in this issue...
farm bill / ffpp update
- this is the �farm and food policy project� that is
being sponsored by the kellogg fndn. it is a broad coalition of
ngo�s working together to articulate policy initiatives geared to
shape the upcoming 2007 farm bill debate.
noting the excitement that the coordinating council felt about where
the ffpp process has led. this is a statement from their latest
�nobody has tried before to pull these ideas together
into a really compelling story. drawing the connections between
local food systems, the environment, opportunities for the farm
community, and the health of americans is potentially very
powerful. it�s not �here�s what the whole farm bill looks like,�
but �here�s what our goals for a healthy people, farms, food
systems, and society are.� we can then use the ffpp initiatives
as examples of key programs and policies that will help us realize
paper from the healthy food & communities committee is currently
being circulated for organizational endorsements. it should be
posted on the cfsc website soon
if not, email jill to
view a copy:
revising commodity payments
farm bill proposals:
american farmland trust released its farm bill options paper. their
proposal relating to green payments is to increase rewards for
environmental stewardship by gradually changing commodity direct
payments into $5 billion dollars for green payments. aft is not
talking about eliminating csp, but thinks a green payments program
in title 1 could coexist with a streamlined csp in title 2. their
paper can be viewed at
national campaign for sustainable agriculture and msawg/sac
not in agreement with the aft proposal.
american farmland trust and environmental defense are opposed to any
green payment initiative that is focused on csp.
sac partnership concerns:
why not expand csp and improve it rather than going with
something new and undefined? why abandon a program that has been
developed, is popular among farmers and has had some success? there is
concern about environmental performance in a new program - all
farmers think they are already stewards of their land. concern was
expressed that as a title 1 program, it would be run by the farm
service agency - not a good thing..
csp is rewarding the best of the best, but there needs to be a
more basic program to get buy-in from other farmers. a title 1
program would guarantee funding. we share concern about fsa, and
think nrcs could have a role in scoring and monitoring. aft is
calling for significant change out of this farm bill, and they don�t
think csp is the vehicle for shifting $5 billion to stewardship
a national csp position, will soon be drafted in broad
terms and general principles for full sign-on from ncsa partners and
others, including mainstream farm organizations.
vermont governor vetos the farmer protection act
farmers from across the state of vermont gathered to respond to
governor jim douglas� veto of the farmer protection act, the first
state bill that would have placed the
liability for economic damages associated with the use of
genetically engineered seeds
onto the manufacturers who own the patents on those seeds. the
governor vetoed the bill despite clear, widespread support for the
measure that carried the bill through both state houses of
congress. an override vote is scheduled for june 1st, but it is
unlikely that the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the veto
will be found.
grass fed label claim rule:
usda�s agricultural marketing service announced its much-anticipated
revision of the grass fed meat labeling claim. the proposed rule,
published in the federal register may 12, requires that ruminant
livestock meat products certified as grass fed under the usda
labeling program receive at least 99 percent of their lifetime
energy source from a grass or forage-based diet. this a critical
increase in the 80 percent forage requirement first proposed by the ams in 2002, and largely reflects a victory for sac and its
partners, who lobbied strongly for a feeding regime requirement
consistent with sustainable agriculture best practices, and a 100
percent grass fed standard.
public comments must be received by august 10. sac is
considering a recommendation that the standard include a no feedlot
provision and a sound conservation practice regime, in addition to
the 99 percent feeding regime standard. see
www.msawg.org for suggested comments and
http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/stand/claim.htm for the usda notice
and request for comments.
biofuels bill introduced:
rep. stephanie herseth (d-sd), co-chair of the house rural working
group, joined with other rural democrats to introduce a biofuels
bill this week. the bill would increase the biofuels mandate to 20
percent by 2015 and includes new subsidies as well as requirements
to increase flex-fuel vehicles that run on e-85. their plan calls
for ethanol to account for 11 percent of all car and light truck
fuel by 2012. it also proposes funding for biofuels research and
for locally-owned businesses and coops. see
idaho snake river crep:
usda and idaho announced completion of a $258 million conservation
reserve enhancement program (crep) agreement to reduce irrigation
water consumption, improve water quality, and improve fish and
wildlife habitat in idaho's snake river. the crep covers about
100,000 acres of irrigated cropland in the idaho eastern snake plain
aquifer and is projected to reduce irrigation water use by up to
200,000 acre-feet annually. there are now 36 crep agreements with 28
states. information on the crep program, including the new idaho
crep is posted on the web
new food label highlights locally grown products
a new certification and labeling system has been launched in western
montana that goes a step beyond federal "usda organic." the western
montana sustainable growers union has launched the "homegrown"
label, which guarantees that products sold to consumers are not only
organic, but were also produced within a 150 mile radius. the
homegrown label also aims to promote fair labor practices. farmers
with the homegrown certification are also urged to purchase supplies
locally to keep money in the community. there are groups like this
bubbling up all over the place in response to the corporate takeover
the nestl� corporation, the world's largest food manufacturer, has
successfully secured a patent on genetically modified coffee. the
company, with over $65 billion in annual sales, claims their biotech
coffee has a higher level of solubility in water, thereby increasing
flavor and caffeine levels per cup. nestle is also in the process of
patenting genetically manipulated yogurt bacteria and genetically
modified cocoa. nestle promotes genetically engineered foods while
claiming "the fair trade approach is not a solution."
