Home Farm Policy Menu Inside The Beltway -- October '98

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Inside The Beltway -- October '98

Ag policy update from the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

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red ballAg Appropriations Bail Out red ballEPA-USDA AFO Strategy
red ballCFO Too Little, Too Late
red ballWhole Farm Revenue Insurance Pilot
red ballSmall Farms Commission
red ballRural Coop Grant Awards
red ballEQIP Who’s Listening?
red ballNY Conservation Reserve Enhancement
red ballCRP Sign-up & EBI Exchange
red ballFood Quality Protection Act implementation
red ballMoving and Shaking

red ballPrevious editions of Inside the Beltway

Inside the Beltway is Sustainable Farming Connection's online version of the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's Washington Report. We reproduce it with MSAWG's permission. Do not reproduce or post to any electronic network without specific permission. Contact Brad DeVries bdevries@cais.com for more information.

red ballAg Appropriations Bail Out

As we go to press, the agricultural appropriations bill that passed the House and Senate smacked straight into a White House veto. The Administration had promised a veto in light of what it considers deficiencies not in the normal appropriations bill for annually funded programs (see below) but in the hastily designed emergency farm aid spending plan that Congress attached to the regular bill. As we hear it today, a negotiated version of the vetoed bill will become a part of a brokered deal in the continuing resolution. The emergency spending does not require any offsetting savings from other programs.

The bill includes a $4 billion farm aid plan designed by Republicans, which in addition to disaster aid includes an extra $1.65 billion in extra Freedom to Farm payments. For kicks, it also includes $50 million for Alaskan fishermen which couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Tyson Foods’ huge investment in the Alaska salmon fleet suffering from low prices and overfishing. The opposing $7 billion Democratic plan crafted by Senators Daschle and Harkin calls for disaster aid plus language removing the cap on marketing loan levels, allowing loan rates to increase to 85% of their prior five year average. This plan is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost about $5 billion. The disaster aid portions of the competing plans are similar, though not identical.

Rumor out of the post-veto negotiations at the Capitol has the Democrats weighing in with an offer to drop the marketing loan issue and substitute $5 billion in payments (on top of existing AMTA/F2F bucks) based on current production history rather than past history as in F2F. They have also sweetened the disaster portion to $2.5 billion. The GOP response is to raise the already-increased F2F payments slightly and take on the $3 billion farmer tax cut package from the bigger House tax package that sputtered to a halt earlier this week. Want the latest? So do we, but this is what we know so far. Keep an eye on your local daily news.

Now for some editorial comment. Both plans would provide windfall payments to the largest program farms in the country and encourage further consolidation during this farm crisis. Both would also likely have the effect of encouraging further overproduction of primary commodities already in substantial oversupply. Neither would address the fundamental issue of the lack of production adjustment mechanisms nor the underlying issue of a lack of crop diversity. And neither would encourage conservation or enhancement of the long term productivity of the resource base. Nonetheless, with this being an election year and the farm economy in very dire straits, the competing plans do battle in an attempt to throw money at the problem and score election night points.

We have circulated a plan to USDA and the Hill calling for a modest portion of this emergency spending to be spent on a conservation/production adjustment package that would get money out to the countryside through environmental enhancement projects that would also help control supply. Included were increased incentives and upfront payments for the buffer initiative and a restoration of the cuts made in the regular bill to the Conservation Farm Option and the Wetlands Reserve Program, plus supplemental spending for EQIP focused on integrated crop management. We also backed partial funding for the Fund for Rural America, directed at long term solutions to farm income problems. These proposals were welcomed in some quarters on the Hill and at USDA, but were never seriously considered by the key competitors in emergency spending bazaar.

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red ballLegislative Action

Not only did the appropriations bill prove to be the train that carried the emergency aid package, but it also picked up quite a few legislative "riders" as well. In any given year, there will always be a few legislative sprigs grafted on to a spending bill, but this year the appropriators planted a few whole new trees.

Unfortunately, conferees stripped out an important provision added on the Senate floor -- mandatory price reporting on cattle sales. The conferees, on a close vote, sided with the American Meat Institute, National Food Processors Association, Food Marketing Institute and other industry groups to delete the mandatory reporting requirement sponsored by Senator Tim Johnson (SD) in favor of weak language encouraging USDA to encourage the industry to increase voluntary reporting. The conference report also requires USDA to report to Congress next year on the feasibility or need for mandatory reporting.

