vol. 2, #7
in this issue...
if your email version is hard to read, please refer to the webpage version:
also, all past issues are at
farm bill resources
lead on the farm bill is the
agriculture coalition (sac),
which has a very
useful online �farm
bill action center�,
www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org with all the
information you might need to be informed and current on the farm
we also work
closely with the community food security coalition, (cfsc)
which also has
farm bill updates that can be found on their website:
info center in food stores:
we have posted a
photo of a policy info center at
www.westernsawg.org/issues.htm. the center is a disply to alert
shoppers of important farm bill issues and to help them to send a
letter to their legislators. let us know if you want to bring one
to your store.
farm bill outreach team
- we are building a network of action teams in each
state in the west, and
you are invited. please
contact us if you will be part of a team in your state to help
disseminate information and/or action alerts when quick action is
needed to communicate with our legislators. email:
outreach team conference calls are
farm bill action
house agriculture committee completed its markup of the 2007 farm
bill and the package went to the floor of the house and after
less than 24 hours of debate and amendments, the farm, nutrition
and energy act of 2007 (h.r. 2419), also known as the farm
bill, passed the house on friday july 27, with a vote of 231 to 191,
more or less on party lines.
senate ag committee, then the whole senate will do their version
after the august recess, sometime in september. then both houses
will conference, october?, and finally the 2007 farm bill
will emerge, november?
some good, some bad, corporate influence evident.
- there is no payment limitation reform in the proposal, in fact, it
got worse, some payments were increased and all of the current
loopholes that result in no effective cap on subsidies per farm are
big funding cuts are proposed, no new enrollments for the next 4
closing the program down for most of the life of the new farm bill
except for paying off existing contracts. the csp funds would go
to other conservation programs, i.e. wrp-wetlands reserve program,
eqip-environmental quality invectives program (eqip), frpp-farm and
ranch land protection program, and the increased eqip funds could be
tapped into by cafos.
conservation programs would be given over to the fsa-farm service
agency to administer, with nrcs just providing the technical
assistance. sac will oppose this attempted rollback.
- no progress on reducing payment limits - the
multi-year limitation that benefits cafo�s remains unchanged. it is
needed. wording also opens up program payments to rent landlords
and just about anyone else involved in agriculture, including custom
farmers, and to make energy and forestry stronger eqip purposes.
there is language that weakens the environmental standards of the
program for pork cafos, (surely written by the pork lobby). sac
opposes these provisions.
to better place the current debate in its historical context, see
2003 report on eqip written by the corporate research project of
good jobs first (funded by the noyes foundation).
transition option - retiring farmers could gain two extra years
of crp rental payments for selling to a beginning or minority
farmer, with the new farmer able to do conservation improvements
prior to the end of the contract.
organic certification cost share reauthorization
$22 million in
organic conversion assistance-provision added to eqip
authorization to make "organic transition" a new, specific purpose
of the program.
organic research organic agriculture research and
extension initiative (orei) is reauthorized at $25 million in
mandatory funding over 5 years.
organic crop insurance- provision added that requires
usda's federal crop insurance corporation to enter into contracts
"for the development of improvements to federal crop insurance
policies" for organic crops,
opportunity act -
weakened, funding changed from mandatory to discretionary.
(frpp) is weakened to benefit developers, is turned into a straight
block grant program with eligible entities free to set their own impervious
management assistance (ama) program is continued at its
$10 million a year in baseline funding (with an additional $20
million a year in the reserve bill), eligible states in the west
are: ut, nv, and wy. ten percent of the total is reserved for
organic certification cost share in the 17 eligible
technical committee (stc) provision in the chairman's mark
appears designed to limit the participation of conservation agencies
and non-profits with conservation and environmental expertise, while
increasing the role of agribusiness.
farmer and rancher development program included with significant
farm bill funding to use to support farm transition projects across
the country. the bill also includes mandatory funding for the
outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers
program. together, this represents a commitment of $150 million
in farm bill resources for beginning and minority farmer projects
over the next 5 years.
entrepreneurs and micro-enterprise loan program authorized but
without any mandatory funding.
program -new permanent authorization
program receives $20 million a year in mandatory funding with a
preference for projects that focus on small and medium-sized family
farms, local and regional mid-tier value chain networks, and
projects that include beginning and minority farmers.
rural coop development grants to be up to three years, rather
than one year at a time as is currently the case.
research title includes a new concept called: "create 21"
and a new entity to run the show: national institute for food and
agriculture (nifa), adding a new layer of bureaucracy between
the under secretary and the two research agencies (csrees and ars)
in the form of 6 new national program offices. in an important
advance for the sac platform, classical
plant and animal breeding is added as
a new purpose and
the national genetic resource program is reauthorized.
