Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/17/2016

June 17, 2016

View of the Capitol from the Agriculture Committee

Dear Friends,

With more than 26.9 million acres of farmland, the Agriculture and Food Industry is the 2nd largest employer in Minnesota. This week, I welcomed the International Dairy Foods Association, Minnesota Grain and Feed, and CHS to my office to talk about issues important to the agricultural community. During the week, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, Alexis Taylor, visited two farms in the 7th District, where she had the opportunity to see Minnesota farms firsthand. Finally, I helped the Farm Credit System celebrate their 100th anniversary and I was honored to recognize a system that has helped so many in rural America.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Farm Credit

Eric Vinje, Howard Olson, Spencer Enninga, Mark Ellison, Jacob Chisholm, Marc Knisley, Staci Martin; Jimmy Dodson, Chairman Conaway, Curtis Hancock

I was pleased help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the farm credit system by welcoming this group of Minnesotans to Washington, D.C. for a conversation about crop prices, crop insurance and the long-term outlook for agriculture. In addition to our meetings, I attended a reception honoring their centennial, where I was awarded a framed copy of the resolution I co-lead recognizing the contributions of the farm credit system to farmers and ranchers.

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

On Wednesday, members of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce stopped by to discuss trade, air travel, the U.S. steel industry, ADA lawsuit reform, GMO labeling, and the effects the new overtime rule will have on small businesses. I appreciate the work that the Chamber does to stimulate our economy and help Minnesota businesses create new jobs.


This week I had an opportunity to sit down with a number of CHS Board Members to get an update on agriculture issues important to their cooperative. One of the new initiatives they are working on is finding ways to reach out to veterans and service members about job opportunities in the agriculture sector. We did a lot of work in this area in the last farm bill, and I look work forward to working with CHS and others on this issue in the future. We also talked about the importance of trade for the rural economy and some of the issues U.S. producers face because of problems with past trade deals. Rural businesses need a strong rural economy to be successful. This is why I have supported a number of issues outside of the Agriculture Committee's jurisdiction including Short-Line and energy tax credits. I have also expressed my opposition to new Department of Labor regulations that put additional burdens on businesses.

Minnesota School Boards Association

This week I was able to meet with Minnesota School Boards Association President-Elect Kathy Green and Director Ann Long Voelkner, to discuss the state of education in Minnesota. I was honored to receive an award for my work in Congress on education issues. I will continue to advocate for more local control so  teachers and administrators can provide students with the tools they need for success.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

This week I met with the new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari. Mr. Kashkari brings an abundance of experience from both the private and public sectors to the FED. I look forward to working with him to create a robust economy in the Midwest and across the country.

International Dairy Foods Association

Chad Hamilton, Tom Arata, Ebru Basaran-Shull, David Lyons, Andrei Mikhalevsky, Bob Yonkers

On Wednesday, I met with members of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) including Minnesota-based Ecolab. We talked about a number of issues important to the dairy industry, including GMO labeling, making changes to the Margin Protection Program, child nutrition reauthorization, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. IDFA represents the dairy processing industry and has about 550 companies comprising its membership.

Minnesota Propane Association

Representatives from the Minnesota Propane Association stopped by my Washington office to discuss propane fuel initiatives, pipeline safety and trucking rules. Propane is a crucial energy source that many Minnesotans rely on, both to heat their homes during the winter and dry their crops after harvest. Propane is also used as a fuel source in 150,000 vehicles in the United States, including school busses.

Helena Chemical

I met with representatives of Helena Chemical, the nation’s 2nd largest retailer of crop protection products, fertilizers, seed and related services to discuss their new location in Marshall.

Communication Workers of America

Members of Communication Workers of America stopped by the office to discuss trade, broadband deployment in rural areas and their concerns about attempts to weaken regulations on big banks. There is a push in Congress from big banks and other Wall Street firms to repeal Dodd-Frank. Recklessness on Wall Street caused the worst financial crisis in three generations costing people their jobs, their homes and their retirement savings. Now these firms want to repeal the law. I stand with CWA in opposition to repealing Dodd-Frank. 

John Deere

I met with executives from John Deere to discuss the domestic and global situation facing agriculture producers and input industries. We also talked about the outlook for the next farm bill and other pending legislative issues from tax reform/extenders to trade agreements.

