Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/1/2017

Dec 4, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy, Health


Dear Friends,

This week, I was honored to receive the National Grange Champion of Rural America Award in recognition of my time working with rural communities. I met with the National Biodiesel Board, Organic Trade Association, and the National Association of Conservation Districts to discuss agricultural developments and efforts to promote our rural economy. Finally, I’d like to congratulate Bemidji on their excellent representation of rural communities by winning Minnesota Monthly’s “Best MN Town” contest.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

National Grange Champion of Rural America Award

On Wednesday, National Grange President Betsy Huber presented me with the organization’s Champion of Rural America Award. The award is presented to elected officials who embody the values of The National Grange. Awardees must demonstrate recognition of the importance of agriculture in our economy and our national security, and have fought to ensure rural Americans have equal access to broadband, quality health care, and excellent educational opportunities. Awardees must also persevere and embody the organization’s core values of faith, hope, charity and fidelity. The State Grange of Minnesota was the first chartered State Grange in the nation, just two years after the founding of the National Grange. The National Grange is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and I thank them for this honor.

National Biodiesel Board

I met with members of the National Biodiesel Board, including biodiesel producers from Minnesota, in my Washington, D.C. office this week. The group discussed the critical importance of renewing the biodiesel tax credit for the biodiesel industry and the importance of farm bill programs across a number of titles. 

National Association of Conservation Districts

This week, I met with members of the National Association of Conservation Districts’ (NACD) Executive Board. The NACD checked in on progress of the farm bill and advocated for a strong conservation title. Conservation Districts play a critical role in helping agricultural producers put conservation practices into action on the ground. 

Organic Trade Association

I met with the Organic Trade Association on Wednesday to discuss organic research and the disadvantages encountered by organic growers within crop insurance. Along with constituent Michael Schneider of Schneider Farms in Sacred Heart and organic farmers from Kansas and Michigan, the group included organic farmer Jayson Werth. Major League Baseball fans will recognize that Jayson Werth is perhaps best known as an outfielder for the Washington Nationals. However, Mr. Werth was on the Hill this week wearing his farming hat and talking about his organics farm in rural Illinois. I appreciated his background in, and perspective on, farming and his interest in bringing awareness to these issues affecting organic agriculture.

Minnesota Agricultural Land Rental Rates

My staff attended a meeting sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension on the data behind rental rates for land owners and agricultural land leasers. Nathan Hulinsky, an Extension Educator with Agricultural Management, used data from several sources to discuss land values, costs of production, and break even points for profit. This information was all based on historical averages. Data like this can be useful for both the farmer and landowner to find a mutual rental agreement. If you are interested in more information, call your Local Extension Office and ask for “What is a Fair Rental Agreement for 2018.” You can find their number here. I support our Extension Service and the work they do to help our farmers and land owners. 

Buffer Regulation

Pennington County in Northwest Minnesota began the process of implementing the Minnesota Buffer Legislation this week. At a local meeting on the subject, the County presented a draft ordinance for implementation. In Minnesota, counties have the option for self-implementation for buffer regulations. Several county commissioners and the local Soil and Water Office explained options for complying and discussed strategies for County and land-owner cooperation.


National Christmas Tree Lighting

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be taking place on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at 5:00 PM on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. This tradition dates back to 1964 with the decorating of the first Christmas tree on the West Front Lawn. The U.S. Forest Service has selected the trees since 1970. This year's tree is an Engelmann spruce from Kootenai National Forest in Montana. The tree will be lit from dusk until 11:00 PM each evening through January 1, 2018. 

Bemidji wins ‘Best Minnesota Town’ Contest

Minnesota Monthly has announced Bemidji as the winner of their “Best MN Town” contest. Bemidji beat out finalists Austin, Owatonna, Waconia, and Walker for the title as the town that best embodies the “spirit of Minnesota.” The win comes with a multi-page editorial feature in Minnesota Monthly, a media promotion campaign, and a celebratory party. You can learn more about the contest here and look out for their winning article in February.

Pipestone County 4-H Family of the Year

The Blom family was recently recognized as the “2017 Pipestone County 4-H Family of the Year.” The family has been involved with 4-H for over a decade, and mom, Julie, has served a co-leader of the Prairie Grangers for five years. 4-H is an invaluable program for our communities and I commend the Bloms on the commitment to agricultural education.

Epilepsy Awareness Month

As we wrap up November, I’d like to recognize the conclusion of Epilepsy Awareness month. Epilepsy impacts over three million people in the United States and around 60,000 people in Minnesota, which is enough people to fill TCF Bank Stadium. You can learn more about opportunities to get involved in our area at

This Week in American History

On November 28, 1922, Lake of the Woods County was established, making it Minnesota’s youngest county. Notably, the Lake of the Woods County contains the Northwest Angle, which is the northernmost point of the contiguous United States.

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 town in the Seventh where two rivers converge – one clear and the other red…

Congratulations to Cheryl Breth of Melrose, who was the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the World’s Largest Turkey in Frazee!

Share your guess on our website –

Otter Tail County