Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 5/26/2017

Big Stone County

Dear Friends,

This week I met with the American Association of Crop Insurers, AgQuest Financial Services, Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Organic Trade Association, and the Farm Journal Foundation to discuss methods to strengthen our rural economy and support those who work so diligently to feed the world. I visited with Lions Club International and the Minnesota Association of Townships to talk about supporting Minnesota’s small towns and joined representatives from the Nashville Songwriters Association to discuss the arts community, briefly playing a song or two. Finally, I hope everyone takes the time this Memorial Day to recognize the valiant men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Honoring Memorial Day

On Monday I will travel to Pelican Rapids to participate in their community Memorial Day ceremony. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for U.S. soldiers who were killed in military service, and while there are not as many parades and major community remembrance programs as there used to be, I'm hopeful that those who are able will take some time to participate. The sacrifice of those who died in service for our country should be remembered, and at the very least, we should take a moment to reflect on those who died in service and teach what this day means to our kids. It is a tradition worth carrying on.

Minnesota Society of CPAs

This week I met with the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to discuss the state of tax reform in the United States and changes to accounting standards. As an experienced CPA myself, I know firsthand the work that goes into the profession and I enjoyed discussing the ever changing industry. Earlier this week, I was able to perform with my band at the AICPA conference, and was presented a sign commemorating the event.

AgQuest Financial Services

A few leaders from AgQuest Financial Services, based in Morgan came by my office on Tuesday, along with staff from other independent agriculture credit and crop insurance companies. We talked about issues surrounding farm credit and focused on the farm bill and potential tax reforms.

American Association of Crop Insurers

I spoke with a large group of crop insurance industry representatives on Tuesday. Their visit was timely because the President’s budget was released the previous night, so we were able to discuss the impact of the proposed cuts to crop insurance. The budget isn’t going anywhere, but it remains to be seen what this will mean for farm programs. Farmers and rural communities need strong risk management tools, and I will work hard to protect them.

Minnesota Farm Bureau

I visited with Kevin Paap, President of Minnesota Farm Bureau, on Wednesday morning. Kevin was in town for the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Spring Conference. We talked about the upcoming farm bill and the President’s recently released FY 2018 budget. A corn and soybean farmer from Blue Earth County, Kevin has served on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors for six years. I enjoyed the visit and look forward to continuing to work with Kevin to advocate on behalf of Minnesota’s farmers.

Nashville Songwriters Association

I had the pleasure to meet with the Nashville Songwriters Association on Thursday. We discussed the Songwriters Equity Act, which would amend the Copyright Act to hopefully achieve better rates for songwriters. Most people don't know this, but three-quarters of a songwriter's income is regulated by the federal government. This bill will help address ongoing concerns about the impact of a rate disparity that values the performances of sound recordings at a level approximately 12 times greater than the actual musical compositions from the writer. The meeting was also an opportunity for an impromptu jam session in my office.

Farm Journal Foundation

Karolyn Zurn (CALLAWAY)

On Wednesday, I met with Karolyn Zurn from the Farm Journal Foundation to discuss the President’s recent budget proposal for international food aid programs. These programs are essential to teaching farmers in Africa how to grow and harvest life-saving crops year after year. I will continue to support global food security programs which save thousands of lives around the world every year.

Organic Trade Association

Organic Valley products; Bryan and Bridget Landsverk (Landsverk Dairy Inc., FOSSTON), Laura Batcha (Organic Trade Association), Mark Rokala (Alajarvi Farm, DASSEL), Adam Warthesen (Organic Valley)

I met with representatives of the Organic Trade Association on Thursday to talk about the upcoming farm bill and the role of the organic industry in the U.S. economy. I enjoyed hearing from constituents Bryan and Bridget Landsverk, who live in Fosston and operate a 320 cow organic dairy herd with both organic and conventional cropland.

