January, 1994, Issue
***NEW PRACTICES NEEDED TO PROTECT SOIL AND WATER, SAYS ACADEMY
***CONGRESS URGED TO INCLUDE GROUNDWATER PROTECTION IN CLEAN
***ORGANIC NITROGEN SOURCES MAY HELP SWEETPOTATOES
***USDA SPELLS OUT PESTICIDE REDUCTION, IPM GOALS
NEW PRACTICES NEEDED TO PROTECT SOIL AND WATER, SAYS ACADEMY
New agricultural practices that both protect the environment
and help farm productivity are needed to address the nation's
soil and water problems, concludes a report released recently by
the National Research Council-National Academy of Sciences' Board
on Agriculture. Protecting soil quality "should be a fundamental
environmental goal for the nation, with increased attention to
the prevention of surface and groundwater pollution through more
effective use of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation,"
according to the Board. The report recommended four interrelated
strategies for a national policy to prevent soil and water
problems while sustaining farm profits:
-- Broadening the approach to protecting soil quality.
"Soil is a living, dynamic substance that acts as the interface
between agriculture and the environment," the report says.
-- Increasing efficiency in the use of fertilizers,
pesticides, and irrigation methods. "New programs are needed that
reduce the amount of those potential pollutants produced as a by-
product of farming," according to the Board's report.
-- Reducing farm erosion and runoff. "Many different
conservation systems such as reduced tillage, crop rotation, and
use of cover crops have proven potential to reduce erosion and
runoff," the Board said.
-- Creating and protecting "buffer zones," which "can help
intercept or immobilize pollutants and reduce runoff," the Board
In addition, voluntary approaches to improve soil and water
quality "need to incorporate modern market-based incentives and
enlist support from the private sector -- including seed,
chemical, and equipment manufacturers -- to improve farming
practices," according to the report. Involuntary approaches
might be needed in areas where environmental problems are severe
and where farm owners and managers are "unacceptably slow" in
implementing improved farming techniques, it added. "Best
management practices" recommended to farmers by public agencies
need to be integrated into comprehensive farming plans, and
"implementation of such a plan, rather than adoption of a single
isolated practice, should be the basis on which farmers receive
technical or financial assistance or are judged to meet the
requirements of regulatory programs," the Board concluded.
Soil and Water Quality: An Agenda for Agriculture is $54.95
plus $4 shipping from the National Academy Press, 2101
Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20418; 1-800-624-6242.
CONGRESS URGED TO INCLUDE GROUNDWATER PROTECTION IN CLEAN WATER
Groundwater protection should be included as a goal of the
Clean Water Act, according to several organizations, including
the Wallace Institute, which have written to Members of Congress,
urging them to add provisions to protect groundwater in the Clean
Water Act when it is reauthorized. Pointing out that the Act
currently does not contain any such provisions, the groups said
that "simple revisions of existing portions of the Act can give
groundwater some of the same protections that are currently
provided to surface water." They recommended "important yet
modest changes" in the Act to protect groundwater, including a
national policy that recognizes the value of groundwater,
groundwater protection measures in new or revised EPA guidelines
for point source categories, and comprehensive nonpoint source
programs and watershed planning that address both surface water
ORGANIC NITROGEN SOURCES MAY HELP SWEETPOTATOES
The yield, quality, and nitrogen cycling in sweetpotatoes
using crimson clover as an organic source of nitrogen are being
evaluated in different soil types in the Southeast, with funding
from the SARE program. The project, which has planted six
locations in North Carolina and Alabama, is also evaluating the
effect of crimson clover as an organic nitrogen source on
nitrogen use efficiency of different sweetpotato genotypes, and
on sweetpotato and corn yield and quality in a two-year rotation
cycle when replacing all or part of the nitrogen applied from
The economic feasibility of using crimson clover as an
organic source of nitrogen for sweetpotato alone and in a two-
year rotation cycle with corn is also being evaluated by the
project. For more information, contact Wanda W. Collins, Project
Coordinator, Vegetable Breeder, 210 Kilgore Hall, Department of
Horticultural Science, Box 7609, Raleigh, N.C. 27695-7609; (919)
Prescott College seeks applicants for a new faculty position
in Agroecology and Sustainable Living; send letter of
application, statement of educational philosophy, vitae,
unofficial graduate transcripts, and names of three references to
Tricia Goffena, Assistant to the Dean of the RDP, Prescott
College, 220 Grove Avenue, Prescott, AZ 86301.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, seeks a
Director of the Center for Regenerative Studies; address
nominations or requests for application packages to Dr. William
Stine, Chair, CRS Director Search Committee, CSPU, 3801 W. Temple
Ave., Pomona, CA 91768; (909) 869-2597.
