TABLE OF CONTENTS
Stauber Named Acting Deputy Secretary at USDA 1
Sustainable Ag Has Environmental, Economic Benefits 1
Dr. Knipling Wins Japan Science Prize 2
Wallace Institute Report Outlines Green Support Programs 3
Variety of Solutions Needed to Fight Corn Diseases 3
Importance of Agricultural Composting Gains Recognition 4
California Organic Grape Farmer Profiled 4
Native Americans Use Biological Controls to Fight Weeds 4
Fetzer Vineyards' Goal Is All Organic Grapes 5
Upcoming Events 5
STAUBER NAMED ACTING DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY AT USDA
Karl Stauber, former vice president of the Northwest Area
Foundation, last month was appointed Acting Deputy Under
Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics.
AANews has learned that the White House intends to nominate
Stauber for the post of Under Secretary early this year. In that
role, Stauber would manage USDA's science, technology, and
education activities related to food and agriculture. Before his
appointment, he served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Small
Community and Rural Development, where he worked on policy
development for the Farmers Home Administration, Rural
Development Administration, Rural Electrification Administration,
and the Agricultural Cooperative Service.
"Karl Stauber would make an outstanding Under Secretary for
Science, Education and Economics," said Garth Youngberg,
Executive Director of the Wallace Institute. "He has thought
long and hard about the role of science and education in meeting
the needs of a truly sustainable agriculture in the U.S. He is a
balanced and insightful thinker." When Stauber was vice
president of the Northwest Area Foundation, it funded a seven-
state, $4.5 million study of the economic, environmental, and
social impacts of sustainable agriculture (see story below).
SUSTAINABLE AG HAS ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS, STUDY
Sustainable agriculture has "real and measurable
environmental benefits" and can "be economically competitive with
conventional agriculture, as evidenced by the performance of the
best sustainable farmers," according to "A Better Row to Hoe," a
report by the Northwest Area Foundation on the economic,
environmental, and social impacts of sustainable agriculture.
The report is the result of six years of funding by the
Foundation, which awarded $4.5 million in 42 grants to
researchers in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Montana, Washington, and Oregon. According to the report,
sustainable farms are more diversified in both crops and
livestock than are conventional farms and have less land planted
to "the major commodities that, within current systems of
production, deplete the soil most."
Sustainable farmers use practices which can cause losses of
yield of some crops but have positive environmental effects.
"Importantly, the best sustainable farmers have yields comparable
with conventional farming despite lower resource use," the report
found. Conventional farmers, however, generally report higher
gross income, and in 1991 performed better overall than
sustainable farms, except in Iowa, where sustainable farmers
produced twice as much net farm income per acre as conventional
farmers. "The top one-third of the sustainable farmers performed
very competitively with conventional farmers, even after
principal and interest payments, family labor costs, and
adjustments in value of livestock were taken into account," the
Although those top sustainable farmers can be competitive
with conventional ones, "more research and education efforts need
to be directed toward it, and policy changes must be made to
level the playing field with conventional agriculture," the
report recommended. "Agricultural science will have to adapt
itself to long-term, whole-farm methods of analysis to support
the development and adoption of sustainable agriculture." The
report also recommended reforming federal farm commodity programs
to reward environmental performance and remove penalties for
converting to sustainable agriculture.
"A Better Row to Hoe," 40 pages, is available at no charge
from Communications Department, Northwest Area Foundation, 332
Minnesota St., #E-1201, St. Paul, MN 55101-1373.
DR. KNIPLING WINS JAPAN SCIENCE PRIZE
Dr. Edward F. Knipling, a retired USDA entomologist, has
been named the winner of the 1995 Japan Prize from the Science
and Technology Foundation of Japan, and will receive a $500,000
award, a certificate of merit, and a commemorative medal in an
awards ceremony in Tokyo in April. He was honored for his
development of techniques for controlling insect pests in
agriculture without the use of chemicals. He is best known for
his work with fellow USDA scientist Raymond Bushland on
development of the sterile insect technique used to eradicate the
screwworm from the United States; the technology has been used in
Japan for the eradication of the melon fruit fly from Okinawa.
