Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/2/2018
This week, Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and I updated the National Governors Association on the status of the 2018 Farm Bill and heard the governors’ ideas for improving the bill. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Agriculture met to discuss views on the budget for fiscal year 2019 and to draft a bipartisan response to the Administration’s proposed cuts to Farm Bill funding. Folks from Minnesota visited my office to talk about public media, transportation, and veteran policy. The nation mourns the death and celebrates the contributions of the Reverend Billy Graham this week. Rev. Graham was honored in Washington as the first religious leader to lay in honor at the United States Capitol Rotunda.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
National Governors Association
I joined Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway in addressing the National Governors Association regarding the status of the new farm bill. In addition to answering questions about where the farm bill is headed, we also heard concerns about the Canadian dairy and poultry quota systems, as well as forest management and firefighting funding challenges. We also discussed what’s happening in states in regard to worker training efforts at high school and technical colleges, the need for reliable broadband access, and better weather and agriculture statistics data. I appreciated hearing from the governors about how these topics are impacting various states across the nation.
Agriculture Committee Business Meeting
This week, the House Committee on Agriculture met to put the final touches on a letter to the House Committee on the Budget concerning funding for farm programs during the 2019 fiscal year. Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway and I are working to create a bipartisan funding framework that strengthens America’s farmers and ranchers by delivering important services and support in an effective manner. It is vital that the Chairman and I resist the Administration’s proposed cuts to the farm bill to ensure its programs are able to support producers efficiently.
Discussion on KFGO
On Thursday morning, I was a guest on News and Views with Joel Heitkamp. We talked about ongoing farm bill negotiations and my efforts to work with the Majority on a bipartisan farm bill that can pass both the House and Senate and be signed into law this year.
Listen to our discussion here.
Disabled American Veterans
This week, I addressed Minnesota members of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) during their visit to Washington. I appreciate the work that DAV does to provide our veterans and their families the full range of benefits available to them. I have also agreed to work with DAV to expand eligibility for the VA family caregiver program and ensure that gender-specific services are available at every VA medical center.
Minnesota American Legion
Bill Barbknecht and Denise Milton
The Minnesota American Legion works to strengthen our communities by advocating for issues important to our veterans. These efforts include supporting our VA facilities through improved patient services, improving suicide prevention programs, ending veteran homelessness, and more. The American Legion has a significant milestone coming up and will be conducting its 100th National Convention in Minneapolis in August 2018.
Independent Grain Dealers of Minnesota and North Dakota
This week, I met with a consortium of businesses representing independent grain businesses in Minnesota and North Dakota, including a number from the 7th District. Our meeting focused heavily on fixing the Section 199a problems that arose in the Senate's drafting of the new tax law which was enacted at the end of last year. The hastily drafted language upended agriculture markets. I am working to come up with a fix so we can straighten out the issues created in this process.
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association
On Friday, I met with three farmers from the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. We talked about the efforts to adjust tax laws for cooperatives, an issue which is particularly important for sugar. We also discussed the farm bill and the outlook for its passage this year.
Daniel Haugen of ARGYLE stopped by my Washington office this week. Daniel grew up on a farm in ARGYLE and recently graduated from North Dakota State University. He is currently interning in Washington for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. We talked about the Minnesota farm economy and the concerns of beginning farmers. It was great to meet Daniel, and I wish him all the best with his next steps.
Prairie Public Broadcasting
Sarah Smith Warren (Board Chair), John Harris (President & CEO)
Representatives of Prairie Public Broadcasting visited my office this week to advocate for public television and radio programming in rural Minnesota. As Congress nears the upcoming appropriations cycle, I will work to ensure that greater Minnesota’s public broadcasting stations have the resources they need to continue educating, connecting, and entertaining our communities.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Serge Phillips (Federal Relations Manager), Charles Zelle (Commissioner)
I met with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Commissioner Charles Zelle this week to discuss ongoing transportation projects in the 7th District. Specifically, we discussed the Moorhead Grade Separation, Safety, and Mobility Project and modifications to Highway 23 that would improve safety and congestion conditions. I will continue to work with MnDOT to secure federal funding for these shovel-ready projects.
Landsverk’s Organic Valley Dairy Farm
Last Saturday, I visited Bryan and Bridget Landsverk’s Organic Valley Dairy Farm near FOSSTON. The Landsverks showed me their organic dairy farm and went over their day-to-day operations. They use a robotic milking system and a high tech feed rationing system to keep their 350 cows healthy and productive. The Landsverks also raise organic grain and hay. The Landsverks have been farming for multiple generations, and I will always support family farms like theirs as I continue my work in Congress.
