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●  A new group is being formed to help American agricultural interests better understand and interact with the international trade policy structure in Beijing. It is to be known as the U.S.-China Agriculture & Food Partnership. Players such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cotton Council International are working to see if this new organization, which will have a small office in Beijing, can help smooth what has often been a bumpy road to the markets of China. The Northwest Horticultural Council has decided to join it, given the rising importance of the Celestial Empire to both our tree fruit industry’s exports and overall future prosperity.

●  Tomorrow U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D/Washington)  plans two Farm Bill media events, one in Pasco and the other at the USDA agricultural research laboratory located near Wapato. I will be attending both of these, which are timely considering the full Senate will continue its floor debate on S. 954, also known as the Farm Bill, when it returns to session early next week.

● Next Monday I travel to Washington, D.C. for an Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday at USDA’s headquarters building and also to meet with Congressional staffers.

●  In returning from United’s convention held in San Diego two weeks ago, I bought a copy of the Los Angeles Times and spotted a familiar editorial page cartoon style. It was that of David Horsey, who once was the top political cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (The P-I ended its print operation and became online only in 2009.) I since found out that he joined the LA Times in 2011.

● Political Fruit: “Upsetting the apple cart” is a saying used often by TV talking heads and other such commentators when describing an expected event that changes the conventional political order. It is also a term featured in a now mostly-forgotten play by George Bernard Shaw: “The Apple Cart: A Political Extravaganza” (1930). Shaw, a socialist, was a hard critic of the then prevailing politics of Great Britain. An example of his views are these words uttered by one of the play’s characters, Proteus: ” What your Majesty proposes is the straight forward, logical, intellectually honest solution of our difficulty. Consequently it is the last solution I could have expected in politics.”