – US EPA/U. of Michigan Workshop: A Life Cycle Approach to
Sustainable Agriculture Indicators, Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 27 – Annual Meeting of Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society,
Aurora, NE, http://www.netins.net/showcase/nsas/
Mar. 8-10 – International Conference on Emerging Technologies for Integrated
Pest Management: Concepts, Research, and Implementation, Raleigh, NC,
June 12-16 – 6th Conference on Agroforestry in North America: Sustainable
Land-Use Management for the 21st Century, Hot Springs, AR,
June 14-16 – XXVIII International Congress Work Sciences in Sustainable
Agriculture, Horsens, Denmark
Oct. 12-15 – Second National Small Farm Conference: Building Partnerships
for the 21st Century, St. Louis, MO
For additional events, see:
DID YOU KNOW...
USDA announced in October that it is creating a Council on Small Farms and a
new office at USDA that will deal specifically with small farm issues. The
effort will be headed by Adela Backiel, currently Director of Sustainable
Claiming that it "has produced absolutely nothing"' to reduce the health
risks of pesticides for children, The Environmental Working Group resigned
on 10/27/98 from a White House panel studying how to phase out use of toxic
pesticides. Consumers Union and several other groups represented on the
panel said they may also resign in protest or sue the agency. The panel,
made up of farmers, chemical companies, physicians and green groups, was
appointed by Vice President Gore last spring after farm and industry groups
complained that the EPA was moving too quickly to ban powerful pesticides
that have been linked to health problems.
Pollution and other environmental factors cause 40% of deaths worldwide and
climate change will make matters worse, Cornell University scientists found
in a study released 9/30/98. After studying population trends, climate
change, increasing pollution levels and emerging diseases, 11 graduate
student researchers led by Cornell ecology professor David Pimentel
concluded that increased temperatures caused by global climate change will
further encourage growth of human diseases and prod development of new
illnesses. They predicted millions of people would become "environmental
refugees," fleeing their homes in a desperate search for food.
Humans have destroyed more than 30% of the natural world since 1970,
according to a report
published on 10/1/98. The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) gave details of
its Living Planet Index (LPI), which analyzes the deterioration of the
world's forest, freshwater and marine ecosystems between 1970 and 1995. The
decline of natural wealth is blamed on over-consumption by the
Despite an increase in the U.S. population of about 40 million people
between 1980 and 1995, a
new government report shows Americans are using 10% less water. Reasons for
the decrease include conservation programs, improved irrigation techniques,
and efficient industrial use.
World Food Day was observed on October 16 in 150 countries with the theme
"Women Feed the World," stressing women's key role in food production and
appealing for equality between women and men.
A last-minute rider added to the omnibus appropriations bill passed in
October delays the methyl bromide ban, originally scheduled for 2001, until
Claiming that an estimated 1 million American children living on or near
farms are "awash in pesticides" from contamination of the air, drinking
water, house dust and even work clothing worn by their parents in the
fields, the Natural Resources Defense Council, along with more than 50 other
groups, signed a petition in October asking the EPA to designate farm
children as a special group needing protection. Pesticides have been linked
to higher rates of brain cancer, leukemia, learning disabilities and other
disorders, according to the American Public Health Association. The
chemicals pose a greater risk to children than adults because of a child's
developing nervous system and body.
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