We were successful on another of our action items for conference -- the conferees did delete the virtual elimination of the family farm requirement for FSA farm loans that had been added on the Senate floor by Senators Coverdell and Cleland (GA). However, this MSAWG victory came at a cruel price. In return for striking one bad provision, they added another, this one at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Ag Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (MS) -- the loan limitation for federally guaranteed ownership and operating loans will be raised to a combined $700,000 (from currently separate $300,000 and $400,000 limits, respectively), with the new limit indexed to future inflation. This achieves another major goal of many ag lenders including the Farm Credit System -- the ability to serve some of their larger, existing customers while reducing their risk courtesy of the taxpayer. As we go to press, they are also trying to repeal a 1992 reform limiting borrowers to 15 years of guaranteed operating loans. It is not clear yet whether they will be successful in adding this to the Continuing Resolution.

Even if they win on only one out of three, we can expect to see a much greater percentage of subsidies for guaranteed loans going to large farms in close to $700,000 chunks of annual operating loans, with fewer total customers and fewer small and beginning farmers being served as a result. This will make the job of monitoring state-by-state implementation of the family farm requirement more important than ever.

There were about a half dozen other credit changes made, making this section of the appropriations bill almost as long as the farm bill credit title! The issue that opened up this entire mess was, of course, the effort by Secretary Glickman to change the 1996 farm bill to allow farmers who had previously gone through debt restructuring to have another opportunity to receive FSA farm loans. The USDA-preferred language sponsored by Senator Robb and included in the Senate bill was not accepted. The conferees instead went with House-backed language which provided the second chance only for guaranteed loans and emergency loans, not for direct loans. As such, it will be useful to far fewer farmers. Interestingly, the language is far more liberal (but just for guaranteed borrowers) in one respect than the Robb language -- it provides access to future loans even if you have done debt restructuring up to three times. We're waiting to find out who's constituent problem this was written to solve!

Some good news on the Wetlands Reserve Program. Senate language championed by Senator Kohl (WI) will remove a problem created by the 1996 farm bill's requirement that one-third of WRP be for 10-year cost share aid, a provision that has gone virtually unused while high demand continues for long term and permanent easements. USDA is now instructed to fund in proportion to demand.

As we reported earlier, the Senate bill undid, for one year, a provision of the Ag Research bill passed early this year with respect to crop insurance. The provision would have forced the largest farms by income to pay slightly higher premium prices for catastrophic coverage, putting just a bit of progressivity into the crop insurance subsidy system. After intense lobbying efforts from California, the Senate put this provision on hold for a year. The conferees did them one better -- it made the repeal permanent.

Speaking of California, the conferees also added a provision not found in either bill to delay the phase out of methyl bromide from the year 2001 until the year 2005. The federal Clean Air Act requires the end of methyl bromide production, a soil and storage fumigant that’s particularly hard on the ozone layer, by January 1, 2001. Some of the pesticide’s biggest backers are California growers and congressional representatives (including the provision’s author, Rep. Vic Fazio). Who needs crop rotations (which have proven effective in knocking out the nematodes that are the prime target of methyl bromide), when you’ve got a member of the appropriations committee?

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red ballMandatory Spending

One more detour before getting to regular old annual funding for discretionary programs. Under budget pressure from the balanced budget act -- pressure that will intensify greatly next year and thereafter -- and in need of finding money for increases for food safety, ARS, the Food and Drug Administration and other items, the conference committee went on a feeding frenzy of gobbling up so-called mandatory spending items. These items, like the legislative items in above, are under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committees, not the Appropriations Committees. But, with the Ag Committees playing dead and focused primarily on the emergency aid package, the aggies hit the canvas like a glass-jawed welterweight deep in hock to his bookie.

Here's the tally:

  • Fund for Rural America -- $60 million -- wiped out entirely
  • Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems -- $120 million -- wiped out entirely
  • Conservation Farm Option -- $25 million -- wiped out entirely
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program -- $200 million -- scaled back to $174 million
  • Wetlands Reserve Program -- $124 million -- scaled back to $90 million
  • Conservation Reserve Program -- no cut
  • Freedom to Farm (AMTA) -- no cut

We added the last two just to be humorous. Of course, cutting CRP and F2F, the other two mandatory funding programs, was never even considered. So the final tally of the Agriculture Committee's donation was $265 million -- not a bad chunk of change! Prospect for next year -- they will need all of this and much more, unless the balanced budget act is re-opened.

