Inside The Beltway -- March 2000
Ag policy update from the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.
Jump down menu:
Big Win on Senate Ag Committee Crop Insurance Bill
Budget and Appropriations Update
Harkin "Conservation Security Act"
Kucinich GE Food Safety Bill Intro'd
Payment Limits? What Limits?
Hearings on Ag Antitrust, Checkoff Programs, Meat Inspection
Draft National Organic Standards
Pork Checkoff Vote
USDA Issues Proposed Rule for Mandatory Price Reporting
Initiative for Future Ag & Food Systems RFP
CNMP Comment Extended
Corps Replaces NWP 26
FDA $$$ on Livestock Microbio Hazards
EU & Hormone-free Beef
SAC Analysis of Administration Budget
Website on Conservation Initiative
Dairy Forward Contracting
Glickman "Singing our Song" at Ag Forum
RMA Organic Focus Groups
GE Potato Comment Request
First Meeting of Biotech Advisory group
Virginia CREP Announced
Catalog of Fed Funding Sources for Watershed
Biotech Risk Assessment Grants RFP
IPM Grants for FQPA Issues
National Campaign Search for New Exec. Director
Previous editions of Inside the Beltway
Big Win on Senate Ag Committee Crop Insurance Bill
As promised supporters of crop insurance reform late last year, Chairman Lugar brought competing crop insurance and risk management bills to a vote in the Senate Ag Committee on March 2. Vote jockeying went on for several preceding weeks, but in the end, as expected, the mainstream crop insurance substitute (offered by Senators Roberts and Kerrey) to Senator Lugar's risk management bill won out on a close 10-8 vote.
The votes cut across party lines, with Democratic Senators Harkin, Daschle, Conrad, Baucus, and Johnson and Republican Senators Grassley, Craig, and Santorum voting with Roberts and Kerrey, and Democrats Leahy and Lambert-Lincoln and Republicans Helms, Cochran, McConnell, Coverdell, and Fitzgerald voting with the chairman.
Prior to the vote, Senator Harkin and his staff inserted into the Kerrey-Roberts substitute several items at the request of SAC. Most importantly, the bill as passed would restore sodbuster/conservation compliance and swampbuster requirements to crop and revenue insurance subsidies. The 1996 farm bill removed the conservation requirements from the insurance programs. If maintained in conference and final passage of the bill, the practical effect of this amendment will be to extend the conservation requirements to regions and producers who use crop insurance but are not in the commodity programs and do not use federal credit programs. Longer range, it will prevent the elimination of conservation requirements should the next farm bill eliminate commodity payments in favor of revenue insurance.
Also in the substitute, as a result of our action, is language preventing discrimination against sustainable and organic producers within the crop insurance programs, broad language allowing RMA to do a national whole farm revenue insurance pilot program, eligibility for community based organizations to participate in risk management education funding, and -- within a $500 million pilot program for risk management payments patterned on the Lugar bill -- language allowing payments for both diversification and conservation as risk management tools.
Based on SAC recommendations, language in the Lugar version that failed to credit existing diversified operations and existing conservation practices was revised and language that required farmers to hire crop consultants or dealers to write farm conservation plans was eliminated.
The bill is scheduled for floor action on March 22 or 23. As we go to press, numerous amendments are in varying states of play. The strong expectation, though, is the bill will pass with only minor amendment. Senator Lugar does not appear to be trying to win on the floor what he lost in Committee, though some environmental groups are nonetheless trying to get the risk management payment approach re-instated.
The conference committee with the House will likely follow fairly quickly, as the $6 billion in new 4-year spending (bringing crop insurance subsidies to about $3.5 billion per year) technically expires with passage of this year's budget resolution.
Of the language we won in the Senate, only the anti-discrimination language is in the House bill, so there is still much work to be done. We hope to retain all the provisions gained in the Senate Committee, strengthen the whole farm revenue insurance provision, and perhaps add improved risk management education and conservation language.
Budget and Appropriations Update
The House Budget Committee approved its version of the FY 01 budget resolution on March 15. It includes $596 billion for discretionary spending, about $10 billion more than the current year. However, because of budget assumptions for large increases in several budget accounts, including defense, this budget would represent at least a 6% cut for agriculture and other unfavored appropriations bills. Also disappointing was the failure of the Committee to include any funds in the budget resolution to reinstate the Wetlands Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, or Farmland Protection Program. Over 40 House GOP members had written to the Committee in support of new WRP funding.
