Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/16/2018
Perham – Otter Tail County
A strong farm economy depends on a number of policies all working together to support the people who call places like Greater Minnesota home. As Congress makes individual Member appropriations requests, I continue to support rural water facilities, rural health programs, and rural utility programs which support the services small towns across our country need. It is disappointing that for the second year in a row the Administration has proposed eliminating programs that fund water and wastewater treatment plants. I am also concerned about proposals to slip far reaching tax changes into a must-past government funding bill next week that will retroactively raise taxes for a number of family farmers. As a CPA, I was disappointed with the reckless process used to pass the partisan tax law, and don’t think that efforts to fix its problems should be done in secret either. Other important rural priorities I’m working on are the farm bill and the Renewable Fuels Standard. Both play an important role in supporting the farm economy and I am opposing attempts to unravel these polices which have traditionally benefited from strong bipartisan support.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Today, I had the privilege of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Open House at Bemidji's new VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. The VA recently moved from its former location to a new facility that will better serve our veterans. The clinic offers services such as primary care, behavioral health care, preventative health services and prescription services. With the increasing number of veterans in our region, this much-needed expansion will help to make sure they get the care they need.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Purdue
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Secretary Perdue, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
As one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Biofuels Caucus, I helped arrange a meeting with Secretary Perdue to talk about proposals being circulated around the Administration which would undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). I am concerned that these changes will hurt the farm economy, especially at a time when commodity prices are already low. The RFS works to help support the price of corn, soybean and sorghum, so I will continue to monitor the Administration closely and fight against proposals that would cap RINs and damage our rural economy.
Minnesota Soybean Growers
Soybeans are a major commodity in the 7th District and have a wide range of uses from inputs for biodiesel to feed for aquaculture facilities. I met with members of the Minnesota Soybean Growers to talk about trade, infrastructure proposals, and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Farm income has been dropping the last few years, so it is more important than ever to support policies that help our soybean farmers.
Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers
I was honored to be named a “2018 Distinguished Community Health Advocate” by the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers this week. I appreciated the Association’s perspective as Congress worked to reauthorize funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs) over the past few months. CHCs are an integral part of rural healthcare networks that provide primary health services to underserved areas.
Students from the Seventh
Each year, the Close-Up Foundation helps high schools facilitate educational visits to Washington, D.C. This week, I was happy to welcome students from Glencoe-Silver Lake High School to Capitol Hill for an insightful discussion about government and their studies. I always enjoy meeting students from the 7th District, and wish the group the best of luck with their education.
National Corn Growers Association
On Thursday, I spoke with the National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors during one of their meetings in Washington. We talked about the potential downsides of the Administration’s trade policies, threats to the biofuels industry, and the prognosis for getting the farm bill done soon. I appreciate the feedback from the corn growers and hope the next farm bill can address the difficult conditions in the farm economy.
Army Corps of Engineers
This week, leadership from the St. Paul Army Corps visited my office to brief me on the status of various projects in Minnesota. We discussed flood protection for communities near the Red River of the North, the Marsh Lake project, and tribal waters restoration initiatives. I always appreciate the opportunity to ask tough questions and share input that I hear from constituents about how Army Corps projects impact their communities.
National Sunflower Association
Exec Director John Sandbakken (Bismarck, ND);Chairman Arthur Ridl (Dickinson, ND); Board member Kevin Capistran (Crookston, MN); President Karl Esping (Lindsborg, KS); 2nd VP Lance Hourigan (Lemmon, SD); Dale Thorenson (Washington, DC)
I sat down with the National Sunflower Association on Tuesday to talk about a number of agriculture issues. We discussed the upcoming farm bill, the recent tax reform bill, and agriculture appropriations.
I recently had the opportunity to be featured in a video interview by Yahoo Finance. The focus of this interview was to ask CPAs who are Members of Congress about the new tax reform bill. As a former CPA, I was happy to join my colleagues with similar backgrounds and give my input. I spoke at length about the corporate tax rate, income tax rate, and current issues now facing the agriculture industry.
Watch a segment of the interview here.
Supporting Farmers in Stressful Times
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has put on six meetings around Minnesota, the last of which was held in Thief River Falls. The objective of the meetings is to improve financial planning skills to better prepare farmers for the coming years. People who work alongside farmers including bankers, farm advocates, and business management teachers were in attendance. I know these are difficult times for farmers, which is why I support efforts to ensure farmers and their families have the tools they need to succeed.
This Week in American History
The First Minnesota, March 11, 1862 – held in collection by the Boston Athenaeum
On March 11, 1862, the troops of the First Minnesota Infantry Regiment occupied the town of Berryville, Virginia, where they found the print run of the local paper half completed. Members of the company then printed their own four-page edition, which contained humorous news about the army and the war. Copies of this paper are now considered rare and valued Civil War memorabilia.
What’s the Story?
This photo of me posing with my grand champion steer is on display in my Washington, D.C. office. When I was a teenager, I participated in a number of events hosted by my local 4-H club. 4-H gives young people the chance to be active in their communities while learning new skills. Most 4-H clubs organize projects and competitions in agricultural and animal science, engineering, and the arts. I believe in the work this organization is doing, and I will continue to support them.
Click here to find a 4-H club near you.