Alternative Agriculture News
Volume 18, Number 6 (June 2000)
Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy at Winrock
9200 Edmonston Road, Suite 117
Greenbelt, MD 20770 USA
Phone: (301) 441-8777, Fax: (301)220-0164
Web site: www.hawiaa.org
* * *
If You Are Interested in Sustainable Agriculture...
In addition to this monthly newsletter, the Henry A. Wallace Center for
Agricultural & Environmental Policy at Winrock International (formerly 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 sustainable farming systems.
For U.S. subscribers, one volume (four issues) costs US$24 for
individuals, $US44 for libraries, and US$12 for students; foreign rates are
also available. For more information, contact the Wallace Center, 9200
Edmonston Rd., Ste. 117, Greenbelt, MD 20770-1551 USA; (301) 441-8777;
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Pesticide Regulation Bill Written by Industry, According to Washington Post
Alaska Salmon Industry Seeks "Organic" Label
New Members Named to National Organic Standards Board
USDA Approves 2.46 Million Acres for Conservation Reserve Program
Food and Drug Administration Sets New Rules, No Mandatory Labeling, For
Brazil's Policy on Genetically Engineered Crops May Have Global Implications
WALLACE CENTER/WINROCK NEWS
Senator Culver Honors Henry A. Wallace at Reception Inaugurating Wallace
Center at Winrock
Feasibility of Cereal Straw Featured in New Issue of American Journal of
PESTICIDE REGULATION BILL WRITTEN BY INDUSTRY, ACCORDING TO WASHINGTON POST
A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would revise
the regulation of pesticides was written "by a consulting firm working for
a coalition of pesticide manufacturers, agricultural organizations and food
processors," according to a front-page article in The Washington Post (May
13, 2000). "Many of those at the firm previously worked on pesticide
regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency. The legislation would
make it more difficult for federal regulators to restrict existing
pesticides while giving manufacturers broad leeway to introduce news ones."
The bill was introduced by Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.), who said it
deals only with "process" and not with the basic structure of the food
safety law passed by Congress four years ago, but critics say it would
"effectively undo the protections put in place in 1996." Bill opponents
told The Post that the bill would allow manufacturers that want to register
new types of pesticides to use assumptions or calculations rather than
conduct studies, "making it easier for them to sell new compounds at the
same time it would be harder for EPA to restrict old ones." According to
the article, "The Pombo bill is almost a word-for-word duplicate of a
typewritten draft dated March 22, 1999, and marked in hand-writing 'IWG,'
for Implementation Working Group, the coalition of pesticide manufacturers,
agricultural interests and food processors." Pombo "angrily denied any
impropriety," and said the proposed changes are needed to keep the EPA from
making worst-case assumptions and rushing to judgments without "doing the
science," he told The Post.
ALASKA SALMON INDUSTRY SEEKS "ORGANIC" LABEL
The Alaska salmon industry and Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska are trying to
ensure that wild salmon are "included in the federal organic standards that
are expected to go into effect at the end of the year," according to an
article in The New York Times (May 24, 2000). "The proposed standards will
cover everything except aquatic animals and honeybees, but the Alaska
salmon industry is pushing for the change because the organic label
generally adds 25 to 35 percent to the value of a product." According to
documents of the National Organic Standards Board, organic certification
standards should not be developed for wild animals, including fish, because
"the issue is controversial," according to the article. "Organic farming as
it has been defined for 30 years is a managed system tracking everything
that goes into production, but salmon migrate thousands of miles across
oceans and their habitats cannot be carefully monitored."
Instead of the organic label, the USDA is suggesting labeling to indicate
the products were harvested and handled according to certain standards, the
article stated. The Marine Stewardship Council, an accreditation body that
has developed ecolabel guidelines, "would certify that such fish had come
from healthy fisheries and that fishing for them had not hurt the
environment." Katherine DiMatteo of the Organic Trade Association said that
calling Alaska salmon organic has nothing to do with the philosophy of
organic agriculture. "We feel we shouldn't be pressured by an interest
group who wants the organic label for marketing purposes," she said.
"That's the very wrong reason to ask us to change our 30 years of work."
NEW MEMBERS NAMED TO NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD
Five new members were named to the National Organic Standards Board last
month: Owusu A. Bandele, Baton Rouge, LA; T. Mark King, Indianapolis, IN;
Kim M. Burton, Chico, CA; William Lockeretz, Brookline, MA; and Rebecca J.
Goldburg, Montclair, NJ. Their terms begin immediately and end January 24,
2005. The NOSB assists in the development of standards for substances to be
used in organic production and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on any
other aspects of the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act of
1990. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service monitors the board's activities.