The budget resolution does include over $6 billion for another round of double AMTA payments, the same amount as the past two year's emergency supplemental appropriations, but in this case done as regular new spending, rather than emergency, off-budget spending. The Senate has yet to start on its budget plan, with Committee consideration scheduled for March 22.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved an emergency supplemental bill for the current year that includes funding for Kosovo, Columbia, and natural disasters (Hurricane Floyd, etc.). On the positive side, the bill includes $35 million for NRCS to provide technical assistance on CRP and WRP -- though it does not include a permanent change in law to fix the technical assistance funding shortfall. We may pursue a permanent fix during Senate action.
On the negative side, the bill also closes the loophole that has allowed USDA to move ahead with funding for the Fund for Rural America and the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems. The Fund's funds will nearly all be spent before this bill could pass, so it is not really an issue. The research Initiative, however, could be killed in its entirety if this action is not reversed.
The Senate Committee marks up their version of the supplemental on March 21. At press time, the Senate bill does not do away with the Initiative. Complicating Senate consideration of the bill, Majority Leader Trent Lott, against the wishes of Appropriations Chair Ted Stephens and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, does not want to take up the supplemental. Senator Lott prefers instead to consider emergency spending as part of the regular appropriations process.
The House bill also possibly allows emergency conservation program funds to be spent on rebuilding hog barns and lagoons in floodplains in North Carolina. This provision is undergoing further scrutiny and may become subject to a Senate amendment.
Harkin "Conservation Security Act" Close to Reintroduction
The SAC office has been very busy working on multiple redrafts of Senator Harkin's Conservation Security Act, first introduced last summer. The new version of the bill closely tracks MSAWG Conservation Committee recommendations for a comprehensive stewardship incentive program. The current expectation is for reintroduction of the revised proposal sometime in April.
Also in the works is the USDA version of a conservation security initiative. While we know less about the details of this evolving plan, it appears to share some things in common with the Harkin bill but may differ in significant ways. Though still in process, the current USDA thinking is to emphasize basic BMPs and portions of farms over more holistic and whole farm approaches. We will continue to watch developments.
Kucinich Bill on GE Food Safety Intro
On March 9, 2000, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced a bill, H.R. 3883, which would require that the Federal Food and Drug Administration undertake extensive safety reviews of genetically modified foods. The FDA would have to ensure that all GE foods are tested for hidden allergens, toxicity, nutrient levels, unexpected effects, and functional characteristics.
The bill would also require a 30-day public comment period for applications for GE foods and public access to all studies performed by the applicant, including those with unfavorable data. In addition, the bill phases out the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GE foods. GE foods already on the market would have to be tested within two years after final rules implementing the bill are published or be removed from the market.
H.R. 3883 is a complementary bill to another bill introduced by Representative Kucinich, H.R. 3377, which requires labeling of GE foods and provides for limiting the liability of farmers improper labeling of GE foods. In February, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced S. 2086, a companion labeling bill.
Making Fun of Payment Limitations
Makes you nostalgic for the good old days of the Mississippi Christmas Tree!
A new program allows farmers to take crop subsidies above the payment limit in certificates redeemable for government-held commodities instead of cash. Swayed by the heart-rending stories of farmers forced to get by on a mere $150,000 a year from Uncle Sam (not to mention the lobbying clout of the Cotton Council), Congress established the program last fall. Secretary Glickman, who had the option of not implementing the deal, gave in to strong pressure from Capitol Hill and the specter of a million bales of cotton that might have otherwise been forfeited to the federal government under the loan program this year.
So next month when you're mailing in your federal tax forms, be sure to look for your thank you note from sweepstakes winner J.G. Boswell Co., which controls an estimated 160,000 cotton acres in California's San Joaquin Valley, and was tabbed by USDA as one of the biggest winners in this little bit of largesse for the larded.
Giving in to the fattest cats can't possibly help Secretary Glickman's entreaties to Congress to target assistance to small and medium sized farms. Noted USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins, "There's no doubt it's a concern. Here the secretary has been advocating a tight payment limit." Cry us a river, Keith, cry us a river.
Upcoming Hearings on Ag Issues
At the NFU convention in late February, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Orrin Hatch announced that later this year his committee will hold hearings on antitrust law and agricultural concentration. In addition, the staff director of the Senate Agriculture Committee announced that Committee Chair Lugar will hold a hearing on the agricultural checkoff programs. These hearings have not yet been scheduled.
