Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/16/2017

Jun 19, 2017 Issues: Congressional Issues, Education, Energy, Health

Storm damage throughout the Seventh

Dear Friends,

In reflection of this week’s shooting at a baseball field near Washington D.C., my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. These tragedies remind us of the importance of strong civil discourse; we are all Americans first, working together to better our country. I’m proud to continue this important tradition on the Agriculture Committee, and put aside partisanship for the betterment of us all.

This week, I sat down with several groups to focus on important policies in the upcoming farm bill reauthorization, including the International Dairy Foods Association, Farmers Union Industries, SNAC International, and Compeer Financial. I was also happy to meet with dozens of Minnesota high school students who were in Washington for the Minnesota Rural Electric Youth Tour. I look forward to continuing to work with our neighbors, colleagues, and friends in the coming months ahead. Finally, many parts of western Minnesota were affected by high winds and rain this week. It's always impressive to see friends and neighbors coming together to help with the clean up, and I hope that those impacted have a quick recovery.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Senator John Thune of SD

This week I met with Senator Thune to talk about the Farm Bill and ideas on how to improve the conservation programs farmers use to protect our soil and water resources. Farmers in Minnesota have raised a number of concerns with the way the program is currently structured. One of the challenges has always been to make the program more responsive to market conditions so that the rental rates aren’t set too high or low causing unintended consequences as prices rise or fall. Senator Thune has released a discussion draft about changes he would like to see to the Conservation Reserve Program, and I look forward to working with him to make sure this program works well for farmers in our region.  

Private meetings and conversations like these happen all the time without fanfare between members of different parties, but they are an important part of how Members on the Agriculture Committees work together. At the end of the day, constituents in Minnesota and South Dakota of all backgrounds are best served when their elected officials from the region are talking to each other about what works and what doesn’t work for their constituents, and coming together to find solutions.


Allison O’Toole (CEO, MNsure)

I met with MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole this week to discuss Minnesota’s application for a State Innovation Waiver to help stabilize the individual health insurance market. I recently led a letter from the Minnesota Congressional Delegation urging expedited approval to fund and implement the bipartisan initiative. Particularly in rural and underserved areas, it is critical that we reduce future rate increases, encourage consumer enrollment, preserve insurer participation, and expand access to affordable healthcare.

International Dairy Foods Association

Meeting with IDFA; enjoying the IDFA ice cream social with Sara Wyant of Agri-Pulse

I met with members of the executive committee for the International Dairy Foods Association this week. We discussed several topics including forward contracting on Class I products, improving SNAP through an incentive program similar to fruits and vegetables, the importance of trade, and working with FDA to codify the term “natural cheese.” It was great to sit down with the executive committee and hear their concerns. I look forward to finding ways we can all work together.

Farmers Union Industries

I met with Duane Anderson, CEO and President of Farmers Union Industries, who was in Washington for the National Renderers Association Conference. We discussed issues such as trade and the Market Access Program (MAP), as well as immigration and labor challenges. Farmers Union Industries owns and operates several companies in Minnesota including the rendering company Central Bi-Products, which has locations in Redwood Falls and Long Prairie.

Minnesota Rural Electric Youth Tour

Minnesota high school students annually compete and apply through the local electric cooperative that serves their area to attend the Washington D.C. Youth Tour. Once accepted, students travel to Washington to visit with their U.S. Representatives and Senators, and take tours of historic monuments and museums. I was pleased to meet with dozens of MREA Youth Tour students on Wednesday. We talked about the Farm Bill and the things that contribute to partisan gridlock.

For more information about the Youth Tour, please click here.

SNAC International

On Tuesday, I met with executives from SNAC International member companies during their visit to Capitol Hill. We discussed a number of issues of importance to the snack food industry, including GMO labeling and nutrition labeling as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

CNH Industrial

Employees of CNH Industrial, including the plant managers from Benson, visited my office to provide insight on needs within the industry. This included investing in our nation’s infrastructure, such as smoother roads for trucking, solutions in trade, and keeping the Renewable Fuel Standard policy strong which supports the rural economy.

