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.
Alternative practices for managing plant-parasitic nematodes are highlighted
in an article in the newest issue of AJAA (Volume 13, No. 3, 1998). Other
articles cover the impact of agricultural management on nitrate
concentrations in drainage waters; an assessment of legume and non-legume
ground covers on coleoptera; the agronomic and economic performance of wheat
and canola-based double-crop systems; soil improvement following addition of
chipped wood; and an examination of microbiological and biochemical
parameters in a long-term fertilization trial. 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 email@example.com
Table of Contents:
EPA Tones Down Pesticide Brochure, Says NY Times, p. 1
Sustainable Ag, Organic Standards Among USDA Priorities, p. 2
States Have Not Curbed Factory Farm Pollution -- NRDC, p. 2
Resources, p. 3
Poultry Firms Adopt Voluntary Plan to Clean Up Pollution, p. 3
Chefs Support Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food, p. 4
Nominations Sought for Calder Conservation Award, p. 4
Positions, p. 4
Upcoming Events, p. 5
EPA TONES DOWN PESTICIDE BROCHURE, SAYS N.Y. TIMES
The Environmental Protection Agency, "under pressure from the food
industry," has modified a new brochure about pesticides on food, "putting
less emphasis on their health risks and barely mentioning organic foods as
an alternative to foods grown using toxic chemicals," according to an
article in The New York Times (December 30, 1998). The brochure, which was
supposed to be available in supermarkets last August, was controversial in
its draft form because industry groups said it endorsed organic food, and
environmentalists said it didn't adequately inform consumers about the risks
A final draft of the brochure was made available to The New York Times by
Consumers Union, an advocacy group that has criticized the EPA for not being
tougher on pesticides in the brochure. EPA officials said the brochure was
being printed and should be available in supermarkets this month.
"In August, seven food, farm and pesticide industry groups called on the
Clinton Administration to eliminate any references to organic foods and to
make other changes," said the article. "The final version does not
completely ignore organic food. It advises that 'your grocer may be able to
provide you with information about the availability of food grown using
fewer or no pesticides.'" But the earlier version had said, "If you are
still concerned, consider buying food that says 'certified organic' -- food
certified by a public or private certification agency that has been grown in
an area where fewer or no man-made chemical pesticides were used."
The final version of the brochure includes several other key changes,
according to the article:
· "The earlier brochure, for example, was entitled 'Pesticides on Food,' but
the new version is called 'Pesticides and Food.'"
· "The new version says that 'while pesticides have important uses, studies
show that some pesticides cause health problems at certain levels of
exposure.' But it omits the details listed in the earlier version, which
said, 'Some pesticides have been shown to cause health problems such as
birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and other toxic effects in laboratory
· "A section about washing, peeling and cooking food, which used to be
called 'Tips to Reduce Pesticides on Foods,' is now entitled, 'Healthy,
Sensible Food Practices.'"
SUSTAINABLE AG, ORGANIC STANDARDS AMONG USDA'S 1999 PRIORITIES
Among Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman's seven key priorities for 1999,
announced last month, are "expanding research to improve all of USDA's work,
from nutrition to food safety to sustainable agriculture," and "issuing
national organic standards that are good for farmers and consumers." He
also reviewed the Department's work in 1998 and included in the USDA's
accomplishments "promoting rural development and conservation" and
"expanding cutting edge research." Specifically, under the category of
"ensuring wise stewardship of the land," USDA accomplishments included:
· USDA "paid farmers $200 million to promote sustainable farming -- and $30
million more to help landowners protect wildlife."
· USDA "embarked on a natural resources agenda for the 21st century, setting
clear priorities for scientists and managers and holding them accountable
for sustaining the health of America's forests and grasslands."
STATES HAVE NOT CURBED FACTORY FARM POLLUTION, SAYS NRDC
A study of 30 states in which large animal feeding operations, or factory
farms, are located has concluded that "none of the state programs have been
effective so far in curbing factory farm pollution," according to "America's
Animal Factories: How States Fail to Prevent Pollution from Livestock
Waste," published last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council
(NRDC). "The nation's federal and state regulatory systems for protecting
environmental health have failed to keep pace with the rapid growth of
factory farms." Among the report's findings are:
· States continue to take aggressive steps to attract factory farms and
grant these operations government benefits which were originally designed to
help family farms survive.