The Senate Agricultural Committee has scheduled, on April 6, 2000, a full committee hearing on a bill sponsored by Senators Hatch and Daschle which would allow the interstate shipment of meat inspected by state-certified inspectors. Senator Hatch has indicated that he and Senator Daschle can muster enough votes to pass their bill. For more information on these hearings, contact the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-547-5754.
Draft National Organic Standards
On the off chance that this is actually news to someone reading this report, the USDA issued its revised draft rule for the National Organic Standard on March 7 at a full-dress press conference at which Secretary Glickman found several different ways to say "we listened to you."
Whether or not they actually heard is another question, which is still up in the air as organic growers & advocates plow through the hundreds of pages of the new rule. If you want to be one of them, you can download the whole proposed rule or parts of it from the website of the National Organic Program at www.ams.usda.gov/nop and read more of the Department's press statements at www.usda.gov/news/releases/2000/03/march.htm.
Comment on the new draft rule is due by June 13, 2000. You can find out more about outside opinions on the new rule at the website of the Rural Advancement Foundation International www.rafiusa.org/.
Official comment by the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture should be available by mid-April; contact them at email@example.com.
Pork Checkoff Vote
Also probably not news to any of you is the Secretary's announcement of a vote on the Pork Checkoff that funds the National Pork Board and, through the NPB, the National Pork Producers' Council (NPPC). In making his announcement at the National Farmers Union's meeting in Salt Lake City, Secretary Glickman noted that he was exercising his own authority to call for a vote, and that the costs of the vote would come out of the USDA, rather than from pork checkoff funds.
There's very little information available on the AMS or broader USDA website about this announcement, but the Secretary's memo outlining his reasons for calling the vote is illuminating. He notes that: "Having reviewed the AMS verification process, I have concluded that it is vulnerable to criticism in a number of respects. Among other things, USDA's data entry process was flawed, valid petitions were deleted, and duplicate entries not removed, making it impossible to state precisely the final number of petitioners. AMS' judgements about individual petitions where producers did not fill out forms perfectly or legibly are open to challenge."
Due to the uncertainty, the Secretary made the determination that "equity" and "democratic process" demanded a vote. The NPPC went into full panic mode, indicating that they might sue to block the vote and other clumsy steps that would only serve to further alienate the hog producers who will vote on the checkoff. One thing they have done effectively is to spin the USDA announcement in such a way that many news stories are reporting that the department could not verify enough signatures, but is bowing to political pressure to hold the vote anyway.
As is clear from the Secretary's memorandum, this is simply not the case. For a copy of the Secretary's Memorandum, contact the offices of the Campaign for Family Farms at 612-722-6377, or the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-547-5754.
USDA Issues Reg on Mandatory Price Reporting
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a proposed rule for mandatory livestock price reporting. See Federal Register, Vol. 65 at pp. 14651-14691 (March 17, 2000). Comments are due on or before April 17, 2000. The proposed rule imposes price reporting requirements on livestock packers and product processors who slaughter on average more than 125,000 cattle, 100,000 swine, and 75,000 lambs per year.
Importers who annually import more than 5,000 metric tons of lamb meat are also required to report. The proposed rule requires that price reporting take place at specified times and will require the reporting of certain details of transactions.
Additional information on the rule is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service website at www.ams.usda/gov/lsg/price.htm. If you cannot access the proposed rule on the web, contact the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition at email@example.com or 202-547-5754.
Initiative for Future Ag & Food Systems RFP
The Cooperative State Research, Education & Extension Service (CSREES) has issued a Request for Proposals for the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems program. The IFAFS Program will total approximately $113.4 million in this fiscal year. The Federal Register notice on this RFP is in Vol. 65, No. 44, pp. 11838-11857, March 6, 2000.
The RFP includes a groundbreaking section on research on farm efficiency and profitability, including the needs of small and moderate-sized family farms. This section of the RFP implements a major win of the sustainable agriculture movement in the 1998 agricultural research act. The request calls for new research partnerships, systems approaches, extensive farmer involvement, low-capital and low-input approaches, and both production and marketing/value-adding processing research.
This section of the RFP is far superior to the small farm section of the NRI RFP and most other earlier USDA proposals. For more information on this area, contact Program Director Don West, at (202) 720-5633, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or Denis Ebodaghe at (202) 401-4385, e-mail email@example.com.
