The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the USDA
announced an agreement last week on a framework to govern the
development of safe alternatives to canceled pesticides. The memo
was signed by EPA Administrator Carol Browner and Secretary of
Agriculture Mike Espy. Steps outlined in the memorandum include:
% developing, within six months, a list of pesticides for which
regulatory action might affect a farmers ability to fight pests;
% having the USDA work with agriculture and research groups to
identify and develop alternative methods of pest control;
% expediting the EPA registration process for safe pesticide
% establishing a competitive grants program at the USDA to foster
the research and development of safer alternatives.
Browner said she expects between 30 and 40 pesticides to be
included on an initial list developed by the two agencies. She added
that the understanding is no substitute for legislation. Espy said,
"This agreement will enable EPA to speed the registration process for
pesticide alternatives developed by USDA. This is good news for
producers, consumers and the environment." Daniel Leahy (D-VT),
chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, praised the two agencies
for "breaking bureaucratic deadlock."
In other pesticide use reduction news, the Weed Science Center at
Cornell University said reducing the use of chemicals may result in
more, not less, pollution. Dr. Robin Bellinder said American farmers
have already reduced the amount of applied herbicides by adapting
to new chemicals and new methods of agricultural production. She
said that while additional herbicide use may be possible, it is
unlikely to have much additional benefit as the technology to make
large reductions in herbicide use without adversely affecting a
farmer's bottom line and without increasing environmental pollution
is not available.
A recent survey of Iowa farmers showed 60% of respondents believe
they rely too heavily on chemicals. The survey also found that 30%
of respondents disagreed with statements which said farmers used
too many chemicals; that 78% thought farming relied on insecticides
and herbicides too heavily; and that 76% believed too much chemical
fertilizer was being used. Nearly 62% reported that they were
currently using some sustainable methods and 47% said they thought
farmers should use more if research were available. The poll was
conducted by Iowa State University extension sociologist Paul Lasley.
Source: "EPA, USDA Agree on Framework for Developing Safer
Alternatives," BNA CHEMICAL REGULATION DAILY, August 17, 1994;
"USDA, EPA Sign Agreement to Reduce Pesticide Use and Promote
Food Production," EPA PRESS RELEASE, August 15, 1994; "Midwest
Farming Today," UPI, August 19, 1994; "Farmers Want Fewer
Chemicals in Agriculture," IOWA FARMER TODAY.
CONTINUING CRP COULD BOOST CORN PRICES
Keith Collins, USDA acting assistant secretary for economics, said if
the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is maintained at its present
38 million acres, corn prices could rise 15-20 cents a bushel, soybean
prices 55-65 cents a bushel and wheat prices 25-30 cents a bushel.
Collins made the comment at a recent House Agriculture
subcommittee hearing on CRP. He did not endorse extending CRP;
however, he outlined three alternatives. One would allow current
contracts to expire and include necessary sign-up periods to keep
enrollment at 38 million acres annually. Another would simply let
the program expire. And a third would allow contracts to expire but
include sign-up periods to maintain enrollment at 15 million acres.
A group in Iowa has been conducting research on acreage enrolled in
CRP for the past five years. The Adams County CRP Project,
sponsored by the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee, is
looking for alternatives for farmers with land in CRP in an effort to
keep the area's population from slipping even further. The group
said it is reaching the conclusion that rotational grazing may provide
the way to do just that.
Allowing cattle or other livestock to graze on CRP land would allow
farmers to keep some income coming in, the group said. It would
also keep crops from being planted on highly erodible soil. The
research is also showing that rotational grazing has made farmers
more money than CRP contracts. Seven of eight crop systems
examined showed a loss. The only system to show a profit was a
corn-soybean rotation with a deficiency payment and grass
headlands. Getting farmers to adopt rotational grazing will be the
problem. "Some people think that Daddy didn't rotational graze so I
won't," said Stephen Barnhart, Iowa State University extension
specialist. He said research has consistently shown that rotational
grazing works; farmers just need to change their attitudes.
Source: David Lynch, "Maintaining CRP Predicted to Boost Corn
Prices," IOWA FARMER TODAY, August 13, 1994; Gene Lucht,
"Groups Studies Alternatives for CRP Land," IOWA FARMER TODAY,
August 13, 1994.
