Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 2/20/2015

Fisher, MN

Dear Friends,

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires next week, and it is my hope that Congress will join me in supporting legislation to ensure support for important national security measures. Leadership from the University of Minnesota Farm Business Management and Benchmarking program visited my office this week to provide details about a benchmarking tool that helps farmers develop effective business and production practices. In Minnesota, my staff had the opportunity to connect with corn growers and service providers to determine how my office can best assist the District. Also included in this newsletter is information regarding U.S. Small Business Association Economic Injury Disaster Loans.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

University of Minnesota Farm Business Management

Bob Craven (Director, Center for Farm Financial Management), Kevin Klair (Extension Economist, University of Minnesota)

On Friday, my staff aide Adam Durand met with Kevin Klair and Bob Craven with the Farm Business Management and Benchmarking program at the University of Minnesota. This voluntary program helps producers better manage their operations by taking a detailed look at their strengths and weaknesses as compared to similar farms. These tools can be used to help row crop or livestock producers and has also expanded to evaluate some of the costs and benefits for farmers interested in transitioning to organic production. In the Farm Bill, I fought to include a number of provisions that help young and beginning farmers get a start in agriculture. I am glad to see that this benchmarking tool is also helping these beginning farmers put together a strong business plan and evaluate more efficient production practices to help them succeed.

Minnesota Corn Growers Legislative Reception

My staff aide Tom Meium attended the Minnesota Corn Growers Association legislative reception in St. Paul on Wednesday. The purpose of the event was to showcase the economic benefits of corn farming to state and federal lawmakers, and to outline legislative issues that impact the industry. I am proud of the many influential ideas that have originated from the Minnesota Corn Growers as they continue to sponsor research and develop new markets for corn.

Fergus Falls Sertoma Club

On Wednesday, my aide Allison Myhre spoke to the Fergus Falls Sertoma Club about the work we do in our congressional offices. She talked about the makeup of the 7th Congressional District, casework, military academy nominations and economic development work. Service clubs like Sertoma are an important pillar in so many of our rural communities for the work that they do raising money, hosting events and making their towns a better place to live.

Legislative Update

DHS Funding Reaches Expiration

On February 27, current funding for the Department of Homeland Security will expire. The House passed bipartisan legislation, which I supported, to continue funding this important agency that supports maintaining our national security. However, this bill subsequently stalled in the Senate as Republicans and Democrats struggled to reach agreement. Appropriations bills are not the place to play politics, especially given the violent world we face today, and I am hopeful that both sides can find a way to resolve their issues and maintain funding for the Department of Homeland Security.


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The filing deadline for eligible businesses and organizations to enroll in the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is March 16. Disaster loans, which can amount to as much as $2 million, are available to qualifying entities in Murray and Pipestone Counties that suffered financial loss as a result of last summer’s severe weather. Applicants may inquire about the program by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955, and apply online using the Electronic Loan Application.                                                                               

Congressional Art Competition

Submissions for the 2015 Congressional Art Competition are currently being accepted by my office. The winning piece, selected in early May, will help decorate the Cannon Tunnel between the House Office Buildings and the U.S. Capitol for one year. Application, eligibility, and artwork specifications are available online. The deadline for all submissions is Friday, April 24, 2015.

County Courthouse Tour

Swift County Courthouse 1924 / Present

A simple, two-story clapboard structure served as Swift County’s courthouse for over twenty years until a new courthouse was commissioned in 1898. Designed by Buechner and Jacobson of Saint Paul, the building’s two stories and basement are topped with steep gables and a tower that doubles the height of the courthouse. Inside, the building is finished with golden oak and marble mopboards. At its 1976 bicentennial, the community of Swift County installed a clock and carillon chimes in the tower to commemorate the courthouse’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

This Week in American History

Showy Lady Slipper

Following the discovery that the previously chosen variety was not native to Minnesota, the Showy Lady’s Slipper (also known as the pink-and-white Lady Slipper) was named the state flower on February 19, 1902. Although the state flower did not pass into law until 1967, this wild orchid has been protected from commercial sale or picking since 1925. Showy Lady’s Slippers are one of 43 orchid species in Minnesota, and can be found in wet prairies throughout much of the 7th. 

Visitors from the 7th

McKenna and Teresa Spaeth (MAHNOMEN), Jerry Hasnedl (ST. HILAIRE)

Sledding on Capitol Hill