Overall funding was divided as follows:
In addition, no less than 30 percent of total funds are being set aside for "consortia" proposals for large collaborations, with 4 year awards of between $1 million and $5 million. The balance will be smaller grants with a top limit of $1 million.
As we have reported previously, the funding for the Initiative became available late last year when USDA budget and legal staff discovered a loophole in the congressional prohibition in spending any funds on this program. Needless to say, it continues to be controversial. The House Appropriations Committee, in a supplemental appropriations bill reported out of Committee on March 9, repeals the funding (again).
As we go to press, the Senate Committee has scheduled a markup on its version of the supplemental for March 21. Early indications are they will not repeal the Initiative's funding. The final outcome remains very uncertain. However, those considering submitting proposals should forge ahead, at least until the funding prospects become clearer. It is likely, though not yet confirmed, that USDA will extend the May 8 deadline for submissions. For e-mail updates on the situation, subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the SAC office.
CNMP Comment Extended
NRCS has announced that it has extended the comment period on its draft Technical Guidance for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) for animal feeding operations. See Federal Register, Vol. 65 at p. 13963 (March 15, 2000). The comment period is extended to April 14, 2000.
Note that in addition to use by NRCS in its voluntary programs, the CNMPs have also been proposed by EPA for inclusion in Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits under the regulatory program for large- scale concentrated animal feeding operations. The SAC office has prepared suggested comments on the draft Technical Guidance and is finalizing a detailed letter which may be endorsed by other organizations.
For further information, contact Martha Noble by phone at 202-547-5754 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Corps Replaces NWP 26
The US Army Corps of Engineers has issued new and modified Clean Water Act Section 404 Nationwide Permits (NWPs) to replace NWP 26. See Federal Register, Vol. 65 at pp. 12817 (March 6, 2000); for additional information see the Army Corps website at www.usace.army.mil/inet/functions/cw/cecwo/reg/.
NWP 26 is scheduled to expire on June 7, 2000, when the new program goes into effect. The new NWP program applies to development activities of 1/2 acre or less which do not occur in tidal wetlands and provides additional protection for wetlands in 100-year floodplains.
The old NWP program allowed development on up to 3 acres without an individual section 404 wetlands permit. The Army Corps must also be notified if an activity will destroy more than 1/10 of an acre, a reduction from the old standard of 1/3 acre.
With regard to agricultural wetlands, NWP 40 has been increased from a permit limited to the construction of farm buildings to a permit allowing wetlands destruction to increase agricultural production, including ranching and silviculture activities. Revised NWP 40 allows conversion of up to 1/2 acre of non-tidal wetland and up to 300 linear feet of wetland for the purpose of relocating existing drainage ditches constructed in non-tidal streams. The revised NWP 40 uses farm tracts, rather than farms as the measure of single and complete projects, a provision that will allow more than one wetland conversion on many farms.
It is difficult to predict whether the revised NWP 40 is an overall improvement compared to the use of NWP 26 on agricultural land. For smaller farms, with only a few farm tracts, NWP 40 may be more restrictive but larger farms, with more than 6 farm tracts, may be able to convert significantly more acreage under NWP 40 than NWP 26. The NRCS will oversee activities on agricultural land enrolled in the federal farm programs and Army Corps district engineers will oversee activities on other agricultural land. The revised NWP 40 does not provide any additional protections for playas, prairie potholes, vernal pools, or other highly sensitive wetland areas. In addition, the Army Corps has prohibited the imposition of more restrictive regional conditions on these wetlands in acreage enrolled in federal farm programs subject to NRCS oversight.
The next step is state certification of the revised NWP permit program. States have 90 days from the release of the revised NWP permit program to certify, deny, or place conditions on the revised permits. The Clean Water Network has started a state certification campaign to help ensure the best nationwide permits possible.
If you are working on the state certification process, contact Ami Grace at CWN (phone: 202-289-2421 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) to link with activists within your state and to obtain fact sheets, suggested regional conditions, and other tools developed by the CWN and the National Audubon Society.
FDA $$$ on Livestock Microbio Hazards
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would make available approximately $600,000 in fiscal year 2000 for study of microbiological hazards associated with food animal production.
The announcement by FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) indicates that this research will focus on pre-harvest phases of food animal production, including aquaculture, and the microbial hazards prior to harvest that impact upon food safety. The announcement specifically notes the need for research into the effects of therapeutic and subtherapeutic antibiotic usage in livestock on bacterial pathogens.
The FDA plans to work through a small number of cooperative agreements of $100,000 or $200,000 per year, for up to three years. Application deadlines are short; letters of intent to apply should be received at FDA by April 3, and completed applications by April 17. For more information on administrative and financial management aspects of the project, contact Cynthia Polit, FDA Grants Management Specialist at (301) 827-7180. For information on the program, contact David Batson at the CVM at (301) 827-8021.
EU Agrees to US Hormone-Free Beef Plan
On March 9, the European Union approved new US measures to certify the reliability of US exports of hormone-free beef to Europe. This action prevents a March 15 cutoff on the existing 11,500-ton quota for US hormone-free product. The EU now hopes that, in exchange for increasing the quota on hormone-free beef and possibly reducing the 20% import tariff, the US will remove some US sanctions against EU exports approved earlier by the World Trade Organization as a result of the EU's refusal to accept hormone-treated beef. Those sanctions impose 100% import duties on $117 million worth of European products. If a deal is struck, export opportunities for organic and hormone-free cattle producers may increase.
SAC Comment on Administration Farm Proposal
As a part of it's budget request for fiscal 2001, the White House outlined a number of farm proposals, most notably a new system of "Supplemental Income Payments" (SIP) and a Conservation Security Program (see story below).
SAC has prepared a brief critical analysis of the Clinton Administration's farm plan, crediting it with making very significant advances on targeting income relief to small and moderate-sized farms, but faulting the proposal for abandoning planting flexibility and leaving diversified producers out of the scheme. The paper also notes the major missing piece in the proposal - its complete lack of any short term conservation-oriented supply management features to help stem continued low prices.
Website on Conservation Initiative
The USDA announced that information for farmers and ranchers on the Administration's new Conservation Security Initiative (outlined in the President's budget request for fiscal 2001) is available on the web at www.nrcs.usda.gov.
Not included in the announcement were the White House's plans for getting this initiative, closely associated with Vice President Gore and his presidential bid, through a Republican-controlled Congress.
Dairy Forward Contract Rule and Contract Reform
A short 15-day comment period has ended on a proposed rule for the "dairy forward contracting" pilot program. The rule www.ams.usda.gov/dairy/dockets.htm or Federal Register, March 1, pp. 10891-10894) is the first testing ground for AMS Administrator Kathleen Merrigan's initiative to establish new contract agriculture ground rules that enhance producers' rights with respect to handlers and processors.
Congress mandated the dairy forward contract pilot program last year, in part as an experiment to test granting private proprietary dairy plants the same forward contracting opportunities currently allowed for dairy cooperatives. Under forward contracts, the contract sets the price the farmer or coop will receive rather than the Federal milk marketing order.
Participation in the pilot is voluntary for both the farmer and the handler. Handlers will still be subject to all other provisions of the federal order. As part of an evolving farmer "right to know" initiative, AMS is developing educational and regulatory proposals to aid farmers who, for whatever reason, are entering production or marketing contracts. With regard to this specific pilot project, several safeguards are proposed:
SAC has submitted comments that support the mandatory disclosure statement, the 6-month limit on first time contracts, and a revised version of the 3-day waiting period mechanism. We also urged AMS to immediately suspend or terminate the program if they obtain any evidence that handlers are coercing farmers into signing forward contracts, and to move quickly on development of disclosure statements for production contracts, in addition to marketing contracts.
The proposed rule, fact sheet, disclosure statement, and other information are available at www.ams.usda.gov/dairy/dockets/htm.
In several recent policy speeches, USDA Secretary Dan Glickman has articulated five new policy principles to "break out of the farm policy paradigms...that have hemmed in our thinking for several years."
Several of these principles are right in line with things the sustainable agriculture movement has said about federal policy for a long time. In Glickman's view, federal farm policy for the next generation should:
While we can and should press on substance and raise questions on details, these are certainly themes that work very well with previous and new emerging sustainable agriculture proposals for the farm bill, appropriations, and USDA administrative reform. Stay tuned!