ENVIRONMENTAL RESERVE GETS MEDIA ATTENTION
The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture is advocating the
development of an environmental reserve as an alternative to set-
aside programs. A recent article in FEEDSTUFFS outlines the
proposal. Under the proposal, land would be bid into the program
and farmers would receive payments for removing land from
production or producing in an ecologically friendly manner. Land
would be enrolled over a period of one to five years. The USDA
would develop a formula to accept bids on the basis of per dollar
environmental benefit. In addition, a supply reduction target would
also be set and Congress would be responsible for appropriating
funds for the program. The Acreage Reduction Program (ARP) would
be eliminated but brought back in for "exceptional years in which
carryover stocks are heavy and further commodity supply
reductions are needed." More information on the environmental
reserve proposal can be obtained from the National Campaign for
Sustainable Agriculture, 32 North Church Street, Goshen, NY 10924,
Tel: (914) 294-0633, Fax: (914) 294-0632.
Source: Gordon S. Carlson, "Conservation Groups Want Environmental
Land Idling Program," FEEDSTUFFS, August 15, 1994.
CHINA'S SUSTAINABLE AGENDA INCLUDES SUSTAINABLE AG
Last March, the Chinese government approved a plan for sustainable
development in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit. Under the plan,
62 priority projects will be incorporated over the next five years.
Among the sustainable agriculture programs are the development of
biological pesticides and "green" foods; a strategy for sustainable
agriculture and demonstration projects in 10 counties; the
development and management of farming systems in the mountain-
river-lake district of the Jiangi province; the promotion of
agricultural and environmental protection in southern China; and the
promotion of sustainable development of small towns in the Huai
River flood plain.
Source: "Agenda for Change," THE CHINA BUSINESS REVIEW, July-
ROTATIONAL GRAZING CATCHES ON IN MINNESOTA
University of Minnesota extension agronomist Neal Martin says
rotational grazing is not the saviour for livestock and dairy
producers, but it may help smaller farmers save money and improve
flexibility. Intensive pasture management techniques, such as
rotational grazing, can save farmers up to 45% of their costs
associated with conventional dairy production because such systems
rely on fewer inputs. "It's a true paradigm shift," said Martin. He
made the comments at the West Central Experiment Summer Field
Martin also said the University is experimenting with the "Western
Minnesota Pasture Mix" -- a study of the ecological and economic
affects of rotational grazing. The "mix" includes plants such as vernal
alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, timothy, brome grass, medium red clover
and ladine clover. The study is also looking at soil compaction,
impacts of soil type on plant composition and health and a number of
Scientists in the U.K. are also reportedly looking for environmentally
friendly and profitable production methods for dairy producers.
Adas, the farm advisory body to the government, is looking at ways
to reduce farm waste and emissions in three dairy experiment
systems. The experiments came about as a result of the
government's consideration of legislation that will force farmers to
store manure and slurry, a liquid mixture containing various
particles, for a certain amount of time and dispose of it when it no
longer poses a threat to the environment. While this would increase
costs for farmers, it would also benefit the land through increased
nutrients, particularly if it is spread during the winter. The
profitability of the three systems will also be studied for the next
Source: Gary Gunderson, "Rotational Grazing Earning Praise," AGRI
NEWS, July 21, 1994; Deborah Hargreaves, "UK Scientists in Search
for 'Greener' Dairying System," FINANCIAL TIMES, July 26, 1994.
SYSTEMS HELPS DETERMINE ACCURACY FOR AERIAL SPRAYING
The USDA has developed a system it says will help determine the
accuracy of aerial spraying. Farmers can now place water-sensitive
cards throughout their fields. Once the crops are aerial sprayed, the
cards are collected for a spray deposit analysis. The new system
enhances the ability to analyze these spray deposits using computer
and video technology. The video camera can scan the cards and feed
the data directly into a computer, which can then crank out all the
pertinent statistics, such area sprayed, droplet size, and so on.
