Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/21/2020
Talking with 4Hers at the 4H Caucus Briefing
On Thursday, the Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. After pushing for months to get this deal to the finish line, I am glad to see it in the final steps. The USMCA will give our producers much needed certainty and preserves markets for our farmers. President Trump also signed the first phase of a trade deal with China, which I am cautiously optimistic about. This deal could provide structural changes that increase access to the Chinese market for Minnesota producers. China has broken past trade commitments, so it is especially important to verify that progress is being made. The United States Department of Agriculture announced over $10 million in funding for animal pest and disease prevention, which will keep animals healthy and ensure markets stay open. I fought to establish the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) and I look forward to seeing this program address a wider of range activities in the future. On Monday, I introduced legislation that would provide the Food and Drug Administration the ability to regulate hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and market it in dietary supplements. This will provide a pathway for hemp-derived markets, benefit hemp farmers, and bring needed oversight to this market.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
My district staff assistant, Meg Louwagie was awarded the Patrick Henry Award for her work with the Minnesota National Guard and casework with VA facilities. Meg is dedicated to working with servicemembers and veterans on resolving issues. Congratulations, Meg.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr’s service and sacrifice in the American civil rights movement, Congress designated the MLK holiday as the first ever National Day of Service. MLK Day of Service encourages Americans to volunteer and serve their communities.
4-H on Capitol Hill
As co-chair of the Congressional 4-H Caucus, I work to teach lawmakers about the important work 4-H is doing across the country. On Wednesday, the 4-H Caucus invited lawmakers and their staff to hear from National 4-H leadership about the range of youth development opportunities offered through by organization. I was glad to kick off the event by sharing some of the reasons that 4-H is important to me. 4-H Leaders explained how they adapt their programming to fit the unique needs of every county in America, offering more than 6 million young people a chance to develop important skills relating to agriculture, health, science and civic engagement. I was lucky to be in 4-H when I was young and I am happy to support 4-H in Congress.
Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers
Brent Cheyne, Steve Lacey (Wendell), Mike Gunderson (Bejou), Charlie Vogel (Thief River Falls)
I visited with leaders of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers last week to discuss developments in trade, disaster assistance and the farm economy. We discussed the passage of the USMCA and the Phase 1 China agreement that should increase market certainty for our growers. We also discussed the next farm bill and ways to improve the federal safety net for agriculture. Weather caused many challenges for agriculture in 2019 and I updated the Wheat Growers on the status of USDA’s efforts to assist wheat growers that saw losses last year.
Senate Passes USMCA Trade Agreement
The United States Senate passed the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) with a vote of 89-10 last week. This deal provides market certainty for our farmers and manufacturers and I was glad to support it when it passed the House of Representatives on December 19th. I look forward to seeing the Agreement signed into law.
Click here to read how the USMCA will help Minnesota businesses.
I introduced legislation that would provide the Food and Drug Administration the flexibility to market CBD in dietary supplements. This legislation will provide a pathway for hemp-derived products and help identify barriers to success for hemp farmers.
Phase 1 China Deal
President Trump signed the first phase of a trade deal with China. The ongoing trade war with China has hurt producers, and I am worried that certain crops like soybeans and sorghum won’t regain the foothold they lost. This deal could provide changes and increase access to Chinese markets.
European Union Commissioner Phil Hogan
Last week, I met with European Union Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan to discuss the trading relationship between the U.S. and the E.U. We discussed the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with Europe and some steps that can be taken to improve the trade of agricultural products.
Jake Chisholm - Gary, MN
This week, I welcomed Jake Chisholm to the Agriculture Committee. Jake is a fourth-generation producer and partner in his family farm in Gary in Western Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University. He will work as staff director for the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. I am looking forward to having Jake’s expertise on the Ag Committee!
Catherine Stoch (St.Cloud), Rebekah Solem
CentraCare's new Manager of Grants Administration, Catherine Stoch, visited with my staff this week while in Washington for the Health Resources & Services Administration's Rural Partnership Development Meeting. Catherine talked about recent Telehealth grants that were awarded to CentraCare and thanked me for my support of the grant applications. She also talked about monitoring grant-related rules and the importance of making sure these rules continue to work as intended so that small rural hospitals are able to access grant money that can serve their communities.
Minnesota Hospital Association Trustee Conference
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Hospital Association held a Trustee Conference. Swift County Benson Health Services (SCBHS) is dealing with tight margins, fewer inpatient stays, and physician and nursing staff recruitment. Twice a year, the Minnesota Hospital Association hosts a conference to help trustees stay on the cutting edge of the constantly changing health care environment. This allows executives and physician leaders to network and exchange ideas.
Minnesota Organic Conference
My staff aide Grant Herfindahl attended the Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud. This conference is put on by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for farmers and others interested in organic agriculture.
Red River Basin Land and Water International Summit Conference
The 37th Annual Red River Basin Land and Water International Summit Conference was held in Fargo and sponsored by the Red River Basin Commission. They had over 40 speakers and dozens of sponsors and exhibitors. The Red River Basin includes part of Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba and a small part of South Dakota. Simon Baker, the Keynote Speaker and Host of the show “Native Planet” travels the world to interview native people about environmental changes over time. His videos centered around water, its importance and how humans impact it. Minister Eileen Clarke, the Manitoba Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations reviewed a number of Manitoba’s water programs. Thom Petersen, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, spoke about a few Minnesota Clean water programs and their growing acceptance on farms.
Red River Watershed Management Board
My staff attended the recent Red River Water Management Board (RRWMB) meeting in Moorhead. Troy Daniell, the Minnesota State Conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) shared his thoughts about the importance of water. He talked about targeting the agency’s resources to achieve the best outcomes. He also said there will be a lot of interest in the Conservation Stewardship Program. For more information you can contact their website www.rrwmb.org.
Last week, I asked your thoughts on the conflict with Iran. Here is what you had to say:
Since January 1st, we have spent over $18 billion servicing the national debt. On Wednesday, I signed on to a bipartisan letter to support a new strategy to address our runaway debt. The letter asks the Senate and House Budget Committees to direct the Congressional Budget Office to include debt servicing costs in all legislative cost estimates. As our debt increases, we are spending more resources on servicing the debt instead of programs designed to benefit the American people.
As a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat, I have continually supported a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which would require Congress to get our fiscal house in order. I have also fought for Pay-As-You-Go legislation to ensure legislation doesn’t add to our debt and voted against the Democratic budget which would have worsened our fiscal situation.
$10 Million in Animal Pest and Disease Prevention
The Department of Agriculture awarded $10.2 million in funding for animal pest and disease prevention efforts. Rep. Costa and I led efforts to include long-term funding for programs to ensure that we have tools to address disease risks.
Letter to Secretary Mnuchin
I led a letter to Secretary Mnuchin addressing concerns I have with rules about Section 199A of the Internal Revenue Code. These rules will have negative impacts on farmer-owned cooperatives, patrons, and farming communities.
This Week in History
On January 16th, 1874, Willmar Village was incorporated. It was platted (surveyed and mapped) in 1869 and named after Leon Willmar, a Belgian agent for European investors in the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company. Willmar became a city in 1901.