● Russia’s economic ban on U.S. agricultural goods will affect the Pacific Northwest’s apple and pear export programs this coming crop year. While the loss of direct sales is a concern, there are also the indirect impacts. For example, where will all the European apples that ordinarily were exported to Russia go? Poland, a very large apple producer, is already asking the United States to open our market for its “freedom apples.” I am sure U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will speak on the general topic of Russia’s trade actions today, when he is in Seattle for a trade policy luncheon hosted by the Washington Council on International Trade.
● After last week’s Washington state primary election, there remains only one compelling race for a seat in the House of Representatives. Of the state’s ten Congressional districts, I think only the outcome in the 4th, which covers most of Central Washington, will be in doubt on November 4. This is now the only seat being truly contested in Washington state, with well-funded incumbents in the nine other districts almost certain to crush their opponents at the general election. Besides the natural interest in determining a replacement for the retiring Congressman Doc Hastings, who first came to Congress in 1995, this is the first congressional race in the state where both contestants will be of the same political party–Republican–since Washington state adopted the top-two, or “jungle”, primary. Either Clint Didier or Dan Newhouse will represent this mainly agricultural district in the next Congress. Many in the tree fruit business, including me, are backing Mr. Newhouse, who came out second to Mr. Didier, amidst a crowded field, in the primary.
● Diane Kurrle of the United States Apple Association has had her work title deservedly elevated: she is now USApple’s senior vice president. Speaking of the apple industry’s national association, I plan to attend USApple’s 2014 Marketing and Outlook Conference next Thursday and Friday in downtown Chicago and then stay over for its board of directors meeting on Saturday, August 23.
● One of the Northwest Horticultural Council’s closest working partners over many decades on various federal policy issues has been the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, based in Fresno. This week the League changed its name to the California Fresh Fruit Association. One reason for this change was to more accurately reflect the scope of its membership, which now encompasses producers of non-grape, non-tree fruit products, such as blueberries.