Grailville seeks person with organic gardening, greenhouse,
and marketing skills; send resume/expectations to Mary Lu
Lageman, 932 O'Bannonville Road, Loveland, OH 45140.
University of California, Davis, seeks an Assistant or
Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist for the Department of
Vegetable Crops; by March 15 send vitae, statement of interests,
official transcripts, reprints, and three references to Ronald E.
Voss, Search Committee Chair, Dept. of Vegetable Crops, UC Davis,
CA 95616; (916) 752-1249 or 752-1748.
Rodale Institute Research Center seeks an agronomy
technician with background in soils; contact Steve Peters/Lauri
Drinkwater, RIRC, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530;
(215) 683-1443 or 683-1437.
B Bar Ranch seeks a head gardener to start March 15 and an
assistant gardener to start in May; send resume and references to
B Bar Ranch, Box 670, Emigrant, MT 59027.
University of Maine, Orono, seeks a postdoctoral scientist -
weed ecology and management; by April 15 send letter,
transcripts, resume, publications, and three references to Dr.
Matt Liebman, Dept. of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences,
5722 Deering Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469; FAX:
Land Stewardship Project seeks to fill a postdoctoral
position in sustainable agriculture; contact Dr. Deborah Allen,
439 Borlaug Hall, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108;
Dayspring Church Farm seeks a person with organic farming
skills to manage a Community Supported Agriculture program;
contact the Farm, 11301 Neelsville Church Road, Germantown, MD
20876; (301) 428-0567.
USDA SPELLS OUT PESTICIDE REDUCTION, IPM GOALS
It is the Clinton Administration's "clear intention to
reduce farmers' use of higher risk pesticides," according to an
article in Agricultural Outlook, a monthly magazine published by
the USDA's Economic Research Service. "Toward a New Era of
Pesticide Regulation," by Fred Kuchler, Sarah Lynch, and
Katherine Ralston, says the proposed overhaul of pesticide laws
"includes promotion of pest control with fewer pesticides, gives
Federal regulators greater flexibility to modify pesticide use,
and provides incentives to develop reduced-risk methods of pest
control." The article acknowledges that the impact on producers
is "uncertain," but continues, "If nonpesticide or lower risk
pesticide substitutes are far along in the development pipeline,
a wide-scale transition from conventional production practices to
reduced-risk production practices could occur without significant
disruptions in the food supply."
To offset potential productivity decreases, the
Administration's proposal "suggests strong support for IPM."
Because IPM is characterized as an approach to pest control
rather than a particular set of techniques, broadly substituting
IPM for scheduled pesticide use will require developing many pest
management programs, each unique to specific locations, crops,
and pests. "While research on IPM and reducing pesticide use has
been proceeding for many years, only small portions of research
and extension budgets have been allocated to developing and
promoting IPM and other less chemical-intensive production
methods," according to the article. "Whether IPM could
substitute for current production methods is uncertain, and it
would likely require substantial reallocation of research and
ALTERNATIVE METHODS MOST PROFITABLE, KSU STUDY FINDS
Three of the four alternative cropping systems used by
farmers in northeast Kansas had higher profits than a
conventional system, according to a study recently released by
Kansas State University's Agricultural Experiment Station.
According to "An Economic Analysis of Conventional and
Alternative Cropping Systems for Northeast Kansas," the most
profitable cropping system was a wheat/clover-sorghum-soybean
rotation that used both herbicides and mechanical cultivation for
weed control. The second most profitable system was an organic
system with a corn-soybean-corn-soybean-alfalfa/oats-alfalfa-
alfalfa rotation. The report, by Penny Diebel, Richard Llewelyn,
and Jeff Williams of KSU, is available at no charge from
Distribution, Umberger Hall, KSU, Manhattan, KS 66506.
"Farm Policies and the Sustainability of Agriculture:
Rethinking the Connections," by Neill Schaller, and "Enhancing
Agricultural Sustainability Through Changes in Federal Commodity
Policy: Marginal Versus Radical Change," by Thomas L. Dobbs, the
Wallace Institute's Policy Studies Program Reports Nos. 1 and 2,
are $6 each from the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777.
