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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DC Shufflings

●  USDA has shuffled its leadership deck, especially as related to international trade policy. Sue Heinen, leader of the Foreign Agricultural Service, has moved across Independence Avenue to the Whitten Building to become acting deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services. She is now deputy to Darci [...]

The Apple Cart

●  A new group is being formed to help American agricultural interests better understand and interact with the international trade policy structure in Beijing. It is to be known as the U.S.-China Agriculture & Food Partnership. Players such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cotton Council International are working to [...]

Boughs Loaded With Fruit

●  I attended United Fresh 2013 last week in San Diego, the annual convention and trade show of the United Fresh Produce Association.  Over the years the number of both attendees and exhibitors has slowly declined at this traditional event. The trade show floor now is more weighted to [...]

To The Midway

Immigration Reform and the Farm Bill are both moving, however haltingly, on Capitol Hill. We will soon see if either–or both–of  these controversial measures has enough political momentum to advance beyond committee mark-ups to actual enactment.
Next week is the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual convention, held this year [...]

Stern Truths

● Last Friday, I attended a breakfast meeting in Yakima hosted by the William D. Ruckelshaus Center’s advisory board. (The center is a joint effort of the University of Washington and Washington State University that fosters collaborative public policy.) About 35 people were present: most notably, Bill Ruckelshaus (age [...]

STAX

● Max Baucus (D/Montana) announced on Tuesday he will not run for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014. Senator Baucus is chairman of the Finance Committee and has been a powerful figure on a range of federal issues, including international trade policy. Former policy aides of his are [...]

A Week Awhirl

● This week provided a spike of activity on three major agricultural policy fronts: food safety, immigration reform, and the Farm Bill.  The time to comment on proposed food safety rules will likely be extended by 120 days, according to a top official at the Food and Drug Administration; [...]

Food Safety

● The May 16 deadline looms for public comments on two of the proposed rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Given the complexity of these proposals, and the fact that not all the contemplated FSMA rules have yet been published, a good number of trade associations representing the nation’s [...]

Snap, crackle, pop

Our tree fruits often find themselves featured in the logos designed for special events. Some current examples: peach for this weekend’s NCAA Final Four in Atlanta; apple for this year’s 50th anniversary of the founding of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and cherry for the now-running National Cherry Blossom Festival [...]

Merry Gone

One of the federal sequestration cuts is the suspension by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service of several reports, including the first NASS estimate of the new season’s national apple crop, normally released in August. The apple marketers from our area of the country that I have talked with see [...]