Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/12/2018

Jan 17, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education

Middle River

Dear Friends,

This week I joined the House Agriculture Committee in Pennsylvania for a farm bill listening session, the final segment in our series of sessions designed to hear real farmer input on their priorities for the upcoming bill. I also spoke with several media outlets regarding some challenges facing the farm bill and President Trump’s visit to American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. Finally, I agreed to serve as an original co-sponsor of a resolution to restore the FCC’s net neutrality rules. I thank all of those who reached out to share their concerns on this important issue and will continue to prioritize your input foremost.

In addition to farm bill preparation in the Agriculture Committee, the next few months include a packed legislative calendar for the House of Representatives with a government funding bill and reauthorization of healthcare programs important to the district possible soon. I have also heard from a number of people in the 7th about some unintended consequences with the tax bill that are disrupting the grain market – hurting farmers, grain elevators, and ethanol facilities. I will continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to support a fix as quickly as possible.   


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Senator Smith

This Wednesday, I invited Senator Smith to my office to welcome her to the Minnesota Congressional Delegation. As the newest appointee to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the Senator is primed to get to work on supporting our farmers and ranchers. I was happy to sit down together and share some advice on the upcoming farm bill. I look forward to our continued efforts to fight for all Minnesotans and keep our rural economy strong.

Farm Bill Session

On Saturday, I traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., with House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition Chairman G.T. Thompson, (R-Pa.), to host a farm bill listening session at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show. This is the last listening session to be held in the series of Committee efforts to hear directly from varied farm bill stakeholders across all regions of the country before the House takes up farm bill reauthorization early this year. Many topics were covered during the listening session and major interest was found in keeping a strong farm safety net with crop insurance, making the dairy programs work better for producers, and keeping nutrition programs viable.   

Star Tribune: Minnesota Farmers, food stamp users have much on line in next farm bill

I spoke with the Star Tribune last week, outlining potential changes to the upcoming farm bill. Because we won’t have new money to work with, the next farm bill will be more revolutionary than evolutionary, but I believe we can still make some changes to improve the farm bill’s safety net and streamline conservation programs. I also reiterated my call for caution on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). There are some who would like to make drastic cuts to the program or even separate it entirely from the farm bill, which would serve to bring down the entire bill.

President Trump Addresses American Farm Bureau Federation Convention

On Monday, President Trump addressed the 99th American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Nashville. He was the first President since George H.W. Bush to speak to the group. I discussed his speech on both Gray TV and Point of View. Presidents don’t often talk about farmers or agriculture, so I think this was positive and appreciated his message about getting rid of regulations. I would’ve liked to see him speak more specifically on trade and immigration, because there is a lot of uncertainty over how the administration plans to move forward.

United Way of Bemidji Area

Denae Almano, the new Executive Director of United Way of Bemidji Area, visited my office this week to discuss her efforts to improve education, housing, and healthcare in the area. We both agree that it is important that congress reauthorizes the CHIP program so that children and pregnant women can continue to receive care. I was also happy to hear that the community’s new homeless housing units have been effective in sheltering those in need. I look forward to working with Ms. Almano in the future.

University of Minnesota Research

This week Dr. Mallika Nocco with the University of Minnesota visited my office to share information about the research she is doing on water resources in areas with irrigated crops in sandy soils. Dr. Nocco shared how the University’s research can be used to ensure that farmers continue to have access to a sustainable supply of water. Their research also reinforces the ongoing need for USDA conservation programs, which help farmers make the most efficient use of Minnesota's water resources.

Frozen Farm Forum

The Lac qui Parle County EDA hosted the very first Frozen Farm Forum in Madison this week. The Forum focused on farming industrial hemp and renewable energy. I have supported opportunities to expanding these agricultural markets and look forward to continuing to work with Minnesotans on these important issues.

Rural Minnesota Broadband Coalition Meeting

On Tuesday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Rural Minnesota Broadband Coalition meeting. Affordable and accessible broadband continues to be a top priority for many communities and rural areas. I will continue to work at the federal level to support programs and policies that expand access to broadband throughout the Seventh District. 

Lakeland Elementary

Last week was an exciting week for the Willmar community as they opened their newest school building, Lakeland Elementary. An approved referendum in 2015 made their vision a reality. My staff aide Jacki Anderson toured the new school which was already filled with eager young students. I commend the Willmar community on their investment in education and commitment to our youth.

Fourtown Grygla Sportsmans Picnic

The Fourtown Grygla Sportsman Club held a picnic this week at the Grande Corner East of Grygla. With around 125 people attending the picnic, I am glad to hear of such strong support for their club activities and continued interest in keeping and improving our trails for future use.

Franklin Middle School Science Fair

This week my staff attended the Franklin Middle School Science Fair in Thief River Falls. There were dozens of projects on many topics, and this science fair was a great example of the innovation of our youth. I encourage our students to continue to learn and work hard in school. I also want to thank the teachers and educational staff for their invaluable work with our youth.

Streamlining the Watershed and Conservation Plan

This week my staff aide LeRoy Stumpf attended the “One Watershed, One Plan” meeting on streamlining the watershed and conservation plan in Northwest Minnesota. Land owners and interested citizens from the Thief River Falls and Grygla area attended the meetings to learn about the upcoming consolidation of multiple agency plans into one. The Watershed District, the Soil and Water Districts, and the Counties hope to see a simplified plan in place that makes it easier for our communities to understand their watershed plan. This process is taking place throughout Minnesota and is projected to roll out by 2019.

Legislative Update

Net Neutrality

This week, I agreed to serve as an original co-sponsor of a resolution to restore the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The resolution, offered under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), would restore the ability of federal and state agencies to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking online content. It also restores restrictions on paid prioritization, which allows content owners to pay ISPs for faster service. I appreciate the input I received from many of you regarding the FCC’s decision to remove net neutrality rules and will work to ensure that any future proposals help connect rural residents, businesses, producers, and providers to each other and the world.

This Week in American History

On January 8, 1971 President Nixon signed a law creating Voyageurs National Park. The park is home to 218,000 acres of Minnesota wilderness and welcomes more than 240,000 visitors a year!

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s location was named by an Act of Congress I sponsored to commemorate a former Minnesota Congressman and Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Minnesota…

Congratulations to Deborah Worley of Bemidji, who was the first to correctly identify last week’s location as Garden Island State Recreation Area!

Share your guess on our website –

Buena Vista State Forest