Table of Contents
Daschle Seeks "Earth-Friendly Farming Practices" 1
Subcommittee Pesticide Reform Bill Draws Fire 1
Senate Finds 40,000 Farmers Reducing Pesticides 2
Science/Sustainability Conference Papers in AJAA 2
Biological Controls Used to Fight Weevil Pests 3
Composting Act Picks Up Congressional Co-Sponsors 3
Sustainable Ag Graduate Programs Seek Applicants 4
Upcoming Events 5
DASCHLE SEEKS "EARTH-FRIENDLY FARMING PRACTICES" IN PESTICIDE
Chairing a hearing of the Subcommittee on Agricultural
Research, Conservation, Forestry and General Legislation on
pesticide reform late last month, U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-
S.D.) questioned if current legislation is "adequate to encourage
and expedite replacing more dangerous pesticides with more benign
modern compounds -- and with earth-friendly farming practices."
He also said, "We must ask how we encourage rather than impede
the shift to improved or alternate technologies that both produce
the foods we need and better protect the entire ecosystems that
include the cultivated lands that sustain our nation. We must
decide whether we are being over or under zealous in setting
residue requirements for foods."
The first to testify at the hearing was Carolyn Brickey of
the National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform, who described
what is wrong with current law: "Too many regulatory burdens fall
on EPA. 'New science' is not taken into account, and sound
science tells us that the current tolerance-setting system isn't
protecting children from unsafe pesticide exposures."
Jim Bender, current HAWIAA Board Member and former
President, testified about his four-generation farm which has
been free of pesticides since 1980, and certified organic since
1990. "It is highly productive and conserving of resources," he
said. "It competes with our chemical-based neighbors in yields.
It is exceptionally resilient in years with difficult weather or
economic conditions. We receive visitors and agricultural
researchers each year who are complimentary about weed control.
An aggressive, multifaceted soil conservation program coincides
well with the pesticide-free cropping."
Also testifying were Keith Eckel of the Pennsylvania Farm
Bureau, and Juanita Duggan of the National Food Processors
Association, whose organizations support the Lehman-Bliley
(H.R.1627) pesticide reform bill (see AAN, May, 1994). According
to Eckel, "Agricultural chemicals and bio-pesticides will remain
essential tools to control pests for the foreseeable future. They
will continue to be needed to protect our food supply from
insect, disease and weed pests."
Calling for strengthened pesticide reform was Philip
Landrigan of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Chair of the
National Research Council's Committee on Pesticides in the Diets
of Infants and Children. "Applying a more protective presumption
against continued pesticide exposures would more accurately
reflect the preventive public health recommendations of the NRC
Committee and more effectively reform federal pesticide policy,"
HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE PESTICIDE REFORM BILL DRAWS FIRE
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations
and Nutrition late last month approved a pesticide reform bill
characterized as the "worst pesticide bill since 1947" by Maureen
Hinkle of the National Audubon Society. In the version of the
Lehman-Bliley bill (H.R. 1627) approved by the Subcommittee, the
relief offered to minor use pesticides merely diverts scarce EPA
resources while contributing to a worse backlog for
reregistrations of other pesticides, according to Hinkle.
"Furthermore, the IPM and reduced use provisions are mere window
dressing," she said. In a letter to Subcommittee Chairman
Charles W. Stenholm (D-TX) about the version that was approved,
EPA Administrator Carol Browner wrote, "It differs significantly
from the comprehensive set of reforms we have offered. Some
provisions in the proposal actually weaken current law and
further encumber the regulatory process."
SENATE SURVEY FINDS 40,000 FARMERS REDUCING PESTICIDE USE
A survey compiled by the Senate Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition, and Forestry indicates that more than 40,000 farmers
in 32 states have made significant reductions in their use of
synthetic chemical pesticides. Based on data collected through
surveys of state Extension Service Integrated Pest Management
Coordinators, the survey indicates that a wide variety of
alternative management practices -- "from simple changes in
application methods such as reduced application rates and band
spraying, to more management intensive practices such as the use
of biological control agents and economic threshold based
decision-making" -- are being used. "It is clear from the data
presented here that alternative pest management strategies have
had a profound impact on farm profitability, through reduction in
pest control costs and improved yields," according to Michael D.
