Last month, I traveled to Maryland and Washington, D.C. to attend the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) winter meeting and to meet with members of the Oregon Congressional delegation about our priorities within the Farm Bill. A large debate is again underway after Congress failed in an attempt to fast track a largely secret piece of legislation lat last year.
The Senate is holding Farm Bill hearings from now until April, so we
see a Farm Bill this spring or summer. There's also the chance, because it is a Presidential election year, that electoral politics will delay any real bill making. Many on Capitol Hill are uncertain how things will play out.
While there are clear problems with the Farm Bill, NCAP feels it is crucial to become involved in the process in order to preserve the conservation and organic provisions therein. Specifically, this includes the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and an organic initiative within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP – OI). These programs reduce pesticide use and promote sustainable agriculture, yet they are the first to get cut when budget negotiations begin.
If you farm, and especially if you utilize CSP or EQIP, we're calling on you to help. NCAP is organizing in district meetings and trips to Washington DC so that farmers can talk with their legislators and explain to them why these organic and conservation programs are too essential to sacrifice. If you are a farmer, specifically one in Oregon's 5th congressional district, please contact us right away.
Visit our website at www.pesticide.org for information and the latest news!
Blueberry Farmers Converge
Last Tuesday, over 50 blueberry growers turned out for NCAP's production workshop! The focus was Mummy Berry disease, a fungal problem that has increasingly plagued Northwest producers in recent years.
Mummy Berry is often treated with fungicides like clorothalonil
, which are toxic to fish and other wildlife, and which can contaminate groundwater. By bringing growers together to explore ecologically sound managment solutions, we aim to reduce pesticide use while also enabling farmers to be successful.
Many thanks to EWEB for sponsoring the event, and to our presenters: Eric Pond (Agricare), Jim Meyer (Cascadian Farm), Chuck North (The Blueberry Patch Farm), Emily Vollmer (OSU), Jay Pscheidt (OSU), and Norma Grier (Royal Blue Organics).
NCAP at PIELC
It's that time again. The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) is a 4-day, international gathering of lawyers, activists and students that explores a broad range of environmental and social issues. This year's conference will be held from March 1- 4 at the University of Oregon School of Law.
NCAP has organized two panel discussions for the conference:
Endangered Species Act as a Pesticide Reform Tool - Friday, March 2 10:30am
Toxics on Trial: Legal Legacies in Pesticide Reform - Saturday, March 3 2:30pm
We're also inviting conference goers, supporters, partners, staff and board members, and NCAP alumni to join us for an evening reception on Saturday, March 3rd at the Maude Kerns Art Center, just a few blocks east of the UO Law School. The event lasts from 5 to 7 pm and refreshments will be provided. On display will be artwork by Mary Rounds who illustrated for the Journal of Pesticide Reform. Please attend!
More details here
Grower's Own 2012
Time is limited, no more so than for farmers during planting, irrigating and harvesting seasons. This makes it hard for farmers to get out and see innovations on other farms. That's why NCAP put 60 farmers aboard a “virtual tour bus” for a look at six farms during the recent Grower’s Own Conference in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Using digital slide shows, this extremely popular segment of the conference allowed farmers to learn from each other about cover cropping, mulch layers, marketing strategies, season extension and much more.
Your support helps us foster this farmer-to-farmer exchange, expanding alternatives to pesticides and healthy farming practices. Thanks for making the conference possible!
See Coverage on Idaho's KMVT
Protecting Salmon, Protecting Science
In early February, NCAP testified in Seattle before a National Academy of Sciences committee on the importance of properly evaluating the harmful impacts of pesticides on endangered salmon.
"The were so many agro-chemical representatives present at the hearing," says Aimee Code, who leads NCAP's clean water work. "It really illlustrated the wealth and power that we are up against. They're paid to paint a rosy picture of these chemicals for federal agencies, ignoring what they science really says. This puts a devastating burden on endgangred wildlife. Fortunately, the law is on our side."
Thankfully, our testimony was well received. Committee members expressed their intention to improve the pesticide evaluation process and ensure adequate protections. Throughout 2012, we will continue to move this critical work forward.
Strength in Numbers
To commemorate NCAP's 35th Anniversary, we are launching the Strength in Numbers Campaign and inviting you to be a part of the 35th Anniversary Leadership Giving Circle.
The 35th Anniversary Leadership Giving Circle consists of donors giving above and beyond their memberships in order to help NCAP build a matching fund. Members will receive a limited edition recycled Chico shopping bag with NCAP’s 35th Anniversary logo for gifts of $100 or more.
To learn more call Shelly at (541) 344-5044 ext. 17
Join the leadership giving circle and be the foundation for another 35 years of pesticide reform!
You can also renew your membership online via the button below. NCAP relies on support from members like you!
Business League Spotlight: Habitat Landscape Design
Playing in the dirt and being outside has always played an essential role in the life of owner and landscape designer Leslie Campbell. Her love for the natural world led her to become an environmental hydro geologist, an avid gardener, the owner of a horticultural steel company and finally a landscape designer.
With Habitat Landscape Designs years of experience, they are knowledgeable in the installation, construction and land care practices required for the creation of healthy and beautiful gardens. They work closely with you to design practical and beautiful solutions that have lasting value and that reach your project goals.
Full Garden Design For New Construction
Renovation of Existing Gardens
Project Installation Oversight
Garden Maintenance Programs
Garden Care Tutoring
Supporter Spotlight: John Taberna, Jr.
It’s safe to say that John Taberna, Jr. knows more about potatoes than most people.
John lives and works in Blackfoot, Idaho — home of both the Idaho Potato Museum and Western Laboratories, an agricultural research facility where he works part-time as a research agronomist. His most recent work looks at potato planting methods that can help farmers increase yields and conserve water. John’s resume includes research and consulting work for the USDA, the University of Idaho, and The Shoshone-Bannock Tribe of Fort Hall.
John first encountered NCAP in the early 2000s while working on the “Green Manure Project,” a collaboration between the EPA, NCAP and other groups. The project was aimed at helping potato farmers use plants with natural pest- and weed-repelling properties — like mustard seed — as an alternative to synthetic pesticides.
“What I liked about NCAP was their educational approach,” he said. “They work hard to put good information in farmers’ hands.”
In John’s line of work, he encounters the entire range of agricultural practices: from small family farmers to industrial-sized growing operations. He believes that there’s still a lot for all farmers to learn about sustainability.
“I believe in sustainable agriculture,” he says. “In the past few years, there’s been growing support for local organic farmers and farmers markets. But I’m also hoping to see the big corporate farms adopt more sustainable practices. More conventional farmers are getting involved in integrated pest management and green chemistry, which is definitely a good sign.”
Get a 'Pesticide-Free Area' Sign
When you join the Ladybug Lovely monthly giving program, you receive a new Pesticide-Free Area sign from NCAP and Mountain Rose Herbs. The sign is made from recycled aluminum, so it's a responsible and durable way to state your values!
Call 541-344-5044 ext.17 to learn more about the Ladybug Lovely and how to get your sign.