Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/19/17

Wetland Management District
Detroit Lakes

Dear Friends,

I was honored to host several members from the Parliament of Canada this week, welcoming members of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons to Washington. As Minnesotans know, working with our neighbors to the north can benefit both of our communities, as we strive to promote better trade between our two nations. This week also brought the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen Foundation’s Congressional Shootout, where I was proud to take home the Top Skeet award. Finally, I would like to congratulate all of the student artists who entered this year’s Congressional Art Competition, and especially our overall winner Meghan Listerud for her watercolor painting, “Minnesota Chicken.”

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

2017 Congressional Shootout

This year I again competed in the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Congressional Shootout, an event which pairs members of Congress with shooting sports industry individuals for a lively competition of skeet, trap and sporting clays. I enjoy participating in the event every year as it allows members to come together over the shared passion of the outdoors. This year I was proud to win the Top Skeet award.

Canadian Parliamentary Delegation

I had the opportunity to meet with two different Canadian government delegations this week, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry of the Senate of Canada and the Canada House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. Trade, particularly dairy trade, was a topic of discussion with both groups. The Canadian supply management program protects Canadian dairy farmers very well but the new Class 7 pricing structure is now having significant, adverse impacts on the U.S. market. I believe this will be settled by the WTO, but that resolution may take a few years. While this dispute drags on, I will continue to fight for U.S. producers and highlight this issue with various US agencies and the administration to make sure the Canadians know we are not pleased.

On Wednesday, I met with six members of the Canadian Senate Agriculture Committee. They were particularly interested in land prices, as Canada has experienced an even more rapid appreciation in farmland values than the United States in recent years. We also took the opportunity to discuss trade challenges between our two countries.

Minnesota Realtors

This week I met with representatives of the Minnesota Realtors to discuss the state of housing in Western Minnesota. We had a lively conversation about the state of tax reform legislation, the importance of protecting the mortgage interest deduction, and the reauthorization of the flood insurance program. I will continue to work to provide adequate housing opportunities to rural Americans, and appreciate the work the realtors do to assist Americans with their dream of home ownership.

Equipment Leasing and Finance Association

Representatives from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association met with me on Wednesday to discuss the overall economic climate in agriculture. Agriculture-related finance is a big employer in Minnesota, which underscores the importance of a healthy farm sector for people all over the state, not just production agriculture. We also agreed that some of the proposals for tax reform, such as immediate expensing or the elimination of the interest deduction, are non-starters.

U.S. – Mexico Ag Trade Delegation

On Thursday Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and I met with a delegation of U.S. corn and grain exporters and Mexican end-users of those exports. The meeting was an opportunity to show how trade benefits agriculture producers through the supply chain.

United Egg Producers

United Egg Producers had their annual fly-in this week. We discussed their farm bill priorities, trade negotiations, trade with Canada, the check-off program, and the organic livestock rule. I was also happy to see them host their annual Omelet Luncheon and showcase support for this vital industry.


On Thursday, I met with members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Executive Committee to discuss their priorities for the next farm bill. NASDA priorities include making investments in trade promotion to better promote America’s food and agriculture products around the globe; strengthen financial and technical assistance for conservation to help safeguard our natural resources; and improve coordination to address the increasing threat of invasive plants, pests, diseases by providing rapid detection/response capabilities. I look forward to working with NASDA on farm bill reauthorization.

Western Growers

Chairman Conaway and I addressed the Western Growers Association Board of Directors on Wednesday to talk about the upcoming farm bill and other issues of interest. Western Growers Association represents the fresh fruit, vegetable, and nut industries in several western states, which represent about half of the farm value of all U.S. agriculture.

Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP!

I welcomed students from Litchfield High School to Washington this week as they accepted the top 2017 “Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP!award. This annual award recognizes students that improve hand hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases and reduce related absenteeism. I enjoyed meeting the students and thank them for their work to keep our schools and communities healthy.

ALS Association

Members of the Minnesota-Dakota chapter of the ALS Association met with my staff this week to discuss their research and educational outreach efforts to help empower individuals and families impacted by the disease. Durable medical equipment such as power wheelchairs are critical to meeting the needs of those suffering from ALS, and I recently co-sponsored legislation to help keep these technologies accessible and affordable.

Fairview Senior Communities

On Thursday, my staff joined the Ortonville community to celebrate the opening of Fairview Senior Communities. At Fairview they have created a full continuum of housing that provides options for residents to stay in the Ortonville community, offering catered living apartments, assisted living and memory care units. All of the new units were reserved before the grand opening. Congratulations!

Local Ukrainian Community

This week my district staff met with members of the Ukrainian community. They discussed humanitarian issues, community organizing and economic opportunities in Ukraine. It is important that we find peaceful resolutions in areas of conflict. Along with my colleagues, I will continue to respond to the needs of international communities and work together in finding peaceful solutions.

