The Wind Machine


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


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 [...]

Jenkins Hill V

●  Norm Dicks  will not be serving in the 113th Congress. On March 2, Mr. Dicks (D/Washington) announced he will not run for reelection this fall and, instead, will retire after 18 terms in the House of Representatives. I have enjoyed working with a string of his very capable [...]

Jenkins Hill IV

● A report to Congress was issue in February by the Food and Drug Administration on its foreign office program. Some interesting facts can be gleaned from the report’s bureaucratic prose (“engage more proactively,” “paradigm shift,” “embedding of staff,” “capacity- building”, and so on, and so forth). Examples: There [...]

Jenkins Hill 3

● The United Fresh Produce Association held town hall meetings in both Wenatchee and Yakima this week. Two of its staff, Robert Guenther, senior vice president for public policy, and Dan Vaché, vice president for supply chain management, brought local fruit shippers current on federal policy issues and the [...]

Jenkins Hill II

● A flurry of meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., the week of March 12. I will travel back then to attend gatherings of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance; the Government Relations Council of the United Fresh Produce Association; the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance; and, finally, the [...]

Jenkins Hill

● After two trips to Washington, D.C., in January, I am even more convinced that between a tight political calendar, partisan political acrimony, and financial chaos, almost nothing of serious policy substance will be accomplished by Congress prior to this fall’s general election.

● Suzanne Bonamici (Democrat) became the latest [...]

Senator Cantwell

● Yesterday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (Democrat, Washington) visited Yakima, with one of her stops being at the Yakima Valley SunDome for the 2012 Ag Expo.  That afternoon, I joined a few invited local farmers and agricultural association representatives and met with the senator in the midst of this [...]

New Districts

● Reapportionment for federal elections based on the 2010 census will have its greatest impact in the Pacific Northwest within Washington State. Neither Idaho nor Oregon picked up a new congressional seat due to population growth, while Washington did. A new 10th District requires its own territory, which forces [...]