Washington City VIII
By CHRISTIAN SCHLECT, PRESIDENT, NORTHWEST HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL
- While I have never met Governor Rick Perry, who is now running for the GOP’s presidential nomination, I once was in the audience when he spoke to a Texas produce industry convention held sometime in the early 1990s. Bill Weeks, the president of the Texas Produce Association at the time, had invited me down to South Padre Island to speak on some issue or another and Rick Perry was the convention’s keynote speaker in his then capacity of Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. I remember Commissioner Perry, understandably given his audience, touting the virtues of Texas fruits and vegetables and the need to support these local crops. He underscored his point by saying that he had even learned to his deep disbelief and concern that some Texas school districts were actually specifying Washington state apple grades in their public bid solicitations for fresh apples.
- Eric Schinfeld stopped by our office today to talk about his work towards revitalizing the Washington Council on International Trade. The Northwest Horticultural Council has been a member of this Seattle-based trade advocacy group for many years. As the new president of WCIT, Mr. Schinfeld is working towards holding a trade policy conference this November in Seattle and reinstating WCIT’s annual spring trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional and Administration officials on the importance of international trade to business and agriculture.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation/Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s idea to regulate farm machinery on rural roads is dead, with DOT having fled this bloody regulatory battlefield. Bureaucratic capitulation can be calibrated by the number of separate occasions—by my count, six—DOT emphatically stated it would not be issuing any such regulations in its one-page press release of August 10.
- Next week I fly east to attend a food safety meeting on Wednesday organized by Dr. Dave Gombas of the United Fresh Produce Association. Members of United’s special committee on the new Food Safety Modernization Act will exchange views with officials at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland