From: Michelle Thom <mthom>
Subject: Sustainable Ag Week - 1/14/93
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Date: Fri, 14 Jan 1994 13:25:43 -0800
From: Michelle Thom <mthom>
Subject: Sustainable Ag Week - 1/14/94
/* Written 12:26 pm Jan 14, 1994 by email@example.com in igc:susag.news */
/* ---------- "Sustainable Ag Week - 1/14/94" ---------- */
Sustainable Agriculture News Bulletin
Volume 3, Number 2
January 14, 1994
- CALIFORNIA WEAKENS METHYL BROMIDE REGULATION, ISRAEL
MOVES TO PHASE OUT
- MONSANTO SPONSORING CONFERENCES ON CROP RESIDUE
- GRAZING FEES RAISED -- SLIGHTLY
- MEVINPHOS WARRANTS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION -- EPA, CDC
- INDONESIA SAYS SMALLER QUOTAS WILL CURB DEFORESTATION
CALIFORNIA WEAKENS METHYL BROMIDE REGULATION,
ISRAEL MOVES TO PHASE OUT
The California Environmental Protection Agency last month weakened a
citizen's right-to-know regulation for the fumigant methyl bromide.
Under the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of
1986, otherwise known as Proposition 65, the state is required to
annually publish a list of chemicals known to cause birth defects, cancer
or reproductive toxicity. Methyl bromide, also a known ozone depleter,
was added to the list in 1993, which meant farmers who used the
chemical were supposed to let residents within a four mile radius know
when they were going to use the fumigant. On December 22, the state's
Environmental Protection Agency changed the rule so that notification
of methyl bromide use will only be necessary when it is used as a
structural fumigant. Notification will not be necessary when the
fumigant is used for agricultural production. "People have a right to
know. They want to know what is being used in their neighborhoods
and they are intelligent enough to know what's going on," said Gary
Karnes of the Central Coast Pesticide Coalition.
The Pesticide Action Network maintains that of the estimated 19 million
pounds of methyl bromide used in California in 1992, only 5% was for
structural fumigation purposes. The other 95% was used for
agricultural purposes, such as sterilizing soils for strawberry, grape and
almond tree planting.
Regardless of its use, environmental organizations believe that methyl
bromide is still responsible for health problems and that a distinction
can't be made between people exposed to it either by agricultural or
structural purposes. "The decision treats rural residents and
farmworkers as different classes of people. You can't say methyl
bromide is a reproductive toxin for one use and not for another," said
As a result of the action, five environmental organizations have filed a
lawsuit seeking an emergency injunction against California Governor
Pete Wilson to prevent methyl bromide from being removed from the
list. The organizations that filed the suit are California Rural Legal
Assistance, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO, the
Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
A hearing on the case is expected to take place today.
Meanwhile, the environmental group Greenpeace reports that the
government of Israel will consider phasing out methyl bromide. The
government-owned Dead Sea Bromine company is believed to produce
about 1/3 of the world's methyl bromide. Until recently, the Israeli
government had actively opposed the phase out of methyl bromide and
sent a two-person delegation, made up of executives from Dead Sea
Bromine, to meetings of the Montreal Protocol -- an international treaty
on ozone protection. Yossi Sarid, the Israeli environmental minister,
told Greenpeace that his agency would actively seek alternatives to the
chemical and that an official from the environment ministry would be
added to the Montreal Protocol delegation.
Source: "California Weakens 'Right to Know' on Methyl Bromide,"
PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK NORTH AMERICA UPDATES SERVICE,
January 10, 1994; "Israel Moves to Phase Out Methyl Bromide,"
GREENPEACE MAGAZINE, January/February 1994.
MONSANTO SPONSORING CONFERENCES ON CROP RESIDUE
The chemical company Monsanto is currently sponsoring conferences in
various parts of the country addressing crop residue management
issues. The 1994 Crop Residue Management Conference & Trade Shows
seek to address the needs and questions of farmers moving toward high
crop residue situations. The conferences will cover a variety of topics
including: low and no-till methods; the how to's of equipment selection
and modification; soil erosion and water quality issues; conservation
compliance requirements; potential weed and pest population shifts;
new technologies; the economic benefits of high crop residues; and a
variety of other topics. Farmers who have attended these sessions in
the past "felt that the conference eased their fears about making the
transition to no-till. The overwhelming majority indicated they would
come back to the conference this year," said Bruno Alesii of Monsanto's
Agricultural Group. Conferences have already been held in Columbus,
GA, Memphis, TN and Indianapolis, IN. Upcoming conferences will take
place in Rapid City, SD, Springfield, IL, Denver, CO and Des Moines, IA.