Interesting footnote #1: Research and extension formula funds increase by just under 7% ($24 million), the National Research Initiative went up 20% ($22 million) and ARS research got a 5% bump ($38 million), though its building account shrank by $25 million. Grand total a $60 million increase or one full year worth of the Fund for Rural America.

Interesting footnote #2: While this hemorrhaging was taking place in Ag, the VA-HUD appropriations bill that also funds the EPA includes the Administration's request for a multi-million dollar increase in Section 319/Clean Water Act grants, portions of which are used in ways similar to EQIP etc. Conversations are going on at USDA in the context of FY 00 budget development about recommending some EPA funds being used in EQIP through a section of the Clean Water Act that has never been implemented.

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red ballDiscretionary Spending

So, now for the boring old story about discretionary programs which is all approps bills are supposed to cover, right? By and large it’s a short story -- almost every one of our programs was level funded. However, there are some exceptions to report on.

We won on farm credit funding. The additional money in the Senate bill for direct farm ownership loans for which we were the primary prod was retained -- $85 million. On direct operating loans, the conferees went with the House level of $500 million rather than the Senate's $560 million, but the emergency aid package includes an addition $233 million, for a total of $733 million, plus more for guaranteed operating loans.

They struck a compromise on the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Rather than the Senate's $15 million and broad administration discretion to spend the money or the House's $12 million with discretion to spend the money if it is not needed to maintain the current WIC caseload, the conference went with $10 million to be spent on the FMNP immediately, plus $5 million more conditioned on the determination that caseload can be maintained.

The picture, as always, is fuzzy on the national organic program. Previous annual funding was $500,000, but another $350,000 or so was reprogrammed this past year, for a total of $850K. The House bill included a $505,000 increase to just over a million dollars, as per the USDA request, but the Senate bill failed to provide for any increase. One version of what happened in conference is that the conferees accepted a Senate proposal to add $433,000 for a variety of AMS programs, of which the NOP would be one of the contenders. Another version says, no, the full $505,000 increase was approved. In any event, the Department would be free to recommend a reprogramming of dollars from elsewhere in the AMS budget, as it did last year. Confused yet? We sure are, but then again its like this every year trying to ferret out just what happened on the NOP. Its a very organic process, you see.

Finally, we suffered a real loss on the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. Under the conference agreement, funding will decline from $40 million this past year to just $33.2 million in 1999. Elsewhere in rural development, ATTRA retained its $1.3 million and the Rural Coop Development Grant program got an increase from $1.7 million to $2 million. However, almost all of the increase is earmarked for a project at Mississippi State and will thus not be available for competitive awards.

That's it. Any MSAWG priority program not mentioned was level funded.

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red ballEPA-USDA AFO Strategy

After years of doing Alphonse and Gaston on CAFOs (EPA: “We aren’t in charge of agriculture; go ask USDA.” USDA: “We’re not a regulatory agency like that nasty old EPA. Go talk to them.”), the two finally issued their Draft Unified National Strategy For Animal Feeding Operations. I’m pulling for the acronym DUNS (pronounce the last letter like “z”) to catch on anytime now.

This Draft Strategy is the overall blueprint for dealing with surface water pollution from all animal feeding operations, including large-scale, confined animal factory farms with more than 1000 animal units. Both USDA and EPA acknowledge in the Draft Strategy that factory farm operations are a source of significant surface and ground water pollution problems and risks. The Strategy also estimates that currently about 10,000 of these large-scale, factory farms are operating, the vast majority of them without permits required under the Clean Water Act. Sorry ‘bout that. Many animal feeding operations are conducted under unacceptable conditions or pose unacceptable risks to the environment and health of rural communities and to the water resources upon which both rural and urban communities depend.

The USDA and EPA will be holding regional "listening sessions" on the Draft Strategy around the country. The time and place for these sessions has not been finalized but they will probably start in mid-November; we’ll get a list out to MSAWG members as soon as it’s available.

We here at SAC have done a initial review of the Draft Strategy and find a number of serious flaws with the proposal (try to hide your amazement), including the following preliminary list:

  • No consideration of sustainable alternatives to factory farms: The USDA & EPA stubbornly assume that factory farms are both inevitable and potentially sustainable, and ignore existing, sustainable farming systems that are in daily use by family-farm livestock operations.

