in this issue...
farm bill update -
wto ministerial collapses, the wto's doha negotiations
indefinitely suspended across the board - - why? - -
"the immediate cause of
the dramatic breakdown was the refusal or inability of the us to
provide even a hypothetical improvement on its present offer on
reduction of the allowed maximum level of trade-distorting domestic
support in agriculture." =
commodity subsidies. see twn website,
agriculture coalition's farm bill platform release
is planned for mid-sept., to also include a "report card"
on the last farm bill.
committee farm bill field hearings in the west will be: august
15, redmond, oregon, and august 17, great falls, mt. upcoming
house agriculture committee farm bill field hearings in the
west: july 31, wall, south dakota, information on the house
http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/schedule.html and for the
senate hearings at
usda releases 3rd
farm bill theme paper - july 7, usda released its third �theme�
paper related to the upcoming farm bill negotiations.
read usda's full rural development theme paper
read rural development summary
how gmos impact health
the soil association (uk) has compiled a list of results
from recent animal feeding studies. each study used toxicological
tissue analysis to determine potential impacts on health. one
long-term feeding trial found gmos changed the cell structure and
functioning of the liver, pancreas and testes of mice ingesting
roundup ready soy. another study found that gmos have the potential
to cause hemorrhaging in the gut wall of rats when ingesting both gm
potatoes and tomatoes.
read the full report...
ge moratoriums -
the santa cruz county, california, board of supervisors voted
recently in favor of the concept of a county moratorium on
genetically engineered (ge) crops. santa cruz joins three other
california counties and a growing number of town resolutions in new
england that have adopted ordinances against ge crops.
preemption bills update -
red = laws passed
orange = introduced
yellow = not passed
the spring of 2004, an ordinance (prohibiting the growing of
genetically modified organisms) was passed in mendocino county, ca
by a large majority of the voters. the passage of this ordinance,
as well as two others passed in nearby california counties and a
growing number of town resolutions in new england, set off a
counterattack by the american farm
bureau federation and agribusiness backed lawmakers across
the country. the preemption bills
effectively prohibit local governments and communities from passing
policies, ordinances, or initiatives related to seeds and plants
(our food) including gmos. since november 2004, nineteen
(19) �seed preemption� bills have been introduced. in fourteen
states, the bills were passed into law quickly and with very little
californians for a ge-free
agriculture is an organization working hard to fight its preemption
bill - visit
selection (mas) to replace ge ? jeremy rifkin speculates
that a new genetic technology called marker assisted selection could
make genetically modified crops obsolete and, ironically, an
obstacle to progress. mas uses crop genome mapping to rapidly
accelerate classical plant breeding. one impediment to successful
application of mas may be that the seed of several major crop plants
has been contaminated with dna sequences originating in genetically
modified plants, which complicates the genome mapping process and
may not be desirable to have in the genome. varying viewpoints on
benefits and risks of this technology are offered in the following
http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/ge/soil assn onmas.rtf
the local organizing toolkit,
compiled by the genetic engineering action network (gean), is now
http://www.geaction.org/new.html . the local organizing toolkit
is a compilation of materials that can help grassroots groups take
on winnable, strategic campaigns; and bring together materials that
will support local efforts in communities throughout the united
states. the toolkit consists of an introduction, acknowledgements,
table of contents, and eight chapters: 1. develop a local group. 2.
develop a campaign plan, 3. get media coverage, 4. local fundraising
and special events, 5. local resolutions, 6. rbgh-free dairies, 7.
gm-free schools, 8. ge-free farmers markets
bse-positive cow in canada on thursday, july 13, the
canadian food inspection agency confirmed a bse-positive 4-year-old
dairy cow found in western alberta. this is the seventh animal
found within canada, but overall is the ninth canadian bse-positive
animal discovered in the past few years. the animal was born well
after the 1997 ruminant feed ban was implemented in canada, raising
questions surrounding the effectiveness and enforcement of the feed
ban. it remains uncertain whether this latest discovery will impact
usda�s efforts to expand cattle/beef trade with canada to accept
animals older than 30 months of age. usda will be sending an
official to participate in canada�s investigation to identify how
this animal was exposed to bse infected material.
read johanns statement meanwhile, the usda is proposing
reducing its testing for bse in us cows.
