Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/25/2019

January 28, 2019

Winterfest 2019 in Spicer

Dear Friends,

Today, the President announced that a tentative agreement has been made with Congressional leaders to temporarily reopen the government for 3 weeks and pay federal employees. I am encouraged to see the Administration and Congress come together to pursue a long-term solution to our national security concerns. I hope to see this compromise legislation enacted without delay.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

U.S. Grains Council

I met with Floyd Gaibler, Director of Trade Policy at the U.S. Grains Council, to discuss the state of our export markets for barley, corn, sorghum, and ethanol and its byproducts on Thursday. The Grains Council brings together producers and agribusiness to cultivate customers for U.S. agricultural products. I learned that the Grains Council’s Regional Director for the Western Hemisphere, Marri Tejada, grew up in Lyon County. I look forward to working with the Grains Council staff and their growers to identify roadblocks and opportunities for U.S. exports. 


On Tuesday morning, I was an in-studio guest on News and Views with Joel Heitkamp. I took phone calls and answered questions from listeners. We also discussed implementing the new farm bill, my responsibilities as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and the government shutdown and its impact on the people of the Seventh District.

Click this link to listen to my interview.

House Agriculture Committee Leaders Elected

On January 4, I was elected by my colleagues in the House of Representatives to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture in the 116th Congress. I am honored to receive the support of the House, and I look forward to continuing the important work of the committee to address the challenges facing our producers, our rural communities, and our working families across the country.

On Thursday, Members of the Agriculture Committee elected the Chairs of the six House Agriculture Subcommittees:

  • David Scott of Georgia will chair the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.
  • Jim Costa of California will chair the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
  • Marcia Fudge of Ohio will chair the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations.
  • Filemon Vela of Texas will chair the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.
  • Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands will chair the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research.
  • Abigail Spanberger of Virginia will chair the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

I look forward to working with each of these talented Subcommittee Chairs. They bring a range of experiences and strengths to their work, and each is focused on how the work of their Subcommittee can further our efforts to find practical solutions for the issues facing Americans.

Hockey Day Minnesota

Last weekend, the city of Bemidji hosted the 13th Hockey Day Minnesota, an annual all-day televised event that moves to different locations year-to-year. Local hockey teams from high school and college levels play on an outdoor rink. In addition to the outdoor sporting event, there are food trucks, firepits, and large warming tents where attendees can enjoy live music and refreshments.

Henry Tweten Retires from East Grand Forks City Council

Henry Tweten is retiring after serving 24 years on the East Grand Forks City Council. He is 94 years old and has lived his life dedicated to public service. He served in the Army in World War II and earned a Purple Heart. After the war, he graduated from Law School at University of North Dakota and practiced law for nearly four decades. Henry said, “It is better to give than receive. I spent my life giving of myself to help people and I intend to spend the rest of my life doing the same thing.” Thank you for your many years of service, Henry.

We Are Water MN

The University of Minnesota-Crookston brought folks together on Martin Luther King Jr.  Day to read from the civil rights leader’s writings as part of the two-week “We Are Water MN” forum series. This series of events also includes visual arts programs, a family night and an agricultural water forum.


Farm Service Agency Offices to Reopen During Government Shutdown

USDA announced on Tuesday that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen January 24 to provide an expanded but limited number of transactions. For the first two weeks of this operating plan FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays. In subsequent weeks, offices will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays if needed to provide the additional administrative services. FSA employees will be working without pay until the shutdown ends.

Click here for the list of transactions that will be available through FSA under this plan.

**As talks to reopen the government develop, additional announcements regarding FSA services may be made by USDA**

Market Facilitation Program Deadline Extended to February 14

USDA announced on Tuesday that due to the government shutdown limiting access to Farm Service Agency offices the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which aids farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14. The original deadline was January 15. The announcement stated that other program deadlines may be modified, and that USDA will announce those modifications as they are addressed.

Free Tax Preparation Sites Available Across Minnesota

On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that over 200 sites will offer free tax assistance for those filing income tax and property tax refund returns. Most sites will be open early February through April 15. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax-Aide programs are two free tax preparation options where volunteers help Minnesotans prepare their federal and state returns.

You can get help at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site if any of the following apply:

  • You are age 60 or older.
  • You are a person with a disability.
  • You speak limited or no English.
  • Your annual income is less than $55,000.

This Week in American History

On January 22, 1967, KSJR (St. John's Radio) began broadcasting rock music from St. John's University in Collegeville. KSJR later would develop into Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), one of the largest and most successful public radio systems in the country, reaching 20 million people each week.

What’s the Story?

The House Rules and Manual, formally entitled Constitution, Jefferson’s Manual, and Rules of the House of Representatives is published every two years during the first session of each Congress. Every It contains important documents and guidelines that govern the procedures used within the U.S. House of Representatives, including the Constitution of the United States, the rules of the House, provisions of law that affect Congressional action, and historical decisions that influence how certain rules are interpreted. I have this copy in my Washington, D.C. office.

Lukas Hillenbrand