● 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 of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC/Davis with its 2012 Award for Distinction. ● Less honored by UC/Davis was the agricultural college’s dean, Dr. Neal Van Alfen―another fellow CPS supporter—who after serving since 1999 abruptly resigned on August 28 apparently due to conflict with the school’s chancellor.
● Staying on the theme of awards and recognitions, it was announced this month by Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam Putman that my good friend Dan Botts, vice president of industry resources for the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, will be inducted in early 2013 into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. Dan has served since 1991 as chairman of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance’s Technical Committee.
● Last week’s Washington Public Policy Conference brought over 500 produce industry people to Washington, D.C., to hear the latest on the nation’s political happenings. While the conference was a success for the United Fresh Produce Association, participants did miss seeing most of the high-profile elected officials that would ordinarily be at this annual confab. Members of Congress had already left town to hit the hustings. (“Hustings” comes from old English usage for a raised speaking platform in an election campaign.)
● United’s FreshPAC grew by $80,000 as a result of its political fundraiser dinner—tickets at $500 a pop—held Monday evening on the rooftop of the office building housing Charlie Palmer ( a pricey steakhouse frequented by lobbyists), a location that provided attendees an impressive view of the brightly illuminated dome of the U.S. Capitol. ● As an aside, if you are interested in the construction of this great public building, I recommend Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming Civil War (2012) by Guy Gugliotta.
● There are only 16 legislative days scheduled for the lame-duck session of Congress.
● Anna K. Sperling has been assigned the duty of following agricultural issues in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-WA.
● Political Past: “In his speech at Olympia, the capital of Washington territory, which at the time  had a total territorial population of 20,000, [former United States secretary of state William H. Seward] declaimed that Washington would have ‘a destiny as great and glorious as that of any portion of our national domain.’ His presence and remarks proved to one local reporter that ‘although our territory, in point of numbers, is futile and weak, we are not forgotten.’” Quote from Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man (2012) by Walter Stahr.