state laws are being passed to encourage biofuel use, new reports
add fuel to the fire. the worldwatch institute published a report in
june that concludes that biofuels are poised for strong growth
worldwatch institute press release,
a study from the university of minnesota concludes
that corn ethanol delivers 25 percent more energy than is used in
its production while biodiesel from soybeans generates 93 percent
more energy than is used in its production. the study also notes the
limitations of both fuels, and the researchers look to non-food
plants that can grow on marginal lands with minimal input of
fertilizers and pesticides as the best hope for biofuels.
university of minnesota press release and the
abstract on the pnas web
a new report
from the u.s. department of agriculture (usda) examines the
feasibility of producing ethanol from sugar, a process used heavily
in brazil. producing ethanol from sugar cane, sugar beets, or raw or
refined sugar is questionable, however, since it costs twice as much
as producing ethanol from corn. see the usda report (pdf
address global energy security and climate change, and adopted a new
plan of action that addresses a wide range of actions regarding
global energy security, including energy efficiency and renewable
energy. the plan also notes that the g8 members "will continue to
work to reduce greenhouse gases and deal effectively with the
challenge of climate change," (hrumph!)
what do venture capitalists, bill gates and major investment banks
have in common? they are all making large bets on ethanol.
rbgh on the run
last month we reported on 6
dairies/processors going rbgh free. add on: wilcox
dairy, a major pacific nw dairy processor. the dairy produces 2
million gallons of milk per month, and markets its milk from
northern california to alaska.
organic food -
this publication summarizes
some of the facts and viewpoints surrounding this issue, and
provides resources for further reading.
http://www.soilandhealth.org/06clipfile/nutritional quality of
organic dairy rules
update cornucopia institute filed a complaint with the
office of compliance for the nop, claiming that aurora organic dairy
in texas is keeping its milk herd confined, not providing meaningful
access to pasture for grazing, and might have fed its dairy cows
rations treated with prohibited pesticides and herbicides.
the world�s food seeds
to be stored in deepfreeze the high-security vault, almost
half the length of a football field, will be carved into a mountain
on a remote island above the arctic circle. planners had to
consider what would happen if global warming continues unabated.
computer models suggest that no matter what, svalbard island will be
one of the coldest places on earth
linked with pesticide exposure a study published in the july
issue of annals of neurology offers evidence of a link between
pesticide exposure and parkinson's disease, reports scientific
call to action
stop the "food uniformity bill" in the senate
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. we
still have a chance to stop this legislation in the senate!
hearing is scheduled for july 27. a markup and vote might occur in sept.
and then it could go to the floor.
need to know you oppose any attempts to strip your state's ability to
protect and inform their citizens concerning food safety.
urging members of the senate help committee to oppose the food uniformity
bill for those of you in (or with members in) the following states: tn, nm,
nc, ny, oh, ct, nv, wy, nh, ia, ut, ga, vt, ma, md, wa, ri, ks, and al:
you do not live in one of these states, this site will not work for you.)
epa accepting comments on pesticide residues in
food comments due by aug 4
a coalition of health and environmental groups have filed a petition with
the epa, indicating the agency has violated federal laws for establishing
allowable levels of fluoride pesticide residues in foods. the petition comes
on the heels of over 7,000 epa employees calling for stronger limitations of
fluoride in food and water, as well as a recent report from the national
academy of sciences indicating the average american diet has unsafe levels
of fluoride. specifically, the petitioners (including fluoride action
network, beyond pesticides and environmental working group) are asking the
epa to prohibit the use of sulfuryl fluoride in food production. elevated
levels of fluoride are associated with bone fractures, thyroid function
losses, iq deficits, bone cancer, and alzheimer's disease.
calendar of events
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.
august 7-9 -
-the future of agriculture: science, stewardship, and sustainability
sacramento, ca - participants will include innovative producers and
processors, regulators and policy experts, environmental and remediation
professionals, research and extension faculty and students, industrial
exhibitors, and community leaders.
- - principles of the soil foodweb workshop series
corvallis, or - sustainable studies
institute in cooperation with soil foodweb, inc. will be conducting workshops as
developed by dr. elaine ingham incorporating soil microbiology, soil ecology,
chemistry, and agriculture. the classes will cover soil biology, compost
technology, compost teas and light microscope techniques.
august 24 -
- nat�l center for appropriate technology - sustainabilityfest
butte, mt - ncat is turning 30! come help
us celebrate! learn about solar, wind, energy resources, local foods, solar
cooking, organic gardening and greenhouses. demonstrations, workshops, kids
activities, local foods and entertainment.
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.
wsawg manages 3 listservs:
wsawggmo dealing with genetically modified organisms
wsawgconserv dealing with conservation programs
and wsawg for general and organic agriculture issues.
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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