Home News & Events Alternative Agriculture News -- January 2000

Sustainable Farming Connection
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Alternative Agriculture News
For January 2000, from the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture.

red ballNew Wallace Center Created at Winrock International
red ballAnti-Biotech Forces Start to Receive "Serious" Foundation Money
red ball"Brand Name Product List" Now Available from OMRI
red ballPositions
red ballStudy Links Chemicals and Pancreatic Cancer
red ballMonsanto Sued Over Genetically Engineered Seeds
red ballResources
red ballUpcoming Events

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©2000, Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, 9200 Edmonston Road, #117, Greenbelt, MD 20770. Phone: (301) 441-8777. E-mail: hawiaa@access.digex.net.

This newsletter is also available to subscribers to the sanet-mg discussion group. To subscribe, send a message to: almanac@ces.ncsu.edu. Leave the subject line blank and in the body of the message type only: subscribe sanet-mg

Subscription information for the hard-copy version is available at the Wallace Institute website.

In addition to this monthly newsletter, the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture publishes the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of research on alternative agriculture. It is a scientific forum for disseminating technical, economic, and social research findings about the character and requirements of alternative agriculture systems.

The current issue (Volume 14, No. 3) features articles on:

  • The development of more effective conservation farming systems through participatory on-farm research.
  • Supplementation of mid-gestation swine grazing alfalfa
  • Crop-yield and economic comparisons of organic, low-input, and conventional farming systems in California's Sacramento Valley.
  • Comparison of organic and conventional dairy farms in Ontario.
  • Global land resources and population-supporting capacity.
  • Organic farming in Austria.

Subscriptions to AJAA are $44 for libraries; $24 for individuals; and $12 for students. Find more information about AJAA at he Wallace Institute website.

red ballNew Wallace Center Created at Winrock International

The Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture has become the Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy at Winrock International. Founded in 1983 and named after Henry A. Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Vice President during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, the Wallace Institute has been instrumental in defining alternative agriculture in the United States. 

Winrock International is a private, nonprofit organization that works with people around the world to increase economic opportunity, sustain natural resources, and protect the environment. Based at Morrilton, Arkansas, Winrock offices are located in Arlington, Virginia; Salvador, Brazil; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; and Manila, Philippines. 

As a voice for alternative agriculture in Washington, DC, the Wallace Institute has provided strong leadership, sound policy research, scientific analysis, and reliable information for the sustainable agriculture movement. It has influenced national agricultural policy and has worked with government agencies, educational and research institutions, producer groups, farmers, scientists, advocates, and other organizations that provide research, education, and information services.

"Winrock International has long sought to increase its capabilities in policy research and analysis to strengthen our programs in agriculture and natural resource management," commented Frank Tugwell, Winrock president and chief executive officer. "With creation of the Wallace Center, we will be able to address both domestic and international policy issues, and tackle some of the complex challenges that face agriculture and development around the world. Our shared desire to help people and do so in sustainable ways makes the two organizations a good fit."

Kate Clancy, director of the Wallace Institute's Agriculture Policy Project, is the new director of the Wallace Center at Winrock. Former Executive Director Garth Youngberg will continue to assist the Center on a part-time basis. Wallace Institute Board Chair, Dr. Cornelia Butler Flora, has been elected to Winrock International's Board of Directors. 

The Wallace Center will relocate from Maryland to Winrock's Arlington, Virginia, offices by mid-spring. The 10- member staff will continue its ongoing projects and will participate in the development of new programs at Winrock: Kate Clancy, Chantal Line Carpentier, Suzanne DeMuth, David Ervin, Elizabeth Higgins, Joanna Hildebrand, Lydia Oberholtzer, Nessa Richman, Rick Welsh, and Garth Youngberg.

The Wallace Center will maintain its policy analysis programs and will continue to publish Alternative Agriculture News, a monthly newsletter covering policy and scientific developments and activities in the alternative agriculture community, and the quarterly American Journal  of Alternative Agriculture, a peer-reviewed, scientific journal on alternative agriculture.

Winrock International matches innovative approaches in agriculture, natural resources management, clean energy, and leadership development with the unique needs of its partners. By linking local individuals and communities with new ideas and technology, Winrock is increasing long-term productivity, equity, and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.  

Winrock International staff implement projects in 40 countries, including the United States, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union. Activities are funded by grants, contracts, and contributions from public and private sources.

