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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Farm Bill II

●  The U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, S. 3240, now has over 220 floor amendments floating about it. Some of these are straight-forward policy modifications; others would kill or cripple specified USDA programs (such as the sugar program and the Market Access Program); a few seek to [...]

Farm Bill

● The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, S.3240, today cleared its first procedural hurdle by easily surviving a cloture vote (90-8). Debate will now take place over the next few weeks on floor amendments to this measure, which includes federal funding for such things as nutrition, agricultural research, [...]

A Slow Boat to China

The annual meeting of the Western Governors’ Association will be held at the Cascade Mountain Range resort of Suncadia, Washington, on June 9-12.  Governor Christine Gregoire will host the event, which is scheduled to include on its program a roundtable discussion on agricultural trade exports featuring Ambassador Isi Siddiqui [...]

Primaries

● Oregon: No surprises on Tuesday in terms of federal elections. All five members of the House of Representatives from Oregon appear to hold safe seats for reelection this fall. As with Idaho, there is no U.S. Senate seat up for election this fall.

● Idaho: The two incumbents in [...]

Jenkins Hill IX

●  Senator Richard Lugar (R/Indiana) lost his primary reelection race on Tuesday. The senator, age 80, who has capably served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years, was thus denied the chance for another six years in office. While serious public policy differences were involved in Senator Lugar’s defeat, [...]

Criminal Apples

● The Leonardo Academy, located in Madison, Wisconsin, released on April 19 its draft document for a “National Sustainable Agriculture Standard/LEO-4000.”   This latest attempt to define the indefinable is 395 pages in length. Most major agricultural groups walked away from this process over a year ago.

● Walmart, after undertaking [...]

Unite

●  The United Fresh Produce Association sent out its ballot for 2012 officers and board members today. This brought to mind whether United might still merge with the Produce Marketing Association. Leaders representing these two major trade associations have been quietly meeting off and on for a number of [...]

Jenkins Hill VIII

● Biotechnology continues to be a contentious issue. Of note is a concentrated effort afoot by the Center for Food Safety and other advocacy organizations toward convincing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require consumer labeling of genetically engineered food. On March 12, a letter signed by fifty-five [...]

Jenkins Hill VII

● Wednesday, January 4, was the day set for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to publish draft rules on produce safety. It still hasn’t happened. Why? The good government reason: the interagency process, as coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget, is now ironing out kinks to [...]

Jenkins Hill VI

● Last Tuesday, Mitt Romney announced his agriculture advisory committee, a group co-chaired by Senator Mike Johanns, a former USDA secretary, and Adam Putman, a former member of Congress and now commissioner of Florida’s Department of Agriculture. Interestingly, two men with close ties to Western Growers (a fruit and [...]