Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/1

Dear Friends,

This week the Farm Bill conference finally got under way as 41 members of the conference came together to begin negotiations. If the conference is left alone to do our work I am positive that we can come up with a bipartisan bill that can pass both chambers. On Tuesday three students from Litchfield High School visited my Washington office after winning a national award for their idea to improve student health. There were several meetings in the 7th District ranging from the importance of manufacturing in Fergus Falls to the Roseau East Diversion Flood Control Project. If you have questions about your current Medicare health plan, there is helpful information below about Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Farm Bill Conference Begins

After nearly four years of work, the first formal 2013 Farm Bill conference meeting was held on Wednesday. The meeting gave the 41 conferees, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tim Walz, the opportunity to share their thoughts on the farm bill.

As I said in my opening remarks, we’ve been working on this bill for so long that I think we’re at a point where members can start making the compromises needed to finish our work. I’m confident that if we can work together we can keep things on track and finish the bill by the end of the year.

To read my opening statement during the Farm Bill conference meeting click here.

Here are a few articles by the Star Tribune, Politico, and The Hill regarding the Farm Bill process.

Bottom left: Mike Adams (AgriTalk) and Lester Schuft (KDUZ)

Bottom right: Nate Winter (McLeod County Extension Director)

This morning I was invited to the KDUZ Farm-City Day breakfast in Hutchinson. Breakfast was served to about 1,000 attendees from 6:00-11:00 a.m. at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. I joined a panel to talk Farm Bill with Emery Kleven (MN Farm Network), Nate Winter (McLeod County Extension Director), Joe Neubauer (University of MN Extension), Gerald Mulder (Farmer and President of the County Corn and Soybean Association), and Mike Adams (AgriTalk).

Click here to listen to the AgriTalk broadcast from the KDUZ Farm-City breakfast.

Students from Litchfield

Ali McGraw, Kalley Spreiter, and Abby Roediger (LITCHFIELD)

Three students from Litchfield High School were recipients of this year’s School Network for Absenteeism Prevention Award from the American Cleaning Institute. Abby Roediger, Kalley Sprieter, and Ali McGraw were awarded the designation after touring their school district and educating students on germs and proper hand washing techniques. They produced a movie called “Handwashing Horrors” to further illustrate the effects germs can have on students’ health. They competed against other high schools nationwide; this is the second time a Minnesota high school has received this award.

For more information on their student visit to Washington click here.

Roseau East Diversion Flood Control Project

State Senator LeRoy Stumpf

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee toured Northwest Minnesota. Chairman LeRoy Stumpf addressed the group and heard testimony at the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. Roseau Mayor Jeff Pelowski presented an update to the senators on the East Diversion Flood Control Project, which is a top priority for me as this project is at a standstill until additional federal and state funding can be secured.

Read more about the Roseau Diversion Project by clicking here.

Manufacturer’s Meeting

Harold Stanislawski (Executive Director, FFEIC), Jim Steen (Sales Manager, Structural Materials, Inc.), and Mayor Hal Leland (FERGUS FALLS)

The Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission (FFEIC) held their Manufacturers Appreciation Breakfast this week. Harold Stanislawski and Mayor Hal Leland presented an appreciation plaque to Jim Steen (pictured above). Jim Steen was the featured speaker of the event. He highlighted that Structural Materials had been in the community since the 1940’s and discussed their product line and how important their employees were to the company. Two new companies that recently moved to the community were also presented with appreciation plaques: Robert Sanberg (COO of WindRider) and Phil and Teresa Johnson (owners of Paydac Plastics). G.L. Tucker of M-State also spoke about their customized training programs for health care and manufacturing companies and told the group about their new mobile welding training facility.

For more information on custom training services, click here.

Click on this link to see the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission’s website.

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period

It’s time to compare plans, and make sure you have the right Medicare health and prescription drug coverage for you.  Your health needs change from year to year. And, your health plan may change the benefits and costs each year too. That's why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare choices regularly. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when ALL people with Medicare can see what new benefits Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage. Open enrollment began on October 15th and will end on December 7th. Information on 2014 plans is currently available by calling the Minnesota Senior Linkage Line at 1-800-333-2433, visiting, or calling 1-800-MEDICARE.  If you are satisfied with your current Medicare plan, then you don’t need to do anything and you will automatically be enrolled in your current plan for 2014.

Critical Access Hospitals

David Nelson (BRECKENRIDGE), Jason Breuer (BAUDETTE), and Ben Koppelman (Park Rapids)

I met with three Critical Access Hospitals administrators associated with Catholic Health Initiative, Ben Koppelman with St. Joseph's Area Health Center in Park Rapids, David Nelson with St. Francis Healthcare Campus in Breckenridge, and Jason Breuer with Lakewood Health Center in Baudette. We discussed the difficulty these facilities are facing with cut to their reimbursement rates, budget cuts and new regulations. Critical Access Hospitals are the backbone in many of our rural communities and these designations need to be preserved.

Cyber Security Awareness

Last month was National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and this is a good opportunity to make sure that we are creating a safe, secure cyber environment in our own homes. With the rise of smartphones and social networks, Americans are sharing more personal information quicker and with more people than ever before. Here are a few tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to protect yourself and your family online:

•         Set strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone.

•         Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.

•         Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information you post online.

•         Be cautious about offers online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Helpful information on protecting kids online, securing your computer and avoiding scams can be found at If you think you have been a victim of a cybercrime, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( as well as your local law enforcement or state attorney general when appropriate.

Marine Corps Marathon

Over the weekend, 135 Minnesotans participated in the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). This annual race was held in Washington, D.C. on October 27th, 2013 as nearly 30,000 runners ran the 26.2 mile course. The MCM is the Nation’s fourth-largest annual marathon and runners from all over the world come to support the United States Marine Corps, promote community goodwill, and test their physical endurance. There is no prize money for winning the marathon which has earned the nickname “The People’s Marathon.”

To see the running results and map of the marathon route, click here.

Fall Back!

Don’t forget to turn back your clocks! Early this Sunday morning, at 2:00 a.m., turn your clocks back to 1:00 a.m.

This Week in American History

President Grover Cleveland accepted the Statue of Liberty as a gift of friendship from France on October 28th, 1886. The Statue of Liberty resides on New York Bedloe’s island, and she is a symbol of remembrance of the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolutionary War. The Statue was originally constructed in France, only to have it taken down into more than 200 packing cases so it could be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. Construction began on Bedloe’s island and the final rivet was fitted on October 28th, 1886. The architect that designed the Statue of Liberty also designed the ornate fountain in the Botanical Garden’s Bartholdi Park, which is one block away from my Washington office.



2013 Congressional Art Competition