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors 

Jessica Bartram (Minneapolis); Paul Sullwold (Shakopee); and Jason Hanson (PERHAM)

This week, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors visited me to discuss government regulation, tax reform and funding for trade and technology schools, as well as workforce development programs to encourage and train the next generation.

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council

Nicolee Mensing (Apple Valley), Sherri Berg (FOSSTON), Laurie Coleman (ERSKINE)

This week I was fortunate to say hello to representatives from the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council who were in Washington advocating on behalf of head start funding, especially as it applies to migrant farm worker families. I will continue working for quality educational opportunities for Minnesota’s youth. 

National Association of Builders

This week I met with representatives from the National Association of Builders to discuss the state of flood insurance, tax reform and the building industry in western Minnesota. I commend these professionals for working to bring an adequate housing supply to rural America. I will continue advocating for policies that will continue this growth. 

Compeer Financial

Jase Wagner, Rod Hebrink, Staci Martin, John Monson and Terry Hinds

I met with representatives from AgStar Financial Services and 1st Farm Credit Services who shared information about their planned upcoming merger to form Compeer Financial, which also includes Badgerland Financial. I’m pleased to know farmers will continue to have Farm Credit as an option for their ag-related financing.

Midwest Minnesota’s Community Development Corporation

On Thursday my staff attended Midwest Minnesota’s Community Development Corporation’s 46th Annual Meeting. The feature project was the Graystone Hotel located in Detroit Lakes showcasing its transformation into a restored landmark in the community. This year the Graystone Hotel celebrates 100 years! Today the mixed use property provides apartments and commercial space. MMCDC provides an abundance of resources to the region and the Graystone Hotel project is a great example of their success. For more information about MMCDC:

Neighborhood Development Center

A group of interested people gathered at the University of Minnesota in Crookston to learn how to encourage business development in rural communities. Many people have a dream of starting a business but possess very little knowledge on how to do it successfully.

The Neighborhood Development Center, with support from the Minnesota State Department of Employment and Economic Development, presented their approach which has had good success in helping businesses get started. I am a long-time supporter of economic development programs like the USDA Rural Development programs and am proud to help boost our local small businesses.  

Department of Natural Resources Prairie Habitat Team

Earlier this week, members of my staff met with Greg Hoch from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to discuss the Conservation Reserve Program. Increasing program acres and stable native grass planting were key points. CRP is important to Minnesota and is very beneficial to farmers and outdoorsmen. I look forward to help find ways to improve and increase CRP around the district.

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

On Tuesday, the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a hearing on small watershed infrastructure. I was pleased to welcome John Finney, from Humboldt, as a witness. John is the chair of the Red River Watershed Management Board, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him closely on watershed programs over the years. These programs are an incredibly important part of the conservation toolbox. Unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of folks are really aware of the programs themselves or the benefits they provide which is why today’s hearing is so useful. These hearings continue our progress in finding practical solutions to expensive and controversial flood control challenges.

You can read my opening statement online here:


Sauk Centre Herald’s 150 Anniversary

This week the Sauk Centre Herald has published its 7,800th edition after 150 years. Since 1867, when first published to Sauk Centre’s population of just 500, the Herald has helped document the life of a vibrant rural Minnesotan community. As a tribute, this week’s paper included a re-print of the first ever volume. I’m proud of our history and hope you take the chance to read the headlines from 15 decades back.

This Week in American History

On June 16, 1931, the bones of “Minnesota Man” were uncovered by a road crew near Pelican Rapids. Despite the original name, further study showed these bones were actually those of a 15 or 16 year old woman. Incredibly, carbon dating places the age of these bones at approximately 8,000 years old, drastically increasing the known date of the human population in the Americas.

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 started in 1898 as a simple two-story clapboard structure, which developed into the ornate building it is today, with a clock and carillon chimes installed in 1976…

Congratulations to Ryan Baron of Long Prairie for being the first to correctly identify our last location as Lake Bronson State Park in Kittson County!

Share your guess on our website –

Visitors from the Seventh

The Tollerson family (FERGUS FALLS)

“Summer Days”
Nicole Kruger (CLARA CITY)