Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/22/2017

November 27, 2017

Drumstick and Wishbone
The two lucky Minnesota turkeys at
The White House Pardoning Ceremony

Dear Friends,

As families celebrate Thanksgiving throughout the country this week, let’s remember to be thankful for the hardworking farmers and producers who make our favorite meal of the year possible. Our agricultural community not only provides for healthy and fresh meals but supports more than a fifth of the U.S. economy. I will continue to work to provide safeguards that keep our rural economy strong for both our farmers and all those they feed. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to serve as your Representative.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Presidential Turkey Pardoning

This week I was honored to take part in the annual Presidential Turkey Pardoning festivities as this year’s turkeys came from the 7th District of Minnesota. The Chairman of the National Turkey Federation, Carl Wittenburg, along with his wife Sharlene, raised this year’s birds on their farm in Alexandria, Minnesota. Five Douglas County 4-Hers assisted the Wittenburgs with raising and training the 2017 National Thanksgiving Flock: Kodi Bundermann, Kayla Egenes, Christina Kuismi, Kerryn Lund, and Katie Kent.  Prior to this year, none of the five 4-Hers had experience with turkeys, but they were mentored by the Wittenburgs and 4-H volunteer, Barb Egenes.

On Monday, Chairman Wittenburg announced at the Turkey Pardoning Media Day at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington that the two birds were named Drumstick and Wishbone by popular vote. Drumstick and Wishbone were chosen from the larger 2017 Thanksgiving Flock based on their showmanship, character, and stature.

On Tuesday, the Minnesotans took the birds to the White House for the official 2017 National Turkey Pardoning by President Trump. While Drumstick won the official 2017 pardoning, alternate Wishbone will also be spared, as the two birds will join last year’s pardoned turkeys, Tater and Tot, at Virginia Tech’s “Gobbler’s Rest” exhibit. This was a great experience, and I am proud of all the Minnesotans who took part in making this year’s National Turkey Pardoning a success.

You can watch the birds make themselves at home in D.C. before their big day here:

At the same event, I was honored to receive the Quilt of Valor from the Douglas County 4-H chapter. Eight youth and three adult volunteers from Douglas County 4-H created this quilt in appreciation for those who have served, and I humbly accepted it on behalf of all of Minnesota’s veterans. I will display the quilt in my Washington office in a place of honor.


I was a guest on Tuesday morning's AgriTalk where I explained my opposition to the House's recently passed tax bill and the negative impacts I fear it would have on the region's producers. We also discussed continuing farm bill negotiations and the policies I hope to see when the bill comes up in the New Year. 

USDA Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Each Thanksgiving, Americans will consume 46 million turkeys! You can call the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline 8am-2pm ET on Thanksgiving Day or visit for more food safety tips.

Adoptive Family Portrait Project

This year my office is proud to participate in the 13th Annual Adoptive Family Portrait Project. Sponsored by Voice for Adoption, the project honors National Adoption Month by connecting families who have grown their family by adoption through foster care to their Members of Congress. I am happy to share the story of the Diane, Allan, and Ryan Cronen of Willmar here in my Washington, D.C. office.

To learn more about how you can participate in National Adoption Month, visit Voice for Adoption’s website. As Ryan writes, “Adoption means being able to have someone to care for and love me – someone who will always be there for me.”

Rural Economic Development (RED) Group

This week my district staff attended the Rural Economic Development (RED) Group meeting. A presentation was given on DevelopMN which is an economic development plan for greater Minnesota developed by the Minnesota Association of Development Organizations. Attendees discussed opportunities and interdependence in relationship to the plan. I look forward to hearing more about the plan and new ideas that come to light as a result of their collaboration initiatives. To read the plan go to:

Northwest Regional Soil and Water Conservation Meeting

One of my staff members was able to attend the recent Northwest Regional Soil and Water Conservation meeting. The Soil and Water Conservation Offices have a busy agenda, discussing buffer strips, clean water, nitrogen fertilizer rule, minimum tillage and funding issues. Many Federal and State conservation and agricultural programs have converge in their offices, and I appreciate the work done by our Soil and Water Conservation office.

Red River Water Management Board

The Red River Water Management Board welcomed a new Executive Director this month, Robert Sip. Mr. Sip has been working for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and grew up in the Red River Valley near Ada. The Board also said goodbye to Ron Harnack, who guided the board and worked with the Minnesota Legislature for project funding. Water issues of the Red River Valley continue to be a top priority in Congress. I wish to welcome Mr. Robert Sip to his new position and extend my appreciation for all the work and support Mr. Ron Harnack has given the Board over his many years of service.

University of Minnesota Crookston

A member of my staff spent a day at the University of Minnesota Crookston with the Campus Advisory and Advancement Board. The new Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause greeted the Board and listened as the different Departments gave updates. Later, they shadowed students in their classes and experienced some interesting classes with excellent teachers. The importance of the higher education’s role in teaching young men and women is vital to economic success. I wish the University and Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause success in the years ahead.

This Week in American History

Current County Seat in Thief River Falls; General Store on display at Pioneer Village

On November 23, 1910 Pennington County was created. Formed from sections of Red Lake County, Pennington County was named after Edmund Pennington and is home to over 14,000 people today.

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 first created in 1986 by local turkey growers, and then redesigned in 1998 after an accidental fire. Just in time for Thanksgiving, this bird weighs over 5,000 lbs…

Congratulations to Jon Folkedahl of Willmar, who was the first to correctly identify last week’s location as Birch Lakes State Forest in Stearns County!

Share your guess on our website –

Robbins Island