Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/2/2019
Farmers scrambling to complete the harvest before winter
I am continuing conversations with the Department of Agriculture (USDA), sugar growers, and Senator Hoeven to secure disaster aid for producers that have been affected by this year’s weather. On Tuesday, I visited Todd Weber Farm to discuss how the USDA can support producers. I signed onto a letter with the Minnesota delegation to address problems with the Medicare enrollment tool that has been giving seniors inaccurate information about pricing and coverage. On Thursday, the country celebrated Thanksgiving by sharing a feast with friends and family. Many people celebrate this meal with a home cooked turkey – and Minnesota is the number one producer of turkeys with the 7th District producing the most amount of Turkeys than any other Congressional District.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
I’ve heard from businesses across western Minnesota that are negatively impacted by ongoing trade disputes. The Department of Commerce and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have established an application process for exclusions from specific lists of tariffs, and I am advocating on behalf of small Minnesota companies in my district as they apply for these exclusions.
I remain committed to strengthening local economies in my district so that families can continue to live and thrive in rural communities. If your business is being negatively affected by tariffs, please contact my office at (202) 225-2165 for assistance.
Seniors have worked hard to earn their Medicare benefits. Unfortunately, I have heard from a number of counselors in the district about problems with the new Medicare enrollment tool that is giving seniors inaccurate information for drug pricing and network coverage. To address the issue, I joined members of the Minnesota delegation on a letter asking the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to fix the issue, allow seniors to amend their selected plans if needed, and extend the open enrollment period.
Meetings with American Crystal Sugar
I met with Red River Valley sugar growers, representatives from American Crystal Sugar and Senator Hoeven at the Todd Weber Farm to discuss disaster assistance for producers after this year’s harvest. I am continuing conversations with the United States Department of Agriculture to see what can be done to address these concerns.
Number 1 Turkey District
As you celebrated Thanksgiving, chances are you ate some turkey. Turkey is an important part of a Thanksgiving meal and also a large part of the 7th District’s economy. Minnesota is the number 1 turkey producer and according to USDA’s Census of Agriculture the 7th District sells more turkeys than any other congressional district in the United States. Part of what makes Minnesota’s turkey farms so unique is that we have the most independent turkey farms compared to others. Many of these farms have been owned by generations of family farmers. I am proud of the 7th District and all that we contribute to the turkey industry and agriculture as a whole.
Service Academy Interviews
My office held interviews for students wanting to attend the Service Academies. I have a panel of Academy graduates who interview and make recommendations to me for nominations. I am impressed with the high quality of students that applied this year and I thank the panelists who do a fantastic job vetting these students. I am honored to be able to nominate several of this year’s students to continue with their journey as they begin their military career in the service to our country.
Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council
My staff attended the Wheat to Bread seminar put on by Northern Crops Institute at the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River and was briefed on the life of wheat from breeding, processing, milling and exporting. During this seminar participants worked in the lab discussing flour quality and dough strength while doing hands on bread making.
Regional Employer Summit in Alexandria
My staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Regional Employer Summit in Alexandria. Employers are eager to attract and retain a talented workforce. I was pleased to see so many communities working with area employers to promote opportunities in the 7th District.
Last week, I asked your thoughts on the ongoing impeachment hearings. Here is what you had to say:
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost for a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will be $48.91. This is a total of less than $5 per person. Yet, on Thanksgiving Day the U.S. spent $1.07 billion on serving the national debt. This is an average of $3 per person, over half of what each person is expected to spend on their Thanksgiving meal.
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 recently voted against the Democratic budget which would have worsened our fiscal situation.
School Bus Safety
One out of every eight First Student school buses failed to meet Minnesota safety standards due to serious defects in brakes, flat tires, steering issues, and faulty emergency door buzzers. I joined members of the Minnesota delegation in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to request additional information on what can be done to improve oversight of the maintenance and safety of school buses.
USDA Offers Low-Interest Farm Storage Loans
The Farm Service Agency’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program offers low-interest financing that can be used to upgrade or purchase structures, equipment, storage and handling trucks. Liquified petroleum tanks that hold fuel for grain dryer equipment are also eligible for loans. Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply. The loans are designed to help farm operations of all sizes.
To learn more about FSFLs and how these loans can help with your farm’s propane storage needs, contact your local FSA county office.
This Week in History
On November 26, 1922 the Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz was born in Minnesota. He would go on to be the creator of “Peanuts”. Charles Schultz won two Rueben, two Peabody, and five Emmy awards for his cartoons. He is also a member of the Cartoonist Hall of Fame.