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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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 [...]

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, [...]