Monsanto is the manufacturer of the herbicide Roundup, which is
commonly used in no-till situations.
Source: Larry Holden (firstname.lastname@example.org), "Ag and
Environmental Related Conference," Email Communication, December 28,
1993. (For more information, call 800/276-7270 or 314/824-7060).
GRAZING FEES RAISED -- SLIGHTLY
U.S. Forest Service head Jack Ward announced that grazing fees on
public lands will be increased 12 cents for 1994 to $1.98 per head
month. Grassland grazing fees will also be increased to $2.08 per head
month, up four cents. A head month consists of the amount of forage
necessary per month to maintain a cow and her calf, one horse or five
sheep or goats.
A new study by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded too
little is known about the condition of public rangelands to implement an
effective management plan, came amidst steps to overhaul the nation's
system of grazing on public lands by the Interior Department. "This
lack of information goes to the very heart of the current debate over
grazing fees and environmental standards," according to F.E. "Fee"
Busby, a range scientist who chaired the academy panel that did the
study. "Because questions about the condition of U.S. rangelands cannot
be answered, our ability to make decisions about their proper use and
management is severely, seriously impaired."
The report was seized upon by critics of Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbit's plan to reform rangeland management in the U.S. by doubling
grazing fees in addition to tightening environmental restrictions in an
effort to stem soil erosion and land degradation. "Today's report
underscores the need for the secretary of the interior to wait and
benefit from comprehensive congressional hearings on grazing issues
prior to taking administrative action to change America's grazing
policies," said Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), an active opponent of
rangeland grazing reform. "The last thing we should do is hurry
decisions that have far-reaching effects on western states," he said.
A Babbitt spokesperson disagreed, saying the report was a positive
signal that reform should proceed. "Our objectives are compatible with
the framework for range guidelines and standards that are talked about
in this report," said Jay Ziegler. "It's certainly not a signal to slow up."
The report calls on the federal government to establish three guidelines
for evaluating the health of public rangelands: soil and nearby
watershed stability; the functioning of nutrient cycles and energy flows;
and the ability of rangelands to recover from damage through natural
ecological processes. Lands can then be classified as healthy, at risk or
unhealthy according to these three criteria. "The lack of a single,
national-level system to inventory and monitor both federal and
nonfederal rangelands is a major impediment to the nation's ability
both to assess their ecological health and to resolve debate about proper
management," the report concludes.
Source: "Grazing Fees on Western Lands Up," REUTER, January 7, 1994;
"Keeping Rangeland Healthy Should Be Top Goal," REUTER, January 6,
1994; Tom Kenworthy, "Information on Rangelands Too Scarce for
Setting Policy, Study Says," WASHINGTON POST, January 8, 1994.
MEVINPHOS WARRANTS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION -- EPA, CDC
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on the
poisoning of over 20 farmworkers last August in the state of
Washington after using the pesticide mevinphos, which is sold under
the brand name Phosdrin. The chemical is often used to control aphids
in apple and pear production. The CDC report said that in 22% of the
poisoning cases, the farmworkers were following rules established by
the EPA in handling the chemical. In many of the other cases, only
minor safety infractions could be found. The EPA said the chemical
warranted "immediate attention" and risk-reduction measures for the
chemical needed to be established. Use of the chemical has been
suspended since the poisonings were reported last August. The EPA
will rule this spring whether or not to lift the suspension. The CDC said
mevinphos is as highly toxic as another organophosphate, ethyl
parathion, which was removed from the market for most uses in 1991.
Source: "BRF-CDC-Apple Pesticide," AP, January 6, 1994; "CDC Says
Mevinphos Insecticide Hazardous," REUTER, January 6, 1994; "Pesticide
Poisoning," MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, January 7, 1994.
