Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/30/2015

Dear Friends,

The House approved a two-year budget deal this week, and I helped secure an agreement to eliminate provisions that would reopen the farm bill and fatally undermine the federal crop insurance program. The Agriculture Committee also held a hearing to determine how best to use the “big data” American producers collect to benefit farmers, consumers, and the economy as a whole. Finally, I was happy to join Senators Klobuchar and Franken and Governor Dayton in announcing a grant that will help alleviate rail congestion in Willmar. 

Sincerely,

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Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Pheasant Hunt

Representatives Nolan, Vela, Paulsen, and Kline

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to host some of my fellow Members of Congress for a Pheasant Hunt in Watson. We enjoyed the weather, the company, and some great hunting. Opportunities like this are a valuable tool to bring members from both sides of the aisle together and reach a consensus on issues like wildlife habitat and conservation. I look forward to more events like this with my colleagues in the future. 

National Cotton Council

On Wednesday, I met with Sledge Taylor, president of the National Cotton Council. Mr. Taylor is a cotton grower from Como, Mississippi. We discussed the challenges faced by cotton growers, particularly as they adjust to the 2014 Farm Bill provisions.

Arvig

David Schornack, Director of Sales and Business Development at Arvig, visited my office on Wednesday. We discussed deploying and promoting broadband in rural America. I am in support of efforts to complete the expansion of broadband to rural areas and give farmers access to the full potential of big data. The Department of Agriculture needs to prioritize funding for broadband in underserved areas and make it more accessible.

American Crystal Sugar

On Thursday, I met with American Crystal Sugar President and CEO, David Berg. One of the things we talked about was the devastating cuts to the crop insurance program included in the Budget Deal and my efforts with farm-state members of Congress to stop these cuts. This fight is another example of why agriculture needs to stick together on a bi-partisan basis against those who either don’t understand or don’t care about programs like crop insurance which are so important to farmers and rural communities.

Legislative Update

Budget Deal

The House approved a two-year budget deal this week, and I was pleased to help eliminate provisions that would reopen the farm bill and make cuts to crop insurance. The bipartisan deal also prevents significant cuts to seniors, stops Medicare Part B premiums from skyrocketing, and ensures that we preserve the full faith and credit of the United States.

“Big Data” and Agriculture

The Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week to discuss the use of “big data”  in making farming more efficient and enabling farmers to make wise use of inputs. These advancements can also help connect farmers with local businesses and consumers. While big data has potential to benefit producers, it will be unable to do so without reliable broadband in rural areas. I will continue to work with USDA in support of rural broadband and the implementation of agricultural technologies.

Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Program

On Wednesday, I announced that Minnesota has been awarded $8 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership program. The funds will be used to expand access to biofuel blender pumps across the state. Providing consumers with more choices at the pump levels the playing field for homegrown renewable fuels and expands the biofuels market.

National School Bus Safety Week

Given the recent start of the school season, I would like to thank those in support of H. RES. 107 for their activism in advancing it. This bill, which I introduced, would designate the third week in October as National School Bus Safety Week and the Wednesday of that week as National School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day. There are hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport children to and from school, and I hope that this measure will help recognize their contributions.

Newsstand

Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Project

This week, I joined Senators Klobuchar and Franken and Governor Dayton in announcing a $10,000,000 Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant for Willmar’s Rail Connector and Industrial Access project. With the re-routing of train movement from the middle of town, Willmar residents will be much safer and traffic conditions will improve. This is a great example of a public-private partnership that will improve safety, livability, and economic sustainability in the community.

Discovering the 7th

Westrum in 1955

The Wes Westrum Baseball Museum in Clearbrook collects and displays memorabilia from the career of the town’s top-rated catcher. Born in Clearbrook in 1922, Westrum played with the New York Giants for much of the 1950s and served as the second manager of the New York Mets. In over 100 display cases, the museum chronicles Westrum’s career of more than 50 years.

This Week in American History

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Minnesota Territory, 1849

On October 27th, 1849, the territorial legislature approved the formation of the original nine counties of Minnesota. Benton County was named in honor of Missouri Senator and westward expansionist Thomas Hart Benton; Dakota after the Native American Tribe; Itasca for the headwaters of the Mississippi River; Ramsey for the Territory’s new governor; Wabasha after a series of Dakota leaders; and Washington in commemoration of the nation’s first president. Pembina, Mahkahta, and Wahnahta Counties no longer appear on the map of Minnesota after being incorporated into North Dakota, South Dakota, and Crow Wing County, respectively.


Taylor Post (RAYMOND)
2015 Congressional Art Competition