Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, AR 72702
FAX: (501) 442-9842
(Editor's note: Electronic ATTRAnews Digest is a quarterly
newsletter of Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas.
ATTRA is a national sustainable agriculture information center
which operates as a program of the National Center for Appropriate
Technology and is funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Since 1987, ATTRA has prepared over 55,000 reports on sustainable
agriculture practices and systems for U.S. farmers and other
professional agriculturists who have contacted the center via its
800-lines. Jim Lukens serves as ATTRA program leader. Teresa
Maurer is ATTRA's assistant program leader.)
*200 GROUPS PRIMED FOR AUTUMN "CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE AG"
*INTERIOR DEPARTMENT ID'S CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT AG LANDSCAPES
*USDA IS ON FAST-TRACK WITH EXTENTION SUSTAINABLE AG TRAINING
*BERGLAND, MICCICHE JOIN NCAT BOARD
*PULLIAM TO HEAD NEW "NATIONAL BIOLOGICAL SURVEY"
*ATTRA WORKING ON 2ND EDITION, SAN DIRECTORY OF EXPERTISE
*USDA SEEKS NEW SARE DIRECTOR
*SARE RELEASES '94 PROJECT REPORT
*NCAT SPONSORS SUSTAINABLE AG DATA AWARDS
*COALITION WORKS TO INCREASE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SUS AG PROGRAMS
*ATTRA STAFFERS TRAVEL U.S. TO SHARE, GATHER SUS AG INFO
*WASHINGTON TILTH CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY
*KALTENEKKER JOINS ATTRA
9 SOUTHERN FARMERS SPIN SUS AG TALES
CHICKEN HEALTH HANDBOOK GOOD FOR SMALL OR BIG PRODUCERS
*NEW OR REVISED ATTRA MATERIALS
200 GROUPS PRIMED FOR AUTUMN "CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE AG" Over 200 diverse organizations from across the U.S. this fall
will launch a "Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture" to win policy
proposals for the 1995 Farm Bill.
Campaign participants are urging select Congressmen via
letters, press events, community meetings, action alerts and
personal visits to draft legislation in six main sustainable
agriculture "issue areas." The issue areas, which contain 20
topics, are Commodity Programs, Conservation Programs, Marketing &
Sustainable Development, Research & Extension, Minority Farmers &
Farm Worker Rights, and Trade.
"This is an historic step for a new way of changing policy - a
divergent group making a commitment to work on a common agenda,"
Amy Little of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coordinating
Council (NSACC) of Goshen, NY, says. "We're not afraid to rock the
boat in Washington. We're unified, we're diverse and we represent
every Congressional district in the U.S."
The NSAAC, a group of 26 people representing farm,
environmental, social, food and health and natural resource
conservation groups, initiated the campaign with help from members
of the regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWG).
The two organizations enlisted over 200 groups nationwide to join
"The National Dialogue for Sustainable Agriculture."
The 200-plus groups represent farmers and farm workers,
consumers, national government workers, environmentalists, social
justice organizations, churches, conservation and wildlife
organizations and regional SAWGs. In meetings held the past year
at various sites, the groups created an agenda for farm and food
policy in the six main issue areas.
From Feb. 26-27 at Alexandria, VA, participating groups met to
prioritize 37 topic areas from the "Dialogue." The National
Center for Appropriate Technology, which administers ATTRA,
participated in the meeting.
"Representatives from each group on the ballot ranked the 37
topic areas in order of importance, giving each a rating which
ranged from NO priority to HIGH priority," Little said.
Weighted totals of the balloting revealed the top 20 topics for
the national campaign, Little said. Depending upon how they
prioritized each topic area, the 200-plus groups also made pledges
to perform specific functions and tasks in the campaign, Little
For instance, groups ranking a particular topic area as a
"high" priority agreed to invest substantial time on the proposal
through such activities as helping to draft legislation, working
out policy details, grassroots lobbying, press events and
travelling to Washington.
"Low" or "Medium" priority rankings might commit a group to
actions ranging from writing letters to contacting members of
Congress and the media. Those casting ballots could also either
vote to "include" the topic area - meaning they did not consider
the proposal a priority for their group but thought it should
remain in the national campaign - or they could vote "no" -
meaning the proposal should not be included in the campaign.
"The Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups in each of the four
regions will help to coordinate campaign efforts by the 200-plus
groups," Little said. "Each SAWG will designate at least one
person to work with the point people from the organizations so
that the campaign stays on track."
