Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/30/2018

The Gardens Arena – Warroad

Dear Friends,

This week, I traveled across the Seventh District to meet folks working in agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing. CASE IH and Felling Trailers invited me to view their manufacturing facilities, sharing their plans to create opportunities for young people by expanding local workforce training initiatives. I met with community leaders in Benson to discuss ideas for economic development programs to strengthen rural communities. In Sauk Centre, I met with folks from Community Connection, a local organization that offers low-cost food products to combat food insecurity in their area. I enjoyed visiting Hultgren Farms near Willmar, where we spoke at length about the growing debate over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the farm bill. SNAP funding has become a contentious issue in the effort to reauthorize food and nutrition programs in advance of their expiration.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company

Students from Ridgewater College’s Animal Nutrition Class

This Wednesday, I enjoyed touring the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company plant in Benson alongside students from Ridgewater College’s Animal Nutrition class. I was glad to join the students for a look at some of the latest developments in distiller’s dried grains. DDGs are an important source of animal feed for the livestock sector.

The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company is doing some exciting work and continuing to find new innovative markets for ethanol and its coproducts. During my visit I met with members of the plant’s board to discuss federal policies from farm bill programs to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that support the agriculture economy. I recently met with USDA Secretary Perdue to emphasize the importance of these programs for rural Minnesota, and will continue to fight changes to the RFS that would undermine its success. A cap on RIN prices would cost Minnesota corn farmers $370 million and hurt investments made in our homegrown biofuels industry.

Hultgren Farm Visit

(Left to right) Chris Long, Nate Hultgren, Duane Hultgren, Chad Willis, Kyle Peterson, Kim Larson, Mike Hauser, and Noah Hultgren

I visited Hultgren Farms near Willmar on Wednesday. I met with the Hultgren’s and their leadership team to discuss changes made to Section 199a by the enactment of the omnibus spending bill last week. We also spoke about the growing debate over how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be handled in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Meeting in Benson

On Wednesday, I held a lunch with Benson community leaders. I met with Mayor Terri Collins, Swift County Board Chairman Eric Rudningen, Swift County Rural Development Authority Director Jen Frost, City Manager Rob Wolfington and County Administrator Kelsey Baker. We had a good conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing the community such as workforce shortages, immigration pathways, a new model for a center based daycare and their economic development efforts to attract businesses and workers.

Minnesota Farm Bureau District 3

Tuesday night, I attended the Minnesota Farm Bureau District 3 Meeting where I addressed more than 40 farmers from southwest Minnesota. We discussed the future of the farm bill and concerns with the state of trade negotiations with China. Trade is very important to the farm economy in Minnesota, and I will continue to advocate for trade policies that work for American producers.

Swift County Benson Hospital

I met with the Swift County Benson Hospital on Wednesday to learn about the new senior housing project Scandi Haven Village, a name with great meaning developed by community member to reflect heritage. When finished, seniors will have more options to stay in their community with assisted living amenities and memory care.


On Wednesday, I visited the CASE IH manufacturing plant in Benson. Plant Manager Jason Hausauer and Quality Manager Dan Connolly took me on a tour to show me their latest equipment models. They manufacture a variety of Case IH equipment including cotton pickers, floaters, sprayers and FlexAir. The plant is a great asset to the community, providing hundreds of jobs and top of line agriculture equipment.

Felling Trailers

The Sauk Centre Rotary Club joined me to tour Felling Trailers this week. Their business growth is impressive as they continue to expand to meet the demand for their products. We discussed the impact of tariffs on their business as well as area workforce needs. I learned about some of the work that they are doing to help close the skills gap by offering youth opportunities to learn welding at their facility. Their efforts to connect young people to local employment opportunities and train them should be commended and I hope that their efforts will inspire others.

Sauk Centre Community Connection

On Tuesday, I met with the Director of the Sauk Centre Community Connection John Sells to discuss the importance of nutrition programs in our communities. They are particularly important to our aging community members, individuals going through tough times and families that need extra support.  

Sauk Centre Herald

I stopped by the Sauk Centre Herald to provide an update on what has been happening in Washington. We had a robust discussion about pressures on the dairy industry and some potential solutions, I informed them on recent developments with the farm bill and they told me how tariffs are impacting the newspaper industry.

AgriBusiness Committee Meeting

While I was in Marshall, I had the opportunity to attend the AgriBusiness Committee meeting hosted by Brau Bros Brewing Company. Dustin Brau gave me a tour of the brewing house and I addressed a group of agriculturalists about the status of the farm bill and about the issues which may affect their work.

United Community Action Partners

(Left to right) Deb Brandt, Jeanne Timm, Lori Lerohl, Don Timm and Angela Larson.