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red ballAnti-Biotech Forces Start to Receive "Serious" Foundation Money

"Serious money is starting to flow to the anti-biotech movement in theU.S., even amid debate over whether the opposition is mostly about a scientific threat, an aversion to big business or a wariness of the unknown," according to The Wall Street Journal (December 14, 1999).

Although opposition to genetically engineered food has been primarily concentrated in Europe, "demonstrations at the World Trade Organization forum in Seattle and elsewhere showed [that] the issue . . . is capable of arousing an emotional response in the U.S. too," the article said. 

"The funds to attack bioengineered food, as well as biotechnology in general, are still coming in fitfully and are modest compared with the millions of dollars producers of genetically modified seeds have pledged for their own public relations offensive. But what is striking is the number and nature of the donors that have begun to take notice and dive in---from Ms. [Elizabeth] Wilcox's small Common Counsel fund to the mighty Rockefeller Foundation." 

According to the article, Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway says he is earmarking $3 million for a new effort that will, pending board approval, include "funding a mediation and conflict-resolution firm to study how warring factions can be brought together; funding consumer activists who want strict labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients; supporting bioethicists to study the ethical implications of bioengineered food (as well as other biotech issues such as cloning); and sponsoring a global 'dialogue' about genetically modified food geared mainly toward giving the opposition a public forum."

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red ball"Brand Name Product List" Now Available from OMRI

The Organic Materials Review Institute has made available its "Brand Name Product List," which represents OMRI's recommendations and opinions regarding the acceptability or unacceptability of products used in organic production, processing, and handling. Manufacturers may apply to have their brand name products reviewed by OMRI's technical staff, after which a review panel of experts votes on the product's status. 

Also available are 16 Technical Advisory Panel reviews that were conducted for the U.S. National Organic Standards Board, against criteria approved by the NOSB. The Brand Name Product List and the reviews are available on the Internet at www.omri.org.

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red ballPositions
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers in Davis, CA, seeks a Program Director; for application, call (530) 756-8518, ext. 10, or e-mail caff@caff.org.
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Certification Program
    seeks a Dairy/Livestock Coordinator; contact Patricia Kane, NOFA-NY Organic Certification Program, 26 Towpath Rd., Binghamton, NY 13904; (607) 724-9851.
  • Michigan State University's Department of Sociology, East Lansing, MI, seeks a full professor in the social scientific aspects of microbial risk analysis and the food safety system; for application, call the department at (517) 355-6641. 
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center seeks a Post-Doctoral Fellow for its Natural Resources Group in Morelia, Mexico, on maize cropping systems that feature conservation tillage and cover crops; more information is available on the Internet at www.cimmyt.cgiar.org or www.cgiar.org, or from Dr. Bernard Triomphe at the Center, b.triomphe@cgiar.org
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red ballStudy Links Chemicals and Pancreatic Cancer

A new report published in the scientific journal The Lancet (December 18, 1999) suggests a link between exposure to organochlorine compounds, which have been used in pesticides, and cancer of the pancreas. Researchers investigated the link between concentrations of the most common organochlorines, such as DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mutations of the pancreatic cancer gene in patients with pancreatic cancer. They found that patients with high concentrations of DDT and three major PCBs were over five times more likely to have a mutation of the pancreatic cancer gene than patients with low levels. 

"The Lancet article provides the first link between the most common genetic alteration in pancreatic cancer and an environmental substance," according to the journal. According to one of the researchers, Miquel Porta, "Although the results require replication, and do not prove a direct causal link between the chemicals and the mutation, they suggest new roles for organochlorines in the development of cancers in human beings." More information is available on the Internet at www.thelancet.com.

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red ballMonsanto Sued Over Genetically Engineered Seeds

Anti-trust lawyers last month filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of six farmers against the Monsanto Company, accusing it of "rushing genetically engineered seeds to the marketplace without properly testing them for safety and of forming an international cartel that conspired to control the world's market in corn and soybean seeds," according to The New York Times (December 15, 1999). 

The suit "contends that Monsanto is at the hub of an international conspiracy to control a large part of the world's seed supply" and "accused Monsanto of giving farmers false and fraudulent guarantees about the safety and marketability of a new breed of bio-engineered seeds," the Times article said. 

According to The Washington Post, "the 55-page complaint claims that St. Louis-based Monsanto defrauded farmers when it told them the seeds were safe and that the public would accept genetically modified crops because--according to the plaintiffs--the company should have known that no nation's standards of testing are adequate to guarantee such safety." 

