Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/9/2017

November 13, 2017

Early winter sightings
Thief River Falls

Dear Friends,

This week we recognize Veterans Day as a day to honor all the men and women who have served our country. A veteran’s commitment to protecting America should never go unnoticed or unappreciated. We reflect on the sacrifices made by veterans and their families which have helped to ensure that freedom and democracy prevail in this country. Their strength and courage inspires us to work hard at improving our lives at home. I am proud to join with my fellow Minnesotans to pay tribute to those who have bravely defended this country.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

USDA Deputy Secretary Censky

On Wednesday, I met with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky to discuss the important issues that face the Department of Agriculture as Congress works to reauthorize the farm bill. I congratulate him on his new position and look forward to our continued work together to benefit and promote the agricultural community.

NAFTA Roundtable

On Tuesday, I joined Congressman Conaway in hosting a roundtable discussion on the status of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with eight agricultural stakeholder groups. Participating groups included the American Farm Bureau Federation, International Dairy Foods Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, Corn Refiners Association, U.S. Grains Council, United Fresh Produce Association, and the Wine Institute. I continue to be supportive of efforts to renegotiate NAFTA, but we need to make sure the end result will work for agriculture and that we don’t cause any harm to agriculture markets. I am concerned that the Administration is set on withdrawing from NAFTA, and feel strongly that we can’t go backward. I have expressed my concerns to the administration and urge them to continue working to get these farmers a fair deal. 

Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau

On Wednesday, I met with four leaders from the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau. We discussed how crop insurance helps farmers in Minnesota and across the country. We also shared ideas about how to promote and defend sound risk management policies.

Florida Citrus Producers

I recently met with Florida citrus producers to discuss disaster assistance for Florida agriculture, particularly citrus. Hurricane Irma’s direct hit to roughly 80 percent of Florida’s citrus crop, some 420,000 acres, added another blow to the economically stressed sector.

Department of Veterans Affairs

“…To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
– President Abraham Lincoln, 1865

Today, officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stopped by the office to recognize all Members of Congress, and their staff, who are veterans. The VA brought a signature lapel pin as a token of appreciation and gratitude for our service to our nation. I am proud to accept this pin as a sign of my continued support and dedication to our veterans. It is an honor to be recognized by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, just as it is an honor to have served and to continue to serve veterans as a Member of Congress.

Lancaster Port Meeting

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held their second and last town hall in Lancaster to discuss their decision to reduce hours at the local Port of Entry. A petition that opposed this decision collected 495 signatures. Many people also took the opportunity to question CBP officers and express concerns about the effect this decision will have on local businesses from Lancaster to Thief River Falls. The CBP officers said that a final decision has not been made yet. I hope that they will reverse course on reducing hours.

You can watch a highlight of the meeting online here.

Minnesota AgriGrowth

Clarissa dairy farmer Pat Lunemann, who serves as Chair of AgriGrowth, spoke to attendees at the Minnesota AgriGrowth annual conference in Minneapolis on Thursday. My staff attended the conference, which included a speech from USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky and many other informative sessions. 

American Association of Swine Veterinarians

Emily Walz, Amy Kinsley, Brad Lleuwerke, Steven Stone (all Minnesotans)

A group of Minnesotans representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians stopped by my office on Wednesday to meet with my staff aide Rebekah Solem. They talked about a number of their legislative priority issues, including NAFTA, immigration, and the next Farm Bill. According to its mission statement, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians seeks to promote healthy pigs, help veterinarians increase their knowledge, and push for science-based approaches when working to solve veterinary matters and public health issues.

State Legislative Preview hosted by the League of Women Voters

The local Detroit Lakes chapter of the League of Women Voters hosted a State Legislative Preview on Tuesday night located at the Detroit Lakes Public Library. A member of my staff was able to attend and listen to the conversation. State Senator Kent Eken and State Representative Paul Marquart were the two guest panelists answering constituent questions and providing insight on upcoming legislation. Listening sessions are great opportunities to provide legislators with information while having local residents be civically engaged.

Fall Lender’s Forum

On Tuesday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Fall Lender’s Forum hosted by Ridgewater College’s Farm Business Management Program. The Lender Forum offered helpful information about farm risk management, beginning farmer tax credits, and programs offered by the Rural Finance Authority.

Mowing and Haying Listening Session

My staff attended the Minnesota Department of Transportation Mowing and Haying Listening Session in Marshall this week. There was a lively and passionate group that turned out to make statements and ask questions regarding the cost and implementation of the law that was passed in the 1980s.


POW/MIA Commemorative Chair

This week, Congress unveiled a commemorative chair placed inside the U.S. Capitol Building in memory of our Nation’s missing service members. This chair will remain unoccupied perpetually in remembrance of the nearly 91,000 servicemembers that are Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.

Woodland Elementary receives Blue Ribbon Award

This week, the U.S. Department of Education selected Alexandria’s Woodland Elementary as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance and progress in closing student achievement gaps. Woodland Elementary is one of only 342 schools selected for this year’s award, and I am very proud of the effort it has put into educating young students in the 7th.  

This Week in American History

On November 10, 1919, the American Legion hosted its first convention in Minneapolis. The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veteran’s organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide.

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 is a broken piece of infrastructure turned into a city park. The failure of this landmark caused the only flood in the recorded history of its hometown…

Congratulations to Shirley Evans of Kerkhoven, who was the first to correctly identify our Spotted in the Seventh as Ringneck Pheasants!

Share your guess on our website –

“Arrival in Rivendell”
Sylvia Venberg (FERGUS FALLS)