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  • This month, Ellen Terpstra was named the new chief executive officer of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council. A good friend of mine since the 1980s, Ellen previously led the United States Apple Association and was a top agricultural trade negotiator at both the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the United States Department of Agriculture.  Her new job is located in Washington, D.C.
  • Almost all pending federal legislation, including the Farm Bill, will now be considered by the 112th Congress, if at all, in its postelection session. The reason? In my mind, there are two: 1) a lack of time for floor debate given that members want to be out of town and on the campaign trail, and 2) an absence of decisive legislative given the closely divided party lines and the high political stakes of the November 6 general election.
  • GMO trend watchers have their eyes on California’s Proposition 37. This measure, if passed on November 6, would require the labeling at retail in California of food derived from Genetically Modified Organism technology. This vote will be an interesting gauge of public opinion on all GMOs, including by close analogy Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ non-browning Arctic apples, which are now being considered for regulatory approval by USDA. To date over $32 million has been collected to defeat Proposition 37, with Monsanto leading the way with over $7 million donated to the cause.
  • Political Past:  “On January 14, 1947, Orwell’s adaption of Animal Farm was broadcast by the BBC on the Third Programme, the antecedent of Radio Three. It was repeated on February 2. In order to emphasise what he called ‘the turning point of the story…when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves’  …”  from “George Orwell: Diaries” as edited by Peter Davison.