bio-based products research program
crop research program -
big new authorizations in the research title do not receive any
funding in the primary bill, but would be taken care of in the
reserve bill if offsets are found.
market promotion program
increased funding and made it mandatory
stamp & nutrition programs
- renamed to be the "secure supplemental nutrition assistance
program, a very �ssnapy� moniker, received big increases in
- reauthorized but not with mandatory funding�$30 million in annual
appropriations (as opposed to the current $5 million a year in
mandatory spending) and the grant period extended from 3 to 5 years.
farmers' market nutrition program
- continues its current $15 million in annual mandatory funding with
an authorization for additional money but the additional funds would
require new appropriations.
- expanded funding but in the reserve bill and would only become
real if offsets are found to pay for it.
development program (hfued):
the loan portion of what was formerly called the healthy food
enterprise development was adopted as an amendment and was included
in the bill
an amendment to clarify previous language allowing schools to use a
geographic preference to request local food in all federally-funded
child nutrition programs was adopted.
food infrastructure initiatives:
two new will help farmers retain more of the food dollar through
support for local processing and distribution facilities, while
increasing consumer access to locally produced, healthy food.
title: there is no competition title in the house bill.
efforts ongoing for the senate bill.
title: includes well over $4 billion in funding, with the
entire funding contingent on the availability of reserve fund
h.r. 6 (a tax bill that includes the recapture of tax subsidies to
the oil and gas industry).
feedstock flexibility program for bioenergy producers - two new
programs to provide incentives for the production of biomass
feedstock for biofuels. the house bill calls for mandatory funding
for both of these programs, but at the amount has not been
amendment with research program priorities and priorities in the
conservation program for protecting pollinators and pollinator
habitat, and language to move toward allowing meat
from state inspected processing plants to move into
interstate commerce was included.
- part of farm bill -
our action has been effective - deluged with thousands of letters
from consumers and organic advocates, congress has removed language,
so-called section 123, from the farm bill that would have eliminated
local and state governments' power to regulate genetically
engineered crops and police food safety at the local and state
wins case against the us and:
even as us farmers and policymakers hear the decision by a wto
panel on the brazil cotton case deciding against the us, brazil
recently filed for a new dispute consultation with the us over
all commodity subsidies.
- - biodiesel demand destroying communities in developing nations:
the developed world's increasing call for plant fuel to manufacture
biodiesel is destroying some farming communities and contaminating
water and land with toxic pesticides in the developing world.
in these times
- - new report
critical of corn ethanol:
the food & water watch, the network for new energy choices and the
vermont law school institute for energy and the environment have
released a report entitled the rush to ethanol: not all biofuels
are created equal. at
maize of deception
- how corn-based ethanol can lead to environmental disaster, by
coha research associate.
from: caribbean net news, jun. 14, 2007
usda seeks nominations for the national organic standards board
application is aug. 17, 2007. go to:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/news/070-07.htm for the full
board on agriculture and natural resources (banr) will do a
2-year study to identify the scientific foundations of sustainable
farming systems and management practices, and the social, economic
and political factors that influence their use and wide scale
adoption by farmers in the
us and abroad.
contact robin schoen, 202-334-3062,
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
the board on
agriculture and natural resources (banr) is the major program unit
of the national research council (nrc) of the national academy of
sciences, responsible for organizing and overseeing studies on
issues of agricultural production and natural resources.
defense fund to defend direct farm sales-
legal defense fund was founded to protect the rights of farmers to
provide meat, eggs, raw dairy products, vegetables and other foods
directly to consumers. taaron meikle, president, farm-to-consumer
legal defense fund email@example.com
-tillamook starts to label
more than two
years since tillamook officially went rbgh-free for their cheese,
they have finally started to label their cheese. tillamook is only
rbgh-free for their cheese. they have not declared their
other main products, ice cream, yogurt and butter, free of the
hormone. the reason is that they have separate suppliers for these
other products, not all of whom have declared themselves rbgh-free.
passes biopharm bill -
governor ted kulongoski has signed the biopharm bill, sb 234, into
law. the bill had previously passed the senate 29-1 and the house
55-0. the oregon dept. of ag will now negotiate a memorandum of
understanding (mou) with the usda to institute the recommendations
of a citizen�s committee on biopharm crops and the provisions of the
bill. the third phase is writing specific oregon rules that address
the specifics and how-to�s.
cutting crop yields by as much as 1/3.
