● The U.S. Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, S. 3240, now has over 220 floor amendments floating about it. Some of these are straight-forward policy modifications; others would kill or cripple specified USDA programs (such as the sugar program and the Market Access Program); a few seek to reign in EPA and other regulatory arms of government; some have no relation at all to farming. Working through all these in the limited floor time available for debate will be difficult. With all the necessary steps yet to be taken, including passage by the House of Representatives, it seems less than likely that a new Farm Bill will emerge prior to the end of this fiscal year, September 30.
● The only tight U.S. Senate race in this region of our country is Montana’s: there, a one-term incumbent, Jon Tester (D), will be challenged on November 6 by Denny Rehberg (R). Both men come from ranching families, with Senator Tester being an organic farmer. Mr. Rehberg, now serving as the Big Sky State’s sole member of the House of Representatives, can boast of a bachelor of arts degree in public administration from Washington State University.
● Should Mitt Romney win in November, the political stock of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R/Washington) will rise. On June 4, Mr. Romney dubbed her to be his campaign’s point person in the House of Representatives.
● I plan to be in Davis, California, on June 27 for the Center for Produce Safety’s third annual Produce Research Symposium, where I will participate on a panel entitled “Good Agricultural Practices—Inputs, Cultivation and Harvest.” The star of the entire show will be Mike Taylor, FDA’s Commissioner of Foods. It will be interesting to hear his explanation of the delay in publishing proposed federal regulations implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “Obama and his campaign did some cherry-picking to come up with their figure of 4.3 million new private jobs.” Ken Thomas of the Associated Press, June 8, 2012.