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Alternative Agriculture News, 8/97
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 12, No. 1) features a comparison
of organic versus conventional grain production in the Mid-
Atlantic region, with an economic and farming system overview.
Other articles examine a laboratory experiment involving nutrient
release from decomposing crop residues; farm structure, market
structure and agricultural sustainability goals in New York state
dairying; farmers' commitment to continued use of the late spring
soil nitrogen test; local food systems and sustainable
communities; and community-controlled economic development as a
strategic vision for the sustainable agriculture movement.
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:
Congress Maintains Funding for Sustainable Ag Programs 1
USDA Appoints National Commission on Small Farms 2
New York Times Buys a Share of a CSA 3
World Food Prize Seeks Nominations 3
Sustainable Ag Enters Mainstream, Says LA Times 3
Hog Farms Contribute to Toxic Algae, Magazine Reports 4
Upcoming Events 5
CONGRESS MAINTAINS FUNDING FOR SUSTAINABLE AG PROGRAMS
The U.S. Congress last month approved final appropriations
for Fiscal Year 1998 that maintain funding levels for most
sustainable agriculture programs. A House-Senate conference is
expected to meet in the near future to resolve the few
differences between the House and Senate versions of the USDA
appropriations bill. Here are the funding levels approved by the
House and the Senate for several discretionary sustainable
SARE: An $8 million appropriation was approved by both the
House and the Senate for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education program, the same as last year.
SAPDP: A $3.3 million appropriation was approved by both the
House and the Senate for the SARE (Chapter 3) Professional
Development Program, the same as last year.
ATTRA: A $1.3 million appropriation was approved by the
House for Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, the
same as last year; the Senate approved $1.5 million.
OFPA: A $500,000 appropriation was approved by the House for
the Organic Foods Production Act, the same as last year; the
Senate approved $1 million, the same amount President Clinton had
In addition, funding for mandatory programs was "unscathed"
and unchanged from the requested amounts, according to Ferd
Hoefner of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
CFO: A $15 million appropriation was approved for the new
Conservation Farm Option, created to foster innovation in natural
resource protection and enhancement.
EQIP: A $200 million appropriation was approved for the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the same as the FY97
WRP: A $164 million appropriation was approved for the
Wetlands Reserve Program, an increase from the FY97 appropriation
of $119 million.
CFSA: A $2.5 million appropriation was approved for the
Community Food Security Act, the same as the FY97 appropriation.
FRA: A $100 million appropriation was approved for the Fund
for Rural America, the same as the FY97 appropriation.
USDA APPOINTS NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SMALL FARMS
The USDA last month formed a National Commission on Small
Farms to study the problems of "the foundation of our rural
communities," according to the USDA. Agriculture Secretary Dan
Glickman directed the Commission to look at a range of problems
and issues, including credit, risk management, education, and
outreach, and to recommend improvements to better serve small and
beginning farmers. The Commission will also look at ways in
which the USDA can ensure that small farms are treated fairly and
have an equal opportunity to compete in vertically-integrated
agricultural systems, and ways to encourage small farms to adopt
farm operations and production practices, such as value-added
cooperatives or direct marketing, that can help to improve their
profitability. "We must continue to find ways to help small and
disadvantaged producers find ways to make a decent living, keep
their land, and make their small farms economically viable," said
Dr. Desmond Jolly of Davis, California, a member of the
Wallace Institute's Board of Directors, is Vice Chair of the
Commission. Dr. Frederick Magdoff, another member of the Wallace
Institute's Board of Directors, is also a member of the
Commission. For more information about the Commission, contact
Jennifer Yezak Molen at (202) 690-0648.
NEW YORK TIMES BUYS A SHARE OF A CSA PROJECT
The New York Times has bought a share of Threshold Farm
Community Supported Agriculture and will write periodically about
the CSA project, according to the newspaper (July 9, 1997). In
this CSA project, "city dwellers commission a local grower to
supply them with high-quality produce for a 30-week growing
season, and pay in advance....By sharing a farmer's production
costs, members aren't 'buyers' as much as they are partners in
planning crops and budgets and sharing the harvest, along with
the vicissitudes of nature."
