Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/20

Snow in Swift

Dear Friends,

This week, a bill I sponsored to name the Fergus Falls Federal Courthouse after Judge Edward J. Devitt passed the Senate. Since my bill also passed the House of Representatives in late September, it now goes to the White House to be signed by the President. A groundbreaking ceremony for a rehabilitation center was held at the St. Cloud VA Health Care system, which will help to provide more excellent care to our nation’s veterans. In agriculture news, I spent a few extra days in Washington this week as we continued negotiations toward a deal on the farm bill. Finally, the Smithsonian is asking for personal stories from farmers across the nation about the experiences of farming and ranching. See below for more information. 


Congressman Collin C. Peterson

Minnesota 7th District

Fergus Falls Courthouse

Legislation I sponsored with Senator Amy Klobuchar to rename the federal courthouse in Fergus Falls after Judge Edward J. Devitt, the former chief judge of Minnesota’s federal district court, unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Formally confirmed in 1955, Devitt served as a federal judge for thirty seven years until his death at the age of 80, including twenty two years as chief judge. Judge Devitt was a distinguished jurist and it's fitting to honor him by naming the Fergus Falls building after him. Judge Devitt was popular among his colleagues, was a friend and role model to countless judges.


In the midst of some wintry conditions on Monday, the St. Cloud VA Health Care system, which benefits veterans living in the eastern areas of the 7th District, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rehabilitation Center. The center will support residential and outpatient programs, an Independent Living Skills area, and advanced medical technology to provide higher-quality care to Veterans. Some of the expanded programs will be Physiatry, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy. I believe our nation’s veterans deserve the best health care possible, and this new Rehabilitation Center will improve quality of life.

Agriculture Innovation and Heritage Archive

As fewer and fewer Americans make their living primarily through farming, it is becoming more important to preserve innovations and experiences in farming. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is asking the public to share their stories about the technologies and advancements in agricultural work. The goal of this archive is to build a comprehensive digital archive of modern agriculture through user-submitted personal stories.

If you or someone you know are interested in sharing your agriculture story, please click here.

USDA Rural Development will provide a $2.1 million loan guarantee to Great River Energy to provide financing to Vertical Farms Produce, LLC for the purchase of equipment at their Fergus Falls facility. The project is expected to create 14 new jobs. This is great news for Fergus Falls and for the region. Value-added produce is making great strides in our rural communities along with the desire for local foods, and this will be a nice boost to the local economy.

The project consists of Vertical Farms, LLC operating a year-round indoor growing and packaging facility using Artificial Light Vertical Stacking (ALVS) technology.  The initial product will be lettuce, with expansion of the product mix to include herbs, spinach, strawberries and basil.  

USDA Rural Development has approved a 70 percent Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan for Great River Energy to fund the project. Additional funding partners include West Central Initiative, the Fergus Falls Port Authority, and the City of Fergus Falls.

Traveling Exhibit in Kittson County

The Kittson County Museum and History Center in Lake Bronson is currently showing a traveling exhibit, “Innovators, Inventors and Entrepreneurs” sponsored by the Minnesota’s Historic Northwest, a partnership of museums in a 12-county region. The exhibit includes people and companies that tell a great story about Northwest Minnesota.

See the story from the Grand Forks Herald by clicking here.

This Week in American History

The Birth of Aviation

Painting inside Capitol rotunda depicting the birth of aviation

On December 17th, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright become the first humans to successfully fly a self-propelled aircraft. On the ground breaking flight, Orville piloted the gas-powered biplane for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. The Wright brothers picked Kitty Hawk, a small village on coastal North Carolina, to conduct their flight tests because of the steady winds and the sand dunes provided soft landings. They designed and built a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine to install into a new biplane. The first few attempts at flight failed due to a stalled engine, but after Orville reached the air for 12 seconds the aviation age was born.

“Serene Lagoon”

Morgan Howard (WARREN)

2013 Congressional Art Competition