INDONESIA SAYS SMALLER QUOTAS WILL CURB
Indonesia's Forest Minister Djamaluddin Suryohadikusumo said he has
taken actions to curb logging and timber theft. The minister has
reportedly asked the Indonesian Forest Concessionaires Association not
to grant higher export quotas for companies that simply do not have the
timer resources. In addition, he warned against a high export price
which he said could result in increased production and, if timber were
not available, more illegal logging and theft. A World Bank report
recently estimated that the country was cutting 50% more timber than
sustainable levels allowed. Indonesia also announced recently that it
would implement sustainable forestry practices in 1995 as called for by
the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
Source: "Indonesia Tells Loggers Not to Give Bigger Quota," REUTER,
January 6, 1994.
THE NATURAL FARMER is a quarterly publication of the Northeast
Organic Farming Association. The winter 1993/94 issue includes an
insert on organic poultry production in addition to updates from around
the world, book reviews and upcoming events related to organic
agriculture. Subscriptions begin at $10 a year. For more information,
contact Jack Ketteridge or Julie Rawson, NOFA, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre,
MA 01005, Tel: (508) 355-2853.
The AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE is a
publication of the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative
Agriculture. Articles of interest in the latest issue include:
"Agricultural Policy Debates: Examining the Alternative and
Conventional Perspectives;" "Barriers to Low-Input Agriculture
Adoption: A Case Study of Richmond County, Virginia;" and "Is
Sustainable Agriculture an Elixir for Rural Communities?" The journal is
published quarterly and annual subscriptions begin at $44.00 and
$12.00 for students. for more information, contact Henry A. Wallace
Institute for Alternative Agriculture, 9200 Edmonston Road, Suite 117,
Greenbelt, ND 20770.
FOURTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON GREAT LAKES RELATED
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, January 14-15, 1994, Syracuse, NY.
FFI, contact: Marie Balle, Conference Coordinator, Great Lakes Research
Consortium, 24 Bray Hall, SUNY College of Environmental Science and
Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, Tel: (315) 470-6816, Fax: (315) 470-
CSAS: FOCAL POINT FOR NEW INITIATIVES, January 14-16, 1994,
Kimberton, PA. FFI, contact: Biodynamic Farming and Gardening
Association, P.O. Box 550, Kimberton, PA ???, Tel: (215) 935-7797.
THE SOIL-ROOT RELATIONSHIP, January 18-19, 1994, Chicago, IL.
FFI, contact: Rainbow Treecare, 4601 Excelsior Blvd, Suite 300,
Minneapolis, MN 55416, Tel: (612) 922-3810, Fax: (612) 922-4402.
SOUTHERN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE WORKING GROUP
ANNUAL CONFERENCE, January 20-22, 1994, Austin, TX. FFI, contact:
Nessa Richman, Sustainable Food Center, 1715 East 6th Street, Suite 200,
Austin, TX 78702, Tel: (512) 472-2073, Fax: (512) 472-2075.
ANNUAL CALIFORNIA PLANT & SOIL CONFERENCE, January 24-
25, 1994, San Luis Obispo, CA. FFI, contact: Jim Oster, Tel: (909) 787-
5100 or Shannon Mueller, Tel: (209) 488-3261.
BIOBASED PRODUCTS EXPO, January 24-26, 1994, Kansas City, MO.
FFI, contact: Debbie Rubin, Tel: (314) 275-9915.
SOUTH CAROLINA SMALL FARMS CONFERENCE, January 28-29,
1994, Orangeburg, SC. FFI, contact: Verna DeVoe, South Carolina
Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 11280, Columbia, SC 29211, Tel:
ORGANIC AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE, January 28-29, 1994, Guelph,
Ontario. FFI, contact: Tomas Nimmo, Canadian Organic Growers, Tel:
Produced by: Michelle Thom, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy,
1313 5th Street SE Suite 303, Minneapolis, MN 55414, Tel: (612) 379-
5980 Fax: (612) 379-5982 EMail: email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to this news bulletin, the
Institute publishes a variety of news bulletins on agriculture, the
environment and international trade. All bulletins may be reproduced
and distributed freely without prior permission as long as proper
attribution is included. A copy of any publication in which an IATP
bulletin is cited would be appreciated.