Alternative Agriculture News, 5/97
Alternative Agriculture News
Henry A. Wallace Institute for
9200 Edmonston Road, #117
Greenbelt, MD 20770
World Wide Web: http://www.hawiaa.org
* * *
If You Are Interested in Sustainable Agriculture...
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 11, No. 4) includes articles on
a first study of managing vertebrates in cover crops, the links
between pesticide use and pesticide residues, and production-side
progress and demand-side constraints in sustainable agriculture
in the Corn Belt. Abstracts from the conference on
"Environmental Enhancement Through Agriculture," sponsored by the
Wallace Institute, Tufts University, and American Farmland Trust
in November, 1995, are also in the new issue. Subscriptions to
AJAA are $44 for libraries, $24 for individuals, and $12 for
students; contact the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777; e-mail
Table of Contents:
New Report Helps Readers With Pesticide Studies 1
Three New Sustainable Ag Web Sites 3
New Program Will Create Conservation Buffers 4
USDA Appoints Facilities Review Task Force 4
Agriculture Research Prize Seeks Nominations 5
Upcoming Events 5
NEW REPORT HELPS READERS UNDERSTAND PESTICIDE REDUCTION STUDIES
A new report from the Wallace Institute helps readers
understand and evaluate the economic predictions in studies about
restricting the use of, or reducing the risks from, agricultural
pesticides. "The Myths and Realities of Pesticide Reduction: A
Reader's Guide to Understanding the Full Economic Impacts," by
Edward Jaenicke, investigates the common themes in a diverse body
of current research on pesticide economics.
The full implementation of last year's Food Quality
Protection Act is likely to generate a new round of economic
studies that attempt to predict the impacts on consumers and
agricultural producers of the loss or restriction of certain
pesticides, according to the report. It is also likely to
rekindle a debate which centers on two premises: that the health
and/or environmental risks of using certain pesticides may
outweigh their economic benefits, and that using pesticides is
not the only way to control agricultural pests effectively.
There are four reasons why studies on the consequences of
pesticide reduction confuse or inadvertently mislead readers,
according to the new report:
-- Current studies often do not examine the benefits of
pesticide reduction. Nonregulatory studies almost always focus
only on the costs of pesticide reduction.
-- Farmers usually learn to cope with new regulations
through innovative adjustments. Most studies quote experts who
predict that crop yields will decline when broad restrictions are
imposed on pesticide use, ignoring the fact that farmers and
pest-control suppliers can innovate with pest-control approaches.
-- Current studies do not always put predicted costs in
perspective. Statistics on the costs of pesticide reduction can
be used misleadingly, when they could actually advance the cause
of pesticide reduction.
-- Current studies generally ignore the full range of policy
alternatives. Economic impact research has focused largely on
direct pesticide restrictions such as bans or cancellations.
The first step toward understanding studies on the impacts
of pesticide reduction is identifying major issues that may be
unclear to readers, according to the new report; the second step
is to look at the assumptions that underlie the predictions made
in those studies. Here is the report's checklist of questions to
ask about those assumptions:
-- How flexible are the pest-control policy mechanisms
examined in the study?
-- How far would the restriction shift policy from the
-- How are the effects of pesticide reductions on yields
-- How are researchers calculating the costs to consumers of
farmers' efforts to reduce pesticide use?
-- What role does international trade play in assessing the
impact of pesticide reduction?
-- Do researchers take into account where and how crops are
grown as a result of pesticide reduction?
-- How do researchers approach the issue of food quality?
-- Do researchers ignore environmental-related benefits from
reduced pesticide use?
-- Do researchers ignore the production-related benefits of
reduced pesticide use?
The report also makes recommendations for researchers
analyzing pesticide reduction strategies who are trying to
clarify the scope and inherent limitations of their work.
"The Myths and Realities of Pesticide Reduction" is $6 from
the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Rd., #117, Greenbelt, MD
20770; (301) 441-8777; e-mail email@example.com
THREE NEW SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE WEB SITES ARE LAUNCHED
Three new World Wide Web sites have been launched by the
Wallace Institute, the Sustainable Agriculture Network, and the
new Sustainable Farming Connection.
The Wallace Institute: The Wallace Institute's new Web
homepage [http://www.hawiaa.org] features a description of the
Institute and its agenda of leadership, policy research, and
information; some of the site is still in progress. The site
lists and will soon have information links to the Institute's
programs: Policy Studies Program, Agriculture Policy Project,
Ward Sinclair Memorial Internship, and Education Outreach.
