Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 3/31/2017
Thief River Falls

Dear Friends,

This week the Agriculture Committee continued hearings on the upcoming farm bill, discussing commodity programs, the supplemental nutritional assistance program, and farm credit system. I met with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers, Pheasants Forever, and Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association to continue these conversations. I was happy to welcome several groups of Minnesota students to Washington and look forward to seeing their success in the future. Finally, I encourage all of our talented high school artists to submit their work into the Congressional Art Competition which opens today!

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Minnesota Corn Growers Association

On Tuesday, I met with a group from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. We talked about their priorities for the next farm bill and the new Administration's trade and conservation policies. I look forward to working with the corn growers and other groups to ensure a strong farm economy.

Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers

On Wednesday, I met with the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers who were in Washington for the American Sheep Industry Association Fly-In. We talked about a number of issues affecting sheep owners, such as immigration and Mandatory Price Reporting, as well as their appropriations priorities, including USDA funding for Wildlife Services and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. The next farm bill and their support for a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank was also a key issue for discussion.

Pheasants Forever

This week I met with members of Pheasants Forever from Minnesota and Michigan to discuss wildlife conservation and the importance of USDA conservation programs to landowners and sportsmen. With conversations about the next farm bill beginning to take place, Pheasants Forever shared its farm bill conservation program priorities. I am working to expand the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) while streamlining the program to bring down excessive rental rates that disadvantage young farmers.

Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota

The Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association visited my office this week on behalf of the state’s dementia patients, their families, and healthcare providers. As a co-sponsor of the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, I will continue to support measures that fund its research and improve care planning.

Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers

I met with members of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers (MNACHC) this week to discuss the services they provide to underserved rural patients. Community Health Centers are an important part of rural health systems, and I look forward to working with MNACHC to make primary health care more accessible in the 7th District.

Close-Up Foundation

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 Thief River Falls, Halstad, Hawley, and Perham 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 4-H Conference

Minnesota 4-Hers were in town for the National 4-H Conference and met with my staff aide Rebekah Solem to talk about their time in Washington. The National 4-H Conference is a tremendous opportunity for personal development, and I always hear good things from the Minnesotans who attend. The group had the unique opportunity of presenting their ideas to federal agencies with respect to various problems the government is looking to address. I commend the 4-Hers for their successes and look forward to seeing them create positive change in their communities back home.

Marvin Windows and Doors

Jim Newenhouse (West Fargo), Brad Fevold (WARROAD), David Pinder (Eden Prairie)

Representatives from Marvin, Integrity, and Infinity traveled to my office to provide an update on their Minnesota businesses. Starting in Warroad, Marvin Windows and Doors has become the largest manufacturer of made-to-order wood window and door products. One of my responsibilities in Washington is to prevent federal government regulations from unnecessarily harming companies that employ Minnesotans.

Lumber Industry

Howard Hedstrom, Gary Erickson

As co-chair of the Working Forests Caucus, I am advocating for smart forest management practices that promote sustainable lumber harvests. National Forests cover 2.7 million acres in Minnesota, creating a vibrant industry that many Minnesota families depend on. Howard Hedstrom and Gary Erickson shared their stories of keeping Minnesota lumber companies strong.

Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association

As we work on the next farm bill and possible trade renegotiations, it is important for groups like the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association to make their voices heard. I sat down with MNSCA to talk about the Conservation Reserve Program, my gray wolf legislation (found here), and my position that the new administration needs to begin working on bilateral trade agreements with our eastern allies immediately.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

I was able to meet Minnesota AIPAC members who were in Washington this week for their annual convention. AIPAC promotes a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and we talked about Iran’s regional aggression, Israel security assistance, and other issues important to AIPAC members. I will continue to fight for a mutually beneficial partnership between the United States and Israel, an important ally in the Middle East.

Minnesota Workforce Council

Ron Antony, Carrie Bendix, Rick Green, Daniel Wenner, and Carol Anderson

I sat down with the Minnesota Workforce Council Association to discuss their legislative priorities. Their employer led workforce development system continues to be known nationwide as a model for innovation and partnership. Minnesota prides itself on having a first-class workforce and the workforce councils work hard to ensure Minnesota employers have the workers they need.

Principals’ Legislative Day

My staff met with representatives from the National Association of Elementary School Principals to discuss the state of education in Minnesota. I appreciate their policy insight, as our principals see firsthand the needs of their students. I will continue to work with them to ensure they have the funding and freedom to give their students the best education possible.

