Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/10/2016

Jun 10, 2016 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education

Cass Lake

Dear Friends,

As Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee, I’m reminded every day of the important role farmers and agriculture play in the strength of our rural economy. This week I toured the Red River Valley Drainage Water Management Demonstration Project before leading a listening session in Moorhead on expanding efforts for better farm water management. I joined the National Milk Producers Federation to celebrate their 100th Anniversary and sat down with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association to discuss crop insurance and other issues important to the farming community. I also welcomed the American Agri-Women to Washington and thanked Youth Farm for their work in passing on the importance of agriculture to the next generation.

image002.jpg@01CE52EA.A8EE0880Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

National Milk Producers Federation

The National Milk Producers Federation celebrated their 100th Anniversary in Washington, D.C. this week. I attended an event to congratulate them and share my thoughts on changes that could be made to improve to the existing Margin Protection Program in the next farm bill.

Moorhead Listening Session

On Monday, I hosted House Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry Chairman Glenn “G.T” Thompson, R-Pa., and Reps. Tim Walz, D-Minn., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Kristi Noem, R-S.D. for a listening session in Moorhead. The event focused on the role of tile drainage and drainage management to complement the work of the Red River Retention Authority (RRRA) under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Services provided $50 million for the Red River Initiative to utilize existing conservation programs in the Valley. This is in addition to the $12 million RCPP previously awarded the RRRA.

The USDA Red River Initiative cost-shares the addition of drainage management structures on drainage systems through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and also helps to enroll wetland areas that can hold water through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) Wetland Reserve Easement component.

Members heard from presenters who shared information about managed use of tile drainage, and about timeliness of USDA determinations and the ability to mitigate middle of field wetlands.

Red River Valley Water Project

On Sunday, Congressman Thompson joined me on a tour of the Red River Valley Drainage Water Management Demonstration Project site at the Jerry and Jared Nordick Farm in Wilkin County. The demonstration fields showed examples comparing controlled drainage and sub-irrigation, conventional sub-surface drainage, and surface drainage only, with initial monitoring showing that the controlled drainage section had a decrease in nitrogen loss. The site with the saturated buffer is also being monitored to compare subsurface drainage through controlled drainage zones versus subsurface drainage through a saturated buffer.

We had an impressive tour from the Nordick family. They gave us a good understanding of the important work being done by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as they research and demonstrate the water quality and quantity benefits of drainage water management and look at ways to improve environmental impacts while helping producers maintain or improve production.

Transportation Fly-In

Members of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance visited Washington this week to share their perspective on maintaining and improving the state’s transportation system. While the passage of last year’s FAST Act helps states and local governments use federal funds when developing projects, long-term solutions are still needed to address the nation’s transportation funding shortfall and improve roads and bridges in the 7th. I am committed to helping make sure that Congress works closely with states, counties and cities when implementing the bill so that Minnesota’s transportation priorities are represented.

Highway 23 Coalition

I met with members of the Highway 23 Coalition this week to discuss ongoing efforts to make the corridor safer and more efficient. Highway 23, which extends across the Minnesota from I-90 to I-35 and beyond, serves as a major connection between communities and businesses in the 7th and the rest of the state. I look forward to working with the Coalition to make progress on this project.

Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Representatives from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, including President Noah Hultgren of Raymond, came by my office on Wednesday. We discussed the ongoing debate over GMO labeling and how the issue affects farmers, and also talked about risk management and crop insurance. The House Agriculture Committee recently profiled Hultgren on the Committee’s Homegrown blog -

Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

This week I met with the Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education to discuss the needs of our teachers and the work being done to ensure they are adequately prepared to face the challenges of educating our youth. Instructors need to have access to all the tools necessary to provide high quality education. I commend the hard work these professionals put in to prepare our educators for their careers in teaching.

Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

On Friday, I met with Bruce and Carol Albright who were in town to visit with family. We discussed the status of a number of water projects and opportunities to better educate people on the multiple economic and public safety benefits of modern tiling technologies. There is no single solution for the water issues in the Red River Valley Basin watershed, but I will keep pushing to make tiling and drainage management a priority because it is one tool that can increase the value of the land for farmers, while contributing to the region’s flood control efforts.

Rock N’ Roll Caucus

On Thursday, the Congressional Rock N’ Roll Caucus hosted the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in the Agriculture Committee room to highlight the importance musicians and artistic performers play in our communities. This event always brings a wide-ranging, bipartisan group of Congressional Members, and even the House Chaplain came to sing “I Saw Her Standing There.” I’m proud to be a part of the Caucus and our efforts to educate fellow members on the significance of rock n’ roll music and applaud the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame on all of their educational outreach efforts.