Campaign chairpeople - 34 people in all - have also been
appointed to oversee "issue committees." It will be the
responsibility of these committees to keep the topic areas on a
To help the committees with this task, the NSACC has compiled
background reports on the 20 topics and "key elements" which
should be included in new legislation on the issues.
"The topics on our list of priorities provide a definition of
sustainable agriculture that includes the vital elements of
economics, the environment and the community," Little said. "We
have an exciting agenda to make significant changes in the federal
policies that so strongly impact our lives and the future. These
issues are worth our every effort."
People wishing to get involved with the "Campaign for
Sustainable Agriculture" should contact their regional SAWG
organizer or Little at NSACC, 32 N. Church St., Goshen, NY 10924,
telephone 914-294-0633, fax 914-294-0632.
INTERIOR DEPARTMENT ID'S CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT AG LANDSCAPES
National Park Service managers in a new technical manual will
be urged to call ATTRA for help in identifying options for
incorporating sustainable agriculture into "culturally
significant" agricultural landscapes in the national park system.
Dr. Richard Westmacott of the University of Georgia at Athens,
who is under contract to compile the manual for the U.S.
Department of the Interior, is on a whirlwind tour of 25 national
parks with landscapes which have historic farm significance. He
visited on April 28 with ATTRA staff members. ATTRA the past
years has helped the National Park Service to conduct sustainable
agriculture workshops at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation
Area at Milford, PA, and Natchez Trace Parkway at Tupelo, MS.
"Culturally significant" agricultural landscapes are eligible
for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places,
Westmacott said. These landscapes may represent an agriculture
system of prehistoric or historic significance, may be the site of
an agricultural innovation or early practice, or may be associated
with an historic person, he said.
USDA IS ON FAST-TRACK WITH EXTENSION SUS AG TRAINING
Members of the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE) program are moving rapidly along with plans to
train Cooperative Extension Service agents in sustainable
Northeast SARE officials released calls for training project
proposals in late January - with a submission deadline of March 2
- and have selected five training projects for 1994 from a field
of nine proposals. the projects were awarded to Cornell
University, Penn State University, University of Vermont,
University of Vermont Extension/New England Consortium (Maine
OFGA, NOFA of Vermont and University of Massachusetts), and
University of West Virginia.
The Western, North Central and Southern SARE regions released
calls for training proposals in April. Their administrative
councils expect to choose 1994 training projects from June through
Under the 1990 Farm Bill, the USDA by 1995 must establish a
national training program to provide sustainable agriculture
training to Extension agents and selected field staffs of the SCS
and ASCS. Congress in 1994 allocated $2.96 million to select
regional training coordinators and begin establishing regional
sustainable agriculture training consortiums and projects.
President Clinton in his 1995 budget proposal has asked that $5
million be alloted to the effort.
In the proposal requests, individuals and organizations will
help to instruct Extension, SCS and ASCS agents to develop
"understanding, competence and ability to teach and communicate
the concepts of sustainable agriculture to other agents and to
farmers and urban residents." Each SARE region is expected to
allot $10,000 to each 1862 and 1890 land grant college in their
states to support strategic planning within and between states,
organizations and individuals for the projects. The SARE regions
are expected to spend about $500,000 each in 1994 to select up to
a dozen training projects in their states.
Training projects will include opportunities for learning in
"classrooms without walls" - at such places and events as farms,
schools, conferences and workshops.
BERGLAND, MICCICHE JOIN NCAT BOARD
Bob Bergland, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Michael
Joseph Micciche, director of the California Department of Economic
Opportunity, have been named to the board of directors of the
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The
appointments were announced May 20 during an NCAT board meeting at
NCAT administers the ATTRA program and several other energy
conservation, community power and resource-efficient housing
Bergland, a Minnesota farmer, was elected to Congress in 1970,
where he served on the Agriculture and Small Business committees.
President Jimmy Carter in 1977 named Bergland as Secretary of
Agriculture. As Secretary, Bergland moved the USDA to take a
greater interest in human diets (especially food stamps and school
lunches), created the first organized study of alternative farming
techniques, organized a comprehensive study of the structure of
U.S. farming, and worked to achieve a balance between
environmental and commercial interests in the administration of
After serving as Agriculture Secretary, Bergland was named
president of Farmland Industries World Trade Inc. and CEO of the
National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
Micciche has over 25 years experience in economic development,
housing and energy issues, and community development and services
programs. In addition to the California Department of Economic
Opportunity, he has served as deputy director of the California
Department of Housing and Community Development.