Knipling was director of USDA's Entomology Division from 1953 to
1971, when he was appointed science advisor for USDA's
Agricultural Research Service. He retired in 1973, but has
continued to work with USDA as a research collaborator. The
Japan Prize is given annually to scientists and researchers who
have made original and outstanding achievements in science and
NEW WALLACE INSTITUTE REPORT OUTLINES GREEN SUPPORT PROGRAMS
A new, environmentally-based approach to farm income support
called a Green Support Program (GSP) would "generate public
environmental benefits by providing direct monetary payments to
voluntarily participating farmers, who, in return, take actions
that enhance or protect environmental quality," concludes a new
report published by the Wallace Institute. According to "Lean,
Mean and Green...Farm Support Programs in a New Era," in addition
to providing a more compelling rationale for public support for
farmers, the GSP approach would also, unlike current programs,
support farm income without distorting commodity supplies or
prices, be more consistent with greater market orientation of
agriculture, assist farmers in meeting the requirements of
environmental regulations, and provide the opportunity for big
savings in federal agricultural expenditures.
"Lean, Mean and Green," by Sarah Lynch and Katherine Smith,
is available for $7.50 from the Henry A. Wallace Institute for
Alternative Agriculture, 9200 Edmonston Rd., #117, Greenbelt, MD
20770; (301) 441-8777.
"Tap Water Blues or Blue Ribbon Tap Water?" and "Some
Observations on Tap Water Blues," two analyses of "Tap Water
Blues," a report released by the Environmental Working Group (see
AA News, November, 1994), are available from Drs. David B. Baker
and R. Peter Richards, Water Quality Laboratory, Heidelberg
College, Tiffin, OH 44883; (419) 448-2198.
"1993 On-Farm Research Results," 88 pages, is available from
Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Network, P.O. Box 410,
Greenview, IL 62642; (217) 968-5512.
Proceedings of the National Shiitake Mushroom Symposium are
$10 from Publications Office, Cooperative Extension Program,
Alabama A&M University, P.O. Box 967, Normal, AL 35762-0967.
"Small Farm Handbook" (SFP001) is $20 from ANR Publications,
University of California, 6701 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94608-
1239; (510) 642-2431.
"On-Farm Composting Handbook" (186 pages, $15), "Pesticides
and Groundwater: A Guide for the Pesticide User" (17 pages, $4),
and "Private Drinking Water Supplies" (60 pages, $8) are
available from Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering
Service, Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY
14853-5701; (607) 255-7654.
VARIETY OF SOLUTIONS NEEDED TO FIGHT CORN DISEASES
There is "no single solution" to the steady rise in corn
diseases which a "gradual reduction in tillage" has contributed
to, according to The Furrow (December, 1994). "High
concentrations of crop residue left on the soil surface allow an
abundance of disease-causing organisms to survive," it says.
"Standing stalks provide an ideal environment for overwintering
disease organisms." A study of no-till, ridge-till, and
conventional tillage systems found that disease levels were low
in ridge-till fields, because soil shaved from ridge tops covered
crop residue in the valleys; conventional and ridge-till plots
also produced higher corn yields than no-till. "By selecting
disease-tolerant hybrids, rotating to other crops, and managing
residue, corn growers can stop corn diseases from eating too
deeply into their profits," the article says.
IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURAL COMPOSTING GAINS RECOGNITION
There is an increasing focus among federal and state
governments, universities, and the private sector on how
composting can prevent organic residuals generated by
agricultural operations from polluting surface and ground waters,
according to a special section on "Farm Scale Composting" in
BioCycle (December, 1994). One article details activities within
the USDA, EPA, Tennessee Valley Authority, states, private
sector, and university cooperative extension services to support
agricultural composting. A second outlines the work of five
cooperative teams of farmers, advisors, composters, and local
governments to demonstrate the use of collected organics in
commercial agriculture. A third article profiles how urban
organics can be effectively composted on agricultural sites
within city limits, and returned to productive local use.
CALIFORNIA ORGANIC GRAPE FARMER PROFILED
Stephen Pavich, who runs nine vineyards in Arizona and
California and grows 3 percent of the entire U.S. table-grape
crop, is "California's most successful organic farmer," according
to Harrowsmith Country Life (December, 1994). "During the 1980s,
his success inspired dozens of table-grape growers to go organic,
with the result that other types of organic farm businesses began
to spring up around Delano [CA]. Now compost makers compete for
Pavich's account." With a degree in viticulture, Pavich is also
self-educated on organic agriculture. "He cautions against a
static view of organic farming," says the article. "His success
isn't based on any special farming technique, he says, but on a
kind of intuitive sense of nature."
NATIVE AMERICANS USE BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS TO FIGHT WEEDS
Faced with decreasing crop yields and land choked by weeds,
several native American land managers are working with scientists
in the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to use
biological controls to stop the weeds on 14 reservations in
Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho, according to
Agricultural Research (December, 1994), published by ARS.
