in this issue...
farm bill update - senate ag
appropriations bill is out of committee -
our calls are making a difference
- many of the programs we are watching have been getting
funding: the senate has once again placed no cap on the funding for
the conservation security program, which would allow
for a robust sign-up in 2007 in a substantial number of watersheds;
the senate has also placed no cap on the wetlands reserve
program, the value-added producer grant program
received more than provided for by the 2002 farm bill; the
renewable energy program (section 9006) also received more
than the farm bill allotted; the senate bill provides $1 million for
the farmers market promotion program, same as the
house bill. we had hoped for at least $3 million from the senate
bill. while no funding was provided for the farm to cafeteria
program, report language was included expressing support for the
program and urging usda to find money to start making grants. the
language also endorses local procurement for the school lunch
program and requires usda to report back to the committee with a
study of how it can help push local procurement; the bill does
increase the fresh fruit and vegetable pilot project
by $3 million to $9 million, and adds the states of ca, ga, and ar
to the 16 states already in the school lunch pilot. sac has
prepared a compilation of important report language and earmark
increases in the senate bill. if you would like to see a copy,
write to ferd hoenfer at
email@example.com. it is not yet clear when this will go to
the floor for a vote. chances are the bill will not be conferenced
with the house-passed bill until the lame duck session after the
deadline is fast approaching for nomination to the national organic
standards board. applications are due july 14 for 4 seats on the board in these categories: organic handler, scientist,
consumer/public interest, and environmentalist. it is very
important that qualified people fill these slots, that is, people
who know and understand organic. the term will begin jan. 24,
2007. the nop announcement is at:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/todaysnews.html and scroll down to
april 24, 2006. please let liana of the ncsa know if you are
dc - the center for food safety (june 7) filed suit against the food
and drug administration (fda) for the agency's failure to adopt any
pre-market safety requirements for genetically engineered
foods, and for failing to require labels so consumers can know when
foods contain ingredients from ge crops. the cfs lawsuit calls for a
mandatory, pre-market regulatory review system for all ge foods.
rbgh on the run
- tillamook goes rbgh-free for their cheese (but
not their other products). tillamook is the second largest producer
of chunk cheese in the country. june, �05 -
eberhard dairy in redmond, oregon goes rbgh-free for all
their products; nov �05 - alpenrose
dairy in portland, oregon goes rbgh-free for all their products.;
june �06 - the garelick
processing plant in florence, new jersey, declares itself rbgh-free.
june �06 - montana�s two largest milk
processors, darigold farms and meadow gold, are
now requiring farmers to sign affidavits saying they're rbgh-free.
june �06 - the dairy & food market analyst
reports that dean foods, wal-mart and
kroger, and possibly others, are on a nationwide search for
rbgh-free milk. see:
and the (www.foodandwaterwatch.org)
website features a state-by-state chart of rbgh-free products.
gene flow report
"contaminating the wild," a new report released by the
center for food safety (cfs), examines the history of field trials
of ge crops that have posed contamination threats, and warns that
potential hazards from such genetic contamination will increase with
the increasingly powerful and unpredictable engineered genes that
industry is artificially inserting into many common crops. the
complete report at
stephen jones, wsu wheat breeder has received a $680,000 grant
from the u.s. department of agriculture to continue work to develop
wheat varieties suited for low-input and organic agriculture
systems, the nation�s only certified organic wheat breeding
program. jones hopes to release the first organic wheat varieties
from his program in the next five years. jones is on the board of
directors of the organic seed alliance
pressure agency to stop whitewashing toxic pesticides
government scientists are blowing the whistle on the environmental
protection agency's attempts to allow the continued use of 20
hazardous organophosphate pesticides.
nine thousand epa scientists have submitted a strongly
worded letter to the epa's administrator, stephen johnson,
protesting that "industry pressure" is compromising the
"integrity of the science upon which agency decisions are based."
proposes to limit heavy metals in fertilizers
the organic materials review
institute proposes that steps be taken to avoid the use of
fertilizers that contain levels of heavy metals that can contaminate
soil, water, and crops. omri has prepared and posted a proposal to
establish limits on the amount of arsenic, cadmium, and lead that
omri-listed products may contain. the proposal is open for public
comments until july 16, 2006. the omri board will decide whether to
accept the pending proposal after the public comment period closes
and staff has made any adjustments based on the comments
hospitals to serve organic food
. as some of the largest
institutional meal-providers in the country, hospitalr food purchasing
policies affect not just the patients who eat the meals, but the
food industry as a whole. thanks to a recent deal between medassets,
a purchasing organization for the health care industry, and united
natural food incorporated, an organic food distributor, more than
2000 hospitals nationwide now have access to organic food. in
related news, dozens of u.s. hospitals, including the entire
catholic healthcare west system, have pledged to buy food that is
nutritious and sustainably raised, according to the nonprofit health
care without harm.
