● Syria has managed to generate headaches not only for Middle East policy experts, but also for all those desiring quick Capitol Hill action in September on such pending matters as the Farm Bill, immigration reform, and appropriations. With President Obama now asking for a congressional debate and vote over the next few weeks on his suggested punitive policy towards Syria, time for other matters slips silently away in the legislative hourglass.

●  Ed Knipling retired last Friday after 46 years in government, most recently as administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. I first worked with the capable  Dr. Knipling when our tree fruit industry was trying to obtain support for the relocation and rebuilding of a decrepit federal agricultural research laboratory, then inappropriately located within the city limits of Yakima. To construct a new facility we had to have both the support of the top people at ARS and congressional funding. Thanks, in large part, to political aid provided by Congressman Sid Morrison and Senators Slade Gorton and Brock Adams and solid help from Dr. Knipling and his ARS colleagues, we now have the modern Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory located near Konnowac Pass in the lower Yakima Valley.

●  Josephine Eckert is the new person responsible for agricultural policy issues for Senator Patty Murray (D/Washington). She stopped by our office in Yakima last week on a visit from Washington, D.C.

●  Political Fruit: “You have my best wishes,’ [U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun allegedly said in 1849 to a filibuster], “but whatever the results, as the pear, when ripe, falls by the law of gravitation into the lap of the husbandman, so will Cuba eventually drop into the lap of the Union.”  Quote taken from Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 (2013) by Brenda Wineapple.