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●   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 is certain to be popular with most Hispanics, a key constituency in this fall’s general election, the President’s decision is unlikely to lead to many additional legal agricultural workers at harvest time.

●  On Tuesday, Mexico was invited to join the negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.  TPP is one of the few significant international trade expanding negotiations now active where the United States is a leading player. The biggest benefit to the United States from Mexico joining these talks is that it will make it more difficult for that country to regress in terms of enacting protectionist measures, such as might be aimed at hindering our apple and pear exports to that major market.

●  The Environmental Working Group today released its 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, with its trade-marked “Dirty Dozen Plus” list. The validity of this annual effort by the EWG, a green interest group based in Washington, D.C., was immediately challenged by the Alliance for Food and Farming.  Apple is cited as the produce item most commonly to be “contaminated with pesticides.” While the EWG used data from USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, it did not choose to say that USDA, EPA, and FDA had reassured the public that overall residues were below tolerances and that the public was encouraged to continue eating their fresh fruits and vegetables.

● This afternoon is show time for the floor debate on the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill.

POLITICAL FRUIT: “It’s always fun to get back on the campaign trail, because you always find something you didn’t expect like on this Father’s Day weekend, a reminder of that old saying, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Bob Schieffer of CBS News commenting about Mitt and George Romney,June 17, 2012.