Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/30/2018
This week, I was glad to announce that House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and I have reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill along with our Senate counterparts, Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. While work continues to finalize the bill – we are polishing off language and waiting on scores from the Congressional Budget Office – I look forward to presenting it to folks in the Seventh District and around the country as soon as we are done. On Tuesday, my office learned that Northbound U.S.- Canadian border crossings were ordered to close early, causing problems for people that rely on border crossings for work. My office contacted U.S. Customs and Border Control on Wednesday and got them to reverse this order. I am happy that this change could be made quickly to spare folks from racing the clock home every night.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Border Decision to Lock Northbound Gates Early is Reversed
On Tuesday night, travelers heading into Canada from Roseau were surprised when northbound traffic was blocked at the U.S. border after 8 P.M. even though Canadian authorities keep their ports open until 10 P.M. and midnight. On Wednesday, my office spoke with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Seattle field office where the decision was originally made. That evening, CBP reversed course and will allow northbound traffic to reach the Tolsoi Port until 10 P.M., Piney Port until 10 P.M., and the South Junction Port until midnight.
I’m glad this issue was resolved quickly, and I’m still urging CBP to keep the Lancaster and Roseau ports open longer.
U.S. Canada Inter-Parliamentary Meeting
I met with members of the Canadian parliament on Wednesday to discuss our national relations, the new trade deal to replace NAFTA, the administration’s continued tariffs on steel and aluminum, and dairy policy in Canada and the U.S. We also discussed the northwest angle and the history of the Blue Dog Coalition.
Bayer Crop Science Vice President of Government Relations
Duane Simpson and Scott Kuschmider
Bayer Crop Science’s new Vice President of Government Relations, Duane Simpson, stopped by my office on Thursday to introduce himself and to share a few of Bayer’s priorities for the 116th Congress. This division of Bayer develops crop protection and seed products with the goal of increasing the productivity and nutritional value of crops around the world. I was glad to meet Duane and I look forward to hearing more from him and his team.
Minnesota Chamber and Building and Construction Trades Council
President Doug Loon and President Harry Melander
Doug Loon of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Harry Melander of the Building and Construction Trades Council traveled to Washington to advocate for H.R. 3115, the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act. I support this bill that codifies an already-approved land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet. It passed the House of Representatives by a strong bipartisan vote of 309 - 99. The project has undergone more than a decade of environmental review and will create jobs in Minnesota.
Ken Holmen (CEO), Santo Cruz (Director of Community and Government Relations) and Paul Harris (Vice President, General Counsel)
This week, representatives of CentraCare Health visited my office to discuss rural nursing shortages and the system’s response to the opioid epidemic. The group also thanked me for my support as they participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program to achieve better health outcomes and lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries. CentraCare is a non-profit health system comprised of hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing, clinics, and pharmacies spanning 12 counties in greater Minnesota.
Discussing the Future of U.S. Hemp
Michael Bowman and Hillary Barry (LAKE WILSON)
I recently met with Michael Bowman, a Colorado producer of industrial hemp, and his uncle, Hillary Barry of Lake Wilson, on the likelihood of deregulating the production of industrial hemp within the 2018 Farm Bill. I supported provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill which encourage additional research on this promising new crop and I look forward to the possible encouragement of wider plantings of industrial hemp by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Pheasants Forever – Dave Nomsen
I sat down with my friend David Nomsen this week. Dave is the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Pheasants Forever and I was glad to give him an update on the Farm Bill. We discussed the conservation title of the bill and our shared desire to increase the maximum number of acres allowed in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a program that incentivizes farmers to take cropland out of production and plant species that improve environmental health. CRP land frequently becomes a habitat for wildlife and investing in this program is an effective way to grow regional animal populations.
Sharing Rural Values with Urban Members
Congressman Tom Suozzi represents New York’s 3rd District containing most of the North Shore of Long Island and parts of Queens. Last fall, Rep. Suozzi visited the 7th District to learn about our part of Minnesota and tour a sugarbeet processing plant. We went duck hunting together, and he took the wood duck shown in the picture above. I had his duck mounted and I presented him the trophy this week. It is important for Members of Congress to understand the differences in lifestyle and attitude that exist in other parts of the nation, and I was happy to accompany Congressman Suozzi during his visit.
National Association of Conservation Districts
President-Elect Tim Palmer, Executive Board Member Ian Cunningham (PIPESTONE) and my staff aide Cody Hollerich
Representatives of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) met with my staff this week to discuss the importance of local input on the use of federal conservation funds. NACD represents more than 3,000 conservation districts across the United States and they believe that conservation works best when strategies are coordinated with input from all levels. They stressed the need to maintain funding for conservation programs and the benefit of giving local working groups the freedom to use resources for the activities that are needed most.
Gift Making with the Sons of Norway
The Sons of Norway taught children in Thief River Falls to make traditional Scandinavian Christmas gifts this week. The children learned to make decorative wheat sheaves, spiced orange pomander balls, tree and table ornaments, Christmas cookies and more. The Sons of Norway used this event to kick off the holiday season and to emphasize the importance of giving during this time.
After months of work on the farm bill, I was pleased to announce that House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and I have reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill along with our Senate counterparts, Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. While work continues to finalize the bill—we’re polishing off language and waiting on scores from the Congressional Budget Office—I look forward to presenting it to folks in the Seventh District and around the country as soon as we’re done. I’ve repeatedly heard from farmers and ranchers, rural community advocates, and a range of other farm bill stakeholders and I understand how important it is to get this done. We’re almost there!
The Great Outdoors with Dennis Anderson
Last week I was a guest on The Great Outdoors radio show, hosted by Dennis Anderson. We discussed deer hunting and the Manage Our Wolves bill that had just passed the House, a bill in which I spoke about on the floor.
To listen to our discussion click here.
This Week in American History
On November 28th, 1922, Lake of the Woods County was established. It contains the northernmost point in the Lower 48 states, the Northwest Angle. According to the 2010 census, Lake of the Woods County has a population of 4,045. The county seat is Baudette.
What’s the Story?
Arctic Cat is a snowmobile and ATV manufacturer based in Thief River Falls. Formed in 1960, the company has been an important part of the Thief River Falls community for over fifty years. They unveiled their first front engine snowmobile in 1963 and have since improved and expanded their line of vehicles to fit the needs of recreational and competitive riders across the country. I have a copy of their book, 50 Years of the Cat, on display in my Washington, D.C. office.