SA Newsletter May 1996

Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter

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Sustainable Agriculture Newsletters Archive

College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
Volume 4, Issue 5 – May 1996

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MISA gains a new partner organization

MISA welcomes the latest member of the Sustainers' Coalition: the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). MISA is a joint venture of the University of Minnesota's College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Sustainers' Coalition, a group of individuals and non-profit organizations.

IATP is a non-profit, independent research and education organization dedicated to creating economically, socially and environmentally sustainable rural communities and regions. Their primary focus is in the policymaking arena, where they are working to democratize the global decision-making process. They work to make policymaking institutions understandable, accessible and accountable, and to enable public interest groups and individuals to participate effectively in domestic and international decision-making.

The institute now becomes our sixth partner organization. The other five partners are: Land Stewardship Project; Minnesota Food Association; The Minnesota Project; Organic Growers and Buyers Association; and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Additionally, individuals representing the religious community are part of the Sustainers' Coalition.

The staff at IATP would be happy to provide you with more information. Contact them at: 1313 Fifth Street S.E., Suite 303, Minneapolis, MN 55414-1546, (612) 379-5980; e-mail:

Three-state sustainable agriculture "Teamwork Tour" set

A three-state sustainable agriculture "Teamwork Tour" of northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin is set for July 1-2. It's sponsored by agricultural universities and farm groups in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. This bus tour will focus on innovative farms and successful team building involving producers and information providers. Participants will see use of cutting-edge technologies in farming systems that support the farm family and the community and that sustain the environment.

Scholarships for tour expenses of up to $150 per person will be awarded to the first three dozen farmer-extension pairs to register for the tour. Registration is $100 per person through June 7 and $130 after that date and covers bus transportation, four meals, lodging on July 1, and a conference notebook of supplemental information. To register, call 1-800-728-2256, ext. 219. For more information, call Don Olson, MES, (612) 625-9292.

More MISA board members profiled

The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) is governed by a Board of Directors. According to the MISA by-laws, the 15-member board shall be comprised of seven sustainable agriculture practitioners, four U of M employees, and the remainder representing the community. In the April, May and June issues of the newsletter, we are profiling the MISA Board members.

Mary Doerr operates a 20-acre farm with a Grade A dairy facility in Kenyon, Minn. using sustainable practices such as crop rotation, manure management, and controlled grazing of dairy goats. Manager of a seasonal Grade A dairy facility, Mary obtained Minnesota's first license for a farmstead goat cheese plant. The plant produces fresh, award-winning goat cheeses under the "Dancing Winds Farm" label. Mary is also a board member for the Cannon River Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association.

Jon Evert is a Red River Valley farmer from Comstock, Minn. Jon has a great deal of community experience, including his current work with the Lutheran Church as a field staff member, and is also a member of the county Board of Commissioners. He has been active in sustainable agriculture work with a number of organizations, and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Food Association.

Carmen Fernholz is a Madison, Minn., farmer with a history of involvement in sustainable agriculture. He has extensive on-farm research and demonstration experience, and interest in establishing relationships with educational institutions on the subject of sustainable agriculture. Carmen served as the first chairperson for the MISA Board of Directors, from its inception until 1995.

Ralph Hilgendorf is a retired State Services for the Blind counselor and has become active as a partner in the Whole Grain Milling Company, a family business operation in Welcome, Minn. Whole Grain Milling is an on-farm processing business, focused on producing organic grain products. Ralph is responsible for marketing and new product development for the business.

Dana Jackson is the associate director of Land Stewardship Project (LSP). In addition to fund raising and administrative responsibilities, she oversees communications for LSP and serves on the policy team. Dana has worked as an advocate for sustainable agriculture with several organizations for the past 15 years. She has also been involved with the development of proposals for graduate and undergraduate programs in sustainable agriculture at the University of Minnesota.

Non-chemical weed control field day will be June 19

There will be a field day highlighting non-chemical weed control Wednesday, June 19 at the Carmen Fernholz farm, Route 2, Box 9A, Madison, Minn. It will be from 3-6:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided at no charge.

Featured during the tour will be research being done in conjunction with U of M scientists on biological control of Canada thistle, crop rotations for weed management, cultivation, and cover crops. Sponsors are the Western Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) of Minnesota, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), the Minnesota Extension Service and the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

Please let us know if you plan to attend. For more information contact LeeAnn Vanderpol, SFA chapter coordinator, (320) 847-3432, or Helene Murray, MISA coordinator, (612) 625-0220 or e-mail:

Visitors discuss pork production in Sweden

Pork production with the group-housed, deep-bedded system used in Sweden was the subject of a recent meeting at KMS High School in Kerkhoven. Sponsors were the Western Chapter of SFA in cooperation with Marlene Halvorson of Iowa State University, the Minnesota Extension Service, MACCRAY-KMS FFA, the Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota Farmers Union and United Farmers Elevator.

