Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/31/2014

2014 Capitol Christmas Tree, Chippewa National Forest

Dear Friends,

Educational dairy program seminars continued this week in McIntosh, and I joined the Minnesota Farm Service Agency and University of Minnesota Extension to address dairy producer questions and concerns regarding the Farm Bill’s Margin Protection Program. I also met with the Lake of the Woods and Roseau County Commissioners to define goals and outcomes for a number of environmental, economic, and agricultural issues impacting the counties. Senator Klobuchar and I traveled to Brooten as she received an award from the Farm Bureau before attending a Women Veterans Appreciation event in Fargo. I would also like to congratulate the 4-H National Mentoring Program for receiving a grant that will help improve and expand their youth mentoring activities across the state.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Military Matters

Women Veterans Appreciation Day

Senator Klobuchar, Lavonne Liversage (Director, Fargo VA Medical Center) / Staff Sergeant Nichoel Lorenz and Sergeant Kristina Wolbeck (MOORHEAD)

On Wednesday I visited the Fargo VA Medical Center as they hosted Women Veterans Appreciation Day. Senator Klobuchar and I met with local soldiers and veterans to listen and discuss some of their concerns. Today, women constitute approximately 20 percent of new military recruits, with nearly 280,000 women serving since 9/11. With these numbers in mind, the VA and Congress need to adapt to the changing demographics of our veterans. It is the responsibility of Congress to make sure the VA has the necessary tools to address care for women veterans. The VA has taken steps to improve some of their services, but there is still a long road ahead in leveling the playing field for women veterans seeking health care, employment and housing assistance. 

Lake of the Woods Commissioner Meeting

Patty Beckel (Chair), Ed Arnesen (Vice-chair), Commissioners Tom Hanson and Ken Moorman

On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of the Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners.  We discussed issues including tax reform, the Farm Bill, and Waters of the United States, as well as Wheeler’s Point sewer project, which received USDA Rural Development funding. Wheeler’s Point Sanitary District received a USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal loan of $1,835,000 and grant of $3,819,000. This Rural Development program was authorized by the Farm Bill, and the funds will be used to construct a sewer collection system using a pond and irrigation system. The County Board of Commissioners consists of James “Buck” Nordlof, Tom Hanson, Ken Moorman, Patty Beckel, and Ed Arnesen. It’s always great to discuss issues and ideas on how to make our communities stronger with county officials.

Roseau Commissioner Meeting

Commissioners Mark Foldesi, Roger Falk, Glenda Phillipe, Todd Miller, Jack Swanson

Following my visit to Baudette, I drove to Roseau to meet with the Roseau County Commissioners to talk about issues impacting the region. In our conversation we discussed everything from the implementation of the Farm Bill to the need to get a long term transportation bill passed in Congress. During the meeting the Commissioners shared some of the concerns they have about new regulations that could hurt the local economy including the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and new endangered species restrictions. Lastly, we talked about an issue that I have heard up and down the district – the shortage of affordable housing. As I meet with manufacturers around the state, I am always hearing about job openings that are hard to fill because of the short supply of housing. I believe that efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing for working families are an important part of a strategy to keep our rural communities vibrant in the future.

Manufacturing Legislative Excellence

Mark Karl (General Manager, Polaris North American Operations), Alan Poff (Manager, Government Affairs - Schwan Food Company) / Roger Brousseau and Stephen Filyaw (Polaris)

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) selected me as a recipient of the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence based upon my record in support of both small and large manufacturers. The award was presented during an event hosted by NAM member company Polaris in Roseau on Tuesday. Representatives from Marvin Windows and Doors and Schwan Food Company were also in attendance. The success of our manufacturing sector is part of the reason the Seventh District’s economy has been so strong. I have had the opportunity to visit manufacturers throughout the district and am continually impressed by the work they do and their commitment to the region. I am proud of my record standing up against burdensome regulations in Washington and am committed to fighting future regulatory efforts that could hamper the manufacturing sector’s growth. I thank the National Association of Manufacturing for this recognition.

Anheuser Busch Malt Plant

Judd Carlson (Plant Manager)

On Wednesday, I toured and met employees from the Anheuser Busch malt plant in Moorhead. I learned more about the malting process and saw firsthand how our region's barley crop gets to the plant, gets turned into malt, and is shipped out to breweries. The Moorhead plant sends out around eight million bushels of malt each year.