Fernandez, professional staff member of the Senate Agriculture
Committee, who compiled the survey data. For more information,
contact Dr. Fernandez at (202) 224-5207.
PAPERS FROM SCIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE FEATURED IN
Selected papers from the Conference on Science and
Sustainability, held in Seattle, WA, October 24-26, 1993, are
featured in a special new double issue of the American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture (Volume 9, Nos. 1 and 2), the Wallace
Institute's quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of research on
alternative agriculture. Sponsored by the Center for Sustaining
Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University
and the Western SARE program, the conference focused on
"presenting examples of existing research and education projects
spanning the continuum from traditional, reductionist approaches
to interdisciplinary, qualitative and whole system studies,"
Conference Chairman David Bezdicek writes in AJAA. "We wanted to
show how partnerships among university specialists can enhance
the economic, social, and ecological viability of agricultural
systems." Annual subscriptions to AJAA are $44 for institutions,
$24 for individuals, and $12 for students; contact the Wallace
Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road, #117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301)
BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS USED TO FIGHT WEEVIL PESTS
The effectiveness of using biological controls on two weevil
pests in the North Central Region, the sweetclover weevil and the
clover root curculio, is being researched in North Dakota and
Wisconsin, with funding from the SARE program and the Agriculture
in Concert with the Environment (ACE) program. The sweetclover
weevil is a major pest of yellow sweetclover, a cold-hardy,
drought-tolerant, and cost-effective biennial legume used both as
a forage and source of organic nitrogen in the Northern Great
Plains. The clover root curculio is primarily a pest of alfalfa,
generally recognized as the most important forage legume in the
North Central Region. Working with three North Dakota farmers,
the University of Wisconsin, and the Michael Fields Agricultural
Institute, researchers hope to achieve significant biological
control of the two pests in the region, and involve farmers in
learning how to work with and disseminate the natural enemies to
be used as biological control agents. They also hope to provide
selected farmers with a working knowledge of biological control
in the sweetclover parasitoids system, and encourage long-term
maintenance of the program through farmer networks. For more
information, contact David Hogg, Department of Entomology,
University of Wisconsin, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706;
COMPOSTING ACT PICKS UP CONGRESSIONAL CO-SPONSORS
The Executive Composting Act, a bill (H.R. 2292) introduced
last year in the House of Representatives which urges the
President and the nation's governors to adopt backyard composting
at their official residences, now has 72 co-sponsors. According
to Rep. George Hochbrueckner (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill,
at least two governors now compost: Zell Miller of Georgia, and
Jim Edgar of Illinois. Composting by the country's other
governors and the President would set a positive example both to
individuals and to federal and state government agencies,
according to Rep. Hochbrueckner. "Composting could be used to
manage as much as 60 percent of municipal discards, significantly
reducing the amount of solid waste sent to landfills," according
to the bill, which is now awaiting committee action. "Finished
compost provides a valuable soil amendment that can improve soil
quality and stability, help prevent soil erosion, and reduce the
demand for chemical fertilizers." For more information, contact
Rep. Hoechbrueckner's Washington office at (202) 225-3826.
TWO SUSTAINABLE AG/ENVIRONMENT GRADUATE PROGRAMS SEEK APPLICANTS
Two graduate studies programs in agroecology are now seeking
applicants for September, 1995. The University of California,
Santa Cruz, offers a new Ph.D. program in Environmental Studies
that focuses on Political Economy and Sustainability,
Conservation Biology, and Agroecology. Applications and
information can be obtained from the Division of Graduate Studies
and Research, (408) 459-2301. The Wageningen Agricultural
University in The Netherlands offers a Master of Science program
in Ecological Agriculture which includes study of System Analysis
in Agriculture and Socio-economic Aspects of Ecological
Agriculture. For more information, write to Department of
Ecological Agriculture, Ir. C. van Veluw, Haarweg 333, 6709 RZ
Wageningen, The Netherlands; phone 31-8370-84676/83522.
Agroecology Program/University of California Extension offer
a six-month residential Apprenticeship in Ecological
Horticulture, April 10-October 13, 1995, at the Farm and Gardens,
U.C. Santa Cruz; application deadline is November 1; contact Al
Johnson, Apprenticeship Coordinator, Agroecology Program,
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064; (408) 459-2321.