Scientists have released flea beetles to try to curb leafy spurge
on three reservations, and released 15 insect species to fight
six weeds on the National Bison Range, where a herd of American
bison can't find prairie grasses because of weed infestation. On
the same range, musk thistle has been brought under control by
the release of the weevil Rhinocyllus conicus.
FETZER VINEYARDS' GOAL IS ALL ORGANIC GRAPES BY THE YEAR 2000
The goal of Fetzer Vineyards, a major winery with sales of
about $100 million a year, is "for all its vintages to be
produced with organically-grown grapes by the end of the decade,"
according to In Business (October, 1994). Seven years ago,
Fetzer became the first major winery to pursue organic growing,
and last year produced the first major vintage with an
organically grown label. "The payoff is apparent," according to
Fetzer: operating costs have dropped by two to five percent, the
quality of the fruit has improved, and "ultimately it will be
cheaper to farm organically...because growers today aren't yet
paying the true costs of the damage conventional farming exacts
on the environment."
February 1 is the deadline for papers for "Research and
Practice: Learning to Build Sustainable Industries for
Sustainable Societies," to be held in Toronto, Canada, November
12-14; contact Greening of Industry Network Conference, Prof.
Nigel Roome, Haub Program in Business and the Environment,
Faculty of Administrative Studies, York University, 4700 Keele
St., North York, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada; (416) 736-5809.
February 2, "Irrigation and Nutrient Management," a
conference and trade fair, will be held in Salinas, CA; contact
Debbie Roberts, University Extension, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616-
8727; (916) 757-8899 or 757-8777.
February 3-4, "Farming for a Greener Future," the 4th annual
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture conference,
will be held in University Park; contact Farming for the Future,
306 Ag Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802, or
PASA, P.O. Box 419, Millheim, PA 16854.
February 4, the 1995 Indiana Sustainable Agriculture
Association's 3rd annual conference will be held in Frankfort;
contact ISAA, 1145 Krannert Building, Room 640, Purdue
University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1145.
February 7-8, "Introduction to Permaculture" will be held in
Sante Fe, N.M.; contact Thomas Mack, Sol y Sombra Foundation,
4018 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501; (505) 982-2752.
February 7-9, the New York State Direct Marketing Conference
will be held in Batavia, N.Y.; contact Ken Silsby, Conference
Chairman, (716) 433-2651.
February 9-11, "Prosperity Through Diversity," the 1995
annual gathering of the Center for Holistic Resource Management,
will be held in Albuquerque, N.M.; contact the Center, P.O. Box
7128, Albuquerque,N.M. 87194; (505) 842-5252.
February 15 is the deadline for abstracts for the annual
meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, and
Association for the Study of Food and Society; contact Dr. Duane
Ford, NMSU Science Div., 100 E. Normal St., Kirksville, MO 63501;
(816) 785-4280; e-mail email@example.com
February 15 is the deadline for abstracts for projects to be
included in "Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Case of the
North American Great Plains," to be held in Lincoln, NE, May 8-
10; contact Dr. Donald A. Wilhite, International Drought
Information Center, P.O. Box 830728, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68583; (402) 472-6707; e-mail agme002 @ unlvm.unl.edu
February 24-25, the Pacific Northwest Farm Direct Marketing
Conference will be held in British Columbia, Canada; pre-
conference tours will be held February 22-23; a post-conference
tour will be held February 26; contact Pacific Northwest Farm
Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 722, Prosser, WA 99350-0722;
February 25-26, "Cultivating Change" will be held at Ohio
Northern University in Ada; contact Ohio Ecological Food and Farm
Association, P.O. Box 02234, Columbus, OH 43209; (614) 294-FOOD.
February 26-28, the Annual California Farm Conference will
be held in Sacramento; contact Marin County Farmers Market
Association, 1114 Irwin St., San Rafael, CA 94901, (800) 897-
FARM, or Pasadena Certified Farmers Market Association, 454
Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101; (818) 449-0179.
February 28-March 2, the 4th International IFOAM Conference
on Trade in Organic Products will be held in Wiesbaden, Germany;
March 3-5, 1995, BIO FACH '95, a trade fair, will be held at the
same location; contact IFOAM Trade Conference '95, Sunder &
Rottner, Von-Vollmar-Str. 4, D-91154 Roth, Germany; phone, 9171-
April 14 is the deadline for abstracts for papers for
"Environmental Enhancement Through Agriculture," organized in
part by the Wallace Institute, to be held in Boston, MA, November
16-17; contact William Lockeretz, School of Nutrition, Tufts
University, Medford, MA 02155; (617) 627-3223; e-mail