Alternative Agriculture News is available at the site, which will
also soon include information about and summaries of additional
publications: American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, Policy
Studies Program Reports, Occasional Papers, Annual Reports, and
the Henry A. Wallace Annual Lecture. Visitors to the homepage
can e-mail messages to the Wallace Institute directly through a
link at the site.
Sustainable Agriculture Network: SAN's new Web homepage
[http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/san/] features information about
sustainable agriculture, including on-line books, a database of
more than 1,000 research projects funded by the Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education program, the Sustainable
Agriculture Directory of Expertise, information about SARE
grants, sustainable agriculture materials, and links to other
sustainable agriculture Web sites. Visitors can search SAN's
publications and media resources.
Sustainable Farming Connection: Two former editors of The
New Farm have launched the Sustainable Farming Connection
[http://sunsite.unc.edu/farming-connection], an interactive Web
site where farmers and others can find information about
production, marketing, commentary, news, action alerts, archived
materials, and links to other sites. Discussion groups provide a
forum for farmers to ask questions, exchange tips, and share
information. The Sustainable Farming Connection has been
supported by the Wallace Genetic Foundation.
"The Fruits of Their Labor: Nitrogen Management in Stone
Fruit and Almond Production," a 30-minute video, is $10 from
California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, Fertilizer
Research/Education Program, 1220 N St., Room A-472, Sacramento,
CA 95814; (916) 653-5340.
"Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast," NRAES-
83, is $16; "Farming Alternatives: A Guide to Evaluating the
Feasibility of New Farm-Based Enterprises," NRAES-32, is $8; both
are available from Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering
Service, Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY
14853; (607) 255-7654.
"Forages, Fifth Edition," a CD-ROM Companion, is $54.95 from
Iowa State University Press, 2121 S. State Ave., Ames, IA 50014;
"Alternatives to Methyl Bromide" is available from the EPA's
Ozone Protection Hotline, 1-800-296-1996; or Bill Thomas, Methyl
Bromide Program, EPA, (202) 233-9179.
Conservation Options Hotline, operated by the Center for
Rural Affairs, assists farmers wanting to enroll in the
Conservation Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives
Program, and Conservation Farm Option; call (402) 994-2021.
"Dig It! Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming," a video, is
$24.95 from John Jeavons, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490.
Ecological Agriculture Projects now offers sustainable
agriculture services and a World Wide Web site at
http://www.eap.mcgill.ca; contact (514) 398-7771 or e-mail,
NEW PROGRAM SEEKS TO CREATE TWO MILLION MILES OF CONSERVATION
The USDA has launched the National Conservation Buffer
Initiative, a public-private partnership committed to helping
landowners install two million miles of conservation buffers by
the year 2002. Conservation buffers are areas or strips of land
maintained in permanent vegetation and designed to intercept
pollution; they can be installed along streams or within crop
fields, at the edge of crop fields, or at the margins of a field.
They are most effective when used in combination with other
conservation measures, such as conservation tillage, nutrient
management, and integrated pest management. The new program is
an effort of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in
cooperation with several other USDA agencies, state conservation
agencies, agricultural and environmental organizations, and
agricultural corporations, including Pioneer Hi-Bred
USDA APPOINTS FACILITIES REVIEW TASK FORCE
The USDA has appointed a new 15-member Facilities Review
Task Force, which will recommend to Agriculture Secretary Dan
Glickman and Congress priorities for agricultural research
facilities in the next decade. Chair of the Task Force is Tom
Urban, Chairman of the Board of Pioneer Hi-Bred International and
a member of the Wallace Institute Board of Directors; members
include Kathleen Merrigan, Senior Analyst at the Wallace
Institute, and John Gordon, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Forestry
and Environmental Studies, Yale University, and former member of
the Wallace Institute Board of Directors. Other Task Force
members are Jose Amador, Texas A&M University; Bruce Andrews,
Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture; Alan Bergman, North
Dakota Farmers Union; Al Clausi, retired Chief Research Officer,
General Foods; Bob Guernsey, farmer; Ted Hullar, University of
California at Davis; Andrew Jordan, National Cotton Council;
Carol Ann Kaiser, Loveless Cattle Co.; Max Lennon, Mars Hill
College; Joseph McDonald, Salish Kootenai College, MT; Richard
Ross, Iowa State University; and Jim Wilder, North Carolina
Soybean Producers Association.
