The Wind Machine


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


Futile and Weak

●  One of my more enjoyable tasks is serving on the board of advisors to the Center for Produce Safety, which is located at the University of California/Davis. A fellow CPS advisor, Brian Silbermann, president of the Produce Marketing Association, was among those honored this month by the College [...]

Jenkins Hill XI

●  This Sunday I plan to travel across country to attend the Washington Public Policy Conference, an annual event of the United Fresh Produce Association. I imagine that the leaders of United are quite displeased and somewhat deflated over Congress’ adjournment late last week till after the November general [...]

Jenkins Hill X

This month, Ellen Terpstra was named the new chief executive officer of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council. A good friend of mine since the 1980s, Ellen previously led the United States Apple Association and was a top agricultural trade negotiator at both the Office of the [...]

Apple Anarchy

● Four of life’s misfits have been charged in Georgia with murder and other crimes. All army personnel (one from Cashmere, Washington), the four allegedly had formed an anarchist militia group with plans to blow up a dam in Washington State and poison the state’s apple crop. Later, they [...]


● For some reason known only to cheeseheads, Wisconsin has been at the center of a number of national political stories this year, including the attempted recall of its governor by the state employee unions, Representative Paul Ryan’s selection by Mitt  Romney as his running mate, and this Tuesday’s [...]

Washington State Primary

●  Tuesday’s primary in Washington clarified who will be running in the general election for the state’s ten House of Representatives seats in the 113th Congress. No surprises, with four incumbent Republicans (Doc Hastings, Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers) likely to cruise to reelection this [...]

Farm Bill V

●  Moving a Farm Bill through Congress this year has proved difficult. Why?  Because it represents huge expenditures of taxpayer dollars (mostly on social feeding programs, such as food stamps); contains controversial environmental policy directives; incites arguments between large commodity groups based on self-interest and geography; represents “big government” [...]

Insane Coils of Red Tape

● As a result of this year’s redistricting, commercial tree fruit growers will have reason to have constituent contact with four out of the ten representatives to be sent from Washington state to the nation’s capital for next year’s 113th Congress. Each of the four districts are now held [...]


● The merger talks between the Produce Market Association and the United Fresh Produce Association have failed. It appears that the break point was over who would lead a combined trade association: PMA’s board is said to have wanted its own Brian Silbermann to be the designated CEO, while [...]

Farm Bill IV

● The House Committee on Agriculture approved by a bipartisan vote of 35-11 its version of the Farm Bill late Wednesday night. H.R. 6083 now is poised to go before the full body for debate and a vote on passage. When will this happen? As soon as Speaker Boehner [...]