Friend of Farm Bureau

Alise Sjostrom, Senator Klobuchar / Linda and Jerry Jennissen, Lucy and Alise Sjostrom

I was invited by the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation to attend the presentation of the “Friend of Farm Bureau” award to fellow award recipient Senator Amy Klobuchar this week. The “Friend of Farm Bureau” award is given to individuals who have championed causes supported by the organization. It’s been a pleasure to work closely with Senator Klobuchar on agriculture issues, and I’m pleased that I could be present to see her receive this award. The presentation was held at The Redhead Creamery in Stearns County, which is owned by Lucas and Alise Sjostrom. Lucas was an intern on the House Agriculture Committee when I was Chairman, so it was great to visit with his family at their creamery. Besides myself and Senator Klobuchar, the other Members of the Minnesota delegation who received the 2014 “Friend of Farm Bureau” award are Senator Al Franken and Representatives Tim Walz, John Kline, and Erik Paulsen.

Dairy Margin Protection Program

I stopped in McIntosh to attend an informational session on the new dairy program. The event was hosted by the USDA Farm Service Agency and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. USDA announced this week that they are extending the deadline for enrolling in the new Dairy Margin Protection Program until December 5, 2014. The Dairy Margin Protection Program, which I worked to develop and include in the farm bill, is a voluntary safety net program that aims to address volatility in the dairy marketplace by addressing the difference between milk and feed prices. Starting in 2015, dairy producers will be able to choose their level of insurance based on the margin between milk price and feed cost. Reforming dairy programs was a top farm bill priority for me, and I’m pleased that USDA is moving ahead with their implementation. USDA is encouraging producers to utilize its new web tool to help determine the level of coverage that best meets their needs. The University of Minnesota Extension Service and USDA Farm Service Agency will continue to hold educational meetings throughout the state. Newsstand

4-H National Mentoring Program

The National 4-H Council has awarded $215,000 to the University of Minnesota Extension in support of the 4-H National Mentoring Program. Part of the DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention effort, this grant will expand and improve one-on-one, group, and peer mentoring activities and services in Minnesota. As a former member of 4-H, I am a dedicated advocate of the organization’s emphasis on helping our underserved youth reach their full potential.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant

The Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) provides $340 million to assist fire departments and ambulance and emergency medical service organizations in serving communities across the country. The application period for the AFG will commence on Monday, November 3rd, and close on Friday, December 5th.

Capitol Christmas Tree

An 88-foot tall White Spruce in the Chippewa National Forest was cut down at an event attended by nearly 500 people to celebrate the tree’s selection as the 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree. The 13,000 pound spruce, once prepped at Bemidji State University, will travel 2,000 miles to the west lawn of the US Capitol Building in Washington. Attendees, including area school students and representatives from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, enjoyed the cut with accompanying song and dance performances and hot chocolate.

Daylight Saving Time

Car of History Clock, National Statuary Hall

Sunday, November 2 marks the end of this year’s Daylight Saving Time. At 2:00 a.m., most of the United States will revert back to standard time by turning clocks back one hour to 1:00 a.m. Fire departments often reference “Falling Back” as a convenient time to check and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

County Courthouse Tour

Lake of the Woods County Courthouse 1909/ County Government Center

Lake of the Woods County, the most recently established in the state, officially emerged as Minnesota’s 87th county in 1922. Early court sessions were held wherever space was available; often in the Masonic Hall and the high school gymnasium. In 1906, the towns of Baudette and Spooner were consolidated into the current town of Baudette, where an empty school building was purchased, renovated, and served as the county’s first courthouse. Much of the town of Baudette, including the courthouse, was damaged in a 1910 forest fire, prompting the completion of a second courthouse (modeled after the first) to serve the county for nearly 50 years. In 2001, the Lake of the Woods County Government Center replaced the courthouse with 21,684 square feet to house the courtroom and other government offices on a single level.

This Week in American History
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.

Visitors from the 7th

Anne Foster (TX), Cindy and Will Bleier (PELICAN RAPIDS), Nancy and Richard Krauel (LONG PRAIRIE)

Makenzie Raiber (LITCHFIELD)

2014 Congressional Art Competition