● The Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agricultural Service of the House Agriculture Committee is now led by Austin Scott (R/Georgia). This week, the ranking member of the minority party for it was named: Kurt Schrader (D/Oregon). First-term Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D/Washington) also has joined this subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over many issues of interest to tree fruit growers and shippers.

● Congressman Doc Hastings (R/Washington) has assigned some of his legislative policy work on agriculture to Annick C. Miller Rivera. She will work closely on these matters with the office’s legislative director, Kate Woods.

● U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R/Georgia) announced today he will not run for reelection in 2014. With his departure, I will lose the only senator with whom I can claim to have played a round of golf. This happened some years ago, when the senator was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, at the Apple Tree  golf course near Yakima during a charity tournament sponsored by the Washington Apple Education Foundation.

● There is new leadership at the United States Apple Export Council, an export promotion group that represents many of our nation’s apple producing states, but not Washington. With the departure of Karin Rodriguez from the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program, the new chairman of USAEC is Mark Girardin, president of North Bay Produce of Traverse City, Michigan. The daily operations of USAEC, once conducted by Kristine Marceca of Townsend Management, are now in the hands of Scott Lynch, of SmithBucklin, an association management firm.

● On February 4, I plan to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the annual meeting of the National Council of Agricultural Employers. Afterwards, I will stay in town for meetings on Thursday of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance and the Crop Protection Coalition. I am chairman of the MCFA, while Jim Cranney of the California Citrus Quality Council chairs the CPC.

Political Fruit: “For communities, joining together to fight flab is now as American as second helpings of apple pie.” Jennifer Levitz and Betsy McKay, Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2013.