Swedish pork producers Cecelia and Ake Bergvall, Swedish researchers Bo Algers and Barbro Mattson, and Swedish meat packing co-op manager Hans Ectal were presenters.

Strict animal welfare laws govern the type of housing that can be used for Swedish pigs, how pigs are handled and transported, and use of antibiotics as growth promotants.

The U.S. and Sweden have very different production philosophies, but financial returns from each system are similar. Swedish producers have found ways to produce pork that are accepted by the public and that are still profitable.

For more information, contact Rich Fisher at (320) 269-6521.

EPA exempts 31 substances from regulation as pesticides

Organic farmers and gardeners will have easier access to some pest control products. The EPA has decided that 31 substances will no longer be regulated as pesticides.

Exempted compounds include:

castor oil garlic/garlic oil putrescent whole egg solids
cedar oil geraniol rosemary/rosemary oil
cinnamon/cinnamon oil geranium oil sesame/sesame oil
citric acid lauryl sulfate sodium chloride
Citronella oil Lemongrass oil sodium lauryl sulfate
cloves/clove oil linseed oil soybean oil
corn gluten meal malic acid thyme/thyme oil
corn oil mint/mint oil white pepper
cottonseed oil peppermint/peppermint oil zinc metal strips
dried blood 2-phenethyl propionate  
eugenol potassium sorbate  

I would bet that most readers did not realize these things were pesticides. Under the old regulations, any product that was sold with pesticide claims was regulated under FIFRA just like conventional pesticides.

To protect an unsuspecting public from charlatans, these products will not be completely unregulated. The labels must list all active and inert ingredients, and they cannot claim to control bacteria or viruses that threaten human health. Additionally, exempted products are not allowed to imply they control diseases carried by insects or rodents, such as "control ticks that may carry Lyme disease."

(From Georgia Pest Management Newsletter, Vol. 18, No. 2, March 22, 1996. Pages 6-7)

We can use your story ideas

Keep the story ideas coming. Send them to editor Joseph Kurtz at 405 Coffey Hall, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; phone (612) 625-3168. E-mail Other editorial board members are Helene Murray (612) 625-0220, Don Olson (612) 625-9292 and Bill Wilcke (612) 625-8205.

Our mission statement: To help bring people together to influence the future of agriculture and rural communities to achieve socially, environmentally and economically sustainable farms and communities.

Calendar of Events

Second Saturday of each month Western Minnesota SFA Graziers's Pasture Walks. For location and time, call Paul Homme (320) 564-2206 or Ed Radermacher (320) 568-2110.
June 8 Sauk River Watershed event, Osakis. DeEtta Bilek (218) 445-5475.
June 18, 8 a.m Crops and Soils Field Day, Southern Experiment Station, Waseca, (507) 835-3620.
June 19, 3 p.m. Non-chemical weed control field day, Carmen Fernholz farm, Madison, (320) 847-3432 or
(612) 625-0220.
June 19, 8 a.m. Summer field day, Southwest Experiment Station, Lamberton, (507) 752-7372.
June 26-July 10 University of Minnesota agricultural tour to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, 1-800-367-5363.
July 11, 7 a.m. Summer Station Day, West Central Experiment Station, Morris, (320) 589-1711.
July 14, 2 p.m. 1996.....Vegetable Crops and IPM Tour, sponsored by the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Andover,
(612) 434-5929.
July 18, 8 a.m. Anoka Sand Plain Crop Diagnostic Training Clinic, Princeton, (612) 261-4410.
July 19 Summer field day, North Central Experiment Station, Grand Rapids, (218) 327-4490.
July 24-30 University of Minnesota Dairy Tour to Idaho, 1-800-367-5363.
July 28, 12 - 4 p.m. Western Minn. SFA annual picnic. Ambush Park, Benson, (320) 847-3432.
Aug. 1, 5 p.m. Horticulture Night, West Central Experiment Station, Morris, (320) 589-1711.
Aug. 3, 1 p.m. Intensive Rotational Grazing of Sows and Gilts. A Minnesota Department of Agriculture grant study. Byron Bartz Farm, Barrett,
(320) 528-2301.
Aug. 24, 9:30 a.m. Vegetable field tour, Dan and Gilda Gieske farm, Sauk Centre. (320) 352-6255.
Sept. 5, 10 a.m. Grazing Day, West Central Experiment Station, Morris, (320) 589-1711.
Sept. 11 Fall field day, Southwest Experiment Station, Lamberton, (507) 752-7372.
Sept. 12 Fall field day, Southern Experiment Station, Waseca, (507) 835-3620.
Sep. 13, time, TBA. Non-Chemical Farming Field Day, a hands-on learning workshop including: soil profiles, plant variety identification, and late season weed control. Craig and Joanie Murphy Farm, Morris, (320) 392-5176.
Sept. 21 Sheep Day, West Central Experiment Station, Morris, (320) 589-1711.

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.