Checking in Sunday night from the health club, with the laptop connected to wifi while a couple of tweens watch Hannah Montana in lobby. I checked in with the Fresh Produce industry Discussion Group and found five new posts when I logged in. We have about 189 members now, so be sure to join if you are a member at this Web address.

Here are some new posts this weekend:

The Mom Study -

A shift on immigration -

From the inbox this weekend:

From the USDA Agriculture Tom Vilsack

May 2, 2009 
"I received word this afternoon that Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) officials have tentatively confirmed that swine from a herd in Alberta, Canada, have tested positive for the H1N1 strain currently causing illness in humans. A Canadian carpenter who had been in Mexico, upon return, was exhibiting flu-like symptoms, did work on the Alberta farm, and subsequently the family and swine on the farm became ill.

First and foremost, this detection does not change the situation here in the United States:

- There have been no reports that the novel H1N1 strain currently causing illness in humans is in U.S. swine.

- This is not a foodborne illness. The American food supply is safe and pork and pork products are safe. As is the case with all meat and poultry, safe handling and cooking practices should be used to kill any germs or bacteria that could make you sick.

- As a precaution, people with flu-like symptoms should not interact with swine, and swine showing influenza symptoms should be kept away from the public and brought to the attention of the State Animal Health Authorities or USDA. Proper biosecurity measures - as in any influenza situation - will protect against the spread of virus.

Additional details about the Alberta situation are that no sick swine have left the farm, and the animals and premises have been quarantined. The swine and humans are recovering and appear healthy. We are working closely with our CFIA counterparts to be kept abreast of the situation, and will await the final confirmatory test results, which could take anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks. Canada has handled this situation appropriately and taken the necessary steps and precautions.

Here in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is actively working to develop an H1N1 vaccine for swine, just as the CDC is doing for humans. It is standard operating procedure at the USDA to send any unusual virus, such as the H1N1 virus, detected through our surveillance network to our labs in Ames, Iowa. Our scientists routinely diagnose animal diseases and develop vaccines to protect livestock and poultry in the United States.

Today's discovery will not impact our borders or trading with Canada. As prescribed by the World Organization for Animal Health guidelines, any trade restrictions must be based on science so at this time, we are awaiting confirmatory test results before considering any action."


Meanwhile, on climate change:


Lucas Further Emphasizes Cap & Trade Concerns

Says he cannot impose a tax regime on the American people that

dramatically raises their cost of living

WASHINGTON – Today, Ranking Member Frank Lucas is featured in an article with Jim Wiesemeyer, Senior Vice President of Farm and Trade Policy at Informa Economics, Inc.  The article can be found at  An excerpt of the interview is below with permission of Pro Farmer and Informa Economics.  In the interview, Ranking Member Lucas further emphasized his concerns about cap and trade and its impact on our economy.

“My perspective goes back to the whole issue of global warming. If you want to assume the climate is changing and if you further want to assume that the gas emissions of the people of this planet are driving this climate change, then you have to next assume – and we’ve got several assumptions to get here – you’ve got to assume that by changing human patterns, conduct and industry, you can change the weather or change the global patterns. 

“The next question is how you do it in a way where you get the whole planet to make enough of a difference to change things. In good faith, I cannot impose a tax regime on the American people that dramatically raises their cost of living, dramatically reduces the industrial activity in our country and their standard of living perhaps, while at the same time whether it is mainland China or India they belch out more crud in the air and offset what we reduce. That’s just a transfer of wealth, a transfer of standard of living. I know my idealistic colleagues say, ‘You’ve got to set a standard for the world.’ But I will not make my citizens poor – poorer – so someone else can get richer, and then once they have achieved whatever standard they want, they decide to play with us. I can’t jump off the cliff by myself.

“It goes back to the old discussion years ago on the great economic pie of life. Do you want to re-slice the pie or do you want to grow the pie? I’m in favor of growing the pie. I think we could aggressively address these issues through positive incentives – expansion of wind power, solar power, putting more dollars into clean coal… those kinds of things,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas.