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Alternative Agriculture News, 7/97

                  Alternative Agriculture News
                           July, 1997

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

                                        * * *

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


Organic Sales Increase by 26 Percent in 1996           1
Glickman Announces Actions Addressing Concentration    2
Wallaces Farmer Asks: Future Farms -- Family or Factory?3
Resources                                              3
Poultry Industry Is Polluting Potomac River            4
University of California Offers More Research Funding  4
SARE Report Highlights Advances in Grazing Systems     4
Positions                                              5
Upcoming Events                                        5

     Sales of organic grocery and dairy products increased by 26
percent in 1996 to a total of $3.5 billion in sales, an increase
from $2.8 billion in sales in 1995, according to Natural Foods
Merchandiser (June, 1997).  Last year marked the seventh
consecutive year organic sales increased by at least 20 percent;
exports and direct sales increased from $714 million in 1995 to
$872 million in 1996.  The best-selling category of organic food
was grocery and dairy, with $633 million in sales; organic dairy
sales alone accounted for $120 million, an increase of about 50
percent in 1996.  Frozen and refrigerated foods accounted for
$283 million; bulk products, $242 million; herbs, $191 million;
bakery, $117 million; produce, $89 million; and miscellaneous,
$395 million.
     Sales of "natural products," which include organic foods and
beverages, dietary supplements, and all-natural personal care
products, increased by more than 25 percent in 1996 to $11.5
billion; 1995 sales were $9.17 billion.  Last year was the fourth
consecutive year the natural products industry reported double-
digit growth. 
     Organic market expansion has been strong for several
reasons, according to Natural Foods Merchandiser. There are more
convenience and gourmet items being offered; there is more and
varied produce; and more restaurants are featuring organic
offerings.  Distributors also cite a geographic expansion --
"there is greater interest, and new accounts, in cities away from
typical organic hotbeds," according to the magazine.
     A separate article in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine
(July, 1997) asked if a higher grocery bill for organic foods
guarantees "better nutrition, taste, or safety."  It concluded
that "nobody has ever been able to show that organic food is any
better nutritionally than any other food," but that "whether
organic foods are safer depends on which danger you're trying to
guard against."  Organic meat and poultry are leaner, which makes
them "healthier," the article said.

     Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman last month announced
several new actions in regulatory enforcement, research and
education, and market information "to address concentration in
agriculture and promote competition in markets," according to the
USDA.  Among the actions are several which respond to concerns
that USDA's research "does not sufficiently benefit small
farmers," the USDA said.  In order to "ensure that USDA's
research addresses problems of small and medium-sized farming
operations," the Research, Education and Economics mission area
has arranged for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an
independent review of the Department's research program.
     In addition, the Secretary is emphasizing a specific focus
within the newly created Fund for Rural America to encourage
proposals for additional research on concentration and for
development of programs and practical strategies that will help
farmers successfully compete in concentrated and global markets,
according to the USDA.  A request for proposals has been
published with selection of proposals to be based on a
competitive review process.
     "I continue to be concerned about the concentration of more
and more of the agriculture industry into fewer and fewer hands,"
Glickman said.  "We must take all possible steps to promote
opportunities for successful small and medium-sized operations."
     More information about these actions is available on the
USDA's World Wide Web Home Page at http://www.usda.gov.

     The pork industry is undergoing complicated and major
changes, "and the future structure of this important business is
being shaped now," according to a series of articles in Wallaces
Farmer (May, 1997).  "Farmers are getting older and their
facilities are wearing out.  Environmental challenges affect all
operations, large and small.  New players add yet another
dimension, as contracting becomes common."  An Iowa State
University economist "states his belief that family producers
have the most profit potential when they own the entire
production process" -- yet one hog farmer featured in the article
"is worried that the political climate favors corporate hog
'factories' over small and mid-sized family farmers."  Another
farmer "feels it is important to preserve the integrity of Iowa's
rural communities."  According to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad,
"People want farms like they grew up on.  That is not going to
happen.  It's just not economical."  But, he concludes, "we can
provide a future for family farm production agriculture.....We
need to look at policies that will encourage family farm
production agriculture using cooperatives and value added
     Articles in both Wallaces Farmer and The Furrow (Summer,
1997) explore low-cost alternatives to confinement for
successfully finishing pigs.  "Hooped structures are a viable
alternative for housing grow-finish pigs," according to Wallaces
Farmer.  They fit moderate-sized operations, provide an
opportunity for younger people to get started without high costs,
and offer a way for older farmers to continue raising hogs in a
low-cost way.  The Furrow agrees: "Low-cost housing can help
smaller pork producers compete against large confinement
operations.  With pasture farrowing, inexpensive hooped
buildings, or remodeled facilities, it's possible to get started
or expand without making a large capital investment."

