Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/20/2015

Itasca State Park

Dear Friends,

American Sugarbeet growers and processors are among the most competitive producers in the world. Representatives of American Crystal Sugar visited my office this week to discuss the sugar industry and my efforts to protect nearly 28,000 American producers from unfair imports. I also met with the Biomass Thermal Energy Council and the Minnesota Soybean Growers to express my support for renewable sources of energy and heat production. Finally, the Committees on Agriculture and Transportation reviewed international food aid programs in preparation for the next Farm Bill.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

American Crystal Sugar

Growers and representatives from American Crystal Sugar came by the office on Wednesday to discuss the latest in farm policy. Two months ago, I testified in support of our beet growers and sugar industry during at a hearing of the International Trade Commission regarding the deal to resolve the subsidized Mexican sugar imports issue. The ITC recently ruled in our favor in that case, so it was good to talk with beet growers about the next steps in maintaining our effective sugar policy.

Biomass Thermal Energy Council

Nathan Schollig (NY), Chris Tureson (GREENBUSH), Donald Fosnacht (Minneapolis), Alisa Schumacher-Schollig (NY), and Mark Schollig (NY)

Innovative leaders building a renewable energy framework are more important than ever. I sat down with representatives from the Biomass Thermal Energy Council to make sure that biomass is included in our renewable energy portfolio. As a member of the Biomass Caucus, I support biomass as an efficient source for heat production.

Minnesota Soybean Growers

Bill Zurn (CALLAWAY), Ed Hegland (APPLETON), Chris Hill (Brewster)

Biodiesel is an important piece of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will ultimately decrease our dependence on foreign oil and help our country become energy independent. I met with Minnesota Soybean Growers on Tuesday to discuss ways to increase our domestic energy production and the benefits biofuels policy can provide for our nation’s farmers.

Midwestern Equipment Dealers

Will Rogers (IA-NE Equipment Dealers), Natalie Higgins (Equipment Dealers Association) and Nick Sinner (MN-SD Equipment Dealers)

This week I met with agriculture equipment dealers from around the Midwest to talk about tax issues, specifically, the Section 179 deduction. We need to be able to give farmers more certainty and help them make calculated decisions when purchasing equipment. I look forward to working with the House leadership in tackling this and other tax problems as the discussions start to move forward.

NRCS State Conservationist

This Wednesday, I met with NRCS State Conservationist Cathee Pullman. Pullman oversees USDA conservation issues in Minnesota. Conservation programs in Minnesota help farmers do everything from protecting soil to reducing flooding, so we had a lot of ground to cover during our meeting. I applaud Pullman for her effort to visit each of Minnesota’s counties to see what is happening out on the land. We worked in the last farm bill to streamline conservation programs, and I will continue my efforts to see that these programs are working for our farmers and ranchers.

Naval Services Leadership Summit

My staff assistant Meg Louwagie joined several branches of the Navy this week at the Naval Services Leadership Summit at Fort Snelling. Among the topics discussed were ROTC, the K-12 STEM program, retention and recruitment, and efforts to complete the Bridge to the Future exhibit.

Legislative Update

Transportation and International Food Aid

Witnesses from the maritime industry testified before Agriculture and Transportation Subcommittees during this week’s joint hearing to review international food aid programs in preparation for the next Farm Bill. Potential changes to existing food aid programs and cargo preference rules could impact the long-held partnership between the maritime industry and American agriculture. 

Syrian Refugees

Our country’s national security is one of my highest priorities,which is why I voted in favor of H.R. 4038, the American SAFE Act. This bill would add an additional security measure by requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to also conduct background investigations before a refugee can be considered for admission to the United States. Our refugee security screening process is already considered the most rigorous and comprehensive in the world, but we need to make sure that all of our security experts are working together closely to keep Americans safe.


Conservation Reserve Program

The upcoming Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment period extends from December 1, 2015 to February 26, 2016. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, program participants agree to adopt agricultural practices that help improve environmental health and quality. CRP resources, including application materials, will be available online as soon as the enrollment period begins.

USS Arizona

John Delmar Anderson, the oldest known survivor of the sinking of Battleship USS Arizona, died Saturday in New Mexico at age 98. Anderson spent most of his childhood in Dilworth before joining the Navy, where he and 355 of his fellow crewmen survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. According to the USS Arizona Reunion Association, seven known survivors of the attack are still alive today.

National Rural Health Day

On Thursday, communities across the country celebrated the 5th annual National Rural Health Day. Rural America faces unique health care challenges, and I have fought to ensure that every Minnesotan, regardless of where they live, has access to quality care. The 7th District has always sought innovative solutions to these challenges, and has long been a leader in promoting access to care through tools like telemedicine. This day celebrates the hard work of our caregivers, providers, and communities to strengthen rural health.

Discovering the 7th

The Osakis Area Heritage Center is an all-volunteer organization that preserves and shares the history of the region. The Center’s research collection includes family files, cemetery and town maps, scrapbooks, yearbooks, and newspapers from the past 50 years. Visitors are welcome to both tour the museum’s collections and assist as volunteer researchers. 

This Week in American History

Image of U.S. Capitol in 1800
U.S. Capitol (1800)

Following a 10-year stay in Philadelphia, the Senate of the sixth Congress met in the Capitol building for the first time on November 17, 1800. Though construction efforts began in 1793, funding shortfalls for materials and labor rendered the House of Representatives wing incomplete at the time. The Senate wing would accommodate the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and district courts until subsequent expansions were completed over the next several decades.  

Josie Wilson (FERGUS FALLS)
2015 Congressional Art Competition