national animal id
system position paper
nofa-massachusetts has posted an organic farmers position
www.nofamass.org/news/nais_position.php a brochure of this
statement is available contacting
firstname.lastname@example.org. the nais implementation plan, including implanted computer chips for all animals, along with more information about the program, is available at www.usda.gov/nais.
in 2005, state legislatures increasingly attempted to preempt,
or disallow, local and county initiatives that were mostly aimed at
limiting or prohibiting genetically modified (gm) seeds and crops,
according to a new fact sheet and web database released by the pew
initiative on food and biotechnology (pifb). this activity
represents one of the largest categories of bills introduced in 2005
and is the most significant legislative development of that year.
see fact sheet entitled
�state legislative activity related to agricultural biotechnology
continued in 2005�,
fda�s new guidelines
re/ ge plant hazards the process remains voluntary
regarding the safety evaluations of "new proteins in new plant
varieties, including bioengineered varieties, that are in
development for possible use as food for humans or animals." the
fda says, "it is not necessary to have a meeting with us to
communicate about your early food safety evaluation of your new
protein. if, however, you think a discussion with us would be
useful to address issues that have arisen in your safety evaluation,
we recommend that you request a meeting.�
cfs press release:
call to action
"food uniformity bill" in the senate
s. 3128 is the companion
bill in the senate to hr 4167, the national uniformity for food act bill that
passed in the u.s. house. this bill would end state and local food safety and
labeling regulations and pre-empt future ones that aren't identical to federal
regulations. members of the house put special interests before public interest
when they approved h.r. 4167 by a vote of 283 to 139.
still have a chance to stop this legislation in the senate!
need to know you oppose any attempts to strip your state's ability to protect
and inform their citizens concerning food safety and labeling.
congress to support labeling and safety testing of ge foods!
congressman dennis kucinich (d-ohio) recently introduced two bills related
to ge crops and foods in the house of representatives. one bill, hr 5269, the
genetically engineered food right to know act of 2006, would require mandatory
labeling of all ge foods; the other, hr 5268, the genetically engineered food
safety act, would require mandatory, pre-market safety testing of ge foods.
contact your representatives
and encourage them to support these important bills
- - the united sates department of agriculture (usda) is now
accepting public comments regarding the commercial approval of a genetically
engineered plum, known as "c5." the approval of c5 would be the first widely
released genetically engineered (ge) tree in the united states. approval of c5
will also pave the way for more ge tree and fruit varieties, including peaches,
cherries, and apricots. take action:
lobbyists for corporate
agribusiness have crafted hr 4341 to prevent huge factory farms from being held
accountable by local governments or states for damages due to heavy loads of
pollution in their watersheds. exemptions from community right-to-know
provisions for factory farms are also included in the bill.
call today! you can reach any member of
congress at 202-224-3121, or call your district office numbers over the july 4th
recess. more info:
calendar of events
14-15 - - food connections conference,
rohnert park, ca.
systems approaches to creating healthy pathways from seed to
table and beyond. participate more effectively in planning the creation of a
sustainable food supply, network with organizers and experts, more information: (707) 874-1557 x244.
registration at www.food-matters.org
july 17,18 - -
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
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 event.
22-24 - - �climate challenge: strategies for
helena, mt. to acquaint montana�s
agricultural community, hunters, fishers, and citizens with the current thinking
of the impacts of climatic change on montana�s economy and lifestyles and to
begin the development of state strategies to address and minimize impacts.
contact land tawney
sept. 23 to oct 7 - - montana
permaculture design course
hot springs, mt.
www.friendsofthetrees.net for this and other permaculture events
october 7-11 -
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
20-22 - - bioneers 2006 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,
november 10-12 - - the future of farming: tilth producers of
washington annual conference vancouver, washington, red lion at the quay
keynote address: bringing the farm economy home by helena norberg-hodge,
founder of the international society
for ecology and culture (http://www.isec.org.uk)
and author of many books.
bioreality conference join activists in washington, dc,
march 27-29, 2007, for the 1st annual bioreality conference. there
will be three exciting days of education, lobbying
and strategic planning on the issues surrounding genetically engineered foods.
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