Minnesota Rural Electric Youth Tour

My staff aide Zach Martin met with a group of high school students who were participating in the Minnesota Rural Electric Youth Tour. They asked questions about U.S. energy policy and daily life working on Capitol Hill. Students were selected through an application process run by their local electric cooperative. If you know a high school junior or senior who would benefit from the Youth Tour, click here for more information.

Minnesota Grain and Feed

My staff aide Rebekah Solem met with Bob Zelenka, Executive Director of Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, who was in town for the National Grain and Feed Association Fly-In event. They talked about a variety of topics affecting the Minnesota grain elevator and feed industry, including the Conservation Reserve Program, the U.S. transportation infrastructure system, biotech labeling and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor

Rich and Brandi Schiefelbein; Randy, Adam, and Brian Thalmann, Alexis Taylor USDA

Alexis Taylor, USDA Deputy Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, visited the 7th District on Wednesday. Deputy Secretary Taylor’s first stop was at Schiefelbein Farms, south of Kimball, in Meeker County. Schiefelbein Farms is a nationally renowned Angus bull, cow and calf family farm. Started by Frank Schiefelbein and his wife, Frosty, in 1955, the operation now includes 8 sons, eight daughters-in-law, and 2 of their 32 grandchildren. Schiefelbein Farms is Minnesota’s largest purebred Angus operation with more than 700 registered cows. Deputy Secretary Taylor wrapped her visit with a visit to Thalmann Farms in Plato. The corn and soybean farm has been family owned and operated for over 135 years. In addition to growing corn and soybeans, the family started a seed plant on the farm in the early 1970s. Thalmann Seeds, Inc. is still going strong today and sells seed corn, soybean alfalfa, oats, spring wheat and winter wheat seed. 

National Renderers Association

My staff aide Rebekah Solem sat down with Alyssa Hammerschmidt, Marketing and Sales Director for Farmers Union Industries, LLC in Redwood Falls, who was in town for the National Renderers Association Fly-In. They discussed issues of importance to the rendering industry, such as food waste, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and WOTUS. They also touched on regional concerns affecting the workforce in southern Minnesota, such as access to affordable daycare.


Leah Miller (KERKHOVEN)

My Willmar staff aide Mary Bertram met with Leah Miller of CARE, a humanitarian organization that fights global poverty, to accept a certification of appreciation on my behalf for my support of the House version of the Global Food Security Act. The bill authorizes international disaster assistance programs while remaining budget neutral. The United States has a proud history of providing disaster assistance and this bill will improve how these programs operate.

Bundestag Exchange Program


My staff aide Zach Martin met with Amelie Buerger, a German exchange student who spent 10 months living with a host family in Hawley. The United States and Germany have a direct student exchange partnership with 250 U.S. and German students living abroad for a year. Amelie was surprised by the "Minnesota Nice" culture and learned about U.S. agriculture. She also won an essay contest about her cultural exchange experience in Minnesota.

American Association for Suicide Prevention

Tonya Wolter, a Minnesotan volunteer from the American Association for Suicide Prevention, visited my office this week to thank me for my support of the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.” Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in Minnesota and it is critical that mental health programs and resources are accessible and directed toward those who need them most. I thank the Association for their important efforts to raise awareness, fund research and provide aid to those affected by suicide.     


Warroad International Memorial Airport

The Department of Transportation awarded the Warroad International Memorial Airport, also known as Swede Carlson Field, a $684,228 grant this week to improve the facility’s safety measures. Rural airports are often a lifeline and provide economic support to communities in the region, and it is important that they remain safe and in good operating condition.

This Week in American History

On June 14, 1777 the United States officially adopted our flag by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In honor of this national icon, we celebrate Flag Day every June 14.

In 1916, the president of the United States issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

You can learn more about the history and treatment of the American flag at

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what we 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 clue is the largest high school hockey rink in the world…

Congratulations to Treasure Omdahl of East Grand Forks for being the first to correctly identify last week’s location as the statue of Chief Bemidji in Bemidji!

Share your guess on our website –

Visitors from the 7th

The Thompsons (SPICER)

Phil and Betsy Grinder (MOORHEAD)