« PreviousContinue »
We have run those experiments in Illinois. This is the sixteenth year. We have pretty good evidence of what we can do.
Mr. MYERs. It is called a rope wick applicator? My dad invented one years ago. They called it a hoe. It was slower, but it worked. [Laughter.]
Dr. SHAw. There are hundreds of different configurations.
OTHER HERBICIDE RESEARCH
Mr. MYERs. Thank you very much for your testimony.
Another problem we have in the river bottom area is floods. What happens out our way is that we have to apply chemicals, herbicides, insecticides and everything else. But the herbicides we have to apply on the river bottom to kill the cockle burrs. If you have a flood in June, it is too late to plant corn and you have already applied the herbicide and you cannot put soybeans in.
Do we have something now to kill only cockle burrs and morning glories and all those things and still plant soybeans? That is a very bad problem.
Dr. BERTRAND. Mr. Myers, what Mr. Shaw has shown you is just one of our efforts to meet the needs of the farmer. We do have an ongoing program of research in cooperation with industry to find more selective herbicides.
Mr. MYERs. That is my next question.
This morning, in the other Committee that Mrs. Smith and I serve, along with the Chairman, we found that in the Department of Energy under the new Administration we are going to have less federally financed demonstrations and more will be handed over to industry to start building the pilots and building the programs. Is that true also in agriculture?
RESEARCH ON MIREX
Will we be turning this over sooner to industry? Will we still have to go through the procedure of getting them cleared? Whatever happened to mirex, too? Did we find out? Dr. BERTRAND. We have the answer on mirex when we get to that point. Would you like that now? Dr. Fertig has returned from his inquiry and has the answer on mirex. Dr. Fertig? Dr. FERTIG. After 16 phone calls to EPA, I understand from EPA at this moment there was a 1980 request for emergency exemption for mirex which was disallowed by EPA. Mr. MYERs. Exemption from what? Dr. FERTIG. Emergency exemption to use it on fireants. Mr. MYERs. Was it ever restricted? The question was: Was it actually restricted? Dr. FERTIG. All the uses of mirex were cancelled. But then an emergency exemption was requested to allow it to be used this past year. EPA disallowed that emergency exemption to use mirex. Now on ferriamicide, there was an emergency exemption also requested, which EPA approved for use on the fireant. But about the time they started to use it down in Mississippi, some data came in apparently from Canada indicating there might be some problem of concern. EPA called down and stopped the program to give them time to study the data. It is my understanding that it took them two months to review the data and by that time the emergency exemption ran out, so there was no use of that compound either.
PURPOSE OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Mr. MYERs. I am concerned that we are losing sight of our purpose. Are we really helping agriculture? Are we helping the farmer to produce a crop out there as cheaply as possible so that we as consumers can eat as cheaply as possible?
Sometimes I get the feeling that we have lost sight of our purpose in Government, particularly in the Department of Agriculture, that we really are not helping farmers as much as we are doing all these other side issues.
We hear about the fireant coming north. Let us leave him down south. I remember many years ago when I was at Fort Benning, Georgia. They were spraying for the fireant back then. I guess he is still there.
Dr. BERTRAND. We are definitely getting back to the basics to helping the farmer. As I indicated in my opening remarks, both the 1981 budget that we presented, and the 1982 budget, have the principal thrust of helping to improve productivity. That is our problem in this country. Our productivity has slipped. We must tailor our research to meet the needs of the farmer. We are very mindful of that.
Mr. MYERS. In closing, on page 3, when I see the additions, it bothers me to see some of these figures, like $1.9 million to construct that biocontrol laboratory in Europe and $15.2 million for increased operating costs.
All those things are not really helping farmers.
Dr. BERTRAND. Mr. Myers, that biocontrol laboratory in Europe is essential to be a point from which we can introduce biological control organisms which will save the farmers millions of dollars each year.
Mr. MYERS. Are we exporting our problems?
Dr. BERTRAND. No, sir. We bring organisms in that permit us to use less chemicals by controlling the insects biologically. That laboratory is essential for maintenance of that introductory program. It definitely will help the farmers.
The increased operating costs—that is just to meet inflation.
Mr. MYERs. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TRAxler. Next we have the very distinguished gentleman from Texas.
RESEARCH ON GYPSY MOTH
Mr. HIGHToweR. Dr. Bertrand, a few moments ago one of your associates described the gypsy moth research as successful. Has that successful research been translated into any identifiable results?
Dr. BERTRAND. Earlier this afternoon I admitted that I did not come prepared to describe the gypsy moth program. May I ask if any of the staff here has information?
Mr. HIGHTOWER. May I just direct my question to the gentleman who described it as successful?
Dr. KLASSEN. The applications which have been made are, of course, being made by various action agencies, such as APHIS, FS, and the state departments of agriculture and state departments of natural resources.
One application of our research is in the detection and delimitation of gypsy moth populations. We find gypsy moths hitchhiking all the way to California, to the State of Washington, to various other non-infested states. APHIS has something like 90,000 traps employed and they are able to quickly detect the incipient infestations of the pest and to eliminate it at that spot.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. Is that the result of your research?
Dr. KLASSEN. Yes, there are other results, too, such as the application of the virus which is just beginning now and the baccillus thuriengensis-
Mr. HIGHTOWER. Then there is not just one particular breakthrough that offers any possibility of some dramatic work so far as the gypsy moth is concerned? But you have been able to accomplish several different things with the research? Is that what you are saying?
