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● The 112th Congress continues to lumber towards its eventual close, with a raft of policy decisions still awaiting resolution. Most of my agricultural lobbyist friends in Washington, D.C., are deep into the mode of writing weekly or daily updates to their respective clients with variations on the recurrent theme of “It’s really complex; no one knows whether the Farm Bill or Fiscal Cliff issues will be successfully resolved by Christmas; but here are three or four plausible guesses at eventual outcomes; and be assured I’m working hard for you tracking events as they unfold on The Hill and at the White House.”

● I have decided to initiate a new occasional feature for “The Wind Machine.” It will be about a word or phrase that I view as an example of the within-the-Beltway language that is beloved by top bureaucrats, “Hill” denizens, Sunday-show talking heads, high-office elected officials, and so forth.  My first selection is “granular.” If a policy report contains some useful details, a potential reader may be advised by a knowing party of the need to drill down deep into its text to receive its wealth of “granular” information.

● While on the overused word front, I note that Tesco, the British food retailer known for stringent supplier standards and its advocacy of “sustainable” issues, is exiting from the United States market after five years of losing money on its “Fresh & Easy” stores. About $1.6 billion was invested by Tesco into this venture, which apparently proved really unsustainable.

●  Robert Guenther traveled from Washington, D.C., to the Yakima Valley last week to serve as a panelist at the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting. While here, we corralled him to also speak at a joint luncheon of the governing boards of the Washington Apple Commission and Northwest Horticultural Council.  Mr. Guenther is senior vice president for public policy at the United Fresh Produce Association. The NHC is a long-time member of United and I am a member of its Government Relations Council, which is next set to meet on February 12-13 in the nation’s capital.