Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/15

Jun 18, 2012 Issues: Defense and National Security

Lunch with my Dad, Lauren

Dear Friends,

On Sunday I hope we can all take a moment to thank a father figure in our lives.  This week we celebrated our Nation's Flag Day while we also honored the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army.  Finally, the newsletter will reflect on the anniversary of the 2002 floods in Roseau and provide an update on the 2012 Farm Bill.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Father's Day (June 17)

This Sunday we celebrate fathers and fatherhood.  Many believe the first Father's Day was inspired by a memorial service held for more than 300 men, a majority of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in West Virginia.  Sonora Smart Dodd, whose single father raised 6 children upon the death of her mother, is credited as an influential woman who first encouraged local churches in Washington State to honor fathers in June, the month her father was born.  While the first Father's Day was held in Washington State in 1910, it became an official nationwide holiday in 1972. 

Find your Family's Roots

The Minnesota Historical Society provides a number of helpful resources to get you started on tracing your family's roots.  You can also search census, immigration, and military records using resources available at  The 1940 Census recently became available online, and you can search it with the help of the National Archives.

Flag Day (June 14)

On June 14, 1777, the design of our national flag was approved by the Continental Congress.  It is believed that George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the newly formed United States.  To this day there have been 27 official versions of the U.S. flag, and the placement of the stars varied until President Taft standardized their arrangement in 1912.

If you live in the 7th District and would like to purchase a U.S. flag, my office is happy to help you make arrangements.  There is no limit on the number of flags you may order. You may also request that your new flag be flown over the Capitol for an additional charge. Flags may be flown for a particular person, event, or organization, and may be flown on a specific date.  If you request a flag to be flown on a specific date, please submit your request at least 6 weeks in advance.  If you have a more urgent request, please contact my office at 202-225-2165 and we will try our best to accommodate you.  A certificate of recognition is included with each flag.  To purchase a flag, you can fill out the flag order form on my website by visiting the following link:  

 Happy Birthday to the U.S. Army!

On June 14, two hundred and thirty-seven years ago our Nation's leaders established the Continental Army to defend our country. This 237th birthday commemorates America's Army - Soldiers, Families and Civilians who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army strong. Join me in wishing the U.S. Army a Happy Birthday and a Big THANK YOU!

Roseau Flood Anniversary

An aerial view of Roseau's 2002 flood

Ten years after Roseau's devastating flood in June of 2002, the city has made tremendous progress thanks to the efforts of Mayor Jeff Pelowski and Community Development Coordinator Todd Peterson, along with many others.  There is still work to do, and I will continue to fight for federal funding to help complete the East Diversion Project to keep Roseau safe from future flooding threats.

Photos courtesy of Pete Honl (Roseau)

Agriculture Committee Update: Confident in Farm Bill Passage

The House Agriculture Committee is continuing our work on the 2012 Farm Bill and I remain confident we will be able to mark up a bill and ultimately have a new farm bill in place before the current bill expires in September. I recently discussed farm bill negotiations with the Kiwanis Club in Willmar, on Joel Heitkamp’s News & Views and as a guest on AgriTalk.

The Senate began debating the farm bill this past week although progress was slow due to a lack of an agreement on the number of proposed amendments. Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Members Roberts remain optimistic that a deal will be reached and they can continue to move forward this coming week.

Farm Bill in Local Press: West Central Tribune

EPA Proposes Clean Air Standards for Dust

In response to a court order, this week the EPA announced planned updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particular pollution, including dust.  It is important to note that the EPA has decided not to impose new regulations on dust particles on farms and in rural communities.  The vast majority of states, including Minnesota, have not required the agriculture industry to take any actions that require particular emission reductions, focusing their efforts to reduce particular pollution on sources such as industrial processes, and construction and demolition.  EPA monitoring requirements will not target rural areas, requiring monitoring in areas with populations over 100,000.  After the proposed air quality standards are published in the Federal Register, there will be a public comment for 63 days and two public hearings in California and Philadelphia.  Final standards are to be issued by December.

Peterson Pics

Kiwanis Club Meeting

6/12: I spoke with the Kiwanis Club in Willmar.  Photo courtesy of the West Central Tribune.

I met with Kiwanis Club members in Willmar this past week.  I talked with them about the importance of passing the farm bill before it gets caught up in election year politics.  While Congress may seem fairly dysfunctional, I'm proud that the Agriculture Committee is one part of Washington that's still working.  This new farm bill would eliminate direct payments to people just because they own land and replace it with a safety net to protect farmers in case commodity prices collapse. 

Upper left corner: Speaking at the Kiwanis meeting with Kiwanis President David Herzer.  Upper right corner: With Kiwanis Member Arlen Sjerven.  Lower left corner: With Roger Rodi, John Lindstrom, Bob Rosenbrook.  Lower right corner: Addressing Kiwanis members.

Reception for UMN Crookston Chancellor Casey

6/14: I met with Chancellor Charles Casey and his wife, Barbara Muesing

University of MN Crookston Chancellor, Charles H. Casey, will be retiring at the end of this month after serving the University since 2005. I had the pleasure of attending his retirement reception this week as we gathered to honor his good work and strong leadership of this fine institution. University President, Eric Kaler, highlighted Casey’s achievements and said, “Chuck’s contributions to the entire University and state have been significant, including leadership for UMC, Extension and on the Board of Regents.”  Under Chancellor Casey’s leadership, the school witnessed gains in degree offerings and expanded enrollment. I wish the best of luck to Chancellor Casey in his retirement, and thank him for his leadership and service to the state of Minnesota.

Northland Community & Technical College Foundation Banquet

On June 14, I attended the dinner for the Northland Community & Technical College Foundation in the Swenson Hangar in Thief River Falls. Northland is home to the nation's first Unmanned Aerial Systems Maintenance Training and Imagery Analysis programs.  The event focused on enriching the lives of students through investing in people.  I recently toured their newly renovated aerospace campus and the donated DC-9 jet that was formerly the team plane for the Detroit Pistons.  It was a great event and I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the important contributions Northland makes to our communities by training the next generation of technical professionals.

Land Stewardship Project

Pictured center: Darwyn and Lisa Bach and their family
Photos courtesy of Land Stewardship Project

On June 15, I met with a group of farmers who are members of the Land Stewardship Project, as well as some USDA employees, at the Darwyn and Lisa Bach farm in Boyd.  We talked about the upcoming farm bill and some of the important provisions in it.  The Bach family operates about 520 acres of corn and soybeans, and has had a hog operation on the farm in the past as well.

Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative

On June 12, I visited Renville and met with farmers, union leaders and managers at the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative.  With over 300 employees and nearly 600 farm families involved, the cooperative's leaders were especially interested in prospects for the new Farm Bill now under consideration in Washington.  The sugar industry leaders expressed support to continue the current sugar program.