The Wind Machine

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Occasional thoughts on the politics and activities of Washington, D.C., as they may have relevance to our tree fruit industry.

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Schlect: Mr. Hastings

●  Yesterday, Congressman Doc Hastings (R/Washington), who will be retiring at the end of the 113th Congress after two decades of service in the U.S. House of Representatives, endorsed Dan Newhouse to be his successor. Unsurprisingly, the other Republican candidate in the race, Clint Didier, did not find [...]

Schlect: From Russia without love

● Russia’s economic ban on U.S. agricultural goods will affect the Pacific Northwest’s apple and pear export programs this coming crop year. While the loss of direct sales is a concern, there are also the indirect impacts. For example, where will all the European apples that ordinarily were [...]

Schlect: Rediscovery of an advisory committee

● Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday his long-awaited appointment of 25 members to the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, a private-sector committee that provides advice to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
Only one person on this national advisory committee is from the Pacific Northwest: Paul Newman of Washington state’s [...]

Schlect: Vetter clears Senate, takes U.S. chief agricultural negotiator job

● Darci Vetter, on July 10, cleared the Senate’s confirmation process and now holds the job of “U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator” at the office of the United States Trade Representative. She moves into USTR’s Winder Building from USDA, where she was deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services. [...]

Schlect: D.C. departures

● Eric Cantor’s primary defeat and subsequent resignation as majority leader has set in motion a search for a new majority leader. This will almost certainly be Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican from the fruit and vegetable producing Bakersfield area. Raúl Labrador (R/Idaho) is in this leadership race, but [...]

Schlect: United Thawed

●  The American Frozen Food Institute has launched a 30 million dollar national effort to “encourage consumers to take a fresh look at frozen foods.” “Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh” is the tag line. This marketing initiative from AFFI, a group led by Kraig Naasz, a former member of [...]

Schlect: On a roll

Anne MacMillan has left her post as deputy chief of staff to Secretary Vilsack at USDA to join Roll Global,

Schlect: Quiet flows the Potomac

● Jim Bair, the new leader of the United States Apple Association, will be making his first trip to the apple industry of Washington State the week of April 28.  I will be accompanying him on his three-day visit to the fruit production areas of Yakima, Wenatchee, and Chelan.

● The [...]

Schlect: Immigration reform and dried cherries to the rescue

● Democrats are attempting this week to underscore the lack of movement on immigration reform in the House of Representatives by filing a committee discharge petition. If successful, this would get the measure to the House floor for a vote. This attempt has zero chance of practical success, [...]

Schlect: The Serbian scallywag

●  Sarah Bittleman, who was the senior agricultural counselor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  is now on U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s staff as legislative director and is also a key legal adviser to the Finance Committee. Senator Wyden (D/Oregon) is the new chairman of Finance.

●  Next Wednesday, I [...]