Researchers hope the use of such techniques will cut down on
inefficiency and waste and correctly target areas which require
A recent article in the NEW YORK TIMES says the image of farmers
sitting in air conditioned tractor cabs listening to portable stereos
and sporting cellular phones is inaccurate. The purpose of the
earphones, the article says, is to enable the farmer to monitor the
weather or keep in touch with employees. "They know more about
the land than their fathers ever conceived was possible to know
about it," said Brad Buchanan, an Iowa crop consultant. Buchanan
said the latest wave in farming technologies includes satellites to
map soil variations, which makes planting and fertilizing easier. Soil
analysis techniques also help farmers determine when nutrients
need to be used to rebuild soil. These technologies also help in
determining how much of a certain chemical needs to be applied and
when. "Farmers didn't realize how much they could control," said
Thomas Mencke, an Ohio crop consultant.
Farmers are being forced to develop ways to more efficiently use
chemicals as a result of state and federal regulations aimed at
stemming chemical use. The article says that because of these
regulations, agrochemical companies have responded to restrictions
on atrazine, for example, by developing chemicals that break down
faster and easier in the soil. In addition, methods such as no-till
"require you to pay a lot closer attention to your crops," said corn
and hog producer George Driscoll. "You have to be smarter about
when and how you control your weeds."
Source: Michael Landweber, "Farm Scene," AP, August 4, 1994;
Barnaby Feder, "Farmers Find a New Scientific Intimacy With the
Land," NEW YORK TIMES, July 17, 1994.
ISU RESEARCHERS USES SEEDS TO COMBAT WEEDS
Iowa State University weed scientist Jack Dekker said he studies
seeds in the hope that they can provide him with information on
when and where weed infestations will occur. "We need to be able to
predict what weeds will come up, when they will come up and where
they will come up so we can tailor weed management practices to
specific needs," he said. Dekker's work is part of a larger program
launched in Colorado, where weed infestations were studied in corn
fields. In Minnesota, researchers are trying to determine if the
number of weed seeds in soil samples is an accurate measure for
future weed infestations. "If a farmer knew for sure what his weed
situation was going to be, he could use the exact amount of herbicide
needed at the right time," said Dekker. He added that reducing
herbicide use would eliminate the advantage that herbicide-resistant
Source: "Iowa State University Scientist Studies Seeds to Fight
Weeds," ISU NEWS RELEASE, July 7, 1994; "ISU Scientist Studies
Seeds to Fight Weeds," IOWA FARMER TODAY, August 13, 1994.
PERU'S SUSTAINABLE COTTON CATCHING EYE OF EUROPE
Ecologically grown cotton in Peru is under increasing demand in
Europe. The cotton is naturally colored and is produced by farms
that use no chemicals in their production. Orlando Rivera, who
manages a local textile firm, said some 2,400 tons of Peruvian cotton
fabric is being shipped to northern Europe every year.
Another article said that experts in Peru are calling for a "green
revolution" to update farming techniques and expand market
opportunities abroad. Alberto Sacio, a lettuce exporter, said farm
output has fallen 40% since the 1960s. He said the largest parcels of
Peru's farmland belong to inefficient cooperatives. "The best land in
the country is practically uncultivated," he said. In addition, farmers
still rely on older technology, limited water supplies and lack
running water and electricity. Felipe Ortiz de Zevallos, head of an
agricultural consulting firm, said agriculture will be a key to Peru's
long-term economic recovery because it has the potential to create
many new jobs. While the country's economy grew 7% last year,
Peru's trade deficit rose. Ortiz de Zevallos blamed this on the
"protectionist policies in developed countries. There is enormous will
for a green revolution in Peru," he said.
Source: "European's Eye Peru's New 'Ecological' Cotton," REUTER, July
20, 1994; James Craig, "Peru Ag Experts Call for 'Green Revolution,'"
REUTER, July 20, 1994.
COMMUNITY FARM ALLIANCE of Kentucky produces a monthly
newsletter which focuses on Kentucky agriculture. For more
information, contact CFA, 200 Short Street, Suite 10, Berea, KY 40403.
THE ONE ABOUT THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER: STEREOTYPES AND SELF
IMAGES is an book in the form of 12 postcards. The book is available
for $12.00 from the Minnesota Food Association, Room 309, 2395
University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55114.
