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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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 [...]

Return from Barcelona

● This past Sunday I arrived back from Barcelona, Spain. There, I had attended the 2013 Global Food Safety Conference, the main annual gathering for GFSI, the Global Food Safety Initiative. About 780 delegates from some 53 countries were present. It was clear to me that this private organization [...]

Sasquatch

● Sequestration is set to go into effect on March 1. I do not see this action being averted, so large automatic budget cuts in most federal programs and services will likely kick in. The only question is how quickly after March 1 before House Republicans and the White [...]

Recess

●  A powerful court decision handed down this past Friday involving Noel Canning and the National Labor Relations Board made page-one headlines in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. The United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia Circuit) decided that an NLRB [...]

Potomac Views

● The Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agricultural Service of the House Agriculture Committee is now led by Austin Scott (R/Georgia). This week, the ranking member of the minority party for it was named: Kurt Schrader (D/Oregon). First-term Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D/Washington) also has joined this subcommittee, [...]

Hudson Valley Apple Pie

● If the apple industry of Washington state would like to address some of its trade access problems with the People’s Republic of China, now is not a bad time. The United States ambassador to China is Gary Locke, a former governor of Washington, while Washington’s new governor, Jay [...]

Drugged Media

●  Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration released two of its proposed regulations implementing FSMA, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. They deal with the safety of produce and food facilities. Setting aside the merits of the proposals, what was interesting to me was the choreographed release. FDA [...]

Potomac Precipice

● The fiscal cliff legislation, H.R. 8, that passed the House last night, did so by a vote of 257 to 167. The Pacific Northwest’s delegation was in favor by 11 to 5, with “No” votes being cast by four Democrats (Blumenauer/Oregon, DeFazio/Oregon, Schrader/Oregon, Smith/Washington) and one Republican (Labrador/Idaho).

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Activist Agenda

● Over the past few years there has been a minor boom in publishing books critical of conventional systems of agricultural production. I try to read some of these efforts, as they do influence the opinions of urban consumers and often have an impact on public policy debates. Bet [...]

Lame Duck

● The 112th Congress continues to lumber towards its eventual close, with a raft of policy decisions still awaiting resolution. Most of my agricultural lobbyist friends in Washington, D.C., are deep into the mode of writing weekly or daily updates to their respective clients with variations on the recurrent [...]