Earlier this week I attended a legal education seminar on estate planning as part of my obligation to keep my law license current. While the technical details were unfathomable to me, I did come away with renewed contempt for our nation’s overly complicated tax system and increased despair that so much intellectual firepower (not to mention reams of paper) is wasted each year by accountants and lawyers in crafting tax avoidance schemes. As Chairman Wilbur Mills commented decades ago, “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.”

●  On Sunday I travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the United Fresh Produce Association’s Public Policy Conference. As happens each year, there are a number of meetings that are timed to coincide with United’s two-day conference.

On Monday I am scheduled to participated in a meeting of United’s Government Relations Council; on Wednesday afternoon I will be at an Executive Committee meeting of the National Council of Agricultural Employers; and all day Thursday I will attend a meeting of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance’s Technical Committee. So in one week I should get the latest on the Farm Bill (United); immigration reform (NCAE) and agricultural chemicals (MCFA).

●  I-522, on GMO food-labeling, is a nationally watched item on the November 5 ballot in Washington state. For a good recap of the economic issues involved with this initiative from a business perspective one should read the Seattle-based Washington Research Council’s special paper dated September 16. Its senior research analyst, Emily Makings (also known as my daughter), helped author the paper.

● Political Fruit: “Now Ted Cruz is not only upsetting the apple cart, he’s run a backhoe through the orchard.”  Scot Muncher in The Black Sphere (September 25, 2013).