  • Rubber-stamping General or Watershed permits, instead of individual Clean Water Act permits.

  • Woefully inadequate standards for land application of manure, and little detail as to the content of required Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CMNP) for factory farms with permits.

  • Once again, the integrators get off the hook in the proposal, the entire financial burden for dealing with factory farm pollution in the integrated systems falls on contract farmers and the taxpayers. No thanks, chumbo.

The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition prepared an action alert on the Draft Strategy that went out through the National Campaign’s alert network. We are preparing talking points for comments on the Draft Strategy and background information Fact Sheets (ready by November 1) for distribution to Campaign members. We’ll keep you posted.

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red ballCFO Too Little, Too Late

You could say that we viewed more with sadness than anger the bureaucratic fumbling that doomed the Conservation Farm Option (CFO). But you’d be very wrong, judging from the furious National Campaign letter that Ferd drafted (and that was signed by Tim Bowser, Loni Kemp, Duane Hovorka, Debbie Neustadt, Kris Thorp and Ferd for the Campaign and MSAWG) for Sec. Glickman. The NRCS messed up big time, and we want them to know about it.

The indictment calls on the secretary to immediately rescind the final rule on CFO (which appeared in the Federal Register Sept. 29) and begins with a review of the “lowlights of CFO implementation to date” that wound up with the department completing a deeply flawed final rule. This process squandered two and a half years and $47.5 million in mandatory CFO funding, dropped a draft rule AND request for proposals on farmers right in the middle of spring planting season, provided essentially no guidance to folks preparing proposals, and completely exhausted what little patience the appropriators had with the program.

On top of all that, the final rule makes a number of radical changes to the program for the worse that contradict the statute, legislative history, and basic common sense. At almost every turn, the final rule is less flexible, less workable, and more like a “mini-EQIP” than the far-from-ideal draft rule. Contact us if you’d like a copy of our letter; a parental advisory is in order for pure, righteous fury.

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red ballWhole Farm Revenue Insurance Pilot

On September 15, the Board of Directors of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation approved plans to proceed in the coming crop year with whole farm revenue insurance pilot projects in Florida, Michigan, and New England. The pilot will proceed under the official name “Adjusted Gross Revenue” insurance, which just might be enough to throw those members of the Congressional Black Helicopter Caucus who think “Whole Farm Plans” come out of the “Whole Earth Catalog” and are a plot by the “Whole Earth United Nations.”

Farmers in pilot project counties in these areas will be able to take out insurance policies on their entire production, insuring against crop loss and price decline on diversified production. In Michigan, the only Midwest state in the pilot, the program includes the following counties: Allegan, Barry, Kent, Ottawa, and Van Buren.

The focus of these initial pilots are on diversified fruit and vegetable operations, and includes a limited amount of livestock in addition to crops (an MSAWG victory!). The pilot itself is an important, first-step victory for MSAWG and our year-plus effort to get a whole farm insurance system off the ground. Secretary Glickman noted in the Department’s release that “This innovative pilot program ends crop-by-crop insurance and covers the whole farm, no matter if you grow corn or cranberries, soybeans or celery. This program simply guarantees a percentage of gross farm revenue. If this experiment succeeds, we will be closer to the day when we can cover all crops.”

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red ballSmall Farms Office

The Commissioneers have returned to Washington just as we go to press. Future issues of this Report as well as Making Hay will provide some analysis of what happened and where USDA is at on individual recommendations. However, we can announce that USDA has decided to transform the existing one person Office for Sustainable Development (within the Office of the Chief Economist) into at least a three person Office for Small Farms and Sustainable Development.

Adela Backiel, the current Director for Sustainable Development will become the Director for Small Farms and Sustainable Development and USDA will be hiring two Deputy Directors, one for small farms and one for sustainable. Additional staff might be added if and when funding can be found. Parallel to the existing interagency Sustainable Development Council (which grew out of the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Working Group we pushed for), there will now be an interagency Small Farms Council, taking over from the Small Farm Action Team and carrying over many of the same agency representatives.

We have also heard consideration is being given to putting in place a small farm review of each and every USDA regulation while they are going through internal sign-off. If this is confirmed, it would give the new office some real clout.

Much as MSAWG went through a process of prioritizing recommendations from A Time to Act to inform our lobbying efforts on implementation, the Commissioners are working through the same process this week. For those who haven't seen the results, the MSAWG process culled out the following priorities (recommendation numbers from the report in parentheses).