· Several states have either no permitting system in place at all or have
systems that, in fact or in practice, rely on voluntary compliance.
· Fast-track permits are given to factory farms.
The report makes several policy recommendations, including establishing a
moratorium on Clean Water Act permits for new and expanding factory farms
until all existing facilities have permits in place and standards are
upgraded; banning open-air manure lagoons; and preventing manure from
running off the land.
The report includes a chapter reviewing the pollution problems and
regulatory climate for factory farms in these 30 states: Alabama, Arkansas,
California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah,
Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
"America's Animal Factories" is available on the Internet at
http://www.nrdc.org and www.cwn.org. For a hard copy of the report, contact
Carol James at (202) 289-2390 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Vegetable Farmers and Their Weed-Control Machines," a 75-minute video, is
$12 plus $3.50 shipping from Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering
Service, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853-5701: (607) 255-7654.
Proceedings from a workshop on climate change and carbon sequestration are
available from Emery Roe, Center for Sustainable Resource Development,
University of California at Berkeley, (510) 642-1599; e-mail
"Wetlands and Agriculture: Private Interests and Public Benefits" is
available from the USDA's Economic Research Service, 1-800-999-6779; on the
Internet, http://econ.ag.gov; or contact Ralph Heimlich, USDA/ERS, (202)
694-5477; e-mail email@example.com
"Working Trees for Livestock" is available from Nancy Hammond, USDA,
National Agroforestry Center, East Campus, University of Nebraska, Lincoln,
NE 68583; (402) 437-5178 ext. 11; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
"Reaping Havoc: The True Cost of Using Methyl Bromide on Florida's Tomatoes"
is available for $10 plus shipping from Friends of the Earth, 1025 Vermont
Ave., NW, #300, Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 783-7400 ext. 239.
POULTRY FIRMS ADOPT VOLUNTARY PLAN TO CLEAN UP POLLUTION
National poultry industry representatives last month agreed to a voluntary
plan to clean up pollution from chicken farms, which have contaminated
waterways, according to The Washington Post (December 10, 1998). Under the
plan adopted by the companies in the Poultry Dialogue, poultry processing
companies would ask their growers to follow plans for the proper handling of
manure, which contains phosphorus and nitrogen. They would be encouraged to
erect manure storage sheds and spread only as much manure as crops require.
Companies would also continue research into limiting nutrients in the manure
while seeking alternative uses for manure such as burning or composting.
According to W. Michael McCabe, the EPA's Regional Administrator for the
mid-Atlantic region, "We have ongoing concerns about how the program is
going to be paid for and what the impacts on the growers will be. I'm
encouraged, but we need to see the details." Other EPA officials "had
pressed for language committing the companies to pay a certain share of the
costs, but the chairman [of the Poultry Dialogue] resisted," according to
In late November, the National Pork Producers Council and the EPA agreed to
a voluntary inspection program for pork producers to correct Clean Water Act
violations. Under the plan, certified independent inspectors will examine
pork-producing operations and assess Clean Water Act violations. Producers
who promptly disclose and correct any discovered violations from these
audits will receive a smaller civil penalty than they might otherwise be
liable for under the law.
CHEFS SUPPORT LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD
The 1,000-member Chefs Collaborative 2000, an organization of professional
chefs founded in 1993 to support organic farming and sustainable
agriculture, is joining the fight for labeling of genetically engineered
food, according to The New York Times (December 9, 1998). Earlier in 1998,
a coalition of consumer groups, chefs, and scientists filed a lawsuit
against the Food and Drug Administration, demanding labeling and safety
testing. Now the chefs' coalition is involved, with their first move being
a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures to petition the Food and Drug
Administration. "Many chefs instinctively mistrust the genetic engineering
of food," wrote author Marian Burros. "Other chefs...worry about unintended
consequences" that cannot be anticipated now. "Many Europeans are furious
about the technology, but most Americans have only the vaguest idea of what
it is. Both industry and government continue to assure consumers that
genetic engineering...is not only safe but will also increase the food
supply and reduce the need for pesticides," according to the article.
NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR ALEXANDER CALDER CONSERVATION AWARD
Nominations are now being sought for the Alexander Calder Conservation
Award, which honors an individual who has achieved significant results in
the protection of terrestrial or wetland habitat, and demonstrated the
positive value of cooperative partnerships between business and
conservation. Nominations must be postmarked by March 2. For more
information, contact the Calder Award, The Conservation Fund, 1800 North
Kent St., #1120, Arlington, VA 22209.
Organic Farming Research Foundation seeks a Technical Program Coordinator;
applications are due February 1; contact OFRF, P.O. Box 440, Santa Cruz, CA
95061; (831) 426-6606.
Highlands Bioproduce, a group of sustainable farmers in Virginia and
Tennessee, seeks a Manager; contact Dick Austin, (540) 467-2437; or Anthony
Flaccavento, Appalachian Sustainable Development, (540) 623-1121.
Pickering Creek Environmental Center seeks two Agriculture Education Program
Assistants; contact Alan Girard at the Center, 11450 Audubon Lane, Easton,
MD 21601; (410) 822-4903.
February 1-4, New York State Farmers' Direct Marketing Conference will be
held in Buffalo; contact Judy and Bob Schultz, (716) 484-7300.
February 2 and February 18, "Passing on the Farm" workshops will be held in
Brownsville, PA (February 2) and York, PA (February 18); contact
Pennsylvania Farm Link, Point Shopping Center, #205, Harrisburg, PA 17111;
(717) 558-7726; e-mail email@example.com
February 5, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society's Annual Winter
Conference will be held in Bismarck, N.D.; contact Theresa Podoll, NPSAS,
(701) 883-4304; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
February 12-13, "Designing Sustainable Food Systems," the 8th Annual Farming
for the Future conference, will be held in State College, PA; contact
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 419,
Millheim, PA 16854; (814) 349-9856.
February 13, 17th annual Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming
Association of Vermont will be held in Randolph, VT; contact NOFA-VT, P.O.
Box 697, Richmond, VT 05477; (802) 434-4122.
February 16, Minnesota Organic Farming Conference will be held in St. Cloud,
MN; contact Prescott Bergh, Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Program,
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, (651) 215-0367.
February 17, Swine System Options Conference will be held at Iowa State
University, Ames, IA; contact Rich Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable
Agriculture, (515) 294-3711; e-mail email@example.com
February 18-20, New Orleans; March 18-20, San Francisco; April 8-10,
Indianapolis; and May 6-8, Andover, MA; "Communities Working for Wetlands"
will be held; contact Terrene Institute, 4 Herbert St., Alexandria, VA
22305; (703) 548-5473; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
February 18-21, Bio Fach 99, the World Organic Trade Fair, will be held in
Nuremberg, Germany; contact Kathy Donnelly, Concord Expo Group, (978)
February 20, "Creating Successful Grower Marketing Cooperatives" will be
held in Albany, N.Y.; contact Liz Callan, Regional Farm and Food Project,
(518) 426-9331; e-mail email@example.com
February 22, 30th Annual North American International Erosion Control
Association Conference and Trade Exposition will be held in Nashville, TN;
contact IECA, 1-800-455-4322; firstname.lastname@example.org
February 22-23, USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum 1999 will be held in
Arlington, VA; contact USDA, (202) 314-3462; on the Internet,
http://www.usda.gov/oce/waob/agforum.htm; e-mail email@example.com
February 22-26, "Feeding and Balancing the Soil," a short course, will be
held in Mt. Palomar, CA; contact the Center for Living in Harmony, (760)
749-9634; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
February 23-25, Advanced Organic-Biodynamic Vegetable Production Workshop
will be held in St. Croix, MN; contact Gail Kahovic, Michael Fields
Agricultural Institute, (414) 642-3303.
February 26-27, "A Life Cycle Approach to Sustainable Agriculture
Indicators," sponsored by National Pollution Prevention Center and the EPA,
will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan; contact Guntra Aistars, (734) 764-1412;
February 27, "Adding Value: Promoting Health, Generating Wealth," the annual
meeting of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, will be held in
Aurora, NE; contact Cris Carusi, (402) 471-0817; e-mail email@example.com
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