Blue Moon Farm, a restaurant-owned organic farm near
Atlanta, GA, seeks a farm manager; contact Ben Lyman or Dan
Carson, (404) 876-0088.
American Farmland Trust seeks a Policy Assistant to work
with the Directors of Public Policy and Federal Policy; send
cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Director of Public
Policy, AFT, 1920 N St., NW, #400, Washington, D.C. 20036.
"1993 National Organic Farmers' Survey" by the Organic
Farming Research Foundation is $5 from OFRF, P.O. Box 440, Santa
Cruz, CA 95061, or call Bob Scowcroft, (408) 426-6606.
"Proceedings of the National Integrated Pest Management
Forum," held in June, 1992, by EPA and USDA, are available for
$10 from American Farmland Trust, Center for Agriculture in the
Environment, P.O. Box 987, DeKalb, IL 60115; (815) 753-9347.
"Biological Control of Insects and Mites: An Introduction to
Beneficial Natural Enemies and Their Use in Pest Management,"
($11 + $1.25 shipping); "Biological Control of Insect Pests of
Cabbage and Other Crucifers," ($8 + $1.25 shipping); and "Direct
Marketing of Farm Produce and Home Goods," ($3.50 + $1.05
shipping) are available from Cooperative Extension Publications,
Room 245, 30 North Murray Street, Madison, WI 53715; (608) 262-
"Sustainability: The Quiet Revolution," (VH-6349-NR1), a 45-
minute video, is $45 from Distribution Center, Minnesota
Extension Service, 20 Coffey Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108-6069; (612)
625-8173 for credit card orders.
September-November, seven Tillers International 1994 Fall
Workshops will be held in Kalamazoo, MI: September 13-17, "Small-
Scale Forage Production;" October 1-2, "Ox Driving" and
"Introduction to Blacksmithing;" October 3-8, "Timber Framing;"
October 8, "Raising Timber-Frame Structures;" November 1-5,
"Blacksmithing for Toolmakers;" November 15-19, "Oxen Basics;"
contact Richard Roosenberg, Tillers, 5239 South 24th St.,
Kalamazoo, MI 49002; (616) 344-3233.
September-November, four Farm Tours sponsored by Northeast
Organic Farming Association of New York will be held in New York:
September 17, Ash Grove Organic Farm, Corning, contact Dori
Green, (607) 524-6836; September 18, Peconic River Herb Farm,
Calverton, contact Cris Spindler, (516) 369-0058; October 2,
Alasa Farms, Alton, contact Kim Buell, (315) 483-8155; October
29, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, contact Kay Magilavy, (201)
September 8, Thompson On-Farm Research Field Day, featuring
field tours of test plots and demonstrations, will be held at the
Thompson Farm, Boone, IA; contact Dick and Sharon Thompson, 2035
190th St., Boone, IA; (515) 432-1560.
September 8-10, "The Rural Church: Cultivating a Promising
Future" will be held in Des Moines, IA; contact National Catholic
Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310;
September 17-18, fourth annual New Jersey Organic Country
Fair will be held in Pennington, N.J.; contact Betsy Rizza,
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, 31 Titus
Mill Road, Pennington, N.J. 08534; (609) 737-6848.
September 18-21, "Symposium on the Sustainability of Range
Livestock Production Systems in the West," sponsored by Montana
State University and Western Region SARE program, will be held in
Billings, MT; contact Jack Riesselman, 525 Leon Johnson, MSU,
Bozeman, MT 59717; (406) 994-5149; or Genice Garner, 311
Linfield, MSU; (406) 994-3511.
September 21-28, Ranching for Profit School will be held in
Albuquerque, N.M.; contact Elaine Kelly, Ranch Management
Consultants, Inc., 7719 Rio Grange Blvd., NW, Albuquerque, N.M.
87107; (505) 898-7417 or (505) 821-4214.
September 23-25, Common Ground Country Fair, sponsored by
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, will be held at
Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor, ME; contact Common Ground Country
Fair, P.O. Box 2176, Augusta, ME 04338; (207) 622-3118 or 623-
December 10-14, 10th International IFOAM (International
Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Conference on
Organic Agriculture will be held at Lincoln University,
Christchurch, New Zealand; contact Conference Secretariat, P.O.
Box 84, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand; phone 64-
3-325-3819; fax 64-3-325-3840.