Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/24/2014
I was a strong advocate for reforming the Farm Bill’s dairy programs during the recent Farm Bill debate, including the Dairy Margin Protection Program which gives farmers tools to better manage risk. This week, I joined dairy producers in Freeport to discuss these policy changes and encourage farmers to sign up for the new program. I also visited the site of the proposed Avera Cancer Institute in Marshall, and was happy to see the progress being made on this valuable resource for cancer patients in and around the Marshall area. Finally, my visit to Western Consolidated Cooperative included discussions about efforts to improve rail, road, sewer and water networks. Additionally, this newsletter includes information regarding infrastructure improvements in the Red River Valley, and the upcoming Women Veterans Appreciation Day.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Freeport Dairy Meeting
This week, I met with dairy farmers in Freeport for a Minnesota Milk Producers Association-sponsored workshop on the new Dairy Margin Protection Program. The new program, which I worked to include in the 2014 Farm Bill, makes major reforms to Federal dairy policy. Starting in 2015, dairy producers will be able to choose their level of insurance based on margin - the difference between milk price and feed cost. The Dairy Margin Protection Program will replace the former MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) program.
The Freeport workshop was part of a series of workshops the Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is conducting to educate dairy farmers about the new program. Dr. Marin Bozic from the University of Minnesota explained the program on behalf of MMPA. As part of the workshop, farmers were able to enter data from their own operations into a computerized management tool in order to see how the Margin Protection Program will work for them. This tool, which can be accessed online, gives farmers a better idea of what level of protection will work best for their own dairy. The new Margin Protection Program is better suited to manage the risks and challenges facing today's dairy farmers. I commend the Minnesota Milk Producers Association for their efforts to help farmers understand the program and make good choices.
Marshall Avera Cancer Institute
Gordon Crow (Executive Director, Avera Marshall Foundation), Kevin Schroeder (Construction Manager)
Yesterday, I visited the Avera Cancer Institute site in Marshall. It's been one year since construction began on this project and it was good to get an update from Kevin and Gordon on their progress. Patients in Minnesota’s rural areas deserve the same access to quality care as folks in urban areas, which is why the Avera Cancer Institute will be such a valuable addition to the community of Marshall and surrounding region.
Patients and their families have the right to be treated close to home by doctors they know and trust. This center will offer radiation therapy, first of its kind in the region, in addition to existing services including chemotherapy, surgery, pharmacy, dietician consultation, home medical equipment, on-site CT and MRI. There is great need for this facility, and I look forward to its doors being opened soon.
Chad Syltie (Financial Manager/Appleton Mayor), Dean Isaacson (General Manager)
West-Con Cooperative, an agricultural storage and transport organization based in Holloway, welcomed me to their offices this week to hear about their 110 car expansion at their Appleton plant. This expansion will help West-Con and its members better access domestic and export markets available by rail. Increased railroad access also provides more competitive car values, and increases dumping, drying, and storage capacity. This additional capacity will lessen the workload in West-Con’s Holloway location, and enhance member service in both facilities. During my visit we also discussed infrastructure efforts in road, sewer, and water improvement.
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
In rural areas like the 7th District, we face unique health care challenges. I have always fought for access to quality, affordable health care for Minnesotans. One important thing we need to do is bring down the cost of prescription drugs. That's why I am cosponsoring H.R. 1102, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2013. This legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies and help get prices under control so seniors don't have to go bankrupt to afford their medication.
Red River Valley Electric Infrastructure
The Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association will receive an $8 million loan from the USDA Rural Utilities Service to build or improve electric distribution lines across Western Minnesota. The funds will also advance smart grid projects to assist rural electric cooperatives modernize and improve electric service delivery and reliability.
Women Veterans Appreciation Day
Today, women serve in the US military in unprecedented numbers, representing the fastest growing population within both the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. On October 29th, the Fargo VA Health Care system honors the extraordinary military and community service of the more than 29,000 women veterans in Minnesota (and 2 million nationwide) during Women Veterans Appreciation Day. To register for the event, please contact Women Veterans Program Manager Glenda Trochmann at 701-239-3700 (ext. 3893).
National Forest Products Week
National Forest Products Week recognizes the contributions of the nearly 900,000 men and women in the forest and paper industry and the products and services they provide, accounting for nearly 4% percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP and manufacturing approximately $210 billion in products annually. Forest products feature prominently in the daily operations of people, businesses, organizations, and institutions by providing efficient and sustainable options for communication, packaging, hygiene, building materials, and more. The 2014 Farm Bill includes language that awards bio-based forest products federal government procurement preference. Additional information regarding the pulp and paper industry in the Minnesota is available from the American Forest & Paper Association.
County Courthouse Tour
Chippewa County Courthouse 1907/Present
With “so little official business that a courthouse was not a necessity,” Chippewa County residents lived without a courthouse for the first 15 years of their county’s history. Increasing settlement, however, quickly led to the necessity of a courthouse in the new county seat of Montevideo. The first hip-roofed brick courthouse served the county for 74 years before being replaced in 1957. Sitting atop a 10-acre site, today’s Chippewa County courthouse features heavy piers that give off the effect of classical porticos. One courtroom is finished in dark cherry wood, with the other finished in light Philippine mahogany.
This Week in American History
Minnesota History Museum
Incorporated by an act of the territorial legislature, the Minnesota Historical Society was officially formed on October 20, 1818. Responsible for helping to preserve and share information, stories, sites, and artifacts from Minnesota’s past, the Minnesota Historical Society has become one of the largest and most prestigious historical societies in the country. The Society also frequently provides and promotes educational programming, exhibitions, and events at their 26 historical locations, including the Birch Coulee Battlefield, Comstock House, Lac Qui Parle Mission, Lower Sioux Agency, and Fort Ridgely from the 7th District.
Visitors from the 7th
Connie Manolis (MI), Argie Manolis, Tara Gromatka, and Lisa Manolis (MORRIS)
Jordan Rasmussen (FERGUS FALLS)
During the summer of 2010, I sponsored Jordan Rasmussen in his service as a Page in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Page Program, a tradition dating back more than two centuries until its end in 2011, gave young people an opportunity to experience government firsthand as they assisted in a variety of ways to help the legislative process operate smoothly. A native of Fergus Falls, Jordan plans to graduate from Harvard University in May before beginning a career in business consulting.
Traci and Dave Van Bruggen (ALEXANDRIA), Victoria, Neil, and Grant Linscheid (CLARKFIELD), Karen Dirkes (SAUK CENTRE), Peter and Nicole Linscheid (CLARKFIELD)
Ali Siverhus (MAYNARD)
2014 Congressional Art Competition