American Agri-Women

Minnesota members of the American Agri-Women stopped by my office to meet with staff aides Zach Martin and Rebekah Solem on Tuesday. Deb Whaley (OKLEE) and Eleanor Peterson (WARREN) talked about a number of issues affecting agriculture, including WOTUS, the Endangered Species Act and GMO labeling.

Youth Farm

My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Gunnar Liden, Executive Director of Youth Farm, to talk about the positive impact Youth Farm is having on Minnesota’s youth. For more than 20 years, Youth Farm has helped develop young leaders who are active participants in growing and distributing food for their communities. Founded in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis, Youth Farm has since added another two locations in the Twin Cities that help to engage more than 600 young people this year. They hope to continue to expand.

Penny Zimmerman

On Wednesday, my staff aide Rebekah Solem sat down with Penny Zimmerman, who was in town for the 2016 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Penny also serves as the President-Elect of the American National CattleWomen, Inc. Along with her husband, Penny raises about 100 head of cattle in Foley. They talked about a number of issues, including TPP, the Endangered Species Act, antibiotic stewardship and environmental regulations.

New Flights to Cuba

After the recent aviation accord between the United States and Cuba, I joined some of my Minnesotan colleagues in a letter to DOT Secretary Foxx supporting Sun Country Airlines’ application for flight routes from Minnesota to Cuba. This week, DOT approved two direct Sun Country flights a week between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and airports serving the Cuban cities of Santa Clara and Matanzas. Allowing Americans to travel to Cuba is a major step to normalizing relations and expanding opportunities for Minnesotans hoping to visit or do business in Cuba.


National Dairy Month

National Dairy Month began as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk. Originally created to stabilize dairy demand, it has now developed into an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the dairy industry has made to the world. At the heart of this important economic engine are Minnesota dairy farmers. This month is dedicated to recognizing their commitment to ensuring the availability of healthy and nutritious dairy products.

Check out the Midwest Dairy Association’s event page for ways to celebrate Dairy Month in Minnesota.

Take a Kid Fishing Weekend

Minnesotans can take children 15 or younger fishing without licenses beginning Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12, during Take a Kid Fishing Weekend. Beginners and even those without fishing gear have abundant opportunities to try fishing in Minnesota. Fishing gear is available to borrow at Minnesota state parks and the DNR’s I Can Fish! Program teaches all the basics of fishing. The program runs throughout the summer at state parks.

Visit the Fish Minnesota page to learn about the basics of fishing, explanations of fishing terminology and current fishing regulations.

CVEC Celebrates 20th Anniversary

CVEC (Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company) commemorated 20 years of growth and leadership in the ethanol industry on Friday, June 10. The Benson cooperative, with nearly 1,000 member owners, has the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol annually. CVEC also has ownership interest in four other ethanol companies. It is a founding member of Renewable Products Marketing Group, a leading ethanol marketing organization. CVEC has garnered a strong reputation nationally for efficient production and leadership in shaping ethanol policy. I admire and respect the contributions CVEC has made to the economy of Benson and the Seventh District.

This Week in American History

Self Portrait, Fouquet’s

On June 8, 1927 popular artist LeRoy Neiman, known for his wildly colored scenes, was born in St. Paul. Nieman served in the U.S. Army in World War II, where his artistic ability was first recognized by the Red Cross, who commissioned him to paint the backdrops for their shows. Beginning in 1960, he traveled the world observing and painting leisure life, social activities and athletic competitions including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Kentucky Derby, as well as night life, entertainment, jazz and the world of casino gambling. Among Neiman's contributions over the next 50 years, he created the Femlin character for the Party Jokes page, and did a feature for 15 years titled "Man at His Leisure," where he painted illustrations of his travels to exotic locations. He is considered by many to be the first major sports artist in the world and his works have been displayed in museums, sold at auctions and displayed in galleries 

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what we Spotted in the Seventh? Each week, I will post a picture of 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 clue is a new statue of an old leader whose name means “rattler”…

Congratulations to Scott Dodgson of Hawley for being the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead!

Share your guess on our website –

Visitors from the 7th

Jada, Ron, and Connie Schwartu (BALATON)

Wayne, Elliot, Owen, Kristi and Annika Werner (PERHAM)         

Jessica Barry, Chase, Alexa, and Charlee Janu, and Karolyn Zurn

Molly Hansen (BARNESVILLE)