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  • Our tree fruits often find themselves featured in the logos designed for special events. Some current examples: peach for this weekend’s NCAA Final Four in Atlanta; apple for this year’s 50th anniversary of the founding of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and cherry for the now-running National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
  • SNAP is the acronym at USDA now used for its old-style “food stamps.” SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, according to The Wall Street Journal, now takes up as much money in the federal budget last year as the equivalent of the combined annual budgets of the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Interior: $74.6 billion. If you go to the web site for SNAP, USDA clearly states that grocery items such as soft drinks, candy, cookies, and ice cream are allowed to be purchased by SNAP shoppers. In other words, we have a giant government food program that fosters the type of eating by individuals that every public health expert in and out of government is trying to reduce.
  • The Minor Crop Farmer Alliance is set to make a presentation at an important meeting next Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The MCFA will be there in the person of our legal counsel, Ed Ruckert, to promote the harmonization of certain standards setting between the United Sates and the European Union; specifically, maximum residue levels for agricultural chemicals on produce. How do I know it is an important meeting? It is entitled a “Stakeholder Session of the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum.” For a trade policy person, what is interesting is that this forum is a project of OMB and its counterpart in Brussels. The Office of Management and Budget seems to be stepping out of its traditional role and encroaching on the turf of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce. Not to mention State.
  • Capital cant: “Stakeholder” is an overused word beloved of federal bureaucracies and one that usually means a person who might feel a part of the action at hand. I have been to many a stakeholder meeting and never left with any money, let alone ever a steak. However, sometimes with a pointed stick.