PULLIAM TO HEAD NEW "NATIONAL BIOLOGICAL SURVEY"
University of Georgia professor Dr. H. Ronald Pulliam has been
named director of the newly created National Biological Survey
(NBS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior. ATTRA, which is
funded by the Interior Department, this year became part of the
"Technology Development and Transfer" division at the NBS.
The NBS will combine the biological research and survey
activities of eight existing Interior Department bureaus into one
group. Until its creation, biological research activities were
scattered throughout the Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park
Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Land Management.
Pulliam, 48, is a distinguished educator and research ecologist
who since 1987 has served as director and professor of the
Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia at Athens. He
has also worked as an associate professor at the State University
of New York in Albany and as a research biologist with the H.S.
Colton Research Center, Museum of Northern Arizona. He has served
as president and vice president of Ecological Society of America.
ATTRA WORKING ON 2ND EDITION, SAN DIRECTORY OF EXPERTISE
ATTRA staff members are at work on the Second Edition of the
Sustainable Agriculture Directory of Expertise which will feature
over 1,200 individuals and organizations with skills and knowledge
in sustainable agriculture. It is slated for release on Sept. 1,
The first edition of the Directory was released in June of
1993. It is a 300-page print version containing 717 entrants from
across the U.S.
ATTRA solicited an additional 520 new nominees for the Second
Edition of the Directory, which will be an electronic version made
available on 3.5-inch computer diskettes. The diskettes are
compatible with MS-DOS computer systems. Tentative plans call for
compilation of a printed, third edition directory in 1995.
Surveys were mailed in early May to the 520 new nominees.
Survey entry is being performed by ATTRA Support Team members
Betty Blomberg, Cynthia Arnold, Rick Lancaster and Josh Davis into
a new database designed by computer specialist Lee Clanton.
Members of ATTRA's Information Team - Katherine Adam, Nels
Rodefeld and David Zodrow - will edit the entered surveys.
The Directory is a project of the Sustainable Agriculture
Network (SAN), a coalition of individuals and groups working in
sustainable agriculture. It is funded by the USDA's Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
People wishing to order the 1993 Directory and the
Second Edition electronic directory can send $14.95 to Sustainable
Agriculture Publications, Hills Building, Room 12, University of
Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Please make check or money order
payable to "Sustainable Agriculture Publications." Purchase
orders can be mailed to the above address or faxed to 802-656-
4656. Special bulk order discounts are available. Questions
about directory orders should be directed to Meredith Simpson at
the above address or by phone at 802-656-0471.
USDA SEEKS NEW SARE DIRECTOR
Applicants are being sought to serve as director of the USDA
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
Since the resignation of Dr. George Bird in 1993, Alice Jones,
former program manager for the USDA water quality grants program,
has served as interim SARE director. Bird served for two years in
the position before returning to Michigan State University where
he is a professor of nematology.
The SARE director is responsible for recommending and carrying
out major decisions affecting the basic content and character of
the sustainable agriculture program; program planning, management
and evaluation activities; and relationships between the
sustainable agriculture program and other USDA, federal, state,
private sector, academic groups and farmer participants.
Selection of a new SARE Director is subject to the USDA hiring
freeze. USDA candidates will be referred first, with approval of
others subject to exception of the hiring freeze. Closing date
for applications is July 5.
Interested applicants should contact: Delicia Taylor,
USDA/CMS/PMSD, Room 3552-South Building, 14th & Independence Ave.
SW, Washington, DC 20250-0992, phone (202) 690-0089.
SARE RELEASES '94 PROJECT REPORT
The USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)
program has released the "SARE 1994 Project Highlights," an 8-page
annual report describing 12 research projects and four projects
which the USDA says "seek answers to questions that go beyond
bushels and bottom lines" by explosing how farmers and rural
residents live. Copies of the report can be obtained from SARE
communications specialists: South - Gwen Roland, Griffin, GA 404-
412-4788; West - Kristin Kelleher, Davis, CA 916-752-5987; North
Central - Lisa Jasa, Lincoln, NE 402-472-7081; and Northeast -
Beth Holtzman, Burlington, VT 802-656-0554.
NCAT SPONSORS SUSTAINABLE AG DATA AWARDS
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), which
administers ATTRA, is seeking nominations for its 4th Annual
Distinguished Appropriate Technology Awards (DATA) Program. Award
categories include sustainable agriculture, affordable housing,
energy conservation and environmental protection.
