● This Sunday I plan to travel across country to attend the Washington Public Policy Conference, an annual event of the United Fresh Produce Association. I imagine that the leaders of United are quite displeased and somewhat deflated over Congress’ adjournment late last week till after the November general election. It had been expected that both the Senate and the House would be in session through the first week of October. Now WPPC’s popular “March on Capitol Hill” visits likely will be with Senate and House staff, rather than the more famous elected members.
● The public comment period has closed for the application by Okanagan Specialty Crops, Inc. for federal deregulation of its genetically engineered non-browning apples. Some 1,933 submissions were received by USDA. How many people joined the Northwest Horticultural Council in opposition? Difficult to say, since, for example, one advocacy group submitted a simple petition against the GE apples that listed 32,267 individuals as endorsers of its message.
● A whole bunch of closely followed federal legislative and regulatory policy issues will now hang fire until after the November 6 election, if not until next year and the advent of the 113th Congress: a new Farm Bill, comprehensive immigration reform, improved trade with Russia, produce food safety regulations, regulatory standards for arsenic in apple juice, and others. What happens on November 6 will decide how easy or hard it will be to achieve future political consensus. My guess is that the president will be reelected, the House will stay Republican, and the Senate will remain under the sway of Majority Leader Harry Reid. From this, I see political consensus on most issues next year, once more, like the last apple on the highest limb, being beyond easy reach.
● The Florida Tomato Exchange has asked the United States government to reopen a suspended antidumping case against Mexican suppliers of tomatoes. One might think, as I do, this would be a trade matter simply between the tomato growers of Florida and Mexico. However, some in Mexico seek to link this dispute with other cross border agricultural trade, including that of apples and pears. This provides an example of why we spend some amount of time following the not infrequent trade problems that arise involving other commodities.
● Political Fruit: “President Obama arrived in New York City Monday just one day before his speech at the United Nations. The White House revealed that he will not meet privately with any world leaders who are in New York this week. So what brought him to the Big Apple?” Todd Starnes, FoxNews.com, September 25, 2012.