Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/21/2019
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
This week was another busy week with the House considering even more amendments on a government funding package. On Monday, I visited with manufacturers at the Minnesota State of Manufacturing event in Alexandria. In Washington, I met with a handful of transportation groups to discuss a variety of transportation issues such as improvements and expansions to highways that are important to the economy in western Minnesota. The Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing on how farm policy helps farmers in adverse conditions. I also attended a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing which discussed a number of bills to help veterans get the help they deserve.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Serving the 7th
USDA Moves Haying and Grazing Date for Cover Crops on Prevented Planting Acres to September 1
My constituents, including several at my recent town hall meeting in Marshall, shared their concern that bad weather this spring will cause feed shortages later this year. After hearing from my constituents about this issue, I urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to offer flexibility on the harvest date for cover crops planted on prevent plant acres. On Thursday, USDA announced that the 2019 haying and grazing date for cover crops on prevent plant acres has been moved from November 1 to September 1 due to flooding and excess rainfall. This adjustment will significantly increase the quantity and quality of feed available to livestock producers this fall. I appreciate USDA’s willingness to make this change for our farmers and ranchers.
Also, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Minnesota is offering a special Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) sign-up for farmers who could not plant due to excessive rainfall. The deadline for sign-up is July 12. The goal of the program is to encourage farmers to plant cover crops to increase water quality, suppress weeds, and improve soil health on areas not planted to crops. Contact your local NRCS office for more information on this special EQIP sign-up.
On Thursday, the Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to consider how crop insurance, farm programs, and disaster assistance programs help farmers in adverse conditions. Farmers depend on more than their own efforts and planning to produce a good crop. Weather and market forces almost always play a major role in determining a farm’s profitability, forcing producers to take large financial risks for each year’s crop. Farmers are facing many of those challenges this year and this hearing gave the Subcommittee insight on how to strengthen safety net programs for our farmers.
The Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations held a hearing on Thursday to discuss broad-based categorical eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. The Subcommittee heard witness testimony on ways to strengthen the federal food assistance programs to ensure the programs provide nutrition benefits that are fair to both taxpayers and those facing food insecurity.
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing
On Thursday, I attended the full committee legislative hearing for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to receive testimony on pending legislation: H.R. 2943; H.R. 2942; H.R. 2676; H.R. 2677; H.R. 712; H.R. 1647; H.R. 3083; H.R. 485; Discussion Draft, Specially Adaptive Housing, and Discussion Draft, Work Study. The committee heard from three panels of witnesses, including the sponsors of the bills and representatives of Veterans Services Organizations. It was good to hear about ideas for improving services to our veterans in the areas of health care, housing, and work-study.
Enterprise Minnesota’s State of Manufacturing
On Monday, I met with manufacturers at Enterprise Minnesota’s State of Manufacturing Event in Alexandria. I talked with them about training programs and immigration. Despite some of their challenges, manufacturers expressed confidence in the financial future for their companies. I will continue to work at the federal level to support our manufacturers so that they can continue to grow in the seventh district.
This week I sat down with Mark Anthony of KOOL TV to discuss all of the things happening in DC. To see my interview with Mark tune into KOOL TV on Saturday morning from 9am-10am. Watch KOOL-TV on Alexandria Channel 21.1 & Willmar Channel 34.2 For more information go to: www.kooltv-mn.com.
Colonel Christopher Meyers, USMC
I met with Colonel Meyers as he presented my office with the United States Marine Corps Service seal. With this plate, I will have representation from every military branch in my office in Washington D.C. I appreciate all the sacrifices the men and women in uniform make for our country and the examples they set for the U.S. abroad.
Ahead of the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that Congress is preparing to consider, several transportation advocates visited my Washington, D.C. office. I spoke at the Minnesota Transportation Alliance Breakfast on the challenges facing any large transportation and infrastructure package and my continuing conversations with Chairman DeFazio on its likelihood of passage. I met with the Southwest Corridor Transportation Coalition and the Highway 23 Coalition to hear an update on the necessary work being done to improve roads and make them safer. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) visited my office to discuss how federal legislation can help our District Engineers complete important projects, and the SMART Transportation Division and Minnesota Public Transportation shared how our communities are coming together to provide safe and reliable transportation to all Minnesotans. I have been a strong advocate for improving transportation access and safety throughout western Minnesota and am proud to support much-needed projects along Highways 23 and 212. I also re-introduced the Volunteer Driver Tax Act with Congressman Stauber (R-MN) to support important alternatives to mass transit services in rural districts like Minnesota’s 7th.