Fosston Farm Forum
Last week, while I was in FOSSTON, I attended the KKCQ Radio Farm Forum. I discussed the work I have been doing on the new farm bill and answered questions from attendees. Questions ranged from the impact of the recently passed tax bill to trucking regulations, wolf depredation and many other issues. At events like this, I often hear suggestions from Minnesotans on how to improve the policies that directly affect them. American farmers and ranchers deserve farm policies that work to grow the strength of our nation’s producers.
American Grown Cut-Flower Association
I met with growers from the American Grown Cut-Flower Association this week. These growers advocate for policies to make sure that U.S. grown flowers are available year round for special occasions and events. I’m proud to support them as a member of the Cut-Flower Congressional Caucus.
Minnesota National Guard
Lt. Col. Brian Winter, Maj. General Jon Jensen, and Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse
My staff aide Zach Martin welcomed new Major General of the Minnesota National Guard Jon Jensen, Brigadier General Lowell Kruse, and Lieutenant Colonel Brian Winter to my Washington office. General Jensen has more than 29 years of National Guard service and was the commanding general of the Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division before being named the adjutant general. I served in the North Dakota National Guard, so I am looking forward to working with General Jensen in support of the the 13,000 Guard members currently serving.
Minnesota Credit Union Network
The Minnesota Credit Union Network visited my office to discuss regulatory relief, taxation legislation, and the continued data breaches affecting retailers and financial services providers. I am committed to working to providing credit unions with the relief they need so they can continue serving rural America and providing liquidity to farmers who rely heavily upon their lending.
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
(Left to right) Dr. Molly McCue, Dr. Trevor Ames, Dr. Andres Perez
My staff met with representatives from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine on Thursday to talk about issues of importance to Veterinary Medical Colleges. Topics included student loans and research. The group also shared updates on new investments that are being made in food animal health, including the remodeled and expanded Poultry Testing Lab in Willmar. The group was in town for the annual meeting of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
Minnesota AgriGrowth Council
Perry Aasness - Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, Gary Kay - Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, Scott Dohmen - CF Industries, Pat Lunemann - Twin Eagle Dairy
Representatives of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council stopped by my Washington office on Wednesday to talk about a number of issues important to Minnesota agriculture, including the farm bill, trade, immigration, and infrastructure. Minnesota AgriGrowth is a nonprofit organization formed in 1968 with the goal of advocating for the food and agriculture industry in a collaborative way and seeking areas of common ground. The organization's diverse membership includes more than 150 organizations, companies, and individuals.
Northern Plains Potato Growers
(Left to right) Rodney Peterson - Parkers Prairie, MN; Caleb Folson - East Grand Forks, MN; Justin Dagen - Karlstad, MN; Thomas Shephard - Crystal, ND; Casey Byram - Grand Forks, ND; Chuck Gunnerson - Ada, MN; Ben Tucker - St. Thomas, ND
The Northern Plains Potato Growers sat down with my Washington staff on Wednesday to talk about their legislative priorities. The Potato Growers talked about how the Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Hours-of-Service regulations impact trucks hauling potatoes, they also shared the importance of a workable solution on immigration as the agriculture industry depends on a reliable and stable workforce. Other topics covered included trade and research.
Perham Economic Development Authority
On Wednesday, my staff aide attended the Perham Economic Development Authority Annual Meeting. PERHAM is thriving with commerce and community initiatives, and I am impressed with all that they have undertaken to support housing projects, a new school, new retail businesses, and expanding industries. I will continue to support programs at the federal level like those offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration and Economic Development Authority that help rural communities and entrepreneurs make their ideas reality.
This Week in American History
“Giacomo Constantino Beltrami” - Painted by Enrico Scuri in 1861
On February 28, 1866, Beltrami County was formed, though settler colonists did not live in the area until the 1880s. The county's name honors Italian adventurer Giacomo C. Beltrami (1779-1855). Giacomo was a juror, author, and explorer best known for claiming to have discovered the headwaters of the Mississippi River while traveling across North America in 1823.
What’s the Story?
This miniature Schwan’s semi-truck is on display in my Washington, D.C. office. The Schwan family of MARSHALL began delivering their dairy’s ice cream to rural Minnesota families in 1952. At the time, Marvin Schwan was able to transport just 14 gallons of ice cream per trip. Today, the Schwan’s Company employs more than 12,000 people and has expanded operations to provide millions of customers around the country with a wide range of food products. They continue to deliver food to the doors of customers, but they also have products in grocery stores and in the food-service industry. The Schwan’s Company Headquarters is located in MARSHALL.