One award for each category is given to projects that promote,
simple, low-cost, localized, energy-efficient and environmentally-
sound technologies that are accessible and beneficial to the needs
of low-income Americans.
"NCAT is looking for good project nominations, particularly
from citizen-based grassroots groups," NCAT Vice President Kathy
Hadley said. "We hope readers will consider sharing their
successes through this program."
An independent panel of judges will determine award-winners.
Winners will be invited to Washington, DC, to attend a dinner in
their honor in November.
Last year's DATA winner in the sustainable agriculture category
was the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) of
Helena, MT, for its Farm Improvement Club program. AERO's program
grants money to groups of farmers, ranchers and other rural
community leaders for projects they design and conduct to meet
local needs: specialty crop marketing, soil-building cover crop
research, noxious weed control through nonchemical means and on-
farm processing of oilseed for fuel, for example. Started in
1990, the program has expanded to 27 clubs, composed of over 200
farm families and a number of state and federal agency scientists
and technical specialists. The program serves as a model for six
other states and two Canadian provinces.
DATA entry forms can be obtained from: NCAT, P.O. Box 3838,
Butte, MT 59702-3838. Entries must be received by Sept. 1.
COALITION WORKS TO INCREASE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SUS AG PROGRAMS
Members of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have been busy
the past two months urging Congress to increase funding for 12
government-back sustainable agriculture programs and three USDA
The Coalition is a nationwide alliance of sustainable
agriculture advocates and organizations. In April, Coalition
members mailed packets urging sustainable agriculture supporters
around the U.S. to contact key Congressmen on the appropriations
ag subcommittees through letters, phone calls and newspaper
articles to allot increased funding to the programs.
"Sustainable ag programs have historically not fared well in
appropriations," says Margaret Krome of the Wisconsin Rural
Development Center, who is helping to coordinate the effort. She
said this is "partly due to the attitudes of past chairs of
appropriations and appropriations ag subcommittees in both houses,
as well as our failure to use our greatest strength - the many
supporters of sustainable ag around the country."
"With new committee and subcomittee leadership, and with a good
grassroots effort, we have a chance to change things," Krome said.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate
completed hearings on the proposed budgets by early May. House
and Senate "markup" sessions - where the real decisions are made
on funding - will occur by early June and mid-July, respectively.
Differences in the two budgets - which will also take into
consideration appropriation proposals in the President's budget
which appeared in early February - will be hammered out in
"conference committee" perhaps by the Congressional recess in
Krome is urging sustainable ag proponents to write or phone
members of the subcommittee in their districts and states. People
with questions may contact her at (phone) 608-238-1440 or (fax)
608-238-1569, or Elisa Graffy at 608-249-8594.
The Coalition recommends the following funding levels for the
12 sustainable agriculture programs and three USDA advisory
- Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SARE),
a competitive grants program which was first authorized in the
1985 Farm Bill, is the only federal research and education program
that focuses solely on sustainable agriculture systems and
practices. Congress strengthened the program in the 1990 Farm
Bill and increased its authorization level to $40 million - which
is less than 2.5% of the total USDA's investment of $1.65 billion
in research and extension. Current funding levels represent less
than one-half of one percent of the total. Due to very limited
funding, SARE has only been able to fund 10% of the grant
proposals submitted. The Coalition recommends $20 million in
funding for FY 95.
- Sustainable Agriculture Technology Development & Transfer
Program (SATDTP), created by Congress in the 1990 Farm Bill as a
key part of the Extension Service's "National Initiative in
Sustainable Agriculture", was funded for the first time in FY 94
at $3 million. Authorized to $20 million, the program consists of
two main parts - a nationwide training program for Extension
agents and relevant SCS and ASCS field staff in sustainable ag
concepts, research and practices, and a nationally-coordinated,
state and regionally-based sustainable agriculture outreach
effort. Extension is the historic vehicle for filling the
increased need by farmers for sustainable ag technologies and for
bolstering research with a better flow of information from farmers
and others. Broad action on this front is not possible without a
credible training and continuing education effort. The Coalition
recommends $8 million in funding for FY 95.
- Rural Technology & Cooperative Development Grant Program
(RTCDG), a "start up" competitive grants program which operates in
8 regions, offers funding to facilitate establishment of rural
cooperative centers in areas ranging from agriculture to
manufacturing, rural medical delivery, crafts marketing and
others. Project grants in FY93 ranged from $45,000 to $85,000 on
a 50:50 match basis. While the RTCDG's scope goes well beyond
agriculture, its funding is appropriate for ventures in
sustainable ag, organic production and marketing and agri value-
added enterprise development. The Coalition recommends $5 million
in funding for FY 95.