"Feedback and Irrigation Efficiency," $6, and "Linking Water
and Energy Savings in Irrigation," $7, are available from Rocky
Mountain Institute, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road, Snowmass, CO 81654-
9199; (303) 927-3851.
"Organic Soil Conditioning: Humic, Fulvic and Microbial
Balance," 958 pages, is $149 from agAccess, P.O. Box 2008, Davis,
CA 95617, 1-800-235-7177.
"Forage Based Farming, Manure Handling, and Farm Composting"
is $5 from Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, W2493 County
Rd. ES, East Troy, WI 53120; (414) 642-3303.
"In Our Back Yard," by the Biotechnology Working Group, is
$5 from Minnesota Food Association, 2395 University Avenue, Room
309, St. Paul, MN 55114; (612) 644-2038.
Consortium for International Earth Science Information
Network seeks information on human dimensions of agriculture;
contact B. Rajasekaran, CIESIN, 2250 Pierce Road, Saginaw, MI
48710; (517) 790-2749.
February 1, Kossuth County Crop Clinic will be held at the
Methodist Church, Algona, IA; contact John Ley, Kossuth County
Extension Director, (515) 295-2469.
February 4-5, "Farming for the Future" will be held at the
Nittany Lion Inn, University Park, PA; contact Pennsylvania
Association for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 316, Millheim,
February 10-11, "When Conservation Reserve Program Contracts
Expire...The Policy Options" will be held in Arlington, VA;
contact Soil and Water Conservation Society, 7515 Northeast
Ankeny Road, Ankeny, IA 50021-9764; (515) 289-2331 or 1-800-THE
February 11, "Say Yes To No-till Down East" will be held in
Greenville, N.C.; contact Pitt Soil and Water Conservation
District, 403 Old Creek Road, Greenville, N.C. 27834, (919) 752-
February 12-13, "Exploring New Alternatives," the Indiana
Sustainable Agriculture Conference, will be held at Brown County
State Park, Nashville; contact Craig Dobbins, ISAA, Purdue
University, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, 1145 Krannert
Building, #640, West Lafayette, IN 47907; (317) 494-4271.
February 14-15, "Sustainable Agriculture: The Quiet
Revolution" will be held at the Earle Brown Center, University of
Minnesota, St. Paul campus; contact Donald P. Olson, (612) 625-
February 15-18, "Sustaining Environmental Quality: The
Erosion Control Challenge," the 25th Silver Anniversary
Conference of the International Erosion Control Association will
be held in Reno, NV; contact IECA, P.O. Box 4904, Steamboat
Springs, CO 80477-4904; (303) 879-3010.
February 18-19, Pacific Northwest Farming for Profit and
Stewardship Conference will be held in Portland, OR; contact John
Luna, Dept. of Horticulture, OSU, Corvallis, OR, (503) 737-5430,
or David Granatstein, CSANR, WSU Tree Fruit Station, 1100 NW
Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801; (509) 663-8181.
February 21-22, "Farming for Profit and Stewardship," the
8th Annual Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Conference, will be
held in Williamsburg, VA; contact the Conference, 10806 Trade
Road, Richmond, VA 23236-3036; (804) 379-2099.
February 26-27, "Making Connections," the Ohio Ecological
Food & Farm Association's 15th annual conference, will be held at
Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH; contact OEFFA Conference, 65
Plymouth St., Plymouth, OH 44865; (419) 687-7665.
March 1 is the deadline for papers for "Decision Support --
2001," the International Geographic Information and Resource
Technology Seminar to be held in Toronto September 12-16; contact
Terry Daniel, University of Arizona, Dept. of Psychology, Tucson,
AZ 85721; (602) 621-7453.
March 2-9, Ranching for Profit School will be held in
Kerrville, TX; contact Elaine Kelly, Ranch Management
Consultants, 7719 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107;
March 3-6, 1994 Annual Conference of the North American Deer
Farmers Association will be held in New Orleans; contact Barbara
Fox, NADeFA, (301) 459-7708.
March 4, Northeast Iowa Grazing Conference will be held at
Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmar; contact Connie Hvitved,
Continuing Education Coordinator, 1-800-728-2256, ext. 219.
March 4-5, 1994 Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference
will be held at Sinsinawa Mounds, near Dubuque, IA; contact Laura
Benson, UMOFC, P.O. Box 159, LaFarge, WI 54639; (608) 625-2602.
March 4-5, "Transitions" Farmers Conference will be held in
Auburn, N.Y.; contact Judy Green, Cornell University Farming Alternatives
Programs. (607) 255-4413