USDA APPROVES 2.46 MILLION ACRES FOR CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM
The USDA will enroll 2.46 million acres of environmentally sensitive land
in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up that will go into effect
on October 1, 2000. The CRP is a voluntary program in which producers
enroll highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land and adopt
long-term conservation practices on the land; they sign 10- to 15-year
contracts that provide them with annual rental payments and cost-share
assistance. Of the 2.46 million new acres, 1.6 million acres are highly
erodible land; 1.3 million acres are located within conservation areas;
156,000 acres are wetlands and protected upland areas; and 123,000 acres
will be restored to rare and declining habitats.
Total CRP enrollment is currently approximately 31.4 million acres.
Contracts on approximately 420,000 acres will expire on September 30; with
the new contracts, total enrollment as of October 1 will be 33.5 million
acres. The current cap on CRP acreage is 36.4 million acres; the
Administration's budget proposal requested an expansion to 40 million
acres. Additional CRP information is available on the Internet at
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION SETS NEW RULES, NO MANDATORY LABELING, FOR
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month announced new
regulations for bioengineered foods, but did not require mandatory labeling
on products that contain bioengineered ingredients. The new rules mandate
that developers of bioengineered foods and animal feeds notify the FDA when
they intend to market such products at least 120 days before marketing.
Specific information must be submitted in that notification to help
determine whether the products pose any potential safety, labeling, or
adulteration issues. Submitted information and the FDA's conclusions about
the products will be available to the public on the Internet. The FDA will
also draft guidelines "to assist manufacturers who wish to voluntarily
label their foods being made with or without the use of bioengineered
In its announcement, the FDA said that it had concluded that "all
bioengineered foods sold here in the United States today are as safe as
their non-bioengineered counterparts." But according to Dr. Rebecca
Goldburg of Environmental Defense, "Consumers want genetically engineered
foods to be safety tested and to be labeled. This plan does not require
either." More information about the FDA rules is available on the Internet
BRAZIL'S POLICY ON GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS MAY HAVE GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS
While Brazil is in the process of deciding whether to make the planting of
genetically engineered crops legal, "there is a growing sense that what
happens in Brazil—the world's No. 2 soybean producer, after the United
States—could tip the balance on genetically altered crops around the
world," according to an article in the Business Section of The New York
Times (May 16, 2000). The Brazilian government approved the use of
genetically engineered seeds in 1998, but a consumer group challenged the
approval in federal court, which is expected to deliver a ruling this year.
"Should Brazil reject biotechnology's lure, it would be a big setback for
American companies that have already been hurt financially by fierce
resistance in Europe," the article stated. "But if Brazil's huge
agricultural sector joins the biotech fold, experts say, it may someday be
difficult for consumers anywhere to find any food free of genetically
Technically, it is illegal to plant genetically engineered seeds in
Brazil, but many agricultural experts from Brazil and the United States
suspect that modified seeds are being smuggled in from Argentina, the
world's third largest soybean producer. One expert "estimates that up to 30
percent of Brazil's soy crop could already be genetically modified,"
according to the article. "The situation in Brazil also shows how difficult
it is to control this new technology in the absence of any global
WALLACE CENTER/WINROCK NEWS
SENATOR CULVER HONORS HENRY A. WALLACE AT RECEPTION INAUGURATING WALLACE
CENTER AT WINROCK
A reception inaugurating the Wallace Center at Winrock International last
month featured remarks on the significance of the Wallace Center joining
Winrock International, and the legacy of Henry A. Wallace, former U.S. Vice
President and Secretary of Agriculture. A historical overview was given by
Jean Wallace Douglas, Henry A. Wallace's daughter, Honorary President of
the former Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, and
long-time supporter of the Center's work. Secretary of Agriculture Dan
Glickman, Winrock International President Frank Tugwell, and Wallace Center
Managing Director Kate Clancy emphasized the importance of the merger.
Former Iowa Senator John Culver's address focused on the accomplishments of
Henry A. Wallace, and the links between Wallace and the Wallace Center's work.
"The Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy, in analyzing
these changes [in agriculture] and in proposing policies to 'ensure a
healthy and productive future for American agriculture and rural
communities,' is doing exactly what Henry A. Wallace and his father and his
grandfather would be doing if they were alive today," Culver said. "The
Center's work in fostering sustainable and equitable agriculture and food
systems through their research, promoting natural resources management,
strengthening rural communities, and shaping agricultural and food policy
agendas will compliment the work of Winrock's domestic and international
programs, and ensure the continuation of the Wallace family legacy." He
concluded that "the Wallace Center in conjunction with Winrock
International is faithfully carrying on the evermore challenging but
rewarding work which [Wallace] began over 100 years ago."