AGRICULTURE RESEARCH PRIZE SEEKS NOMINATIONS
The Filippo Maseri Florio World Prize for Distinguished
Research in Agriculture, initiated this year, seeks nominations
of individuals or teams who have achievements in research in
specific fields of agricultural science and technology. The
Prize consists of $100,000 awarded to the individual or team
selected, and an additional $100,000 awarded to the winner's
research program or program of his or her choice. Nominations
are due June 6. For more information, contact the Prize
Secretariat, c/o Dr. Irv T. Omtvedt, Vice Chancellor, Institute
of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska,
Lincoln, NE 68583-0708; (402) 472-4101; e-mail
Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of
Arizona, seeks volunteers to visit Ethiopia for eight weeks,
starting June 1, to work in a Farmer-to-Farmer Program; contact
Kathleen Thompson, Farmer-to-Farmer Program, 800 E. University
Blvd., #110, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721; (520) 622-
5546; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
World Wildlife Fund seeks a Director for Toxics Policy, and
a Senior Program Officer for its Agricultural Pollution
Prevention projects in the International Policy Program; send
cover letter and resume to WWF, Human Resources Department,
Toxics Policy -- Dept. 572 M, or Agricultural Pollution
Prevention -- Dept. 573M, 1250 24th St., NW, Washington, D.C.
Center for Rural Affairs seeks a Project Leader/Loan Officer
for its Family Farm Opportunities Project, and a Project Leader
for its Market Structure Project. For Family Farm Opportunities
Project, send letter, resume, and references to Rose Jaspersen,
Center for Rural Affairs, Box 406, Walthill, NE 68067. For
Market Structure Project, send letter, resume, and references to
Kim Staritzky at the Center.
June 1 is the deadline for abstracts for the International
Symposium on Sustainable Agricultural Technology, to be held
August 20-23 in Beijing, China; contact Mr. Ma Zhongyu, Institute
of Natural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of
Agricultural Sciences, 30 Bai Shi Qiao Rd., Beijing 100081,
China; phone (86-10) 62174433 ext. 2291; e-mail
June 1-3, "Resource Management in Challenged Environments"
will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; contact National
Agricultural Biotechnology Council, (306) 966-5539.
June 3-5, "Wind Erosion: An International
Symposium/Workshop" will be held in Manhattan, KS; contact USDA's
Wind Erosion Research Unit, Throckmorton Hall, Kansas State
University, Manhattan, KS 66506; (913) 532-6495; e-mail
June 5-6, "Resource Use in Organic Farming" will be held in
Ancona, Italy; contact Dr. Juan Isart, Coordinator ENOF Concerted
Action, University of Ancona, Via Brecce Bianche, I-60131 Ancona,
Italy; phone +39-(0)71-220-4929.
June 5-8, the joint meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and
Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food
and Society will be held in Madison, WI; contact Nancy, (608)
June 6-8, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's 1997
Conference and Members Meeting will be held in Shelburne, VT;
contact ALBC, (919) 542-5704.
June 8-10, "Flexible Incentives for the Adoption of
Environmental Technologies in Agriculture," sponsored by USDA/ERS
and co-sponsored by the Wallace Institute and others, will be
held in Gainesville, FL; contact Carole Schmitz by fax at (352)
June 8-12 and June 15-19, "Grasslands 2000," International
Grassland Congress '97, will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba (June
8-12) and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (June 15-19); sponsors include
Government of Canada and Agricultural Institute of Canada;
contact organizers at (403) 244-4487; e-mail email@example.com
June 16-27 and July 14-25, Permaculture Design Courses will
be held in Santa Barbara, CA (June 16-27) and Half Moon Bay (July
14-25); contact International Institute for Ecological
Agriculture, 834 West California Way, Woodside, CA 94062; (415)
365-2993; e-mail DBLUME@igc.apc.org
June 20-22, "The Other Economic Summit/Working Alternatives:
A World That Works" will be held in Denver, CO; contact TOES,
6612 Piney Branch NW, Washington, DC 20012; e-mail
June 20-28, Fundamentals of Permaculture course will be held
in Summertown, TN; contact The Ecovillage Training Center, PO Box
90, Summertown, TN 38483-0090; (615) 964-4324; e-mail
June 21-22, 1997 Pacific Northwest Bamboo Agro-Forestry
Workshop will be held in Port Townsend, WA; contact Gib Cooper,
(541) 247-0835; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
June 21-25, "Healing, Planting and Harvesting: Taking the
Future Into Our Hands," the 1997 Rural Coalition Assembly, will
be held in Montpelier, VT; contact the Coalition at (202) 544-
June 24-26, National Agriculture Resource Management
Planning conference will be held in New Orleans; contact Lyn
Kirschner, Conservation Technology Information Center, (765) 494-
9555; e-mail email@example.com
June 25-28, 3rd International Interdisciplinary Conference
on the Environment will be held in Cambridge, MA; contact Demetri
Kantarelis, Assumption College, (508) 767-7557, or Kevin Hickey,