On Tuesday, I met with members of United Community Action Partners as well as SW Health and Human Services and Human Resource and had a productive discussion about the SNAP program. Afterwards, I toured their food shelf that served 11,692 people from 4,245 households in 2017. They gave out 422,000 pounds of food and served 311 new families.

Students from the 7th

(Top) Norman County West High School / (Left) Parkers Prairie High School / (Right) Brandon-Evansville High School

This week, students from Parkers Prairie High School, Brandon-Evansville High School and Norman County West High School visited Washington through the Close-Up Foundation. I am always encouraged by students who are interested in government, and I wish them the best of luck with their studies.

“Homelessness in Becker County” Community Forum

On Sunday afternoon, my staff aide Justin Rostad attended a community forum titled “Nowhere to Lay Their Head: Homelessness in Becker County” in Detroit Lakes. The event was at Ecumen and sponsored by the Congregational United Church of Christ. The discussion was led by local leaders who work to help those in need of food and shelter, many of whom are children. Far too often, children in our communities go to bed hungry.

Red Lake Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting

The 80th Annual Meeting of the Red Lake Electric Cooperative that serves Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, and Polk Counties and part of the lands of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa was held on Wednesday. The cooperative started in 1938 with the challenge of placing poles and stringing electric lines to farms in rural communities. Today, the challenges are much different, such as eliminating short power outages or “blinks” to protect digital equipment, meet environmental regulations, protect the electric grid from cyber-attacks, and provide reasonably priced electricity. What turned the lights on in 1938 must now run our food storage facilities, hospitals, schools, businesses, homes, and much more.

As your Congressman, I support our electric cooperatives and all the work it takes to keep our communities running.

KFGO Studio Visit

Yesterday I was an in-studio guest on News and Views with Joel Heitkamp. We first spoke about the legislative climate in D.C., the status of the farm bill, and a few local projects within my district. During this time, I had the opportunity to hear from people calling in to ask questions which I was happy to answer. Topics ranged from the Section 199 rule in the tax code, the mental health of our farmers, and the F-M diversion project.

If you’re interested in hearing my full interview, click here.

Brownfield Agriculture

I spoke with Brownfield Agriculture’s Mark Dorenkamp to discuss the state of farm bill negotiations, crop insurance and the ARC-County program. Click on a link to read more about these important agricultural issues and to hear a recording of our conversation.

AgriTalk – March 26

On Monday, I was interviewed by AgriTalk about my decision to vote against the Omnibus spending bill, my thoughts on the Section 199a tax law and the status of SNAP negotiations for the 2018 Farm Bill.

Click here to listen to our conversation. My segment begins at 12:19 in the March 26 edition of AgriTalk.

Happy Birthday to Bernie Lieder

(Left to right) Bernie Lieder, Wendell Johnson and LeRoy Stumpf

Congratulations to Bernie Lieder on his 95th birthday. Bernie is a great example of a life of public service. He is a veteran of World War II where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He worked as Polk County Engineer for many years and served as Minnesota State Representative for District 1B from 1984 to 2010. 

Thank you for the many years you spent defending our country and building our communities. May you enjoy many more years.

Elena Gilbert Appointment to Naval Academy

On Monday, I had the privilege of attending Elena Gilbert’s Naval Academy Appointment Ceremony. Elena is an outstanding young lady from Detroit Lakes who I was honored to nominate to the Naval Academy in January of this year. I am confident that she will do an outstanding job as she begins her military career in the service of our country.


VA Digital Service Launch

On March 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S Digital Service announced their launch of an improved Appeals Status tool to increase transparency and enable Veterans to track the progress of their benefits claims appeals. The tool, which went live March 21 on VA’s website, will allow Veterans to access detailed information about the status of their benefits appeals and will include alerts about needed actions, as well as estimates of how long each step of the process takes. Some Veterans who have previewed the new tool said it had given them hope and helped them understand that the process might take longer than expected.

This Week in American History

John Lind, 1899

John Lind was born on March 25, 1854, in Kanna, Smaland, Sweden. In 1899 he was the first Swede to be elected governor of Minnesota and the first Democrat to hold the office since Henry H. Sibley. He was also the first Swede elected to Congress, where he served four terms, and in 1913 he would be President Woodrow Wilson's envoy to Mexico. He died in Minneapolis on September 18, 1930.

What’s the Story?

This pair of Christian hockey sticks is displayed in the entryway of my office in Washington, D.C. Christian Brothers Inc. opened the doors to its Warroad factory in 1969, where it produced wooden hockey sticks for 40 years. During the mid-1980s, the Christian Bros. produced nearly 500,000 sticks a year, making them known internationally by hockey players at all levels of competition. The Warroad plant closed its doors for the last time in December of 2009.

Arlington – Sibley County