  • Program Bias (1.32, 6.12)
  • Crop and Revenue Insurance Reform (6.11, 4.12, 4.13)
  • Research and Extension Reform (1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.11, 6.1)
  • Local/Regional Food Systems (6.4, 3.26)
  • Value Added Initiative (3.16, 1.10)
  • Beginning Farmer Package (5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.8)
  • Fair and Open Markets (3.3, 3.10. 3.11, 3.13)
  • Civil Rights and Farmworker Initiative (1.23, 8.1)

At the close of the meeting, the Commission presented USDA with a resolution calling for administrative action in certain areas. They asked for more aggressive assertion of authority under Packers and Stockyards and other laws to counter anti-competitive behavior, including a special call for a final decision on the WORC captive supply provision by the end of this month.

They also called on USDA to:

  • Ccommit half of the $22 million increase for the National Research Initiative for integrated production systems to strengthen small farm viability.

  • Implement the Beginning Farmer initiative and appoint the Beginning Farmer Advisory Committee.

  • Supply the Commission with the steps and timetable the Department will take to implement a minority farmer registry.

The Commission will meet again to review USDA progress sometime in the Spring.

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red ballRural Coop Grant Awards

On September 22, USDA announced the 1998 recipients of Rural Coop Development Grants, a program MSAWG advocates funding for each year. The total appropriation of $1.7 million was divided among 13 grantees to help finance feasibility studies, business plans, market analysis and product development for new coops.

Grant recipients included Winrock International, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Coop Development Services Fund (WI), Coop Development Institute (MA), Intertribal Agriculture Council, Nebraska Community Foundation, and Kansas State, Ohio State, Central Michigan, and University of California.

The pending FY 99 appropriations bill would again fund the program for $1.7 million next year. For more information, contact USDA at 202-720-7558 or the National Coop Business Association at 202-638-6222.

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red ballEQIP Who’s Listening?

With little fanfare and a very short notice period, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has scheduled a series of Roundtables around the country to provide the public with an opportunity to share successes and opinions about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The national NRCS office intends to review information presented at the Roundtables and consider whether improvements can be made to EQIP.

Thanks to the efforts of Kris Thorp of the Center for Rural Affairs in sending out the word to MSAWG members and those included in the State Technical Committee Network, some people may actually be able to attend these Roundtables. The general agenda for the Roundtables includes: a national overview of EQIP presented by an NRCS National Office representative; a State overview of EQIP presented by the host State’s NRCS State Conservationist; remarks about EQIP presented by the host State’s Farm Service Agency Executive Director; and a listening forum at which members of the public can testify about EQIP.

Upcoming Midwest EQIP sessions include:

  • Northern Plains NRCS Region: Oct. 8, 1998: Kearney NE (10AM at the Ramada Inn, I-80 exit #272).

  • Midwest NRCS Region: Oct. 16: Columbia MO (9AM at the Holiday Inn Select).

Regional Conservationist offices will also be accepting written comments on EQIP from the public until October 16, 1998. Contact us for more information.

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red ballNY Conservation Reserve Enhancement

USDA has announced a joint USDA-New York City (New York State) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program initiative, intended to protect New York City drinking water reservoirs in the Catskill/Delaware watershed. The Program provides for the enrollment of 3,000 acres of highly erodible cropland in continuous sign-up CRP and the establishment of 2,000 acres of forest buffers protecting 165 miles of streams in the watershed.

USDA will pay 70 percent of the $10.4 million costs of the initiative in 15-year CRP contracts and extra incentive payments. New York City will pay the remaining 30 percent of the costs in the form of cost-share agreements for planting protective vegetation and by providing technical, educational, and engineering support.

The CREP initiative is one of a number of projects intended to protect New York City's drinking water and enable the City to avoid construction of a $6-8 billion water filtration plant, which would cost an estimated $1million a day to operate. Enrollment for the CREP began on a continuous basis September 1, 1998. For more information on the New York CREP, look up the Q & A document at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/news/releases/1998/08/0348.htm.

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red ballCRP Sign-up & EBI Exchange

Makes you wonder if there will be any of North Dakota left to farm after next year. The USDA has announced that the 18th sign-up period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will be held during a 7- week period from Monday, October 26, 1998 through Friday, December 11, 1998. Contracts awarded in this go-round will become effective on October 1, 1999.