The Risk Management Agency is in the process of holding farmer focus groups in different areas of the country to better understand the possible crop insurance needs of farmers during the transition phase to organic production. The issue of transition insurance has been around for a number of years, and was proposed to RMA in a letter from SAC and the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture two years ago. This is the first detailed attempt by the agency to try to figure out what is needed and how it might work.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued an environmental assessment and a request for comments on a proposed decision to give nonregulated status to a genetically engineered strain of potato. See Federal Register, Vol. 65 at pp. 11758-59 (March 6, 2000). Comments are due by April 5, 2000 and should be sent to Docket No. 99-036-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
Monsanto Company has made the request for nonregulation with regard to a Russet Burbank potato line engineered for resistance to the Colorado potato beetle and the potato leaf roll virus by the inclusion of Bt genes, genes from the potato leaf roll virus, and marker and controller genes from plant viruses. A copy of the Monsanto request and the environmental assessment may be requested from Ms. Kay Peterson by phone at (301) 734-4885 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The USDA has announced that the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology will be held on March 29-30, 2000 from 8:30 am to 5 pm in the Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. See Federal Register, Vol. 65 at p. 13710 (March 14, 2000). The meeting will be open to the public and, if time permits, the public may make oral presentations of no more than 5 minutes each on March 30, 2000. To attend the meeting you must contact Ms. Diane Harmon by phone at (202) 720-4074, by fax at (202) 720-3191, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 7 days before the meeting. If you wish to speak at the meeting, you must contact Dr. Michael Schechtman in writing at least 3 business days before the meeting at Office of the Deputy Secretary, USDA, 202B Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building, 12th and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250; telephone (202) 720-3817; fax (202) 690- 4265; e-mail: email@example.com. You may also file written comments with Dr. Schechtman until May 1, 2000.
On March 8, 2000, the USDA announced that it has finalized an agreement with the state of Virginia which establishes a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) for the state. The $91 million dollar program targets 25,000 acres in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and 10,000 acres in non-Bay drainage areas in southern Virginia.
The federal government will spend $68 million on the CREP and Virginia will contribute $23 million. The CREP will focus on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from agricultural lands and will also provide for restoration of wetlands and wildlife habitat and the establishment of permanent conservation easements on some acreage. For more details on the CREP, see the USDA news release, which includes an question and answer fact sheet, posted on the web at www.usda.gov/news/releases/2000/03/0075.
The EPA recently published the Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection (2nd Edition) EPA 841-B-99-003. The Catalog provides information on Federal funding programs that might be available to fund different aspects of watershed protection and local-level watershed projects.
It contains one-page fact sheets for each of the 69 funding sources (grants and loans) that provide information on the type of projects funded and eligibility requirements. Copies of the new funding catalog are available at no charge from the >National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) at: Phone: (513) 489-8190 or (800) 490-9198, Fax: (513) 489-8695). (Please include the document number EPA 841-B-99-003 when ordering the document.)
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) have issued a Request for Proposals (and for comment on the RFP) for a new $1.5 million "Biotechnology Risk Assessment" research grants program for the coming year. See Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 43 at pp. 11706-11709 (March 3, 2000) The grants will be competitively awarded and support "science-based biotechnology regulation, thereby helping to address concerns about the effects of introducing genetically modified organisms into the environment and helping regulators develop policies regarding such introduction." The RFP specifically notes that proposals for risk management, as opposed to risk assessment, are not acceptable. There is a particular emphasis in the RFP on encouraging research on genetic outcrossing, pest resistance, and other key issues raised regarding GE crops.
Proposals must be received by April 10, 2000. For more information on this program, contact Dr. Deborah Sheely, CSREES; telephone (202) 401-1924, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in the mix is a CSREES RFP for both research and stakeholder input for a program entitled "Pest Management Alternatives Program: Addressing Food Quality Protection Act Issues for Fiscal Year 2000." The RFP is available in the Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 43 at pp. 11712-11717 (March 3, 2000). The RFP calls for proposals that "develop, test, and implement pest management alternatives and possible mitigation strategies to ensure that crop producers have reliable methods of managing pests considered a high priority under the Food Quality Protection Act and related regulatory actions."
Proposals are due by April 17, 2000; comments on the RFP are requested within six months of this Federal Register notice. Application materials may be requested via e-mail at email@example.com by sending your name, mailing address (not e-mail) and telephone number. Be sure to note that you are requesting a copy of the application materials for "FY 2000 Special Research Grants Program - Pest management alternatives research: Special Program Addressing Food Quality Protection Act Issues."
The search is on for a new Executive Director for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. The Campaign is a network of over 2000 diverse organizations whose mission is to shape national policies to foster a sustainable food and agricultural system. The deadline for submitting applications is May 12, 2000.
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