Clean Energy Resource Teams

This morning my staff joined the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS) and Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) for a “lunch and learn” about using wood heat as an alternative thermal source for commercial poultry operations. A wood chip furnace can produce fuel cost savings and robust flock production. AURI and CERTS provide important education, research and resources for the 7th District and all of Minnesota.

Familiar Faces

My former staff aide Natalie Winters stopped by my Washington, D.C. office this week. Natalie is currently attending law school at UC Berkeley, and I wish her luck as she continues in her career. Thank you for your work for the Seventh District!

2017 Congressional Art Competition Winners

I am happy to announce Prinsburg student Meghan Listerud as the winner of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition, for her watercolor painting entitled, “Minnesota Chicken”.

Her artwork was selected from dozens of submissions from students throughout Minnesota’s Seventh District, and will be featured in the U.S. Capitol building for one year as part of a display encompassing selected pieces from all 435 Congressional Districts. There were many art pieces submitted this year and I am very proud of the work put into them. I would like to thank every high school artist who participated.

Meghan will fly to Washington, D.C. in June for a reception honoring her artwork, along with Competition winners from across the country.

Artwork by competition semi-finalists, Jessaca Zuidema of Blomkest (“Self Portrait”) and Shayla Potter (“Circle of Life”), will be displayed in my District offices. Be sure to look out for additional submissions from this year’s competition at the end of each newsletter!

“Minnesota Chicken”
Meghan Listerud (PRINSBURG)
Watercolor Painting

Self Portrait”|
Jessaca Zuidema (BLOMKEST)
Colored Pencil

Circle of Life
Shayla Potter (MAHNOMEN)
Watercolor Painting and Indian Ink Feathers

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

The House Agriculture Committee held a full Committee hearing on Wednesday morning with newly sworn in USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. I welcomed Perdue to the Committee and urged him to do what he can to get the administration to reconsider proposed USDA budget cuts. The hearing’s focus was on the struggling rural economy. I expressed my concerns that we could find ourselves in real trouble if yields shrink, the weather doesn’t cooperate or market conditions decline. This is why it’s so important for a strong farm bill.

H.R. 2154 Fargo “Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center”

On Wednesday, the House passed legislation to rename the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo as the “Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center,” in honor of former USDA Secretary and North Dakota Governor Schafer’s accomplishments. I was happy to support this effort and recognize his service.


Minnesota’s Health Insurance Waiver

In March, the Minnesota Legislature voted to establish the Minnesota Premium Security Program (MPSP) to help stabilize the individual health insurance market. This week, I led a letter with members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation urging the expeditious approval of the state’s waiver application to fund and implement the bipartisan initiative. This is particularly important to our rural and underserved areas, where it is critical that we reduce future rate increases, encourage consumer enrollment, preserve insurer participation, and expand access to affordable healthcare.

To read the full letter, visit:

Lake of the Woods OARS Border Security Program

This week I released new information regarding a border security pilot program to replace the outdated Outlying Area Reporting Station phone in the Lake of the Woods Region. I commend U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the agency’s decision to use Lake of the Woods as a testing ground for new border reporting technologies. This is exciting news for tourists, resorts, and border agents alike and I look forward to a successful pilot program that includes input from our stakeholders so the United States can enhance border security while maintaining a strong local economy.

You can learn additional details in my press release:

National Infrastructure Week

This week, businesses and workers across the country celebrated National Infrastructure Week to recognize the need to invest in our infrastructure. Congress must continue to work toward long-term funding for transportation projects and technologies to ensure efficiency, competitiveness, and job growth. In that spirit, I recently joined a letter with my colleagues in the Minnesota Congressional Delegation urging federal support for improvements to the Interstate 94 West Corridor (I-94) which extends through much of the 7th District.

This Week in American History

Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis after this flight, the Spirit of St. Louis on display

On May 20, 1927 Little Falls native Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., began his famous trans-Atlantic flight to Paris, which took a total of thirty-three and one-half hours. Lindbergh left Roosevelt Field with 450 U.S. gallons of fuel, and overcame storm clouds, wave tops, icing, flying blind through fog, and managed to navigate led only by visible stars. He went on to fly dozens of more flights, fund medical and aviation research, and promote the beginnings of aerial mail delivery services.

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 more than 190 miles long and was notably once the location of the World Barefoot Ski Championship. These “falls” helped name the principal town they run through…

Congratulations to Angela Malone of Thief River Falls for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Polaris Experience Center found in Roseau!

Share your guess on our website –

Erin Andersen (UNDERWOOD)
2016 Congressional Art Competition Winner