United States Trade Representative Lighthizer

On Wednesday, I met with the new United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer. The United States Trade Representative is America’s chief negotiator on our trade deals. Ambassador Lighthizer is currently hard at work getting ready to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In our meeting I pressed him to push hard to make sure any new agreement improves exports for our farmers, particularly our dairy and poultry farmers with respect to Canada and our corn, soybean, wheat and sugar-beet farmers with respect to Mexico.

Minnesota Association of Townships

Lyle Johnson (Stacy), Gary Pedersen (Dover), Gary Burdorf (Arlington, MN), Mel Milender (BEMIDJI), Reno C. Wells (Hackensack), Robert Anderson (HUTCHINSON), Robert Knutson (Lanesboro)

Members of the Minnesota Association of Townships came by the office to discuss broadband deployment and infrastructure spending and their opposition to President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the USDA Rural Development Undersecretary. I will fight to ensure rural development remains a priority.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association visited my office this week to discuss air traffic controller (ATC) staffing at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and thank me for supporting legislation that would help revitalize the ATC workforce, expand recruiting efforts, and provide employment opportunities to veterans and recent graduates. Millions of Americans depend on air traffic control to keep them safe when they travel and I will continue to support efforts that help them operate.

Lions Club International

Members of the Lions Club of Minnesota stopped by the office to discuss their organization’s goals and programs. The Lions Club aims to meet the needs of communities on a local and global scale by focusing on raising money for worthy causes, for example the Minnesota Lions Club operate the Eye Bank, Diabetes Foundation, Children's eye clinic, and infant hearing program.

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

Minnesotans from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation visited my office this week to discuss provisions of the FAST Act designed to allow for increased biker input in infrastructure development. The group also thanked me for co-sponsoring legislation to help motorcyclists and law enforcement officials work together to address instances of motorcycle profiling. Motorcycles are an important part of transportation and recreation in western Minnesota that I will continue to support.

Enterprise Minnesota’s State of Manufacturing

Throughout this month, my staff has been attending Enterprise Minnesota's State of Manufacturing meetings whose surveys show overall manufacturers are optimistic about their futures. Their top concerns include healthcare costs and attracting and retaining employees. I will continue to fight for the policies and programs that help our businesses and communities be attractive places to live and work.

Lewis and Clark Regional Water System Annual Meeting

On Thursday my staff attended the annual Lewis and Clark Regional Water System Annual Meeting. They've worked very hard to bring water to rural communities in southwest Minnesota and the tri-state area. I will continue to support their efforts at the federal level as Lewis and Clark makes needed advancements in deploying new rural water infrastructure.

Legislative Update

Administration Budget Proposal and Agriculture

The Trump Administration released its FY18 Budget Request this week. The budget would cut $231 billion from mandatory farm bill spending over ten years, jeopardizing our ability to pass a new farm bill. By all accounts this budget is going nowhere on Capitol Hill but it is still a statement of priorities and should be of concern to all rural Americans, especially as Congress begins the process of writing a new budget. For years, groups like the Freedom Caucus, Heritage Foundation and Club for Growth have been advocating these exact policies as part of their goal to completely do away with farm programs. This budget brings that troubling mission one step closer to reality. As the House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member; I will continue to advocate for a strong farm safety net, including crop insurance, as well as other farm bill programs like rural development.

This Week in American History

After a ten-year campaign by the Minnesota Federation of Women's Clubs, the Minnesota National Forest was created on May 23, 1908. The Chippewa National Forest, as the park is now known following the 1928 name change in honor of its original inhabitants, is the first National Forest established east of the Mississippi River and is the home to more lakes and wetlands than any other National Forest. Today, the Forest and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe share goals and offer visitors a chance to experience Anishinabe culture and learn about the past from prehistory to early, logging-era and Civilian Conservation Corps days.

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 located in the “Lutefisk Capital of the World” and hosts a famous lutefisk eating contest every year…

Congratulations to Jeff Stabnow of Clitherall for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Otter Tail River which runs through in Fergus Falls!

Share your guess on our website –

“Minnesota Summer”
Elise Hultgren (RAYMOND)