In the last 12 years, 600 CSA projects have been started in
North America. "The program's appeal and its steady growth seem
to be a confluence of appetite and health concerns, pastoral
longings and political leanings," wrote reporter Molly O'Neill.
"As thousands of small family farms have been razed for
residential and commercial complexes across the country, more and
more farmers have begun to market their produce directly to the
public to trim costs and increase profits. A grower selling
directly from his farm stand or in a city-operated Greenmarket
can make about 30 percent more than one who sells to a wholesale
distributor." Community supported agriculture also lets a grower
"plan exactly what to plant and what to deliver and cuts about 18
hours from my workweek," said one farmer. According to the
article, "in addition to the freedom of growing techniques, the
financial security of prepaid shares allows farmers to set their
For more information about CSA projects, contact Community
Supported Agriculture of North America at (413) 528-4374.
WORLD FOOD PRIZE SEEKS NOMINATIONS
The World Food Prize seeks nominations for the 1998 prize,
with a deadline of December 31. The prize is the highest
individual honor for outstanding achievement in improving the
world's food supply, and recognizes achievements in any field
involved in the world food supply, including food and
agricultural science and technology, manufacturing, marketing,
nutrition, economics, political leadership, social sciences, and
other related fields. It emphasizes the importance of a
nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. For
nomination applications, contact David Acker, World Food Prize,
Office of the Secretariat, College of Agriculture, 104 Curtiss
Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011; (515) 294-2883; e-
SUSTAINABLE AG ENTERS THE MAINSTREAM, SAYS LOS ANGELES TIMES
Once a "fringe notion," sustainable agriculture "is entering
the agricultural mainstream, endorsed by big vintners in
California, corn growers in Wisconsin, and truck farmers in
Maine," according to a front-page article in The Los Angeles
Times (July 21, 1997). "The reason: a spreading realization that
the abundance resulting from the post-World War II push toward
high-yield industrial agriculture has produced enormous
consequences -- in tainted ground water, depleted soil and
shrinking farm towns." Sustainable agriculture, the article
says, "favors techniques that preserve the environment and
people's health while providing the nation's dwindling ranks of
family farmers with a decent living and a reason to plow on
instead of relinquishing their fields to agribusiness giants or
housing developers." The movement now includes approximately 5
percent of U.S. farmers who use sustainable practices --
including the California vineyards owned by E&J Gallo Winery.
The article prominently features Fred Kirschenmann, President of
the Wallace Institute's Board of Directors, whose "innovations
have won over many a reluctant ag advisor, researcher and
HOG FARMS CONTRIBUTE TO SPREAD OF TOXIC ALGAE, REPORTS MAGAZINE
Corporate hog farms are contributing to the spread of a
toxic alga called pfiesteria which is poisoning fish, marine
life, and even fishermen, according to an article in U.S. News &
World Report (July 28, 1997). The toxic alga has been spreading
since 1991, when it was first discovered in North Carolina, where
"scientists and environmentalists seeking answers to the algal
assault believe much of the blame lies with the industrial-scale
hog farming that has mushroomed in the eastern part of the
state," the article says. "Hundreds of millions of gallons of
untreated, nutrient-rich hog feces and urine produced at these
loosly regulated factory farms are stored in earthen lagoons that
sometimes leak or collapse. In 1995, for example, 25 million
gallons of liquid swine manure -- more than twice the volume of
the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound -- flowed into
the New River after a lagoon was breached." Solutions may
include controlling farm runoff, better sewage treatment, and
improved wetlands protection.
Michigan State University's Department of Agricultural
Economics seeks an Associate or Full Professor of Food Industry
Management; applications should include curriculum vitae, three
reference letters, and copies of no more than three publications;
inquiries should be sent to Dr. Larry G. Hamm, Chairperson,
Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI 48824; (517) 355-4567.
"Second Thoughts on the Agricultural Revolution: Henry A.
Wallace in His Last Years," the 1997 Henry A. Wallace Annual
Lecture, is $5 from the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777.
The 1996 Annual Report of the Wallace Institute is available
at no charge from the Wallace Institute, 9200 Edmonston Road,
#117, Greenbelt, MD 20770; (301) 441-8777.