- Outreach & Technical Assistance to Socially-Disadvantaged
Farmers (SDA) was authorized in the 1990 Farm Bill to document,
serve the needs and conduct outreach, education and technical
assistance to farmers of color. Funding was increased from $1
million in FY93 to $3 million in FY94. USDA has a long history of
neglect towards minority farmers, as reflected in limited access
of minority farmers to USDA programs, limited services available
to those who gain access and disproportionately small benefits
provided to those actually served. Land retention (which reflects
how minorities sustain a productive way of life in rural America)
among black farmers decreased from 6 million acres in 1960 when
there were 100,000 black farmers to the 1980s when there were
25,000 black farmers (with only 175 of these under age 25) owning
2.3 million acres. Outreach is needed to increase awareness,
access and benefits to the remaining minority farming community
and to help beginning minority farmers. The Coalition recommends
$5 million in funding for FY 95.
- Agricultural Resource Conservation Demonstration Program
(ARCDP, also known as "Farmers for the Future Act") was authorized
in the 1990 Farm Bill to provide low-cost loans to states for the
purpose of protecting "vital farmland resources for future
generations." Participating states must have in place a program
for purchasing easements to protect farmland from development
pressures and must match half the federal loan. Allocations of
$750,000 in FY93 and $3.6 million in FY94 were used for a pilot
program in Vermont. USDA figures show that about 2 million acres
of farmland are lost annually to development as urban areas grow.
While just a pilot program now, it is important to maintain it
until the 1995 Farm Bill when it may be possible to substanially
increase its scope. The Coalition recommends $3 million in
funding for FY 95.
- Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Farmers' Market Nutrition
Program (FMNP), established by congressional act in 1992 as the
14th federal food assistance program of the USDA, provides
participants in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women,
Infants and Children with coupons or vouchers to purchase fresh
fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets. States may apply
to receive 70% federal matching funds. It was funded in FY93 at
$3 million and in FY94 at $5.5 million. The FMNP provides WIC
participants with nutritious fresh produce, benefits small to
medium-sized family farms and generates jobs in rural communities.
The Coalition recommends $8 million in funding for FY 95.
- Organic Foods Production ACT (OFPA), authorized in the 1990
Farm Bill, requires the USDA through the National Organic
Standards Board to develop national standards and a certification
program for producers and handlers of organically-produced
agricultural products. Current staffing includes four marketing
specialists, an economist, one program assistant and a clerk who
assist the NOSB in conducting hearings and preparing proposed
national standards, scheduled to be published in final form this
fall. The staff will also assist NOSB in preparing accreditation
rules for certifying state agencies and private organizations as
certification agents. Rules for accreditation are expected to be
finalized by the end of this calendar year. The requested funding
level of $500,000 is the minimum needed to keep the program on its
projected implementation schedule, which has already been slowed
by delays in initial funding and development of the standards.
The Coalition recommends $500,000 in funding for FY 95.
- Water Quality Incentives Program/Agriculture Conservation
Program (WQIP), authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill, is a voluntary,
incentive-based program designed to help farmers comply with state
and federal environmental laws by providing technical and
financial assistance to prevent pollution of surface and ground
water through reduced and more efficient use of fertilizers,
pesticides and animal wastes, improved irrigation water
management, crop rotations, filter strips, rotational grazing and
other practices. As with all Agricultural Conservation Program
(ACP) cost-share assistance, farmers are eligible to receive up to
$3,500 annually for three to five years. Payments may not exceed
$25 an acre and have been averaging $8 an acre. At $30 million,
some 3 million acres would be enrolled in FY94. The program plays
an important role in reducing soil erosion and addressing other
resource conservation issues. The President's FY95 budget calls
for a huge cut in ACP funding, from $194 million in FY94 to $100
million in FY95. A thorough overhaul of ACP should be undertaken
by USDA, but it is not wise to slash the ACP budget with
conservation compliance now reaching its full implementation
phase. The Coalition recommends $30 million in funding for FY 95.
- Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), authorized in the 1990 Farm
Bill, is a voluntary program which provides participants with a
cost-share to implement a wetland conservation plan and help
restore the wetland; participants are paid for longterm or
permanent easements that protect the wetland. Congress wants
975,000 acres enrolled in the program by the year 2000. In FY92,
$46 million was appropriated for a pilot program in nine states -
50,000 acres were enrolled with a heavy concentration in the
Mississippi Delta. No funding was appropriated in FY93. Eleven
additional states are being added to the program in FY94 with
funding of $66.7 million. Clinton's recommendation for $241
million in FY95 would allow the program to go nationwide.
Agricultural wetlands continue to disappear despite swampbuster
and Clean Water Act controls. Because wetlands enhance water
quality, recharge groundwater and improve wildlife habitat,
society should share part of the cost of restoration and longterm
protection with participating farmers. The Coalition recommends
$240.9 million in funding for FY 95.
- Water Bank Program (WBP) was created in 1972 to protect
natural, unconverted wetlands and adjacent uplands. WBP primarily
prevents conversion of important migratory waterfowl habitat to
farming and to secure adjacent land for habitat. It protects
existing wetland areas, in contrast to programs like Wetlands
Reserve Program that focus on restoring converted and farmed
wetlands already degraded or destroyed. WBP authorizes 10-year
agreements, renewable for additional 10-year periods, which
restrict agricultural use. It operates in 12 states, with
enrollments of 246,000 wetland and 361,000 adjacent acres. FY93
funding was $18.6 million, which was cut to $8 million in FY94.
WBP discourages future conversion of wetlands to crop production.
Congress should amend WBP to base the program on longer-term
agreements (10-year agreements seem inadequate) or permanent
easements that include stronger disincentives for farmers to
prematurely curtail contracts, and expand the program to more
states and broaden its primary purposes beyond waterfowl habitat
protection. The Coalition recommends $8 million in funding for FY
- Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA),
unlike the above mentioned programs which all are under USDA
auspices, is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of
the Interior. Based at the University of Arkansas at
Fayetteville, ATTRA provides sustainable agriculture information
and research results via 800-lines to the entire U.S. Its staff
of 23 people in FY93 prepared 12,000 reports for callers, with the
caseload in FY94 projected at 13,500 cases, on such topics as
sustainable ag production, soil fertility, pest control,
marketing, equipment and facilities. The staff strives to provide
users with both research-based and practical experience-based
information. ATTRA also assists the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service with integrated pest management and other sustainable ag
practices at a host of national wildlife refuges where farming is
conducted. ATTRA should receive funding of $1.8 million for FY95,
an increase of $500,000 over the FY94 appropriation, in order to
conduct increased outreach about its services to mainstream
farmers and meet the increasing demand for sustainable agriculture
information. The Coalition recommends $1.8 million in funding for
- Agriculture in Concert with the Environment (ACE), an adjunct
to the SARE program, is a joint program of EPA and USDA. ACE
grants fund research and education to help farmers reduce the risk
of pollution from pesticides and soluable fertilizers, and
safeguard environmentally sensitive areas such as critical
wildlife habitat and wetlands. The grants are evaluated and
awarded by the four Regional Administrative Councils which
administer grants under USDA's SARE program. ACE is not
specifically budgeted or appropriated. IN FY91 and FY92, EPA from
its pollution prevention budget contributed $1 million to ACE,
which was matched with $1 million from SARE funds. EPA
contributions dropped to $900,000 in FY93 and $600,000 in FY94.
THE EPA/USDA partnership with the ACE and SARE programs is a
forward-looking example of the sort of interagency cooperation
that is necessary to really address the key environmental problems
of modern society. Congress should directly fund ACE and increase
the funding base. The Coalition recommends $1.5 million in
funding for FY 95.
For the past two years, the appropriations bill for these three
committees has included only a total amount, leaving specific
funds for each committee to the Secretary of Agriculture. If this
practice continues, Congress must allot sufficient total funding
levels to allow the committees to accomplish their appointed
- Agricultural Science & Technology Review Board (ASTRB),
authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and trade Act of
1990, conducts technology assessments to assist the USDA in
directing its research and Extension programs toward fulfilling
the research and Extension purposes articulated in the 1990 Farm
Bill and maximizing their contributions to the public good. the
11-member Board reports through the Joint Council on Food and
- National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), also authorized by
the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, was
established to assist in the development of national standards for
organic production. The 13-member Board will require about
$50,000 in FY95 to accomplish its mission of making final
recommendations on national standards this summer to the
Secretary, developing an accreditation program to certify state
and private groups that will in turn certify farmers and handlers,
and reviewing petitions for the national list of production
- National Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Council (NSAAC),
also authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade
Act of 1990, has as its mission to work with USDA to bring to
fruition the sustainable development of agriculture. NSAAC is to
facilitate coordination and integration of USDA programs for
sustainable development, including research and education, water
quality, integrated pest management, food safety and other related
programs. The 14 private-sector members appointed in 1993 have
only met once due to a lack of funding. The 14 public-sector
members are just being appointed. In FY95, the NSAAC will need
$65,000 to hold two major meetings.