     "Adding Values to Our Food System: An Economic Analysis of
Sustainable Community Food Systems" is $24.95 from Integrity
Systems, 7101 Goodwin Road, Everson, WA 98247; (360) 966-2504; e-
mail fentonp@pacificrim.net.
     "Organic Growers in Regulated Pest Management Districts: A
Guide to Changing the Rules" is $3 from Norma Grier, Northwest
Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, P.O. Box 1393, Eugene,
OR 97440; (541) 344-5044; e-mail ngrier@pesticide.org.
     "Clearing the Air," a study of particulate pollution in
rural areas, is available from the Environmental Working Group on
the World Wide Web at http://www.ewg.org.
     "Production Practices and Sample Costs for Organic Raisin
Grapes in the Southern San Joaquin Valley in 1997" is available
from Laura Tourte, Department of Agricultural and Resource
Economics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; (916) 752-
9376; e-mail ljtourte@ucdavis.edu.
     "Making World Agriculture More Sustainable" is $30 plus $4
shipping/handling from World Sustainable Agriculture Association
Publications, 8554 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069;
(310) 657-7202; e-mail WSAA@compuserve.com.
     "The Status, Opportunities and Needs for Agroforestry in the
United States" is $6 from the Association for Temperate
Agroforestry, c/o Dr. D.B. Hill, Forestry Department, University
of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0073.
     "Biopolicy for the Future -- Cooperation or Confrontation
Between North and South" is available from Development and Peace
Foundation, Gotenstr. 152, D-53175 Bonn, Germany.

     Waste from the poultry industry in Virginia and West
Virginia "flows downstream and threatens years of effort and
billions of dollars spent to clean up the Potomac River and the
Chesapeake Bay," according to a front-page article in The
Washington Post (June 1, 1997).  "The dramatic boom in the West
Virginia chicken industry -- it grew by more than 200 percent in
the last decade -- has alarmed environmentalists and federal
officials, who say the water here is now so polluted that people
risk getting sick if they canoe or swim in it or rely on wells
for tap water."  The poultry industry has also greatly increased
in Virginia, resulting in "startling levels of contamination...in
areas of heavy chicken farming in the Shenandoah Valley,"
according to the article.  Seven West Virginia rivers or streams
that feed the Potomac were added last year to a state list of
polluted waterways, and waste from the poultry industry was the
main reason an environmental group, American Rivers, put the
Potomac River on its list of "endangered rivers."  West Virginia
officials are "relying on a voluntary approach: encouraging
farmers to clean up their practices -- such as improving storage
of waste and disposal of dead birds," the article said.  "If that
doesn't clean the water, state officials say, they'll require
those and other steps."

     The University of California Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education Program has increased its funding of
research and outreach projects, and is accepting applications
until August 1.  Due to a one-time allocation from the California
Legislature, the program has an additional $375,000 to award for
grants than in the last several years.  A request for proposals
is available by mail from SAREP, University of California, Davis,
CA 95616; telephone, (916) 752-7556; e-mail, sarep@ucdavis.edu;
or on the World Wide Web, http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/.  For
more information, contact Bev Ransom at (916) 754-8546; e-mail

     The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
Program has funded projects that "show management-intensive
grazing is more profitable for producers and better for the
environment," according to the program's "1997 Project
Highlights" report.  Several SARE grants are funding research in
shifting from confinement-based livestock systems to raising
cows, sheep and hogs on pastures offering a mix of grass and
legumes.  Also highlighted in the report are articles on
Community Supported Agriculture, the benefits of pasturing hogs,
how black-eyed peas cut insecticide use in pecan orchards, and
several other research and on-farms projects.  For a copy of the
report, contact Valerie Berton, SARE Communications Specialist,
0322 Symons Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742;
(301) 405-5270; vberton@wam.umd.edu

     Mount Air Farm seeks resident couple to manage small
diversified organic farm and retail store; applicants must have
college degrees in animal science; send resumes to William
Keller, 4503 Mount Air Farm, Crozet, VA 22932; (804) 823-4242.
     Clinch Powell Sustainable Development Initiative, a regional
non-profit organization, seeks a Sustainable Farm Products Market
Development Specialist; three to five years of specialty and/or
product marketing is essential; send resume and cover letter by
August 30 to CPSDI, PO Box 791, Abingdon, VA 24212; call (540)
623-1121 for more information.
     National Center for Appropriate Technology seeks a technical
specialist in agriculture, and a technical specialist in
marketing/farm management; applications are due by August 15; for
applications and information, contact Marlene Breese,
Administrative Assistant, NCAT/ATTRA, PO Box 3657, Fayetteville,
AR 72702; (501) 442-9824.
     American Farmland Trust seeks a summer intern for its
Federal Policy Division; mail or fax resume, cover letter, and
writing sample to Federal Policy Internship Manager, American
Farmland Trust, 1920 N St., NW, #400, Washington, D.C. 20036; fax
(202) 659-8339.

     July 28-29, "Prairie Pastures: Native Plants and Wildlife
for Rotational Grazing Systems" will be held in Howard County,
IA; contact Laura Jackson, Department of Biology, University of
Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614; (319) 273-2705; e-mail
     July 28-30, a workshop on alternative farming systems,
sponsored by the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Training
Program, will be held in Morris, MN; contact Heidi Carter, North
Central Region SARE Program, (402) 472-0917; e-mail
     July 31, "Science and Stewardship: Adding Value for A More
Sustainable Agriculture," a Farmer's Field Day, will be held in
Chestertown, MD; contact Chesapeake Farms, 7321 Remington Drive,
Chestertown, MD 21620; (410) 778-0141.
     August 2, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance's Stewardship
Farm Tour will be held in Monticello, IL; contact tour sponsors
at (312) 641-5575 or (217) 498-9707.
     August 3-5, "Organic Rules! Are We Ready?," the Organic
Farming Research Foundation's third national business and
regulatory leadership conference, will be held in Oakland, CA;
contact Erica Walz or Bob Scowcroft, OFRF, PO Box 440, Santa
Cruz, CA 95061; (408) 426-6606; e-mail research@ofrf.org.
     August 3-6, "Exploring the Opportunities for Agroforestry in
Changing Rural Landscapes," the 5th Conference on Agroforestry in
North America, will be held in Ithaca, N.Y.; contact Agroforestry
Conference, Cornell University, 206 RPCC, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853;
(607) 255-6290. 
     August 8-10, the 23rd Annual Summer Conference of the
Northeast Organic Farming Association will be held in Amherst,
MA; contact Julie Rawson, NOFA, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA
01005; (508) 355-2853.
     August 11, an organic farm tour will be held in Kennewick,
WA; contact Suzanne Shillander, Washington State Department of
Agriculture, (360) 902-1877.
     August 13-17, 60th Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological
Society will be held in Toronto, Canada; contact the Society,
Rabel Burdge, Treasurer, c/o Department of Sociology, 510 Arntzen
Hall, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225; (360)
     September 4-6, Sustainable Tree Care Conference will be held
at the University of California, Los Angeles; contact Patrick
McCullough, (818) 248-4425; e-mail sustainabletreecare.org.
     September 8-9, "Farming Systems Analysis: Tools to
Accomplish the Task," a workshop for farmers and farm service
providers in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, will be held in
Madison, WI; contact Michelle Miller, UWEX-Agronomy, 1575 Linden
Drive, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 262-7135; e-mail