● Last Tuesday, Mitt Romney announced his agriculture advisory committee, a group co-chaired by Senator Mike Johanns, a former USDA secretary, and Adam Putman, a former member of Congress and now commissioner of Florida’s Department of Agriculture. Interestingly, two men with close ties to Western Growers (a fruit and vegetable trade association in Arizona and California) are on the 11-person committee. Both A.G. Kawamura, a former chairman of WGA, and its current president, Tom Nassif, are backing Mr. Romney. Given that Mr. Putman has a background in Florida’s citrus industry, and Randy Russell, another appointee, currently is a policy advisor to the United Fresh Produce Association, I think the produce industry will have the ear of Mr. Romney should he survive his primary battle and then were to go on and prevail in November.
● Federal Issue Watch: Comprehensive immigration reform highly unlikely this year; the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed food safety regulations are still overdue; and, a new Farm Bill more likely to happen in a lame duck session (or the current one simply extended) than for one to be signed by President Obama before November’s general election.
● Jay Inslee’s (D/Washington) resignation from the House of Representatives becomes effective tomorrow. He will use his soon-to-be-free time to campaign full-time for governor of Washington. Mr. Inslee, a friend of mine since our early careers when we were fresh out of law school and in Yakima County, leaves a vacancy in the 1st District, one that is unlikely to be filled until after this fall’s election.
● What is the “Jenkins Hill” in this article’s title? The Capitol in Washington, D.C., was to be built “at the city’s highest point, on ‘Jenkins Hill,’ so named by L’Enfant after the farmer who owned it, even though no one named Jenkins had ever lived there.” This explanation is from a very good history book out this year: Guy Gugliotta’s Freedom’s Cap: the United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War.
● This Wednesday, I head back to Washington, D.C., to attend the spring meetings of the United States Apple Association.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “Dessert: Warm Meyer lemon steamed pudding with Idaho huckleberry sauce and Newtown Pippin apples.” Menu from White House state dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, as reported in The Washington Post, March 15, 2012.