ATTRA STAFFERS TRAVEL U.S. TO SHARE, GATHER SUS AG INFO
ATTRA staffers have travelled extensively around the U.S. the
past quarter in their mission to gather and share the latest
information about sustainable agriculture.
ATTRA Technical Specialist Preston Sullivan studied sustainable
practices of Amish farmers while touring Holmes County, Ohio, from
April 24-26. The tour was sponsored by Stockman Grass Farmer and
Holistic Resource Management.
Holmes County is a patchwork of diverse family-farms of 80 to
150 acres, where horses and buggies are used in place of tractors
and automobiles. Life there revolves around community devotion to
religion, family and farming. In addition to visiting the farms of
David Kline, Leroy Kuhm, Andy Miller, Eli Yoder, Abe M, and Chris
Yoder, Sullivan also toured the Winnesburg Carriage buggy
manufacturing plant, Coblentz Collar Shop, Pioneer Equipment
Company and nearby Malabar Farm.
About 75 mushroom growers attending the "Arkansas Shiitake
Growers Association" meeting on April 9 at Eureka Springs, AR,
discussed species of tree logs used for production, use of
production as a community development tool, direct marketing of
mushrooms and organic certification as a marketing tool. Senior
Technical Specialist Alice Beetz said perused the latest books and
literature on shiitakes at a booth fair at the meeting.
Three tours of a dairy farm with its own milk-bottling plant, a
biodynamic vegetable farm which operates a European-style bakery
and a ranch which raiees 900 head of Holstein beef animals
annually were among highlights of the Sixth Annual Farmers
Conference from March 4-5 at Cornell University. Sponsored by the
Cooperative Extension Service, this year's conference was titled
"Managing Resources for Sustainability."
Technical Specialist Guy Ames spoke about "Progress in
Sustainable Fruit Production Around the U.S." Other speakers
discussed dairy livestock and forages, vegetables, field crops,
About 600 people attended the 15th Annual Ohio Ecological Food
& Farm Association (OEFFA) Conference, a major organic farming
event in the Midwest held at Ohio Northern University at Ada.
Technical Specialist Steve Diver presented slide shows on
"Organic Greenhouse Vegetable Production" and "On-Farm Trials with
Plastic Mulches in Vegetables." "Most of the speakers were
farmers," Diver said, "who presented an amazing amount of
practical information that shows how far along sustainable farming
systems have really come."
Program Manager Jim Lukens spoke to participants of the 1994
USDA/ARS Mid South Area Research Leaders Conference on March 3 at
Biloxi, MS, about "What Sustainable Agriculture Wants from the
ARS." Also serving on the panel were a Mississippi farmer and a
Louisiana staff member of the Nature Conservancy.
Participants at the "Management Intensive Grazing Seminar" from
May 18-20 at the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research
Center at Linneus, MO, designed a grazing system for a nearby farm
as a field project. Technical Specialist Anne Ayers said about 75
ranchers and Extension and SCS personnel attended the seminar,
sponsored by the University and the Green Hills Farm Project.
Classroom topics included economics of intensive grazing, water
systems, livestock pasture nutrition and supplements, and
subdividing pastures. During field sessions, participants
subdivided pastures and assessed forages available to steers in
Controlling parasites and drug residues in goat milk and meat
were the focus of the "Goat Field Day" attended by Technical
Specialist Anne Ayers on May 7 at E. Kika de la Garza Institute
for Goat Research at Langston University in Oklahoma.
Fourteen sustainable agriculture farmers shared their
experiences with other farmers and ag professionals who are
shifting from conventional to sustainable practices at the
"Sustainable Agriculture Conference: The Quiet Revolution" held
from Feb. 14-15 at the University of Minnesota at St. Paul.
Technical Specialist Lance Gegner was among 250 people
attending the event, which was sponsoed by the University,
Minnesota Extension Service, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable
Agriculture, Cargill Inc., Cenex Land O' Lakes and W.K. Kellogg
Three Kansas farmers told an audience of 275 people how
sustainable practices had greatly improved their hog, beef and
grain operations during a panel discussion at the Kansas
Sustainable Agriculture Symposium on April 20 at Kansas State
University at Manhattan.