FEASIBILITY OF CEREAL STRAW FEATURED IN NEW ISSUE OF AMERICAN JOURNAL OF
The feasibility of cereal straw for industrial utilization in Minnesota is
examined in the newest issue (Vol. 15, No. 1, 2000) of the American Journal
of Alternative Agriculture, the Wallace Center's quarterly, peer-reviewed
journal of research on alternative agriculture. Other articles cover
whether health benefits explain price premiums for organic foods; dairy
farm characteristics and managed flows of phosphorus; integrative
biological indicators for detecting change in soil quality; grassroots and
policy connections of farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture;
and designing a durable and positive future for agriculture. For U.S.
subscribers of AJAA, one volume (four issues) costs US$24 for individuals,
US$44 for libraries, and US$12 for students; foreign rates are also
available. For more information, contact the Wallace Center, 9200 Edmonston
Rd., Ste. 117, Greenbelt, MD 20770-1551; (301) 441-8777;
"Michigan Field Crop Pest Ecology and Management" (MSU Extension Bulletin
E-2704) is $12 plus shipping/handling, credit card orders only, from
Michigan State University Bulletin Office, 10-B Agriculture Hall, MSU, East
Lansing, MI 48824; (517) 355-0240.
"Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture" (12th
edition) is available from Alternative Farming Systems Information Center,
National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD
20705-2351; (301) 540-6559; email@example.com; on the Internet,
Pesticide Decision Tool documents, designed to help incorporate
environmental factors into crop production decisions, are available from
John Vickery, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, (612) 870-3430;
firstname.lastname@example.org; on the Internet, www.iatp.org/pesticide/.
"Alternatives to Insecticides for Managing Vegetable Insects" is $8 plus
$3.75 shipping/handling from Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering
Service, Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;
(607) 255-7654; email@example.com; on the Internet, www.nraes.org.
Oregon State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource
Economics, seeks an Extension Agricultural and Resource Policy Specialist;
send vitae, transcripts, and three references to Dr. William G. Boggess,
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, OSU, 213 Ballard
Extension Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331; (541) 737-2942; firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 8-11, "Gateway to the Future—Conserving Private Land," the Soil and
Water Conservation Society Annual Conference, will be held in St. Louis,
MO; contact Pat Mulligan, SWCS, (515) 289-2331 ext. 17; email@example.com.
July 15 is the deadline for applications for competitive research grants
from the Organic Farming Research Foundation; contact Jane Sooby, OFRF,
P.O. Box 440, Santa Cruz, CA 95061; (831) 426-6606; firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com; on the Internet, www.ofrf.org.
July 30-August 5, Tenth World Congress of Rural Sociology will be held in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; full announcement is on the Internet,
August 11-13, Northeast Organic Farming Association Annual Summer
Conference and Celebration of Rural Life will be held in Amherst, MA;
contact NOFA, 411 Sheldon Rd., Barre, MA 01005; (978) 355-2853; on the
August 13-17, "Policy and Rural Communities: Challenges for the 21st
Century," the Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society, will be
held in Washington, DC; contact RSS, Department of Sociology, 510 Arntzen
Hall, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225; (360) 650-7571;
firstname.lastname@example.org; on the Internet, www.ruralsociology.org.
August 28-30, "Focus on Food Residuals Management" will be held in
Burlington, VT; contact BioCycle, 419 State Ave., Emmaus, PA 18049; (610)
967-4135; on the Internet, www.biocycle.net.
August 28-31, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
(IFOAM) Scientific Conference will be held in Basel, Switzerland; contact
IFOAM 2000, FiBL, Ackerstrasse, CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland; phone +41 (0)
62 865 72 97; email@example.com; on the Internet, www.ifoam2000.ch.
September 21-24, "Harvesting Prosperity from a Growing Industry," Natural
Products Expo East, will be held in Baltimore, MD; contact Natural Products
Expo East, 1401 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302; (303) 939-8440; on the
October 6-8, "Taking Back Our Food, Farms and Playgrounds" will be held in
Redwood City, CA; contact Pesticide Action Network, (415) 981-6205; on the
October 13-14, "Forest Owner Cooperation: Balancing Ecology and Economics"
will be held in Madison, WI; contact Jody Padgham, University of Wisconsin
Center for Cooperatives, (608) 262-0705; on the Internet,
October 20-21, Alternative and Herbal Livestock Health Conference will be
held in Storrs, CT; contact Rochelle Syme, University of Connecticut Home
and Garden Education Center, 1380 Storrs Rd., U-4115, Storrs, CT 06269;
(860) 486-6271; firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 29-31, Community Food Security Conference will be held in Santa
Fe, NM; contact CFS Coalition, P.O. Box 209, Venice, CA 90294; (310)
822-5410; on the Internet, www.foodsecurity.org.
Back issues of Alternative Agriculture News are archived at Sustainable
Farming Connection's Web site,
information on subscribing to the hardcopy version of this newsletter,
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