Feb 24, 2011
10:08 AMThe Wind Machine
Travel to the Capital
● I returned home this past Saturday from my fourth trip this year to Washington, D.C. Various national boards, committees, and coalitions affiliated with the produce industry tend to have their meetings at the start of new sessions of Congress. Last week I was fortunate in that I could attend meetings of four different groups in one fell swoop: United Fresh Produce Association’s Government Relations Council; Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s North American Trade Committee; Crop Protection Coalition; and, Minor Crop Farmer Alliance. (Others making the same trek with me outbound last Monday morning from Seattle on an Alaska Boeing 737, were U.S. Representative Jay Inslee, Tony Williams of the lobbying firm Washington2 Advocates, Chris Voigt of the Washington Potato Commission, and Washington State University President Elson Floyd.)
● To report on one of these meetings, the Crop Protection Coalition last Thursday elected a new leader—Jim Cranney of the California Citrus Quality Council. He takes over as the CPC’s chairman from Reggie Brown of the Florida Tomato Exchange. The NHC is a founding member of this national coalition that advocates for growers interested in methyl bromide, a fumigant important both for soil fumigation and quarantine treatment purposes. The chemical is being restricted internationally due to climate concerns. Our industry’s main interest with this fumigant is related to fresh cherry shipments to commercially important markets overseas.
● The main political topic in the capital is, of course, money. The Republicans in the House want deep cuts in federal expenditures, while Democrats in the Senate are more concerned with saving governmental programs they believe to be valuable. A collision between the two sides of Capitol Hill is likely to happen on March 4 when the CR (continuing resolution that funds the government) is set to expire.
● Among the 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week by President Obama was John H. Adams, co-founder in 1970 of the Natural Resource Defense Council. No word on whether apples were served at the event, which took place at the White House.
● Where are they now? Gordon Smith, former U.S. Senator from Oregon, is the president and chief executive of the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “Ms. Ashton’s spokesman, Darren Ennis, says the criticism is unfair [of the E.U.’s foreign policy chief]. ‘It’s apples and pears when you compare the U.S. with the E.U.’ …” New York Times, February 11, 2011.