Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/8/2018

Milan – Chippewa County

Dear Friends,

I met with recently appointed USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey this week to discuss day to day operations within the Department of Agriculture, the status of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the Agricultural issues affecting the Seventh District. During my meeting with the Swedish Ambassador to the United States Karin Olofsdotter, I mentioned the depth of Minnesota’s Scandinavian heritage and the role it plays in our culture. The Minnesota Lynx, with Hutchinson native and current point guard Lindsay Whalen, commemorated their 2017 WNBA Championship in Washington on Wednesday. I met with the team as they encouraged the children of Payne Elementary School and participated in a Samaritan’s Feet Shoes of Hope Distribution.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

2017 WNBA Champions – Minnesota Lynx

(Bottom right) Lindsay Whalen (HUTCHINSON)

The Minnesota Lynx commemorated their 2017 WNBA Championship on Tuesday by serving students at Payne Elementary School in southeast Washington. The team partnered with Samaritan's Feet to wash the feet of each of the 300 children and fit them with new socks and athletic shoes. These students are from low-income families and 30 percent of the students are experiencing homelessness. The Minnesota women's basketball team also played some ball with students before holding a short ceremony.

I was proud to join the group in celebrating their national title on stage at Payne Elementary and commend them for their service. I visited with Hutchinson native Lindsay Whalen, congratulating her and her teammates on their stellar season. It was inspiring to see the team give back to these youngsters. I also talked to the Co-Founder, CEO, and President of Samaritan's Feet, Manny Ohonme, who told me he studied at Concordia College in Moorhead. It was great to hear of this connection to the 7th District.

Once again, I congratulate the Minnesota Lynx on their tremendous successes on the court and for their service and humility off the court. These women set a great example of leadership, and their hard work and big hearts should be applauded.

Under Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey

This week, I had an introductory meeting with Bill Northey, newly-named USDA Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area and former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. He also operates his own farm just across the state line in Dickinson County, Iowa, where his brother-in-law has taken over the day to day operation of the farm since Bill came to D.C. He will oversee USDA’s agencies that work directly with farmers: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency. We talked about his new role at USDA, the farm bill, trade, dairy, and CRP issues. Additionally, we went into detail about day-to-day operations at the Department and the vacancies impacting Minnesota in our local field offices. I look forward to working with Mr. Northey and appreciate his knowledge of agriculture and experiences as a producer and public servant

Ambassador of Sweden Karin Olofsdotter

The Swedish Ambassador to the United States Karin Olofsdotter visited my office to discuss U.S.-Swedish relations, specifically defense and economic cooperation. The United States is home to nearly five million citizens of Swedish descent, and Minnesota is proud to have 450,000 of them, the largest number of any state. Swedish culture plays a significant role in Minnesota life, so I will work closely with Ambassador Olofsdotter on ways to advance the relationship between our two countries. My great-grandfather came to the United States from Sweden, and several years ago I visited my family farm there.

Minnesota Agri-Women

Jackson Zurn and his mother, Erica Zurn (CALLAWAY), Minnesota Agri-Women President Eleanor Peterson (WARREN)

I met with Minnesota Agri-Women representatives in my Washington office on Tuesday to talk about issues of importance to the group. We discussed trade and immigration in particular. Founded in 1974, the American Agri-Women organization has advocated for agriculture and empowered its members -- farm, ranch, and agri-business women -- for more than 40 years.

Minnesota Propane Association

Reliable access to propane is a necessity for rural Minnesotans who depend on the fuel to heat their homes, dry their crops, or even use in their school busses. Propane advocates visited my office to discuss the DRIVE-Safe Act which creates an apprenticeship program to help young drivers experience life as a trucker. It is difficult to incentivize young people to enter the trucking industry, so I am supportive of this bill which seeks to bring in a younger workforce. After hearing from constituents in the district, I cosponsored H.R. 5538, a bill to allow for appropriate certification for propane crane operators.

Brandon Kerkhoff

On Wednesday, I met with Brandon Kerkhoff of Redwood Falls who was attending the Young Cattlemen's Conference in Washington. Brandon was nominated by the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association to attend this national leadership program. During his Capitol Hill visit, we talked about protecting U.S. cattle from Foot and Mouth Disease, repercussions due to tariffs on beef, and state permitting challenges.

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

I met with representatives of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, to discuss the state of property and casualty insurance in Minnesota. We covered topics ranging from federal and state regulation of the insurance agency and the regulation of drones in rural Minnesota. Our insurers provide a lifeline when emergencies occur, and I will continue to work for a strong industry so consumers may remain protected.

Students from the 7th

Students from Tracy Area High School visited Washington this week. I told them a bit about my work in Congress, and answered their questions. I am encouraged to see students taking an interest in the political process, and I wish them all the best for the future.

