Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/20/2018
Lac qui Parle County
This week, the House of Representatives moved to proceed to conference on the farm bill. The agriculture community of Minnesota is facing tough times, and our producers cannot afford to take another hit. To increase certainty for our farmers, I sponsored the motion which instructs farm bill conferees to include guaranteed funding for Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Programs in the final bill. As the top Democrat on the conference committee from the House, I look forward to working with Representatives and Senators of both parties to get this done for our farmers.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Joint Press Conference on Protecting Medicare for Minnesota Seniors
On Monday, I met Congressman Walz at the airport in Moorhead to co-host a press conference where we spoke about our bill to allow Medicare Cost Plan beneficiaries to remain on their plans for another two years. As I have said before, those who currently enjoy the benefits and flexibility of cost plans ought to have more time to select comparable plans in accordance to their healthcare needs.
To watch and listen to what we had to say, click either of the following links:
Farmers from the 7th
I met with third generation hog farmer Lu Rohloff and his son Justin in Washington this week to talk about the concerning situation for livestock producers in Minnesota. The Rohloff family farm is located south of Morris, where they grow corn and soybeans in addition to pigs. We talked about the challenge of maintaining a strong workforce and the devastating impact the Administration’s tariffs are having on independent farmers. Farmers do their best to prepare for unpredictable factors, such as the weather, but few could have seen this tariff situation coming. Lu emphasized how his operation is structured for a constant flow of pigs, so unexpected disruptions to such a system dealing with live animals are particularly difficult.
Minnesota Biofuels Association
Executive Director Tim Rudnicki
Minnesota’s corn and soybean farmers are well-positioned to produce renewable fuels for our nation, and Tim Rudnicki is working to expand their access to the market. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) helps boost corn and soybean prices which our farmers desperately need to outlast an escalating trade war that is continuing to hurt rural America.
National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia
Members of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia (NFED) visited Washington this week to thank me for my efforts to secure medical coverage for Minnesotans with congenital abnormalities. In the near future, I will introduce the bipartisan Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act to require that group and individual health plans cover medically necessary services, including needed dental procedures, resulting from these conditions.
Moorhead’s Railway Underpass Groundbreaking
On Monday, I joined with state legislators, city officials, and railroad officials in officially breaking ground on Moorhead’s railway underpass. The project will make the Main Avenue intersections of 20th and 21st Streets much safer for cars, pedestrians, and trains. This success is a prime example of what can be accomplished when everyone is brought to the table.
Hot Dog Luncheon
This Wednesday, the North American Meat Institute held their Annual Hot Dog Luncheon. We celebrated National Hot Dog Month by bringing hot dog producers and some Major League Baseball greats together in the Rayburn House Office Building courtyard to enjoy some hot dogs. I was honored to once again serve as a co-host to this fun event that welcomed representatives of the meat industry to Capitol Hill, including some from Minnesota-based Hormel Foods.
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association sat down with members of my staff to talk about where we are in the farm bill process. They heard updates on the list of conferees and talked about possible timelines, then dived into provisions of importance to those in the Minnesota agriculture community, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The delegation expressed their concerns with the trade situation and their desires to continue the trade relationships they have established with their customers abroad. Finally, the group discussed the staffing situation in local National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) field offices, expressing concerns that the hiring freeze must be lifted soon and noting that even when hiring begins, folks will need months of training.
Results: The Power to End Poverty
My staff aide met with Minnesota representatives of Results: The Power to End Poverty. The group, which included constituent Kevin Thompson of Perham, was seeking support for legislation that aims to help end preventable child and maternal deaths worldwide. I cosponsored this bill, H.R. 4022, the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, and applaud the group’s dedication to this important issue.
National Guard Tour – Camp Ripley
Meg Louwagie of my staff joined other Congressional staff members for a National Guard tour this week where they were briefed on current and future missions and the upgrades needed for the C130 airplanes and the C130 training simulator. The tour included going down range at Camp Ripley where they met with the 1-151st Field Artillery out of Marshall for a Howitzer demonstration.
Best Small Minnesota Hospital Workplace
The Minnesota Hospital Association named RiverView Health the Best Small Minnesota Hospital Workplace. RiverView Health was also selected by Modern Healthcare Magazine as a 2018 Best Places to Work in Healthcare Award. One of my staff visited Carrie Michalski, the President and CEO of RiverView Health, to learn what sets them apart from other facilities. Their success involves an open leadership style that involves gathering their employee’s suggestions and ideas through organized assessments to improve their workplace. RiverView Employees indicating they are very or completely satisfied with their employment went from 82% in 2014 to 98% this year.
Crops and Soils Day
My staff attended the University of Minnesota Northwest Research and Outreach Center Crops and Soils Day at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Top university researchers went through the strengths and weaknesses of wheat, barley and other crop varieties. They also explained the effectiveness of herbicide and fungicide use. Several farmers in attendance mentioned that this year's crops were some of the best they can remember.
Daycare Facility Opens in Buffalo Lake
My staff aide Jacki Anderson was in Buffalo Lake this morning for a sneak peak of the new childcare center Little Stangs. Childcare can be difficult to find in the seventh district, congratulations on making this much needed daycare center a reality.
Disaster Loan Deadline – Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin Counties
Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West today reminded small nonfarm businesses in 23 North Dakota counties and neighboring counties in Minnesota and South Dakota of the Aug. 13, 2018, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury. These low-interest loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought in the following primary counties that began May 30, 2017.
Primary North Dakota counties: Barnes, Benson, Cass, Eddy, Foster, Ransom, Richland, Rolette and Stutsman;
Neighboring North Dakota counties: Bottineau, Dickey, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, Nelson, Pierce, Ramsey, Sargent, Steele, Towner, Traill and Wells;
Neighboring Minnesota counties: Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin;
Neighboring South Dakota counties: Marshall and Roberts.
According to Garfield, small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. “Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact,” said Garfield.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail) for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
This Week in American History
On July 17, 1980, Robert Asp debuted his replica Viking ship Hjemkomst in the Duluth Harbor. Robert's family and friends would later fulfill a lifelong dream of his by sailing the ship from the Great Lakes to the harbor of Bergen, Norway. Unfortunately, Robert passed away before he could see the trip completed. The ship has since been installed in the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center in Moorhead.
What’s the Story?
The common loon became Minnesota’s state bird in 1961. Loons are large black and white birds with red eyes. They are clumsy on land but are excellent swimmers and divers – sometimes diving 90 feet in pursuit of fish to eat. Loons are known for their wide range of cries, wails, and yodels. Their calls are a distinctive feature of Minnesota’s northern lakes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that roughly 12,000 loons can be found in Minnesota. This painting by Michael Sieve hangs in my Washington, D.C. Office.
“Drops of Memories”
Lauren A. Peterson
February 4, 1920 – July 14, 2018
On Saturday, my father Lauren passed away after suffering a heart attack. My dad was 98 years old and kept very busy following happenings in the Red River Valley, the Buffalo Red Watershed District, visiting with family, and keeping me company at meetings I held around the Moorhead area. The last time I talked to my dad he told me told me to “go and get that farm bill done”. We were all fortunate to have him around for so many years, and I want to thank all those who have offered condolences to me and my family.