MANNA is a publication of the International Alliance for Sustainable
Agriculture. Articles of Interest in the current edition include
"Behind the Bouquet of (cut) Flowers" and "What is Sustainable
Agriculture?." For further information, contact: IASA, 1701
University Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55414, Tel: (612) 331-1099,
Fax: (612) 379-1527, Email: iasa.igc.apc.org.
The Illinois Stewardship Alliance publishes a quarterly newsletter,
NOTES FROM ILLINOIS STEWARDSHIP ALLIANCE, which comes with
a membership. For more information, contact ISA, P.O. Box 648,
Rochester, IL 62563, Tel: (217) 498-9707, Fax: (217) 498-9253.
ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS DIGEST is a publication of Sahabat Alam
Malaysia, an organization that monitors the Malaysian and global
environment. For more information about their publication, contact
Sahabat Alam Malaysia, No. 19 Kelawai Road, 10250 Pualu Pinang,
Malaysia, Tel: (04) 376-930.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
GRAZIERS CIRCLE, August 30, 1994, Maynard, MN. FFI, contact:
Koenen Dairy, Tel: (612) 367-2891 or Minnesota Sustainable
Farming Association , Tel: (612) 269-2105.
NATIONAL GROWTH MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE,
September/October 1994, St. Paul, MN. FFI, contact: Land
Stewardship Project, 14758 Ostlund Trail North, Marine on St. Croix,
MN 55047, Tel: (612) 433-2770.
ALLELOPATHY IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND
ENVIRONMENT, September 6-8, 1994, Rajasthan, India. FFI, contact:
Dr. Sjamsher S. Narwal, Department of Agronomy, CCS Haryana
Agriculture University, Hisar 125 004, Haryana, India, Tel: (91)
1662-73721, ext. 4268, Fax: (91) 1662-73552.
WORK AND HEALTH IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, September 8-10,
1994, Toronto, Ontario. FFI, contact: New Solutions, 148 Wright
Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6R 1L2 Canada, Tel: (416) 588-4148, Fax:
(612) 588-4148, Email: email@example.com.
OUTDOOR HOG PRODUCTION FIELD DAY, September 10, 1994, Clara
City, MN. FFI, contact: Jim and LeeAnn VanDer Pol, Tel: (612) 847-
3432, Minnesota Sustainable Farming Association, Tel: (612) 269-
MARYLAND ORGANIC FOOD AND FARMING ASSOCIATION FIELD DAY,
September 17, 1994, Accokeek, MD. FFI, contact: Skip Kaufman,
Accokeek Foundation Farm and Colonial Garden, 3400 Bryan Point
Road, Accokeek, MD, Tel: (301) 283-2113.
NEW JERSEY THIRD ORGANIC COUNTY FAIR, September 18, 1994,
Pennington, NJ. FFI, contact: Northeast Organic Farming Association,
Tel: (609) 737-6848.
SUSTAINABILITY OF RANGE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN
THE WEST, September 18-21, 1994. FFI, contact: Jack Riesselman,
525 Leon Johnson, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717,
Tel: (406) 994-5149.
NATIONAL RURAL FAMILIES CONFERENCE, September 21-23, 1994,
Manhattan, KS> FFI, contact: Steve Bollman, Tel: (913) 532-6984 or
Charlie Griffin, Tel: (913) 532-6985.
NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD MEETING, October 10, 1994,
California. FFI, contact: NOSB, Tel: (202) 720-2704.
FORESTRY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES II,
October 12-15, 1994, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. FFI,
contact: Dr. Bill White, Northern Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest
Service, 5320 122nd Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6H 3S5, Tel:
(403) 435-7315, Fax: (403) 435-7356, email:
MANAGEMENT INTENSIVE GRAZING WORKSHOP, October 12-14,
1994, Linneus, MO. FFI, contact: Forage Systems Research Center, Rt.
1, Box 80, Linneus, MO 64653, Tel: (816) 895-5121.
SEEDS OF HOPE: THE ARCTIC TO AMAZONIA CONGRESS ON
COMMUNITY AND SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY, October 13-17, 1994.
FFI, contact: Erik van Lennep, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.