Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/22/16
U.S. National Arboretum
With much of the national news dominated by the political convention, I’m happy to be spending the week with Minnesotans in the 7th District. I was interviewed by Mike Adams on AgriTalk where I talked about important issues for the agriculture community like the next steps to implement the GMO labeling bill that Congress passed last week and the outlook for the next farm bill. I will continue to fight to keep the agriculture coalition strong and united as we look at how farm programs are working and how they can be strengthened in the future. Finally, as summer heats up, I hope everyone can spend time with family and friends and take advantage of the many things that make our state a great place to live.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
AgriTalk Radio Interview
I spoke with Mike Adams on AgriTalk about a number of agriculture issues, including the GMO labeling bill that passed the House last week, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the next farm bill. You can listen to the full interview online (at 12:16).
My staff aides Rebekah Solem and Mike Stranz met with leaders of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association who were in Washington this week for Corn Congress. They thanked me for my support of the recently passed GMO Labeling bill and my leadership on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) issues, specifically a recent letter I led which called on the EPA to increase the renewable fuel blending targets in the final RFS rule. They also talked about farm safety net programs and the next farm bill.
Anna Kucera, the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, and Teresa Spaeth, Executive Director, visited my office to talk about the work their organization does to rehabilitate trails, parks and other public lands in Minnesota. We need to do more to manage the public lands we own, and this group is helping to do just that. The Conservation Corps helps young people between the ages of 18 and 25 develop job skills for life while giving back to their communities. Whether they are working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, or the U.S. Forest Service, these workers are helping to improve many of the great public places in Minnesota.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Pat Mellenthin, the executive director of Prairie Home Hospice in Marshall, visited Washington this week on behalf of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). NHPCO is committed to improving end-of life-care and expanding access to hospice so that facilities like Prairie Home Health can best serve their communities. I appreciate the work that hospice providers do across the district and state for individuals with chronic and advanced illness and their families.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Adam Williams (Manager, Airport Policy) and Scott Verstandig (Senior Director, Legislative Affairs)
Adam Williams and Scott Verstandig met with my staff this week on behalf of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to thank me for my work in helping pass third-class medical reform in the recent FAA reauthorization. Provisions for third-class medical reform, which came from the “Pilots Bill of Rights II” that I helped introduce last year, allow pilots to better manage their own capability to fly. Reducing overly-burdensome barriers to pilot certification will help ensure that it remains attainable to the general aviation community.
Christians United for Israel
Ilan Sharon (Hopkins), Skyler Schrunk (Dayton), Deb Campbell (Minnetonka)
This week, my staff aide Zach Martin met with Christians United for Israel in Washington to discuss ways that Congress can support a strong U.S.-Israel alliance. I have long supported Israel, and last year I opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal and have since voted repeatedly to maintain economic sanctions on Iranian assets and individuals that are proven to support terrorism.
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Frank Douma, Director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (HSPA), briefed my staff about his transportation research efforts this week. Frank’s research will help shed light on commercial trucking patterns across the state and give us a better understanding of where Minnesota’s products ultimately go. As one of the most productive manufacturing and agricultural regions in the world, the 7th District plays an important role in feeding the nation and world.
North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory
The 2016 Summer Field Day at the Soil Conservation and Research Laboratory was held at the facility’s Swan Lake Research Farm near Morris on July 21. The event focused on the economic and environmental benefits of establishing cover crops in corn and soybean systems. The Soils Lab is recognized as a leader in research to develop new oilseed crops for food, bioenergy, and industrial products. The mission of the lab is to develop ag systems suitable for the Midwest that are environmentally and economically sustainable. Projects include continuing research on oilseed crops such as camelina, pennycress, cuphea, and other seedmeals. A focus is placed on soil management and drought and heat tolerance. Efforts of the USDA Soils Lab in Morris are supported by the non-profit Barnes-Aastad Association.
Red River Valley Ag Water Issues Forum
Last week, members of my staff attended the 5th Annual Red River Valley Ag Water Issues Forum at the Chad & Troy Larson farm near Rothsay. This event was sponsored by Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The group received updates on a number of issues, including Minnesota's Buffer Law and its implementation and the role of floodwater storage in watershed management.
American Pharmacists Association
Axel Vazquez-Deida (Duluth), Rachel Brunner (MAHNOMEN), Abdi Bile (Minneapolis)
Students from the American Pharmacists Association visited my office last week to thank me for my support of the “Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act,” a bill which would help improve rural access to pharmacy services. Pharmacists play an increasingly critical role in administering medications safely and helping patients take them correctly, and I will continue to support measures that allow Minnesotans to rely on their expertise.
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
Minnesotan members of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) met with my staff last week to discuss their efforts to increase public awareness of the disease. NAAF is one of the largest and most influential foundations associated with alopecia areata, and I look forward to working with its volunteers toward advancing research and innovative treatment options for those who have it.
Farm Program Enrollment Deadline Approaches
August 1 is the last day to enroll in the ARC and PLC programs. “We’ve got most people signed up, but we missed a few people last year getting signed up and we don’t want to miss anyone this year," said Grant Herfindahl, state executive director of the Minnesota Farm Service Agency. "This is an important safety net for farmers.” August 1 is also the deadline for nominations to county FSA committees.
MSP-Tokyo Air Service
The Department of Transportation announced that it has approved Delta Airlines’ application for nonstop service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In May, I joined the Minnesota Delegation in support of the application, which will directly connect more than 100 Midwestern communities to Asian markets and strengthen MSP as an international hub. Access to these growing markets is particularly important to Minnesota businesses, including the 17 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state.
Dairy Program Extension
This week, I joined House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Stabenow in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack requesting that the enrollment period for the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) be extended to December 31, 2016. This extension will give producers additional time to make informed decisions and encourage program participation. After its establishment in the 2014 Farm Bill, milk prices have dropped almost 40 percent and cheese stocks now stand at record high levels.
Discovering the 7th
The End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum in Currie preserves and displays artifacts and stories of the Southwest Minnesota rail experience. The park began in 1972 as a 4-H Community Pride Project and quickly became an educational attraction under Murray County’s management. Located at the end of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Line, the End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum features the only operable authentic steam engine turntable in the state.
This Week in American History
Saturn V Rocket / Apollo 11 Crew / Armstrong on Lunar Surface
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969, as their third NASA crew member, Michael Collins, continued to orbit around the moon. Approximately six and a half hours after landing in the Lunar Module Eagle, Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the moon to perform experiments, collect samples, and photograph every step of their mission. Each photograph was scanned, archived, and made available through NASA’s Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. The National Air and Space Museum currently holds more than 400 space artifacts, including the Columbia command module, from the historic Apollo 11 moon landing effort.
Visitors from Minnesota
Tom, Kari, Kiyana, Arayah, and Kamarah Maynard (Rush City), Satori Handley (Rush City), Tonya and Justin Rein (Kasson), Michaiah and Ikaya Woodbeck (Kasson)
America's First Moon Landing - July 20, 1969
Brumidi Corridors, U.S. Capitol