● November 6 will slam shut the door to the political future of many of those now running for office, while others will step lightly across election day’s threshold to new or renewed public service. Some national races of importance to agriculture that I will be watching: Iowa’s 4th, where Representative Steven King (R) faces Christie Vilsack (D), the wife of the current United States secretary of agriculture; the Montana senate race where incumbent Jon Tester (D), the author of a poorly designed amendment to the Food Safety and Modernization Act, struggles with a challenge from Denny Rehberg (R); and, the Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) race in Michigan, where it is likely, but not certain, that the chairwoman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will win.
● A federal marketing program for organic research and promotion? That is what is being advanced by the Organic Trade Association, based in Brattleboro, Vermont. Concerns have been raised to me by some involved in the organic side of our tree fruit industry that this idea is unneeded and unhelpful. Those interested in this issue might note that a national series of Town Hall meetings has been organized by the OTA, with one to be held on December 4 in Yakima during the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting. The OTA’s idea deserves much more attention and discussion before it becomes embedded as a taxing reality.
● Next Wednesday, I plan to travel down to Anaheim, California, for the Produce Marketing Association’s annual convention. This year, for the first time, PMA’s trade show will take place on the weekend, with its general educational sessions held on Friday. On Thursday, there will be two side meetings for me to attend, with the Canadian Produce Marketing Association holding its North American Trade Committee meeting that morning, while the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance convenes in the afternoon.
● Recommended Book on Politics: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro (2012), which last week was named a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award for nonfiction. It is superior in relating the story of high politics in Washington, D.C., during the late 1950s and 1960s. Mr. Caro, on the then 76-year-old Harry Flood Byrd (D/Virginia): “His face, round and remarkably boyish, and very ruddy—since he owned the world’s largest privately held apple orchards, generations of journalists had been unable to resist describing him as an ‘apple-cheeked apple grower’….”
● Political Fruit: “This number is expected to rise dramatically next year. The situation in Washington