1982 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Weaver (D-OR) motion to suspend the rules and pass the Organic Farming Act of 1982 (H.R. 5618). The bill would set up six regional centers at land grant universities to conduct research and provide information to farmers interested in knowing more about organic agriculture. In its purest form, organic farming is done without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, growth regulators or livestock feed additives. It uses natural fertilizers like compost or manure, sophisticated rotation of crops, and biological pest controls. Many farmers use both organic and non-organic methods.
Interest in organic farming has skyrocketed recently as growing production costs have combined with low commodity prices to drive many farmers into bankruptcy. Many farmers are caught in a vicious cycle of addiction to ever more costly chemicals and soil additives. Insects grow more resistant to almost any poison over time; pesticide use has increased tenfold in the last thirty tears, while crop losses to insects have doubled. Organic farming can help farmers cut these costs and increase the productivity of their land by protecting it from over cultivation, soil erosion and nutrient depletion. It is also a boon to public health, reducing the need for the kind of toxic chemicals described in vote #6. Most farmers don't get enough information about organics. Often their information sources are heavily influenced by chemical companies eager to sell products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently fired its only organics research employee. In 1982 it spent only $1 million out of a $430 million research budget on organics and this year intends to spend no money at all. Motion rejected 189-198. (Two thirds vote required under suspension of the rules.) August 17, 1982. YES is the pro-environmental vote. We hope to try again in 1983.