Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 2/23/2018

Feb 26, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Health

Fergus Falls – Otter Tail County

Dear Friends,

This week, I travelled the Seventh District, meeting with many Minnesotans working in agriculture and education. The Hutchinson Economic Development Authority showed me their new facility. They told me about their businesses and about their needs from the workforce. I then toured Hutchinson High School’s TigerPath Academies, where young people are taught the skills they need to find success in manufacturing. On Tuesday, I visited Roseau to attend a meeting of grass seed growers and hear about advancements in the industry. Finally, congratulations to the USA Women’s Hockey Team for winning the Olympic gold medal in South Korea. Their hard work and dedication has led them to this point, and they should be very proud of this achievement.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Hutchinson Economic Development Authority

On Thursday, I visited the Hutchinson Economic Development Authority (EDA) to discuss workforce development needs. I toured the new Enterprise Building with EDA Director Miles Seppelt and learned about the strategies they are using to help businesses grow. I met with the two businesses housed in the Enterprise Building, Laser Dynamics and Innovative Foam. I learned about their businesses, discussed their hiring needs and listened to their plans for the future. To further our discussion about workforce, we visited Hutchinson High School where Superintendent Daron Vanderheiden took me on a tour of the school’s new TigerPath Academies. Hutchinson is successfully using public private partnerships to advance education, build pathways to college and expand career opportunities for young adults by debunking stereotypes about manufacturing careers. The school’s modern facilities and hands on training is a clear step in the right direction. I applaud their work and look forward to seeing their program’s future success.

Ryegrass Production Meeting

On Wednesday, I travelled to Roseau to meet with a group of grass seed producers to hear about recent developments in the grass seed industry. The event consisted of presentations given by researchers from the University of Minnesota and DLF Pickseed. Speakers shared the findings of their research on agriculture markets, improvements in seed quality, and consumer needs. Research often leads to advancements that reduce costs and improve yields for producers. I will continue to support funding for agriculture research as I work with my colleagues in Congress on the 2018 Farm Bill.

USDA Launches Website with Resources to Combat Opioid Abuse

USDA recently launched a website designed to provide rural communities with resources and information to combat the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the website identifies USDA grant opportunities to restore medical facilities, develop telehealth services, and implement family education programs. I am happy to see USDA taking this step and I will continue to advocate for the resources which are needed to sustain efforts to address this epidemic. Read my statement on the opioid epidemic here.

University of Minnesota Crookston

Staff aide Rebekah Solem, Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause

University of Minnesota Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause stopped by my Washington office this week to talk to my staff about the University of Minnesota Crookston. Chancellor Holz-Clause was well-versed in the school's history and noted that the school had its origins as a boarding school of sorts for farm kids, with classes running from October to March to accommodate farm students. Today, the University of Minnesota Crookston is one of five campuses of the University of Minnesota system with an enrollment of 1,800 students. About half the students are physically on campus and about half study online. Chancellor Holz-Clause noted that the school has a number of online programs and has heard that Crookston has the only online Ag Business program in the United States.

Red River Water Management Board

Jim Ziegler, Regional Manager of the Detroit Lakes Area Minnesota Pollution Control Agency gives a report at a meeting of the Red River Water Management Board in ADA.

The Red River Water Management Board was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1976 and is now under the leadership of Executive Director Rob Sip. The Board works with other agencies to facilitate flood protection policy and projects in the Red River Valley. I support their work to protect our farms and communities from damaging floods, and I invite you to visit their website at to learn more about the work they do.

International Crop Expo

On Wednesday, my staff aide Leroy Stumpf attended the International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The expo allowed hundreds of agriculture-related businesses and organizations to showcase their newest projects. Attendees could also have attended some of the keynote presentations that addressed the opportunities and challenges facing Agriculturalists today. Observations from this event will be useful as I work to complete the 2018 Farm Bill.

This Week in American History

On February 19, 1902, the pink-and-white lady slipper is named the state flower by the Minnesota legislature. This wild orchid has a brightly colored bloom and typically grows in damp woods, swamps, and bogs; it became protected by a state law passed in 1925 that forbid picking the flower.

What’s the Story?

Jager Farm’s Pure Maple Syrup

Jager Farms’ Minnesota grown maple syrup is on display in my Washington D.C. office. Operated by Pete Jager and his daughter Stephanie Aeziorski since 1990, Jager Farms is located just outside of LONG PRAIRIE. The Jager family collects the raw sap from trees in their 140 acre woodland, they then boil it down and filter it to produce the finished syrup. Making maple syrup is no easy task, it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce just one gallon of syrup.

Alexander Ramsey Park – Redwood Falls