proceedings of the national academy of science study projects that
pesticides and other soil contaminants are reducing crop yields by
about one-third because of impaired nitrogen fixation and plant
as the use of
chemical pesticides has increased in the u.s., soil bacteria have
been dramatically reduced, thereby creating an insatiable demand for
petroleum-based fertilizers. in contrast, organic farming promotes a
healthy living soil with increased crop yields. the most widely
used pesticide in the united states - glyphosate (roundup) - is
known to be directly toxic to a number of soil microorganisms,
including some responsible for nitrogen fixation. search: �pesticides
reduce symbiotic efficiency of nitrogen-fixing rhizobia and host
antibiotics transfer to crops through manure - a
study by researchers at the university of minnesota shows that
antibiotics used on livestock can appear in food crops grown in soil
treated with livestock manure. the research appears in the current
issue of the journal of environmental quality, and shows that
corn, lettuce and potatoes grown on greenhouse soil treated with
manure containing the common livestock drug sulfamethazine take up
the drug. the study indicates that organic crops may be at risk of
antibiotic contamination if they are fertilized with animal
transgenic rabbits gets approval in eu -
protein (rhucin) extracted from the milk of transgenic rabbits is
one step closer
to being the second such drug on the market following a european
thumbs up of the dutch biotech company pharming facilities. this
would make it the second transgenic animal-derived drug on the
market since last year's approval of gtc
biotherapeutic's goat-derived atryn.
patents challenged in eu -
sunflower and broccoli? greenpeace germany filed opposition against
a patent on a sunflower variety derived from conventional breeding
that is held by the us company pioneer. the european patent office
(epo, based in munich, germany) is preparing a far-reaching general
decision on the issue of patents on normal plants and animals.
traditionally, patents on essentially biological processes for the
breeding of plants and animals are not allowed but it was decided in
2000 that genetically engineered plants can be subjected to
patents challenged in us �
pto finds four monsanto patents invalid
- new york - july 24, 2007 - the public patent foundation (pubpat)
announced that the united states patent and trademark office has
rejected four key monsanto patents related to genetically modified
crops (roundup ready) that pubpat challenged last year because the
agricultural giant is using them to harass, intimidate, sue - and in
some cases literally bankrupt - american farmers. monsanto has 60
days to ask for a reconsideration or reduce the breadth of the
organic farming beats
no-till organic farming can build up soil
organic matter better than conventional no-till farming can,
according to a long-term study by the usda ars scientists. the
study showed that
organic farming's addition of organic matter in manure and cover
crops more than offset losses from tillage.
farming can feed the world -
university of michigan found that in developed countries,
yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms. in
developing countries, food production could double or triple
using organic methods,
in addition to equal or greater yields, the authors found that those
yields could be accomplished using existing quantities of organic
fertilizers, without putting more farmland into production.
farming eases global warming:
the rodale institute's longest-running comparison of organic and
conventional cropping systems confirms that organic farming helps
combat global warming by capturing the greenhouse gas, carbon
dioxide, and fixing it in the soil as beneficial organic matter.
soil: the secret solution to global warming. and from
germany, a conference on climate change and ag: biofach 2007
forum for local food systems -
introduced an interactive online forum to connect people who work to
create and improve regional sustainable food systems. the network,
www.localfoodnetworks.net, gives chefs, farmers, food
processors, food system organizers, retail grocery buyers,
educators, institutional buyers, and policy leaders the chance to
bat around ideas with each other, learn from each others'
experiences, brainstorm together, and connect on a peer-to-peer
disappearing birds -
audubon reports many
america's most common bird populations have plummeted over the last
the main reason for the decline, he said, is habitat loss --
reduction in grasslands because of intensive farming, a loss of
forests due to suburban sprawl, and loss of wetlands because of
islands at risk:
genetic engineering in hawaii -a
film by earthjustice, 2006 the film can be viewed in its entirety
to purchase the dvd:
john stauber interviews paul hawken re/ his newest book,
blessed unrest, subtitled,
"how the largest movement in the world came into being and why no
one saw it coming." and the launch of an
ambitious new website at
catalog a burgeoning global grass-roots movement, to give it
visibility, and to better enable groups to find each other and work
- a free 16-page bulletin
the community food security coalition (cfsc) has prepared a
downloadable farm to school procurement information package to help
school districts understand and explain the use of local purchasing
preferences for food for meal-service programs.
csfc farm to school procurement information package >
intercropping increases productivity -
a discovery about
how some plants can increase the yields of others could lead to
farmers using less chemical fertilizer. chinese researchers show
intercropping with fava bean increased the maize yield by an average
of 43% and fava bean yield increased by 26%.
chemicals in cleaning products
�"household hazards: potential hazards of home cleaning products" is
a new report by women's voices for the earth, http://www.womenandenvironment.org.