Kids for the Boundary Waters
My staff aide Zach Martin sat down with several young adults from Minnesota and Illinois to talk about their experiences visiting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. They shared stories about portaging canoes through the Wilderness, attending annual trips to the area, and learning life skills along the way. These young advocates held more than 50 meetings with federal lawmakers to talk about the importance of the outdoors.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Electric Youth Tour
While I was voting on the House floor, my staff aide Zach Martin visited with NRECA Electric Rural Youth Tour high school students and answered questions about working on Capitol Hill. These future leaders visited with several Minnesota offices and watched the U.S. Senate work from the galleries. They asked great questions that will hopefully help them identify their future career goals.
Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee
This week, Callie Hargett, Chyenne Boyce, and Judge Mike Mayer met with my staff to discuss juvenile justice across the country. I have worked with JJAC over the years to secure adequate funding for programs focused on turning misguided youths’ lives around. I will keep working to ensure we provide the opportunities for our young people so they can lead successful lives and benefit their local communities across Minnesota.
Magellan Midstream Partners
Jason Huson of Magellan Midstream Partners was in Marshall on Tuesday to present $5000 donations to the Fire Chiefs of Hanley Falls, Cottonwood, and Marshall fire Departments for their quick response to a diesel pipeline breach in April. My staff Meg Louwagie was able to tour the breach site within 18 hours of the incident. I was impressed with the swift cooperation between these three fire departments and the common sense ingenuity they used to quickly contain the damage. This speaks highly of the training and dedication our rural volunteer fire departments have allowing them to have a significant role in mitigating the impact of this breach.
Northwest Community Action Inc.
The Northwest Community Action’s Head Start program has been serving families in Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Kittson, and Marshall Counties since 1965. Currently they serve more than 280 children in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In all, Northwest Community Action has 28 different programs. One of my staff had the opportunity to visit Tim Anacabe, the Executive Director to discuss some of his challenges. He talked about a program to help relieve care givers. The program is called “Live Well at Home.” With the high cost of elder care, this would allow people to stay in their homes for longer at a much lower cost.
So far this year, the federal government has spent over $185 billion to pay off interest on our national debt. That is over double of what it costs to fund the entire Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program provides nutritional benefits for low-income families to purchase healthy food. As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, I know the importance the SNAP program places on local farmers
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.
Last Week’s Questionnaire Results
Last week I asked constituents from Western Minnesota to share some of the positive things that are happening in their communities. Here are some of the responses:
- Appleton - Swift County Community Band
- Crookston - Streets adorned with hanging baskets and tubs of flowers, and the young summer city workers that keep them looking good!
- Detroit Lakes - We are getting lots of street improvements. Funds have become available to add on to our schools
- East Grand Forks - I'm happy that our country is living in a time of peace and economic stability.
- Ghent / Ivanhoe - Recently used the SDI program that helps homeowners make important improvements to their houses. Projects include re-shingling, door and window replacement and rewiring.
- Hanley Falls - Farmers concerned for each as we try to get crops planted in excessively wet conditions.
- Hector - Crops and gardens are growing fast
- Lester Prairie - A new paved Dakota Regional Trail has arrived in Lester Prairie. Good benefits for our community.
- Tracy - It is amazing to be in the summer driving season and be able to run E15 in my vehicles! I am grateful to have a Representative that was at the forefront of getting this done. It is heartening to see that amongst the negative news, here is a true success story about leaving the world a better place for our kids.
Tariffs Causing Missed Opportunities for Hog Farmers
The trade war with China is causing American pork producers to miss out on growing demand for pork products in China. Before outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF), China was already the world’s largest importer of pork products. Since the first reported outbreaks of ASF in 2018, African Swine Fever has reduced the Chinese hog population by 20% (a reduction of roughly 100 million head). As a result, USDA expects a 41 percent increase in Chinese pork imports this year. American pork products currently face Chinese tariffs of up to 62%, forcing the Chinese to look elsewhere to fill their growing demand for pork.
This Week in History
On June 21st, 1973, The United States Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors to the public. The “Capital of American hockey,” located in Eveleth, has inducted 173 members and 4 teams to date. Many native Minnesotans, including Doug Woog and Aaron Broten, have been bestowed this honor. In fact, Minnesota has the second most members, behind Massachusetts.