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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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 [...]

Locke out

● Two non-browning Arctic Apples have cleared an important regulatory hurdle, with USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service announcing on November 8 that the two genetically engineered apples do not pose a pest or disease risk if introduced into commercial production in the United States. Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. [...]

Mr. Foley

● Initiative-522, on labeling genetically-engineered foods, failed this week (55.83% to 45.17%) in Washington state. I thought it would pass, but apparently the well-funded anti-I-522 campaign was successful in pointing out to voters the many flaws in this proposed retail labeling measure. It did carry Seattle’s King County by [...]

The Big Easy

● On Wednesday, I travel to New Orleans for the annual convention and trade show of the Produce Marketing Association. Along with absorbing information at  PMA’s educational sessions and meandering around and through the extensive trade show floor, I will be attending side meetings to be held by the [...]