farmers in the u.s.-
america released shut out: how us farm programs fail minority
farmers, detailing the lack of equity for minority farmers in
federal farm policies. the report contains several policy
recommendations for the farm bill, including commodity program
reform so that more resources are available to support minority,
small to mid-sized farmers, and diversified operations http://www.oxfamamerica.org
from �genes are not for sale�
speakers: dr arpad pusztai on gm food safety; farmer percy schmeiser
on farmers' rights; http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8086
map of factory farms
see national distribution of factory farms at
you can also read more about the forces driving the growth of
factory farms, as well as the environmental, public health, and
economic consequences of the rise of this type of animal production
in the new report, "turning farms into factories" at
call to action
comments needed � vip ***
aphis releases draft eis
for gmo regulation:
usda's animal and plant health inspection service (aphis) officially
announced that it was releasing for public comment a programmatic draft
environmental impact statement which assess alternative measures for
revising aphis regulations for genetically engineered organisms. ahpis
will take comments on the draft eis until
17, 2007. the
agency is scheduling public meetings for august in washington d.c., missouri
and california. the draft eis is posted at
onto letter opposing goodlatte pesticide poison pill amendment in farm bill
your name to a letter in opposition to an amendment that would bar usda from
discouraging use of certain classes of pesticides in conservation programs.
to see the letter and add your organization to the list, email jonathan
library funding to be restored-
considerable pressure by librarians, researchers and the public, the senate
appropriations committee, in the fy2008 interior appropriations bill, orders
epa to reopen the closed libraries. continue adding pressure:
calendar of events - spring 2007
august 4 - 12 - herbal intensive
- pleasant hill, oregon
august 9 �
oct. 14 -
7 day-long workshops at sunbow farm in corvallis, ore.
www.sunbowfarm.org for details on the workshops
14-16: teach-in: "confronting the triple crisis: climate change, peak oil, and
global resource depletion"
the international forum on globalization, the institute for policy studies, and
the global economic transitions project are cosponsoring this teach-in,
subtitled "powering-down for the future: toward an international movement for
system change: new economics of sustainability, equity, 'sufficiency' and
peace." confirmed speakers for the teach-in, to be held at lisner auditorium at
george washington university, include maude barlow, tony clarke, randy hayes,
richard heinberg, wes jackson, winona laduke, frances moore lappe, jerry mander,
vandana shiva, and david suzuki.
international forum on globalization >
15-29 - montana permaculture design course - 2nd annual 2007 -
hot springs, montana -
michael pilarski, larry korn, and others. alameda's hot springs retreat (406)
� 28 - pacific northwest ecological restoration conference -
yakima, wa - the joint
conference of the nw chapter of the society for ecological restoration and the
society of wetland scientists will focus on the conservation and restoration of
the columbia basin and the pacific northwest. abstracts for oral and poster
presentations are due by april 30.
october 3 - 5 -
annual provender alliance conference
- vancouver, wash.
4-7 - montana barter fair 2007 -
at a hot springs near hot
springs, montana (north of missoula). a producer-to-producer economic event. the
goal of the 2007 montana barter fair is to bring together people from around
montana to barter and sell food they have grown, crafts they have made, and
various and sundry other useful goods. another goal is to socialize, make music,
and have fun. still being organized. helpers welcome.
friendsofthetrees @ yahoo.com
- democracy school -
missoula, mt. for the first time in montana, thomas linzey, co-founder
of the grassroots community environmental legal defense fund and featured
speakers at the 2006 bioneers conference, leads this powerful, inspiring
workshop. participants explore the limits of conventional regulatory
organizing and learn how to confront corporate control with a powerful single
front: people's constitutional rights.
october 12 -
14 - annual natural products northwest
- seattle, wash.
october 19 -
21 - bioneers conference
- san rafael, calif. and beamed to 20 cities in the us. the bioneers conference
is one of the world's largest annual gatherings of visionaries and activists
applying practical environmental solutions and innovative social strategies to
restore the earth and communities.
bioneers conference >
november 6-7 -
center for ecoliteracy (cel) seminar: rethinking school lunch,
when this two-day seminar, based on cel's rethinking school lunch program, was
offered in fall, 2006 and summer, 2007 all spaces were filled in advance. we
recommend registering early.
read more >
9-11 - tilth producers annual conference -
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mission: the western sustainable agriculture working group is a non-profit organization bringing together diverse individuals and groups working in sustainable agriculture and food systems to share successful models, realize our collective strengths, build regional capacity and inform the agriculture policy debate.
visit us online at www.westernsawg.org