Dr. KLASSEN. Yes. The Department is attempting to put together a comprehensive program to deal with the problem in all of its facets. Not all of the research is done that is needed to accomplish these objectives. But we have made a good deal of progress.
[Additional information follows:]
There are three major facets to the gypsy moth problem. First, to keep the pest suppressed below tolerable levels in areas where it is firmly established. Secondly, to develop technology to retard the expansion of the geographic range of the major infestation in the Northeastern states. Thirdly, to completely eliminate incipient infestation in states where the pest is not firmly established.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. I did not want you to miss an opportunity to brag about successful research and what it had accomplished. I want to find out if there had been enough time or if the research is such that it could be called successful.
Thank you very much.
GUAR RESEARCH Dr. Bertrand, how many people in the USDA do we have doing research on guar?
Dr. BERTRAND. I believe we have closed out all of that work now. Mr. HIGHTOWER. The only work that I knew anything about was at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center at Chillicothe in my district.
On February 23rd it was announced in the local paper that the research was being halted and the guar researcher was being transferred to Amarillo to work with sunflowers.
Do we have any people involved in sunflower research?
[General response of yes.] Mr. HIGHToweR. It is more than one? Do you have a good man doing sunflower research and we had one doing guar and we closed down our guar program to add one to the sunflower research? Dr. BERTRAND. That is correct. Mr. HIGHToweR. Why? Dr. BERTRAND. Dr. Kinney, can you answer that? Dr. KINNEY. Again, Mr. Hightower, it is a matter of setting priorities. Our assessment of guar relative to— Mr. HIGHToweR. Dr. Kinney, we are closing down a whole program. We are saying that guar is not important. Guar is a tremendously important cash crop, not only in my district, but it is a developing crop. It has so many uses. I could fill this table up with more products than you have right there that are a result of guar, or where guar is used. The development of guar has been a dramatic story. Perhaps you are familiar with it. For us to come along and cut back and cut back, and then when we are doing it with just one man in one place and say that you are going to do away with that program, concerns me. I want to cut back as much as any Member of Congress, and more than many do, and I want us to be sure that our money is properly spent. But when we do away with programs completely rather than cutting them back, it means that some better informed successor of ours is going to have to come along and reinvent the wheel and go back and pick up because of lost time, lost effort, and lost energy. It is just more than I can understand. Why would we cancel out an important area of research in order that one man, one scientist who has spent many years in this field, can move over and be one more number with an allied research effort? Dr. BERTRAND. Mr. Hightower, I am informed by staff that the gentleman that was moved to Bushland is continuing some variety testing with guar at the Chillicothe station. But the problem is the location in Amarillo. Mr. HIGHToweR. That is 200 miles away. Are we going to have more travel money in this budget? Dr. BERTRAND.. I would imagine this is being done by the technio principally with his overview. I have not looked into it, but I W111. Mr. HIGHToweR. A technician on the ground is really not carrying on effective research, nor is somebody in an office in Washington that might lay out a program of work and send it down for a technician to do. When you have a scientist that has spent a good many years it is a waste to lose him. We had several scientists down there at one time that had spent years and had really made this a multimillion dollar industry for agriculture. I have used this example so many times, but it seems to fit in a lot of places. There is an old song about we have built a building seven stories high and we have gone as high as we can go. Everything is looking great in Kansas City.
Too often people arrive at a certain plateau and they say everything has been invented, or everything has been done. We have gone as far as we need to go.
But if a scientist takes that attitude, or a researcher takes that attitude, Lord help us all.
Dr. BERTRAND.. I will look into this and see what has transpired and what can be done.
Mr. HIGHTower. I hope you will also look into the tremendous potential that there is for guar and the real need that we not lose any time by backing up to a point where we will have to come and spend a good deal more money later on to try to pick up and catch up from where we left off.
COTTON DUST RESEARCH
Let me move on. Last year we made the first appropriation in regard to the causes of health problems commonly referred to as cotton dust. Can you tell us what the plans are and what is being done? Dr. BERTRAND.. I believe we can get the best information from Mr. Nelson Getchell who is here and who has been close to that. We are using this fund as directed by Congress in conjunction with industry. I would turn to Mr. Getchell to give us the details. Mr. GETCHELL. Working with the National Institute of Occupational and Safety Health and with several industry groups, we have put together a steering committee which is developing a research plan. The primary objective will be to eliminate completely this health hazard for cotton mill workers. Our first approach will be to evaluate washing as a means to reduce the hazard. Research will also be aimed at identifying the source and nature of the causative agent or agents, and to develop a ony to determine its presence or absence in a sample of cotton lder. Mr. HIGHToweR. Where is this work being done? Mr. GETCHELL. It was being done at several locations. Major thrusts are being carried out at the Cotton Pilot Spinning Laboratory in Clemson, South Carolina, and at the Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is also important work at College Station, Texas, and at Beltsville, Maryland. Mr. HIGHToweR. Does this budget request any additional funds for this particular area of research? Dr. BERTRAND. No, sir, it does not. 1% HIGHToweR. Is your anticipated funding for 1981 higher than Mr. GETCHELL. Yes, the 1981 program is considerably higher than the 1980 program, approximately double. Mr. VICTOR. Congress provided, I believe, an additional $975,000 for increased research on byssinosis. Mr. HIGHToweR. So, as far as the progress report is concerned, your feeling is that they are reaching out and getting started? Mr. GETCHELL. Yes, that is correct, but this is not going to be a problem that is easily and quickly solved. Mr. HIGHToweR. Of course, you do not get that kind?