grazing on bt
crops over 1600
sheep apparently died this month in india after ingesting
genetically engineered (ge) cotton. the massive deaths occurred
after several days of grazing in fields where monsanto�s bt and
herbicide resistant spliced varieties of cotton were planted.
scientists from india's centre for sustainable agriculture are
calling on the government to launch a study into the impacts of ge
wsu ag degree, organic major
has received approval from the state higher education coordinating
board to offer a bachelor's of science degree in agriculture and
food systems starting this fall.
five majors will
be offered, including the nation's first major
in organic agriculture systems.
call to action
sustainable agriculture funding is at risk
agricultural appropriations subcommittee is expected to write its bill for 2007
spending very soon after the memorial day recess.
4 key programs need our support:
conservation security program (csp) and the value-added producer grants (vapg)
program were capped in the house bill at $280 million and $28 million,
respectively. those caps represent cuts of $92 million to csp and $12 million
to vapg compared to what was provided by the 2002 farm bill. we want the senate
to remove those caps, and thereby restore full funding as was intended by the
sustainable agriculture research and education (sare) program and the
farmers market promotion program (fmpp) are funded by the house bill at $16
million and $1 million, respectively. we want the senate to provide $20 million
for sare and $5 million for fmpp.
please call today
the message is simple:
ask your senator to:
1. oppose caps and
provide full funding as provided in the 2002 farm bill for the csp and vapg.
2. support funding
levels of $20 million for the sare and $5 million for the fmpp.
western senate agriculture
appropriations subcommittee roster:
chair (ut) tim johnson (sd)
conrad burns (mt) byron dorgan (nd)
larry craig (id) dianne feinstein
intensive confinement for organic cows
the usda also seeking public comments until june
12 on revisions it has made to the national organic program regarding pasture
access for organic dairy cattle. two of the largest organic dairy companies in
the nation, horizon organic (a subsidiary of dean foods), a supplier to wal-mart
and many health food stores; and aurora organic, a supplier of private brand
name organic milk to costco, safeway, giant, wild oats and others, are
purchasing the majority of their milk from so-called organic feedlot dairies
where the cows are kept in intensive confinement, with little or no access to
pasture. together, horizon and aurora control nearly 65% of the organic dairy
market. recent scientific studies have shown that humanely raised, grass-fed
dairy and beef are qualitatively better for human health and the environment.
take action to close the loopholes in organic
standards that currently allow factory farm dairies to call their
calendar of events
fairy and human relations congress
hood river valley, oregon: a
gathering of humans and fairies to improve relations & assist each other in
planetary healing. the 5th annual congress organized by friends of the trees
society. presenters include dorothy mclean, david spangler, r.j. stewart and
dozens more. admission fee is $195 before june 1. for details on presenters,
schedules and photos from past congresses check out:
innovative technologies for organic and sustainable production
2006 annual meeting of the american society of agricultural and biological engineers. international perspectives on advanced technologies to enhance the fundamental principles of organic practices.
3rd north american lavender conference
for those interested in growing lavender, distilling lavender oil, making lavender products, marketing lavender, or simply utilizing this amazing, fragrant herb. www.lavenderconference.com or call toll-free at 1-877-681-303.
july 31 - august 6
eat in, act out week - speak out for local food!
join groups around the world to celebrate and speak out together for local food
in our communities. sponsored by
the food project. for information on hosting an eat in, act out event
contact: monica pless, email
sept. 23 to oct 7a
conference on native plant and habitat
montana permaculture design course
hot springs, mt.
www.friendsofthetrees.net for this and other permaculture events in the
bridging borders toward food security
tenth annual community food security coalition conference, held in conjunction with food secure canada. up to 1,000 north american and international delegates will meet to discuss advances in food policy, programs and community organizing for more sustainable food systems. www.foodsecurity.org
bioneers 2006 will be
held october 20-22 in san rafael, california as well as �beamed� to 17 other
communities across the united states. conference details and registration will
be available at
www.bioneers.org in june. beaming sites in the west include: bozeman, mt,
taos, nm, anchorage, ak, boulder, co, eugene, or, flagstaff, az, honolulu, hi,
wsawg manages 3 listservs:
wsawggmo dealing with genetically modified organisms
wsawgconserv dealing with conservation programs
and wsawg for general and organic agriculture issues.
to subscribe, (or unsubscribe) please refer to our members page, located here:
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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