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red ballResources
  • "Inventory of Technical and Institutional Resources for Promoting Methyl Bromide Alternatives" is available from Pesticide Action Network North America, 49 Powell St., #500, San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 981-1771;
  • "Tracking Progress: Alternatives to Pesticides on the Farm" is available from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, (541) 344-5044, or on the Internet at www.pesticide.org/FarmerRptRelease.html.
  • "Distribution of Major Herbicides in Ground Water of the United States" and "Pesticides in Streams of the United States--Initial Results from the National Water-Quality Assessment Program" are available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Branch of Information Services, Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225-0286.
  • "Greenbook '99: A Decade of Tools" is available from Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, Energy and Sustainable Agriculture Program, 90 West Plato Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55107; (651) 296-7673.
  • "Corporate Hogs at the Public Trough" is available from Sierra Club, 85 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94105; (415) 977-5500.
  • "Conservation Farming in the United States: The Methods and Accomplishments of the STEEP Program" can be ordered from CRC Press LLC, 2000 Corporate Blvd., NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431; 1-800-272-7737; orders@crcpress.com.
  • "Poultry Waste Management Handbook" is $16 plus $3.75 shipping from Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; (607) 255-7654.
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red ballUpcoming Events

For additional listings, see the Sustainable Agriculture Network's Calendar of Events

  • January 29-30, the 18th Annual Conference of Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, will be held in Troy, NY; contact Tammy Hinman, NOFA-NY, RR#1, Box 232, Hamilton, NY 13346; (315) 824-2864; thinman@dreamscape.com.
  • February 1-3, "Dairy Housing and Equipment Systems; Managing and Planning for Profitability" will be held in Camp Hill, PA; contact Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; (607) 255-7654; nraes@cornell.edu.
  • February 4-5, "Reclaiming the PASAbilities," the 9th Annual Farming for the Future Conference, will be held in State College, PA; contact Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 419, Millheim, PA 16854. 
  • February 5, "Profitable Alternatives in Agriculture" will be held in  Wilmington, OH; contact Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, P.O. Box 82234, Columbus, OH 43202; (614) 267-3663.
  • February 8-9, "Future Farms: New Ideas for Family Farms and Rural Communities" will be held in Oklahoma City, OK; contact Liz Speake, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 588, Poteau, OK 74953; (918) 647-9123; easpeake@kerrcenter.com.
  • February 15-19, advanced organic and biodynamic vegetable production workshops will be held in Indianola, IA; contact Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, (262) 642-3303.
  • February 17-20, "Bio Fach," the World Organic Trade Fair, will be held in Nuremburg, Germany; contact Okowelt, Industriestr. 12, D-91186 Buchenbach, Germany; info@biofach.de.
  • February 19, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont's Annual Winter Conference will be held in Randolph, VT; contact NOFA-VT, P.O. Box 697, Richmond, VT 05477; (802) 434-4122.
  • February 22, "Organic Agriculture: Growth of Global Markets and Directions for Research" will be part of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC; contact AAAS, (202) 326-6450; on the Internet, www.aaas.org/meetings/2000.
  • February 22-23, "Conservation 2000: Research and Education for a Viable Agriculture Conference" and the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society's Annual Meeting will be held in Springfield, IL; contact ISAS, 985 W. Pershing Rd. Ste. E-4, Decatur, IL 62526; (217) 877-5670, ext. 115.
  • February 23, Soil Fertility and Pest Management Conference will be held in Merced, CA; contact Jo Ann Baumgartner, Committee for Sustainable Agriculture, (831) 763-2111.
  • February 24-25, "Agricultural Outlook Forum 2000" will be held in Arlington, VA; contact the USDA at (202) 720-3050; agforum@oce.usda.gov; on the Internet, www.usda.gov/oce.
  • February 26-27, National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture's 3rd Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, DC; contact the Campaign, P.O. Box 396, Pine Bush, NY 12566; (914) 744-8448; Campaign@magiccarpet.com.
  • March 7-9, 2000, Western Region SARE Conference, "Farming and Ranching for Profit, Stewardship and Community," will be held in Portland, OR; contact Gina Hashagen, Oregon State University, (541) 737-5477; hashageg@bcc.orst.edu; on the Internet, http://wsare.usu.edu/2000.
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Home News & Events Alternative Agriculture News -- January 2000

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