Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/5/2019

August 16, 2019

Bemidji Carnegie Public Library

Dear Friends,

Last week was the first week of the August district work period. I spoke at the Partners in Agriculture Innovation Conference to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill, trade, and tariffs. While in the district, I enjoy spending time meeting with partners, innovators, and local businesses that contribute to our local and national economy. This week, August 6-8 is Minnesota Farm Fest in Morgan, where I will host an Agriculture Committee Listening session with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson

Minnesota 7th District

Serving the 7th

My Congressional office can help cut government red tape that is standing in your way. Recently, several merchant mariners applied for their credentials in order to captain fishing expeditions on Lake of the Woods. Due to the government shutdown earlier in the year, the U.S. Coast Guard was experiencing a month-long backlog in credentialing. After my office sent inquiries to the Coast Guard, several merchant mariners received their approved credentials within two weeks. If you or your business needs assistance when dealing with the federal government, don’t hesitate to contact my office through my website.

Minnesota Farmfest August 6-8

Farmfest is this Tuesday through Thursday August 6-8 in Morgan. Nearly 500 exhibits and dozens of demonstrations will provide opportunities for education and networking for folks interested in agriculture. Be sure to attend the U.S. House Ag Committee Listening Session on Wednesday at 10:30am in the Wick Building. There, I will join USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Members of the House Committee on Agriculture, and the Minnesota Congressional Delegation to discuss our work in Washington, D.C. and answer your questions.

Click here to see the full Farmfest schedule and learn more about the event.

Partners in Agriculture Innovation

On Thursday, I spoke at the Partners in Ag Innovation Conference hosted by the MinnWest Technology Campus and the City of Willmar and Kandiyohi County Economic Development commission. I discussed the 2018 Farm Bill, trade, tariffs, hemp production and took questions from the crowd. I enjoyed talking to the many ag industry partners in the district at this event.

Big Stone 4-Hers

This week, the EPA announced the winners of the 2019 Presidential Environmental Youth Award. Among them was The Big Stone County 4-H Aquatic Team. The team created a public awareness campaign to keep invasive species out of Big Stone Lake. I am glad to see youth in the 7th District working hard to educate their communities on important issues. Congratulations on the well-deserved award, Big Stone County 4-Hers.

Perham Sportsman Club Annual Banquet

Last month, I was honored at the Perham Sportsman Club Annual Appreciation Banquet for my support of sportsmanship. West Central Minnesota is home for many of Minnesota’s natural resources. As a hunter and fisherman myself, it is important to me to protect our outdoor legacy, which is why I joined the Congressional Sportsman Caucus.

Walmart Academy

Last week my staff, Meg Louwagie and Vickie McCollum had the opportunity to visit the Dilworth Walmart and learn about their Walmart Academy. The Academy is where their front line hourly supervisors, department managers and assistant managers receive two to six weeks of training. It opened in Dilworth in 2017 and has since trained more than 1,500 associates. We were happy to hear how they try to utilize local vendors whenever possible, especially in their produce department. The Dilworth store is also amongst the first of the Walmart's to receive and use new technology to advance their commitment to consumers. 

Renewable Energy Working Session

Last week, the Minnesota Farmers Union hosted a Renewable Energy Working Session in Marshall. My staff, Grant Herfindahl, attended to learn about solar, wind, energy efficiency and policy issues. The goal was to discuss the opportunities renewable energy and energy-efficiency provide for farm operations and rural Minnesotans.

Center for Disease Control Division of Vector-Borne Diseases

Dr. Lyle R. Petersen (Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases), Dr. Susanna Visser (Associate Director for Policy, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases), Malia Richmond-Crum (Deputy Associate Director for Policy, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases), Jane Bigham (Public Health Analyst), Rebekah Solem

Knowing of my interest in Lyme disease and other vector-borne diseases, the Director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts at CDC stopped by my office to introduce themselves and brief my staff on what CDC is doing on these issues. This is the Division that provides leadership in researching, preventing, and controlling viruses and bacteria spread by vectors like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. The CDC delegation talked about the increase in vector-borne diseases being largely due to the increase in movement of people and goods as well as changes in our environment that can promote diseases. For example, with an explosion of deer can come an explosion of deer ticks. As a co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, I have been active in pushing for increased research and funding to combat Lyme disease.

County Veterans Service Officer

My staff members Meg Louwagie attend the CVSO and quarterly Congressional meeting at the FARGO VA this week.  Topics discussed were the processing of Blue Water Veterans claims starting on January 1, 2020, looking at new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Fergus Falls and Grand Forks as well as the opening of the Cemetery in North Dakota.  The Fargo VA has caught up with their in house travel pay request but community care travel pay is still about 3 months behind.  The Fargo VA is processing approximately 250-300 veteran consults for care each day.

POW Chair

POW/MIA chairs are found across the United States, in sports arenas and stadiums, town halls, state capitols, and the Capitol in Washington D.C. The chairs are meant to represent those service members who are unable to fill them because of their sacrifices. They also remind us of the men and women who serve our country every day. As a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am glad to see the federal government honoring some of our nation’s bravest. If you happen to come across a chair like this, take a minute to reflect on the countless sacrifices made to keep our country safe.


7th District Agriculture Liaison

My staff agricultural assistant Grant Herfindahl was recently featured in the Minnesota Farm Guide for the work he does in my Willmar office. Grant is a former Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA) director. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to my staff. Grant joined the team earlier this year to serve as an advocate for farmers in western Minnesota. He helps folks with USDA programs and helps spread the word about farm meetings and policy. Grant can be reached at 202-503-5192 or at

USDA Seeking Applications for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for Small Business Innovation Research program grants. This is a competitive grant program to support qualified small businesses in their efforts to research the important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture. The SBIR research topics include: plant production and protection; animal production and protection; air, water and soils; aquaculture; biofuels and biobased products; small and mid-size farms; and food science and nutrition.

Click here to learn more about the SBIR program.

Year-to-date, the federal government has spent more than $230 billion servicing the national debt. To give perspective, this is approximately equal to the 2019 levels of funding for the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and Veterans’ Affairs. The American people are paying for an irresponsible amount of debt, and it’s time to change that.

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 proposal which would have worsened our fiscal situation.

This Week in History


On July 29th, 1827, John S. Pillsbury was born in Sutton, New Hampshire. He arrived in Minnesota in the 1850s, and eventually found success and wealth in the flour-milling trade, and served as the state's eighth governor. He arranged for the state to repay bondholders for a $5 million loan, which the railroads had defaulted on in 1858, and used his own funds to support operations at the state penitentiary, which the legislature had neglected to include in the budget. He ensured the success of the University of Minnesota, being one of three regents who put the university on firm financial footing, and he visited the campus almost daily for the last forty years of his life. He died on October 18, 1901.


Visitors from Minnesota’s 7th

Clockwise: Finney Family (EAST GRAND FORKS), Eggerling (HALLOCK), Sorensen Family, Langemo Family (MCINTOSH), Agriculture Group