Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 4/27

Apr 27, 2012 Issues: Defense and National Security

Dear Friend,

This was a busy week for the Seventh District.  It began with the return of the Red Bulls to Alexandria, where I joined proud friends and family members as we welcomed our troops home. Throughout the week, as Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, I participated in three hearings on rural development, conservation, and dairy programs in preparation for a new farm bill.  Finally, we celebrated the Department of Labor's recent decision to withdraw the proposed rule that would impact kids under the age of 16 who work in agriculture.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


On Monday, April 23, I had the honor to greet and welcome home the soldiers of the Alpha Company "Red Bulls" in Alexandria. Approximately 117 soldiers were welcomed home from Kuwait by family, friends, and an appreciative community.  Folks lined the streets and cheered for the troops as they pulled into town.

Thanking the returning soldiers for their service. 
Pictured left: Maesse family (Baker)  Pictured right: Brandt family (Rogers)

It was great to speak with returning soldiers and their families. I thanked the soldiers for their service and thanked families for all they do so their loved ones can serve. Across Minnesota, many communities are welcoming home their soldiers. More than 25,000 members of the Minnesota Guard have been deployed around the world since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The men and women of the Minnesota Guard are highly respected throughout the military for their professionalism and work ethic. Everyone should be proud of them. I know I am.

DOL decision on child farm labor rule

Department withdraws controversial rule
I applaud the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw a controversial proposed rule that would impact children under age 16 who work on farms.  I think this proposed rule didn't make a lot of sense and seemed to be put together by people who didn't understand agriculture.  The decision to withdraw it was the right one, after thousands of farm families responded with concerns, several Democrats and I signed on to a bill to block it, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack worked to ensure that farmers' voices were heard.  I'm glad that the department will work with farm organizations, like 4-H and FFA, to develop stronger education programs that will help keep our kids safe on the farm, and will help grow the next generation of young farmers.

National Severe Storm Preparedness Week

April 22-28
Severe weather season is once again upon us.  Learn what actions are recommended to protect yourself, family, pets, and property against severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods by reviewing this Preparedness Guide developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The National Weather Service recommends developing a plan for you and your family.  Consider the following helpful tips:

  • Have a weather radio and battery back-up to receive warnings
  • Always heed warnings even if warnings in the past did not result in severe weather; and
  • If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young, or disabled

Update from the Agriculture Committee

Meeting with Dave Nomsen (Alexandria) of Pheasants Forever, who provided testimony in the Conservation Subcommittee Hearing this week (right)

Three House Agriculture Committee Subcommittees held hearings this week to review rural development, conservation and dairy programs in advance of a new farm bill.

Rural Development
Rural development programs have a direct impact on our nation’s rural communities, investing in essential infrastructure projects that these communities can often not finance on their own. I have made economic development a priority for the Seventh District so I understand firsthand the value that these programs provide and the potential return on investment that exists.

Conservation programs play an important role in preserving our natural resources and provide producers with the necessary tools to meet regulatory requirements. An issue that is of particular importance to the Seventh District, that I’m hopeful can be addressed in the next farm bill is regional flooding issues. I think that we can use current conservation programs to build up water retention sites and address flood control problems. Taking proactive steps now can save taxpayers money down the road after flood damage occurs. 

This past fall I introduced the Dairy Security Act of 2011. This bill replaces outdated dairy programs with new risk management tools that address the realities of today’s dairy industry, such as rising input costs and a growing export market. We know that if we have another collapse, similar to 2009, our current dairy programs won’t work. This is why it is so important the next farm bill gives producers the tools they need to stay afloat during difficult times.

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved the 2012 Farm Bill, “The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012,” on Thursday. This brings us one step closer to having a farm bill in place before the current bill expires in September. Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts have found a bipartisan way to move forward and the full Senate should now take action. Given this action, the House Agriculture Committee should move quickly to mark-up a farm bill.


4/20: I joined several other federal and local government officials in celebrating in the groundbreaking for the new overpass in Staples.  Pictured here: Mark Blessing (Todd County Commissioner), Jerel Nelsen (Todd County Economic Development Director), Derrell Turner (Federal Highway Administration Division Director), Mayor Chris Etzler, Lisa Fobbe (Senator Franken's Central MN Field Representative), Dan Skogen (former State Senator)

4/25: I met with Judy Eggleston (Glenwood) and other members of the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota

4/26: I visited with the Minnesota Trucking Association.  Pictured here: Bonnie Supan and MTA Chairwoman Joyce Brenny

4/18: I listened to the concerns of the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association. Pictured here: Don Schiefelbein (President), Bill Zimmerman, Ted Reichmann, Chad Zehnder, John Weber, and Joe Martin

4/25: I spoke with the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota

4/26: I met with the Minnesota Bankers Association