Public Information Specialist David Zodrow said other speakers
included Don Wyse of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable
Agriculture concenring the development of the Institute, Stewart
Smith of the University of Maine Department of Agricultural
Economics on family farms, North Dakota farmer Fred Kirschenmann
on farming ecologically on the prairie, and KSU faculty members
Len Bloomquist and Andrew Barkley on sustaining rural communities
and the economics/politics of sustainable agriculture. Sponsors
were the KSU AES/CES and the Kansas Rural Center at Whiting.
Assistant Program Manager Teresa Maurer was one of 400 people
from 40 states attending the "National Extension Technology
Conference" from ....at Lexington, KY. In its 10th year, the
Conference offers participants the chance to discuss and review
innovations related to publishing, electronic media, distance
learning, software development and communications delivery
"Demonstrations, reviews of successes and challenges, exhibits,
symposia and great hallway conversations made this an excellent
way to learn about the diversity of Extension approaches to
managing and communicating information," Maurer said. "We are
looking for new ways to link with states and regions boith in
using and providing sustainable agriculture information available
from many sources in many forms."
WASHINGTON TILTH CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Washington Tilth, a nonprofit association of farmers developing
ecologically sound approaches to agriculture in the Pacific
Northwest, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a conference
from Nov. 11-13 at Oregon State University in Corvallis. At
"Telling The Story: Celebrating Tilth's First Twenty Years,"
farmers, ranchers, orchardists, researchers, gardeners, educators,
environmentalists and policy makers will be invited to share
perspectives of events of the past 20 years and to clarify a
vision for the future.
KALTENEKKER JOINS ATTRA
Margit Kaltenekker of Winslow, AR, is serving as a temporary
information specialist with ATTRA to assist technical specialists
with writing projects and caller requests. She has a BS in Botony
from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, performs farm
inspections for the Organic Certification Inspection Association,
is affiliated with Organic Growers and Buyers Association and the
Farm Verified Organic, and has experience with organic vegetable
farming and marketing.
FARMER'S BOOKSHELF: 9 SOUTHERN FARMERS SPIN SUS AG TALES
Nine farmers from Texas to South Carolina who have found
innovative ways to farm sustainably tell their inspirational,
informative stories in a new 32-page booklet titled "Farming More
Sustainably In The South" by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture
Working Group (SoSAWG).
The wide diversity of crops grown in the South is reflected in
stories by producers of cotton, soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum,
sugarcane, vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, milk and livestock.
Farmers discuss such practices as rotations, cover crops,
composting, soil building and use of beneficial insects - and many
of them in the booklet unveil unique marketing strategies which
add to their sustainability. Half of the nine farmers are
To order the booklet, send $4.50 (price includes shipping and
handling) to Keith Richards, 1533 S. Duncan Street, Fayetteville,
AR 72701. Please make checks and money orders payable to "SSAWG".
CHICKEN HEALTH HANDBOOK GOOD FOR SMALL OR BIG PRODUCERS
ATTRA Technical Specialist Anne Ayers recently served as
reviewer for galleys of a new book from Storey Communications by
Gail Damerow titled "The Chicken Health Handbook."
The 331-page book is a practical reference guide which provides
easy-to-understand information on infectious diseases, internal
and external parasites, disease prevention, chicken anatomy,
nutrition and diagnosing diseases.
To order, send $17.95 (plus $3.25 for 4th class mail or $4.75
for UPS) to The Chicken Health Handbook, Storey Communications
Inc., Schoolhouse Road, Pownal, VT 05261, or call 1-800-441-5700.
Purchase orders are accepted.
NEW OR REVISED ATTRA MATERIALS: CALL 1-800-346-9140 AND ASK FOR:
*SUSTAINABLE CHICKEN PRODUCTION
*FIELD-GROWN CUT & DRIED FLOWERS
"Ninety percent of all foods in the supermarket are derived from
four raw foods: corn, soybeans, rice and wheat. This shows that
we will have to diversify the food system to help diversify
- North Dakota farmer and sustainable agriculture activist Fred
Kirschenmann, Kansas Sustainable Agriculture Symposium, April 20,
1994, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
-- ATTRA, National Center for Appropriate Technology Fayetteville, AR 501-442-9824; 800-346-9140