Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 12/21/2018
Willmar – Kandiyohi County
This week, I was happy to see President Trump sign the Farm Bill into law. This law comes during a difficult time for agriculture and the reforms it makes will provide increased certainty for producers over the coming years. Congress got this done by eliminating partisan proposals and focusing on what Americans need most at this time. Currently, negotiations on a spending plan to fund the government into the new year are ongoing. Funding expires at midnight tonight and, if an agreement is not reached, unfunded agencies will halt or limit their activities and an extended shutdown will delay the implementation of the Farm Bill that was just enacted with significant bipartisan support. Lawmakers must focus their efforts on keeping the government open so that it can continue to provide services that many Americans depend on.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Farm Bill Signed into Law
On Thursday, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law. I attended the signing ceremony at the White House to commemorate this bipartisan success with my colleagues in the House and Senate. The law includes programs that will support farmers and ranchers, conservationists, and food-insecure families. It also provides expanded risk management options for dairy farmers. During the next Congress, I look forward to working with USDA to ensure these programs are implemented quickly and effectively in the way lawmakers intended.
KASM Focus on Farming Panel in Albany
On Tuesday, I went to Albany to participate in a panel discussion hosted by radio station KASM’s Joe Gill. The “Focus on Farming” panel members included AMPI Chairman Steve Schlangen, Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap, Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish, Minnesota Soy Bean Growers Association Vice President Jamie Beyer, Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Dave Frederickson and Tom Haag from the Minnesota Corn Growers. We discussed health care access and costs, The Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), nitrogen rules, tariffs, soybean exports to China and crop insurance. I answered questions about the recent passage of the farm bill and gave an overview of the challenges faced to get the farm bill to a vote. I also shared information about the dairy provisions of the Farm Bill and explained how the new Dairy Margin Coverage program focuses on ensuring small dairies benefit from the bill.
ELD Mandate for Livestock Haulers
Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that livestock and insect haulers are indefinitely exempt from the requirements of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. According to the agency’s website, drivers transporting livestock and insects can continue to use paper logs to document their hours of service “until further notice.” In the 115th Congress, I sent letters to FMCSA calling for increased clarity and flexibility around the ELD mandate as it relates to livestock and insect haulers. I also introduced the bipartisan Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act (H.R. 5949) to completely exempt agricultural businesses from the ELD mandate.
Serving the 7th
International Call Fraud Update from Arvig
Arvig contacted my office this week alerting us about a new type of scam involving where customers are stuck with huge bills from hackers making international calls. If you believe you have been the target of international call fraud, contact my office in Washington D.C. at 202-225-2165 and they will be happy to assist you.
USDA Announces Second Round of Trade Aid Payments
On December 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the second half of trade mitigation payments will be made through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). American agriculture has been burdened by retaliatory tariffs for much of 2018 and this announcement helps compensate growers for some of their losses. This round of MFP payments will be made at the same rate as the first and come at a time when many farmers are making plans for the next year.
This Week in American History
On December 20th, 1902, Clearwater County was established by Governor Samuel Van Sant. The county’s name was taken from the Ojibwe word “gawakomitgweia” that was translated to “clear water.” The Clearwater River also runs through the area. Clearwater County is home to Lake Itasca, parts of Red Lake and most famously, it contains the source of the Mississippi River.
What’s the Story?
In 2005, I performed at the 20th annual Farm Aid concert with my band, The Second Amendments. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise money to keep struggling family farms in business. Farm Aid has since grown into a nonprofit organization that supports farmers and rural communities. In addition to the annual Farm Aid concert, the Farm Aid organization works to expand local markets for farm goods. They advocate for fair farm policies and offer a range of resources to assist family farms in crisis. I have a t-shirt from the 2005 Farm Aid concert in my Washington D.C. office.
Jim and Rachel Barduson (CARLOS), and Gabe and Sara Lee visited my Washington D.C. office this week