The Wind Machine


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


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 [...]

My Apple Cup Runneth Over

● Randy Green, a former Deputy Undersecretary of USDA and chief of staff to the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, soon will be joining a Washington, D.C., public communications firm, Watson/Mulhern, which is now on a monthly retainer by the Northwest Horticultural Council for crisis communications assistance. Mr. Green, originally from [...]

A Peach of a Part

● A bill to improve trade relations with Russia, H.R. 6156, was passed by the House of Representatives last Friday by a vote of 365-43. In the Pacific Northwest’s delegation, only one member voted no: the anti-World Trade Organization Peter DeFazio (D) of Oregon. The measure, supported by our [...]

Post Election

● At a news conference this week, President Barack Obama expressed optimism about moving comprehensive immigration legislation next year. Notably, in this context, he included foreign agricultural labor as one of the points needing Congressional attention: “I think that the agricultural sector obviously has very specific concerns about making [...]

The Election

● It’s over.  President Obama will have four more years to fashion policy and lead the nation. The Senate will remain under the majority leadership of Harry Reid (D/Nevada), while the House of Representatives will continue to be led by Speaker John Boehner (R/Ohio). One change in party leadership [...]


● The Organic Trade Association is boosting the idea of a multicommodity federal promotion and research program for organics. While a lengthy process is required by USDA before any such national program is authorized and made operational, the OTA’s initiative—which would require the collection of mandatory assessments on the [...]

Are the Apples Rotten?

● November 6 will slam shut the door to the political future of many of those now running for office, while others will step lightly across election day’s threshold to new or renewed public service. Some national races of importance to agriculture that I will be watching: Iowa’s 4th, [...]