Hutchinson Student Recognized in Washington

Staff aide Cody Hollerich, Margaret Kleiman (HUTCHINSON)

Margaret Kleiman of Hutchinson was honored in Washington, D.C. this week as a winner of a $20,000 Samsung American Legion Scholarship. To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must first be selected as a State Finalist in their respective American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program. From the 99 State Finalists, the top ten applicants are selected by the American Legion Committee on Youth Education to receive the scholarship. Finalists are chosen based on their academic accomplishments and dedication to service in their communities.

SNAC International

Trey Forsyth (Land O'Lakes), Jessica Hixson (SNAC International), Sarah Towles (PepsiCo), Marissa Gautsch (Land O'Lakes), Trace Benson (Old Dutch Foods), and Dane Sifer (Herr's)

Representatives of several food and beverage companies with a large Minnesota presence met with my staff on Thursday as part of the SNAC International Legislative Summit. They brought up several topics important to the snack food industry, including maintaining food choice in SNAP, addressing trucking challenges, supporting science-based labeling practices, and coordinating labeling regulation deadlines when possible. I have introduced or co-sponsored several bills addressing the issues they mentioned, including two trucking bills to provide ag businesses and small businesses relief from Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations.

Sanford Medical Facilities in Thief River Falls

The Northwest Regional Development Commission members received a tour of the new Sanford Hospital and Clinic in Thief River Falls before their June 5th meeting. The hospital and clinic are co-located in one large single story facility. The goal is to be a “one stop healthcare provider.” They have a 26-bed hospital with four state of the art surgery rooms, a large clinic and radiology center, and pharmacy. Patients can receive dialysis, chemotherapy, physical therapy, and analysis with some of the best equipment.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Soil Demonstration

(Left to right) Dr. Molly Dolliver, Paul Tietz, Stella Pey, Briar Gloden, Kayla Blacker and Josh Pommier

My staff aide Bob Ness attended field day demonstration in Watkins on Wednesday. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin performed research on the effects of long term CRP enrollment on soil quality. It was impressive to see the difference between soil that has never been tilled and soil that is in production. The researchers found that enrolling land into CRP for 5+ years can restore several inches of nutrient-rich topsoil that can erode while land is used for agricultural production.

7th District Hockey Roots

T.J. Oshie (WARROAD) lifts the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas // Oshie rides the D.C. Metro to game 4 of the Stanley Cup Championship Series

Congratulations to T.J. Oshie whose hard work helped the Washington Capitals win its first-ever Stanley Cup. Oshie was raised in Everett, WA, but moved to his parent’s hometown in Warroad to attend school. He led Warroad High School to two Minnesota state titles in 2003 and 2005 before attending the University of North Dakota. The St. Louis Blues drafted Oshie in 2008 and was eventually traded to Washington in 2015. During this season’s playoff run, Oshie scored 8 goals, marked 13 assists, and the Warroad star will have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Jason Serbus (BIRD ISLAND)

Jason Serbus of Bird Island joined the Washington Capitals this year for his first season as Head Athletic Trainer. Serbus has seen great success as an athletic trainer, working with U.S. Men’s National Team for IIHF World Championships in 2009 and 2016, training the Arizona Coyotes and the Tampa Bay Lightning. I would like to congratulate Jason and the Capitals as they celebrate their Stanley Cup victory this week.

Sing the National Anthem at Farmfest

If you are interested in singing the national anthem to kick off this year’s Farmfest, the event’s organizers are holding a competition to choose one singer to do just that. Applicants must submit a YouTube video of themselves singing the anthem by July 6th to be considered.

Click here for more information about the contest rules, and for details on how to apply.

Legislative Update

Water Resources Development Act

This week the House of Representatives passed HR 8, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). This biennial legislation supports our waterways, ports, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water infrastructure. I remain a strong advocate of our rural water systems and finding solutions to our infrastructural issues. That is why I cosponsored an amendment with Reps. Cramer (R-ND) and Johnson (R-LA) to clarify how we designate prior converted cropland. While this amendment was not included in the final bill, I proudly supported WRDA and the vital investment it makes to our waterways.

This Week in American History

On June 8, 1880, the flour of the Washburn-Crosby Company won a gold medal at an exhibition in Cincinnati, launching the Gold Medal brand. Washburn-Crosby would eventually become General Mills. Today, General Mills is a multi-billion-dollar corporation that employs over 35,000 people.

What’s the Story?

Throughout my time in Congress I have been lucky to perform with a number of talented musicians. This display is from a show I was in in 1997 where I performed alongside other musicians in Congress to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton for his second term. Performing is something I have always enjoyed, that is why I formed my own band of Congressional musicians titled the Second Amendments.

“Pave Your Way”
Justin Mark
Fergus Falls