The recommendations are:
1. Expand Agricultural Markets
The federal government should pursue efforts to expand agricultural
markets in order to increase demend for agricultural products and returns for
farmers. The government should support continued negotiations on international
agreements that encourage more open global markets free of trade distorting
policies, support the development of new uses for agricultural commodities
through research and revolving funds for new enterprises located in rural
areas [and should promote American agricultural commodities abroad through
federal export enhancement programs].
2. Invest in Rural Infrastructure
For rural communities to thrive, they must have an adequate invest-
ment in basic services, such as health care, education, telecommunications,
and transportation. Existing federal and state rural business development and
marketing programs and research efforts should be redirected to give
priority to investments that support sustainable agriculture systems.
3. Equity and Support
Increase flexibility in farm commodity programs, [redirect government
support], and [improve access to investment capital] to allow
farmers to respond to market signals, improve crop rotations, and
diversify the mix of agricultural goods produced thereby enabling
farmers to implement profitable practices and systems while protecting human
health and [participating in water quality protection, wildlife enhancement,
and other conservation progra][environmental quality]. Refocus federal
agricultural investment toward research, technical support and demonstration,
conservation, and rural development programs.
4. Prime Farmland
Prime farmlands are those highly productive, versatile, or otherwise
unique farmlands that are of strategic importance to the Nation and its
regions; therefore, we urge implementation of rational land use policies
including policies relatied to zoning, taxation, financial
incentives, transportation, and development - at the federal, state, and local
levels to reduce the compounding effects of urban sprawl.
5. Food Safety
There are two alternatives for wording of this recommendation.
Specific issues within them include:
a. undertake an assessment of grading and testing standards
b. undertake an assessment of monitoring and safety standards
c. develop and encourage quick field tests for food safety and quality
d. develop an effective educational program for consumers
e. pursue international harmonization of food standards
f. reform commodity programs to give incentive for production of safe
g. revise and strengthen existing pesticide regulatory programs
h. encourage development of community supported agriculture and
farmers' markets as appropriate
6. Pricing Natural Resources
The federal government should conduct an inventory of its natural r
resource holdings. [It should develop and implement in a phased manner a sale an
and lease program that reflects full [social] cost pricing of these resources.]
[The review should focus on timber, water, mineral, and grazing land holdings.]
[Subsidization of sale or lease prices would be justified only in instances
where the preponderance of evidence indicates that the social benefits
exceed to social costs.]
7. Integrate Farming approaches
This recommendation has two alternative wordings:
a. Develop and voluntarily implement site-specific integrated farm
plans that jointly address all linkages in agricultural production and the
best use of resources including inputs, crops, animals, air, water, and
soil. Harmonize approaches among local, state, and federal programs to
minimize conflicts and optimize resource management in a balanced pursuit
of profitability, efficiency, and environmental protection.
b. Develop a strategy to coordinate and implement the full range of
environmental objectives (air, water, and soil quality and wildlife habitat)
through integrated farming systems. Widespread adoption of farming systems,
rather than individual best management practices, will help address the
trade-offs between potentially competing goals such as protecting soil
versus water quality, loadings from one pollutant versus another, or
increased profits versus pollution prevention.
The key components of the strategy include:
i. consolidation of USDA land retirement and agricultural
conservation programs to implement water quality and wildlife habitat
ii. priority implementation of site-specific whole farm plans
in impaired and threatened watersheds.
iii. use of whole-farm plans and/or local watershed authorities
to resolve conflicts among federal, state, and local programs to increase
iv. reform process by which decisions on resource conservation
programs and expenditures are made. At all levels, decisions must be made
by groups broadly representing stakeholders and local communities must be
empowered to make decisions within federal and state guidelines.
8. Agricultural Research
There is a need to redirect agricultural research toward interdisciplinary
systems that jointly address profitability, improved efficiency, and
environmental protection. Genetic gains in crop and livestock productivity
are at the foundation of maintaining sustainability, and every effort to
assure this progress must be maintained. Likewise, not all current
technologies for sustainable agriculture are being fully used. Educational
systems to transfer existing and developing technologies must be improved.
On-site demonstrations of integrated systems are imperative for sustainable
development. Implementation will require a change in technology emphasis
from the basic toward the more applied areas.
9. Intellectual Property Rights
Pursue international harmonization of intellectual property tights
standards according to principles outlined by the World Intellectual
Property Organization and support the objectives of the International Convention on Biological Diversity in order to conserve and ensure access to
genetic resources and to protect intellectual property rights.
SATF members are being asked to force-rank these nine with 1 being
the most important and 9 being least important.
How would you rank them? Send me your rankings if you care to go through
the exercise. Thank you.