Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/27/2018

Aug 2, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Hallock – Kittson County

Dear Friends,

This week we made some important progress as the four leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees met to discuss plans for convening conference talks on the Farm Bill. Farmers are struggling with low prices and market uncertainty, and I will work with conferees from both parties to resolve differences to quickly get a Farm Bill finished for our farmers. I look forward to seeing friends across the district this August, including many at Farmfest, coming up August 7-9 in Morgan. There is no shortage of issues that are impacting the profitability of our agriculture industry and rural economy, and I always appreciate updates directly from Minnesotans who call our district home.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Meeting of House and Senate Agriculture Committee Leadership

(Left to right) Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Pat Roberts, Representative Mike Conaway

I sat down with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow as well as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway on Thursday to touch base on plans to begin conference discussions on the 2018 Farm Bill. I’m hopeful that the Senate will pass a motion to agree to go to conference on H.R. 2 and name their conferees soon. Committee staffs are preparing the conference documents that compare the legislative language in the House passed and Senate passed versions of H.R. 2, and staff will be spending the month of August walking through that language and ironing out differences. The four principals agreed to talk weekly to check on staff progress and to look for a date in August for the conference committee to potentially meet. All four of us are determined to have a conference report ready for the House and Senate to vote on the week of September 24th before many of the current farm bill provisions expire on September 30th.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

I had breakfast with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, his Chief of Staff Ray Starling and Ken Barbic, the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at the Department on Tuesday morning. We discussed the soon to be announced package of payments and purchases to address the Administration’s tariff impacts as well as how to move forward towards enacting the new farm bill. Secretary Perdue offered his assistance as we sit down to work out the differences between the House and Senate farm bills.

Agriculture Committee Hearing – Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo

On Wednesday, I discussed the work of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the policy issues facing it, and the derivatives markets it oversees with the Commission’s Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo at a hearing before the full House Agriculture Committee. The Chairman and I spoke about the financial system’s transition away from the LIBOR interest-rate benchmark, cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, and the challenge of coordinating market regulation with the European Union during the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Common Market.

Minnesota FFA

Laryne Rada (GROVE CITY), Grace Taylor (Randolph), Lauralee Eaton (Pine Island) and Kegan Zimmerman (LAMBERTON)

Minnesota State FFA officers stopped by my Washington office this week to talk about the organization’s priorities. Each one told a story about the impact of agricultural education on his or her life. I continue to be impressed by the professionalism and drive of FFA students and wish them success with their next steps.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Meetings in the 7th

Chris Muller, Beltrami County Emergency Manager, described the purpose of the FEMA meetings in the aftermath of the June and July storms that caused damage throughout Minnesota. FEMA held a series of 24 meetings in the affected counties to assess the damage to determine whether there is enough damage to qualify as a Presidentially Declared Disaster. 

One of my staff attended six meetings in the northern part of the district and found that this preliminary assessment of damages comes to many millions of dollars. Minnesota Power Cooperative had 69 structures damaged by the tornado and wind. Red Lake Reservation's preliminary estimate by their foresters found that between 2,500 to 10,000 acres of trees were toppled and twisted. This makes it difficult to harvest and raises the potential for a future fire.

Storms can cause enormous damage to personal and public property. My home in Detroit Lakes was damaged last summer. I want to thank the FEMA Staff, Joe Kelly, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and all the local emergency staff involved in this process to assess the damages and begin the process of restoration.

Clay County/Moorhead Joint Law Enforcement Center

(Top left) Clay County Board Chair Jenny Mongeau tells the crowd about how this new facility can better address challenges faced by law enforcement.

On Tuesday, a ribbon cutting was held for the new joint law enforcement center that will house the Clay County Sheriff's Department and the Moorhead Police Department. Clay County and Moorhead officials celebrated the completion of the $52 million project, noting that the new facility will better serve law enforcement staff and inmates for many years to come. Congratulations to all those involved in the project and to the law enforcement community in Moorhead and Clay County.

Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission Annual Meeting

On Tuesday, my staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission’s annual meeting hosted in Yellow Medicine County with stops in Clarkfield and Granite Falls. Their work showcases federal investment from the departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through Small Cities Development Programs and Commerce’s Economic Development Administration through revolving loan funds available to local businesses. These programs were featured along with many additional local and state investments in daycares, parks and other local infrastructure projects.

This Week in American History

Pierre Bottineau in 1855

On July 26, 1892, Pierre Bottineau, the "Kit Carson of the Northwest," died. Bottineau, the son of an Ojibwe woman and a French trader, was born in the Red River valley about 1817. Fluent in Ojibwe, French, Dakota, and English, he worked for Henry H. Sibley in the fur trade beginning in 1837. From 1850 to 1870 he led expeditions to Montana and British Columbia and was a guide for Isaac Stevens's transcontinental railroad survey of 1853. During an attack by Dakota forces at Fort Abercrombie in 1862, Bottineau slipped through the lines and went to get help. After retiring in 1870, he spent the rest of his life at Red Lake.

What’s the Story?

Minnesota’s seventh congressional district is home to several public and private colleges and universities. Southwest Minnesota State University, located in Marshall, is a four-year public university with a total student population of around 7,000. SMSU offers education in a wide range of academic disciplines, including both the liberal arts and professions. SMSU is home to the School of Agriculture, Culinology and Hospitality Management (ACHM) that offers bachelor’s degree programs for students ‘from the farm to the fork,’ including Agribusiness Management, Agronomy, Agricultural Education and Culinology. This SMSU ‘Mustangs’ bobblehead is in my Washington, D.C. office.

“Water Lilly”
Emilee Solberg
Fergus Falls