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Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/5/2016
A Prairie Dog at the Alexander Ramsey Zoo
in Redwood Falls
District work periods are an opportunity to travel throughout western Minnesota and visit with constituents about my work in Washington. This week, my staff and I held meetings with the University of Minnesota Morris, Highwater Ethanol and Nordick Farms. These meetings were an opportunity to address questions and concerns, as well as exchange ideas regarding federal policy that impacts the District. These conversations were continued at Farmfest, where thousands of Minnesotans gather every year. Finally, I want to wish the U.S. Olympic Team the best of luck as Olympic competition kicks off in Rio.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Every year I have the privilege to head down to Redwood County to visit with friends and learn about recent advancements made in agriculture at Farmfest. Due to improved farm equipment, horticulture research and better land efficiency, farmers have been able to meet the challenge of feeding a growing population year in and out. This year’s Farmfest featured more than 500 exhibitors educating thousands of visitors and providing updates on the agriculture industry. As the Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee, I always appreciate the chance to hear from farmers directly about how farm programs are working and new developments in the agriculture economy. I spoke with farmers about the importance of starting to work on the next farm bill and keeping the coalition of agriculture, conservation and nutrition stakeholders together. At a time when programs like crop insurance are coming under attack, we need to remain focused on pragmatic strategies that will preserve farm programs for the future. Another issue that came up a number of times is the need to do a better job of telling rural America’s story and explaining to people living in urban areas the important contributions rural communities make to keep our nation strong.
University of Minnesota Morris
My staff aides visited the University of Minnesota Morris to get an update on the work they are doing to develop new applications for technology that will make agriculture operations more efficient. Their research will demonstrate the viability of integrating in-farm solar, heat exchange and other energy conservation technologies. Research is also being conducted to find cost effective ways to use excess wind electricity produced during periods of low demand. This can then be used to produce hydrogen which can be used to power vehicles or be further processed to make anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. Our university system is a great place to test out new technologies and provide farmers the data they need to know how new ideas might make their own operation more efficient.
CFO Lucas Schneider and CEO Brian Kletscher
Highwater Ethanol is an innovative facility contributing to our country’s energy independence. They have 42 employees in Lamberton. Highwater recently built a water retention pool to collect rainwater and utilize agreements with neighboring farmers to collect their excess water runoff. This technique saves the plant from using any well water, saving money and preserving local resources. My staff aides visited Highwater on Monday to tour these advancements.
The state buffer water quality law was one of the topics that a number of farmers had questions about at Farmfest this year. While the buffer law is a state issue, how producers meet this regulation will have important implications for federal water quality rules. It will also impact the water management decisions producers make on their own farms. My staff toured the Nordick Farm where they are doing a lot of innovative work to combine modern tiling practices to increase productivity while installing saturated buffers on land that is too small to effectively farm or along land already dedicated for meeting the buffer law. Each farm is different, but the data gained from the tests being done on the Nordick Farm will help other farmers see best practices and lessons learned in action.
The Department of Transportation awarded more grants this week to improve the infrastructure of airports in the 7th District. This most recent stream of funding will help ensure that the Hawley, Redwood Falls, Montevideo-Chippewa, Baudette, and Elbow Lake airports continue to meet the region’s transportation needs.
Minnesotans in the Olympics
I am proud to share the names of the 11 Minnesotans who will compete as members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Taking place August 5 – 21, 2016, these top athletes will represent Minnesota and the United States as they go for the gold. Join me in cheering on Garrett Bender, Andy Bisek, Ben Blankenship, Kelly Catlin, Kiana Eide, Kathryn Johnson, Gwen Jorgensen, Paula Lynn, David Plummer, Alise Post and a special nod to Lindsay Whalen, from Hutchinson, who will join the women’s basketball team! I hope everyone will cheer them on this month at the Olympic Games!
This Week in American History
President George Washington created what would become the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782, when he was still a General in the American Revolutionary Army. The original medal was known as the Badge for Military Merit, usually presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action.” On George Washington’s 200th birthday, the U.S. War Department announced they would revive the prestige of the Badge of Military Merit and call it the “Order of the Purple Heart.” The new design included a bust of George Washington in the center of a heart-shaped medal, as seen above. Today’s Purple Heart is a combat decoration awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded by the hands of the enemy and posthumously given to the next of kin of the soldier killed in action. The Order of the Purple Heart is one of the oldest American military decorations for military merit and those who receive it deserve our deepest gratitude.
Spotted in the Seventh
Can YOU guess what we Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.
This week’s landmark might provide a nice relaxation spot for stressed students…
Congratulations to Adam Ulbricht of Melrose for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the windmills behind Lac qui Parle Valley School in Madison!
Share your guess on our website – http://collinpeterson.house.gov/contact-me/spotted-seventh
Lilli Gutzmer (FERGUS FALLS)