Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/31/2014

Daniel Webster (1840)

Dear Friends,

After several years of negotiations and hard work, I am very pleased to announce that the House passed the bipartisan Farm Bill Conference Report this Wednesday. Passage was long overdue and it was frustrating to build an acceptable compromise at times, but now the farm bill is closer to being signed into law. I have heard from many constituents concerned with the propane supply shortage, and that's why I signed a letter urging the President to take immediate action to help alleviate the problem. This week I met with Consul General Merchant from Canada and the MN Association of Wheat Growers to discuss agriculture in the 7th District. I am happy to announce that Pipestone County became the newest member of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a program that supports our soldiers and their families after deployment ends.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

House Passes Bipartisan Farm Bill

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Report (H.R. 2642, The Agricultural Act of 2014) with a bipartisan 251-166 vote. It’s been nearly four years of hard and, at times, frustrating work to get here but I’m proud that we were able to work together and show that compromise is possible in Washington.

The Senate will likely vote on the bill next week, with Senators anticipating another bipartisan vote in support, before being signed into law by the president.

Farm Bill Summary

2014 Farm Bill: The Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2641)

Floor Statement on Farm Bill

“Thank you Mr. Speaker. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

“Today, after nearly four years of work, the House is finally considering the 2014 Farm Bill conference report. It’s been a challenging and, at times, frustrating process but through it all, the Agriculture Committees persevered and did what we have always done – work together.

“The report before us today represents a compromise. I know this is rare in Washington but it is what is needed to actually get things done. I didn’t get everything I wanted, the Chairman didn’t get everything he wanted; but that’s how compromise works.

“But, at the end of the day, I believe my reservations are outweighed by the need to provide long term certainty for agriculture and nutrition programs and the many positive improvements and reforms included in the final bill.

“Among other things, the farm bill conference report:

  • Protects and improves crop insurance;
  • Continues current sugar policy;
  • Streamlines conservation programs so we can continue to preserve our natural resources;
  • Provides disaster assistance for livestock producers;
  • Applies conservation protections to crop insurance; and
  • Recognizes growing consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, local foods and organics.

“In closing, I want to thank Chairman Lucas for his work on the bill along with members on both sides of the aisle for their support and hanging in there with us. I would also like to thank the Agriculture Committee staff who have been working so hard over these last few years.

“Again, Mr. Speaker, this process has been going on far too long; I urge my colleagues to support the conference report.”

Click here to watch video of my speech on the House floor.

Farm Bill Press Coverage

There was significant press coverage of the farm bill agreement this week. I talked about the bill on KFGO’s News and Views.

Listen to the KFGO interview by clicking here.

Articles on Farm Bill

MPR: Rep. Collin Peterson played central role in writing compromise farm bill

Star Tribune: Minnesota farmers welcome certainty, substance of farm bill

Politico: House clears farm bill

Propane Shortage

Minnesota Lawmakers, Governor Dayton Call for Immediate Action to Address Critical Propane Shortage

“In recent months, dramatically reduced propane supply has harmed Minnesotans who rely on this fuel to heat their homes and livestock producers who need it to keep their livestock and poultry barns warm.

In a letter to President Obama, the lawmakers and Governor urge the Administration to knock down regulatory barriers, take additional steps to alleviate the shortage and provide relief to families and agriculture producers.

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan, and Governor Mark Dayton called for immediate action to address the critical propane shortage in Minnesota. In recent months, dramatically reduced propane supply has harmed Minnesotans who rely on this fuel to heat their homes and livestock producers who need it to keep their livestock and poultry barns warm. In a letter to President Obama, the lawmakers and Governor urged the Administration to knock down regulatory barriers and take additional steps to alleviate the shortage and provide relief to families and agriculture producers.

We write to express our deep concern over the ongoing supply shortage of propane fuel across much of the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the country,” the group wrote. “Households and businesses in Minnesota and elsewhere have seen spikes in the price of propane fuels during the severe winter cold. Any further reduction in supply threatens to leave our constituents without the fuel necessary to heat their homes and to keep livestock and poultry barns warm.  We are therefore asking that you take immediate action to help alleviate this dire situation.”

If you have propane-related questions or concerns, the State Emergency Operations Center has established a public hotline for Minnesotans. The hotline is staffed with experts from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In greater Minnesota, call:  1-800-657-3504.

In addition, if you are concerned about being the victim of price gouging, you can contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-657-3602. Consul General

Consul General, Jamshed Merchant

On Tuesday I met with Jamshed Merchant, the Consul General of Canada posted in Minneapolis. The Consul General is appointed by Canada's Prime Minister every four years to work to build bilateral trade and investment opportunities between our two countries. We discussed the future of the Farm Bill, the importance of building the Keystone pipeline, and flood prevention efforts in the 7th District.

MN Association of Wheat Growers

Mike Gunderson (BEJOU), Kevin Leiser (FERTILE), Connie Gunderson (BEJOU), Scott Swenson (ELBOW LAKE), Jay Nord (WOLVERTON), and Erik Younggren (HALLOCK)

Members of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers met with me a couple days after we passed the Farm Bill Conference Report in the House. Erik Younggren, Immediate Past President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, presented me with the 2013 Wheat Advocate Award. The Wheat Advocate Award is given annually to Members of Congress who have demonstrated strong support for the wheat industry.

Yellow Ribbon County
I would like to congratulate Pipestone County on becoming the newest member of the Yellow Ribbon County Network. A proclamation ceremony was held on Tuesday, January 28th.

A Yellow Ribbon County organizes and coordinates county agencies to create a comprehensive network that connects resources and Yellow Ribbon communities within the county to proactively support Servicemembers and their families.

Click here on more information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

This Week in American History

High wheel bicycle

On January 25th, 1886, a six-day bicycle race began at the Washington Avenue Rink in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Tribune sponsored the race and the best-known professional bicyclists from around the country came to Minnesota to win a medal and an elegant suit of clothes, which was presented by Oscar the Tailor. The competitors raced within the rink on their high wheel bicycles (one big front wheel and a small rear wheel) as long as they could pedal. The winner of the race was Albert Schock of Chicago who rode for 923 miles.

Kerria Robinson (FRAZEE VERGAS)
2013 Congressional Art Competition