● Brianne Miller has jumped to the other side of Capitol Hill and is currently employed by Senator James E. Risch (R/Idaho). The former legislative director for Congressman Doc Hastings (R/Washington),  Ms. Miller is now assigned to handle energy and judiciary issues for Senator Risch.

● COOL is an acronym that has been off our policy screen since its adoption as federal policy within the 2008 Farm Bill. “Country of Origin Labeling”  at retail was a hot issue in the decade preceding the current Farm Bill’s enactment, both for the fresh produce and beef industries. On one side were domestic fruit and vegetable growers, cattlemen, and consumer groups; on the other side major grocery store chains and food importers.  In November a ruling came down from the World Trade Organization against the United States in a case brought by Canada over USDA’s implementation of COOL, especially as related to imported beef. ● On November 23 the Food Marketing Institute called for COOL to be rewritten or repealed. COOL is heating up again.

● I plan to be in Wenatchee for the 107th Annual Meeting of the Washington State Horticultural Association and for a board of trustees during the morning of December 7 of the Northwest Horticultural Council.  ● Officials from Washington, D.C., who also plan to travel to Wenatchee next week, and with whom then I hope to exchange thoughts, include Dr. Jim Gorny of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Safety; Bob Keeney, the deputy administrator for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service/Fruit and Vegetable Programs; and Nancy Foster, president, and Dianne Kurrle, vice president for public affairs, both of the United States Apple Association.

POLITICAL FRUIT: “Foreign governments should focus on paying down their debt rather than financing Russian civil-society groups, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said. ‘It’s a fruitless labor,’ Putin told the ruling United Russia party in Moscow today. ‘As we say, it’s money thrown to the wind.’” Bloomburg Businessweek, November 27, 2011.