Minnesota Beverage Association

The members of the Minnesota Beverage Association visited the office to discuss their industry concerns on potential tax reform legislation, changes to the SNAP program, and environmental initiatives.

Red Lake Electric Cooperative

The 79th Annual Meeting of the Red Lake Electric Cooperative was held on March 29. Red Lake Electric Coop is one of 43 electric cooperatives in Minnesota and serves 4,200 members. The history of electric coops started by neighbors connecting with neighbors and investing money toward electrical projects and working together. Today there are 900 rural electric coops across the United States providing electricity in 47 states to more than 42 million people.

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

The Agriculture Committee held three hearings this week as part of our preparation for the next farm bill. On Tuesday morning, the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee met to review commodity policy. We heard from representatives of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and sorghum. Peter Friederichs from Foxhome testified on behalf of the National Barley Growers.

That afternoon, the Subcommittee on Nutrition held a hearing titled, “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of SNAP.” I believe the future of SNAP is in the farm bill. And, I think everyone knows by now that I doubt we’ll even have a farm bill without it. I worry, however, that House leadership isn’t on that same page and I don’t want to find us in another situation where leadership steps in and puts the bill in jeopardy by adding unrealistic work requirements or some other ideological policy as we saw during the last farm bill debate. I urged the Subcommittee to remember what we have learned during the many hearings we’ve had on the topic and find some common ground to make sure SNAP is as effective as possible.

On Wednesday morning the full Committee held a hearing to review the Farm Credit System. There’s no question that access to credit is necessary for farmers to stay in business, but access to capital is also necessary for agriculture businesses and rural communities. The hearing was a good opportunity for us to get a better understanding of the current credit situation as we look to potential changes in the next farm bill, in both the commodity and rural development titles.


2017 Congressional Art Competition

I am happy to announce my office is now accepting applications for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition. The winning artwork will be featured for one year in the United States Capitol.

This contest is a great way to display artwork from students across the Seventh District. I am always very proud of the work put into these pieces, and I would encourage every high school artist to participate.

More information is available on my website here. Faculty or students with questions can also contact Chelsea Cornett in my Washington, D.C. Office at 202-225-2165. The deadline for all submissions is Friday, May 5, 2017.

Military Academy Appointment

I am honored to announce that Alexander Mehnert who pursued a military academy nomination through my office, has been found fully qualified and has been offered an Appointment to the Air Force Academy.

Alexander is the son of Karen and Ralf Mehnert-Meland from Moorhead. He was accepted as a blue-chip candidate through the U.S. AFA hockey team. Sports have been an important part of his life since he was a young boy. While in high school he earned a letter in varsity hockey and was captain of the Spuds hockey team. He went on to play Junior hockey with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in Alaska and most recently played for the Omaha Lancers in Nebraska. It is his sincere desire to attend the Air Force Academy and pursue a vigorous academic course of study while playing for the Falcons. I am proud to see such dedicated young Minnesotans, like Alexander, serve our country.

University of Minnesota Extension Farm Financial Counseling

The University of Minnesota Extension announced this week it will begin offering one-to-one financial counseling to farmers in serious financial stress. The Extension program is expected to run for two years and will augment services currently available in Minnesota, including the Farmer-Lender Mediation program, which is overseen by Extension, and the state Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Farm Advocates assistance.

To set up a confidential appointment with an Extension farm financial analyst, farmers can call the Farm Information Line at 1-800-232-9077

This Week in American History

On April 2, 1849, Alexander Ramsey was appointed the first governor of Minnesota Territory by President Zachary Taylor. As governor, a title he held concurrently with that of superintendent of Indian affairs, he negotiated treaties on behalf of the U.S. Government with the Dakota tribe for the cession of large areas of Minnesota, most notably the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851. In 1860, Ramsey was elected the state's second governor and later went on to be elected as a U.S. Senator and serve as Secretary of War under President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, the newsletter will feature a landmark or site somewhere in Western Minnesota. The first person to name the location wins! The location of the photo as well as the winner will be revealed in the next newsletter.

This week’s landmark is a multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to bringing creative opportunities to rural Minnesota. It is well known for its philosophy contest, The Great American Think-Off, as well as The Arts Retreat program which brings artists to their local community.

Congratulations to Barry Anderson of Granite Falls for being the first to correctly identify our last location as Swenson Family Farm in Montevideo!

Share your guess on our website –

2016 Congressional Art Competition Winner
Erin Andersen (UNDERWOOD)