CRP enrollment is capped by law at 36.4 million acres, with 30.5 million acres currently under contract. USDA estimates that just over 3.5 million acres is currently under CRP contracts that will expire on September 30, 1999. The Environmental Benefits Index scoring (which is used in ranking proposals) for the 18th sign-up is very similar to the Index for the 16th sign-up. Contract size has been eliminated as a subfactor of the wildlife component and points have been added for wildlife food plots and wetland restoration.

Unfortunately, the much-ballyhooed Buffer Initiative and other partial field enrollment options still have fewer than 700,000 acres of these high priority enrollments completed so far. We’re quite concerned that the farm crisis and the collapse of wheat prices will push USDA to reduce environmental standards and make the 18th sign-up as large as possible, leaving even fewer acres under the cap for future partial field enrollments.

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red ballFood Quality Protection Act implementation

A new phase of Food Quality Protection Act implementation began in September as another came to at least a partial conclusion. The first of ten notice and comment opportunities on key EPA science policy issues pertinent to FQPA closed on September 8. Over the next year, EPA will publish and accept comment on its operating guidance for the remaining nine issues.

Download the EPA’s guidance and directions for commenting at the homepage of the Office of Pesticide Policy at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ under the FQPA icon. The Wallace Institute will submit detailed comments for each science policy issue and will make these available as far in advance of the deadlines as possible at http://www.hawiaa.org. The notice and comment process generally will favor pesticide proponents: these are highly technical subjects with short (60 day) response times, many of which will overlap. It will be important to balance industry’s input with well informed comments endorsing a strong human health based standard. Contact Mark Keating at (202) 544-0705 if you want to get more involved.

As the notice and comment season begins, the Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee (TRAC) is winding down. The TRAC held what was scheduled to be its last meeting on September 15-16 in DC. However, pesticide supporters pushed hard again and won an extension of its work, for two meetings in early 1999. The TRAC has always been more about airing grievances than achieving consensus and it appears that pesticide advocates like having a public forum to challenge EPA. The environmental and consumer advocates on TRAC stated that they want to see more action from EPA before agreeing to more meetings.

For an important contribution to the FQPA implementation debate, look at the report “Worst First: High-Risk Insecticide Uses, Children’s Foods and Safer Alternatives” from Consumers Union. You can download this document at http://www.ecologic-ipm.com/menu.html

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red ballMoving and Shaking
  • The National Catholic Rural Life Conference’s “Justice for the Jubilee” national conference will bring together rural advocates from around the country November 13-14, to the Hotel Fort Des Moines. Marty Strange, John Kinsman, Bishop Raymond Burke, Stephen Bede Scharper will be there, as will the Buschkoetter family from THE FARMER’S WIFE. Call NCRLC at 515-270-2634 for more information.

  • The USDA has scheduled a series of listening sessions (with all this listening, do you ever wonder if there’s any actual hearing?) on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation for small meat processing plants. Small plants must implement HACCP plans by January 25, 1999, and very small plants by January 25, 2000. This is a key issue for small meat processing facilities and the direct marketing plans for small producers that depend on them. Midwest sessions include: Chicago, IL (10/3), Columbus, OH (10/3), Kansas City, MO (10/17), Des Moines, IA (10/24), Madison, WI (11/7), St. Paul, MN (11/21). We faxed the full notice to SAC member groups, coordinating council members, and to the MSAWG marketing committee chairs; contact us if you would like to see the listing or need more information.

  • On July 7, EPA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlines the agency's plans for revising the overall rules for how water quality standards work - everything from State beneficial use designations to mixing zones to antidegradation. You can access the proposed rulemaking on the internet at http://www.epa.gov/OST/Rules.anprm.html. Written comments on this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due before midnight January 4, 1999.

    EPA will be holding its Midwest public meeting on this Proposed Rulemaking in Chicago on October 20-21. Information on the meeting and hotel reservations, the preliminary agenda, and a registration form for this meeting are available at http://www.epa.gov/OST/announce/chia.html. Registration is free and will close soon. If you cannot access the information on the Web contact Martha Noble at 202-547-5754 for information.

    Clean Water Network activists or those would like to become active may be able to get travel assistance for the meeting from the Network's State Assistance Fund. Contact Kathy Nemsick of the Clean Water Network at 202-289-2395 for information.
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red ballPrevious editions of Inside the Beltway

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