The Wind Machine


Occasional thoughts on the politics and activities of Washington, D.C., as they may have relevance to our tree fruit industry.


Do I dare to eat a peach?

●  Last Friday the Food and Drug Administration rolled out two more of its proposed rules implementing FSMA, the Food Safety and Modernization Act. They deal mainly with food imports. Two new acronyms will join the bureaucratic food safety lexicon: VQIP (Voluntary Qualified Importer Program) and FSVP (Foreign Supplier [...]

Unlevel Fields

● A new Farm Bill is still a far ways from a Rose Garden bill-signing.  With the costly nutrition title stripped out of the House-passed version and the resulting hard feelings, it is uncertain how this will all come together in a legislative conference with the Senate. Meanwhile it is [...]

Farm Bill Brouhaha

● Today, in a surprisingly quick move, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 216 to 208 a revised Farm Bill (H.R. 2642), a modified version of the proposed five-year Farm Bill that went down in flames on June 20. The big change? The majority stripped out, [...]

The Friendly Skies

● Immigration reform legislation has passed the U.S. Senate, but now faces tough times in the House. Unlike in the Senate, there is no clear set of respected leaders in the House of Representatives who want to make this reform happen–and many who want to see it fail. Most [...]

Farm Bill In Flames

● Today the House of Representatives failed to pass a new five-year Farm Bill by a vote of 195-234. This surprise defeat throws the future of traditional big Farm Bill packages into question. The union of urban and rural political interests that has existed since the 1930s in favor [...]

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 [...]