"The Herbal Green Pages," a resource guide, is $25 plus $2
shipping from the Herbal Connection, P.O. Box 245, Silver Spring,
PA 17575; (717) 393-3295.
"The Source Book of Sustainable Agriculture," a list of 559
resource materials published by the Sustainable Agriculture
Network, is $12 from Sustainable Agriculture Publications, Hills
Building, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405-0082; contact (802) 656-0471;
"Part-time Farming, Small Farms, and Small-scale Farming in
the United States;" "Direct Marketing and Related Topics;" and
"Compost: Application and Use," all publications in the Quick
Bibliography Series, are available from USDA, National
Agricultural Library, Public Services Division, Room 111,
Beltsville, MD 20705.
August 25-27, "Composting and Organics Recycling: Making the
Economics Work," the BioCycle Northeast Conference '97, will be
held in Albany, N.Y.; contact BioCycle at 1-800-661-4905.
August 29-31, Biodynamic Conference will be held in
Blairsville, GA; contact Union Agricultural Institute, 8475
Dockery Rd., Blairsville, GA 30512; (706) 745-6056.
September, farm and market tours will be held throughout
Ohio; contact Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, P.O. Box
82234, Columbus, OH 43202; (614) 294-3663.
September 2, 4, 10, 13, and 14, Practical Farmers of Iowa
will hold Farm Field Days: Sept. 2, John and Pam Cowles,
Bloomfield, (515) 675-3414; Sept. 4, Ron and Maria Rosmann,
Harlan, (712) 627-4653; Sept. 10, Matt and Diana Stewart,
Oelwein, (319) 283-1337; Sept. 13, Kenneth Rosmann, Harlan, (712)
627-4217; and Sept. 14, Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice, Wapello, (319)
September 9, "Profitable Farming in a Changing Environment:
Rich Bennett Farm Tour" will be held in Napoleon, OH; contact
Ohio State University Extension, (330) 627-4310.
September 11, Iowa State University Agronomy Field Day and
Thompson On-Farm Research Field Day will be held at the Thompson
Farm, Boone, IA; contact Dick or Sharon Thompson, (515) 432-1560.
September 15-16, "Sustainable Communities: New Opportunities
for Achieving Sustainability" will be held in Des Moines, IA;
contact In Business magazine, 1-800-661-4905.
September 17, "Your Access to the European Organic Food
Market -- A Practical Primer for the U.S. Organic Food Industry"
will be held in Baltimore, MD; contact Aleen Rothschild-Seidel,
Organic Food Seminar, 1101 17th St., NW, #1100, Washington, D.C.
20036; (301) 365-9560 or (202) 294-5555; e-mail Hanspeter
September 19-21, Natural Products Expo East will be held in
Baltimore, MD; contact New Hope Natural Media, 1301 Spruce St.,
Boulder, CO 80302; (303) 939-8440.
September 22-26, National Watershed Water Quality Project
Symposium will be held in Washington, D.C.; contact Conservation
Technology Information Center, 1220 Potter Drive, #170, West
Lafayette, IN 47906; (765) 494-9555.
September 24-25, "Working with Wetlands and Wildlife" will
be held in Denver, CO; contact Wildlife Habitat Council, 1010
Wayne Ave., #920, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 588-8994.
September 24-27, "The Future Agenda For Organic Trade," the
5th IFOAM Conference on International Trade in Organic Products,
will be held in Oxford, England; contact IFOAM Conference, 86
Colston St., Bristol BS1 5BB, England; phone (44) 117-929-0661;
September 24-28, "Taking Root: Building Community from the
Ground Up," the 18th Annual Conference of the American Community
Gardening Association, will be held in Indianapolis, IN; contact
Tom Tyler, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 9245
N. Meridian St., #118, Indianapolis, IN 46260; (317) 848-7351; e-
September 27, Fourth Annual Country Living Field Day will be
held on three farms in Carroll County, OH; for information and a
map, contact Ohio State University Extension, (330) 627-4310.
September 27-29, "Small-Scale Agricultural Production and
Marketing for the Southwest," Part Three: "Cooperative CSA and
Value Added Production" will be held at New Farms Agricultural
Training Center; contact NewFarms, HC 69 Box 62, Rociada, N.M.
87742; (505) 425-5457.