The Wind Machine


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


The Supremes

● The Farm Bill is set to be marked-up by the House Agriculture Committee on July 13. Controversy has been sparked by both regional crop differences on policy, and the pressing need to control the federal budget. It would surprise no one if a new Farm Bill was not [...]

Farm Bill III

● The U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, S. 3240, passed last Thursday by a vote of 64 to 35. Attention now pivots to the House of Representatives, where committee action on the  Farm Bill will likely start the week of July 9. While great pressure for passage [...]


●   President Obama acted last Friday to help many young people—those without the correct residency papers, but otherwise clean records—to  stay in our country and be employed. This bypass of Congress causes further uncertainty over how a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform package might be eventually crafted. And while it [...]

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 [...]


● 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 [...]


●  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 [...]