Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/28/2017

Aug 2, 2017


A storefront in Granite Falls
Yellow Medicine County

Dear Friends,

As Congress readies to leave Washington for the August district work period, I am looking forward to spending some more time in the Seventh. This week I heard from several groups on policies directly impacting our rural communities, including the Crop Insurance Professionals Association, National Cotton Council, Farm Credit Banks, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Finally, I look forward to joining many of you Thursday at Farmfest for our listening session on the upcoming farm bill.

Sincerely,
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Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Crop Insurance Professionals Association

On Wednesday, I met with a group of insurance agents from the Crop Insurance Professionals Association. We discussed the policy challenges facing rural economies including the farm bill, tax reform proposals, and trade agreements. There's much to be learned from crop insurance professionals who help farmers to help manage risk, and I appreciate the work they do.

National Cotton Council

I spoke to a group of cotton growers and industry representatives on Thursday morning. We discussed some of the recent efforts to bring about some assistance to cotton growers who have been enduring low prices and drought. It's important that the farm bill works as intended for farmers across the country, so the agriculture community must work together as a team.

Farm Credit


AgCountry FCS, Compeer Financial and CoBank are represented in the photo.

Representatives from Farm Credit banks in Minnesota and North Dakota paid me a visit to discuss their priorities for the upcoming farm bill.

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

This Friday, I met with Dr. Sally Rockey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to hear about its progress since its creation in the 2014 Farm Bill.  FFAR was established with $200 million to invest in research and was directed to double those funds with equal or greater matching funds through the private sector. FFAR looks to invest in those gap areas where the government or private sector may not currently fund research.  Dr. Rockey specifically highlighted the Rapid Outcomes from Agriculture Research (ROAR) grants, which is designed to prevent or mitigate damage from agricultural pests and pathogens.  The program is currently open for applications, and FFAR makes funding decisions within 1 week of receiving applications.  More information can be found here.

Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission

On Tuesday, my staff joined the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) for their annual community tour and business meeting hosted in Kerkhoven.  The afternoon started with a tour of East Dublin Dairy and also included a stop at the General Store. Both businesses utilized low interest loans from the UMVRDC’s federal revolving loan fund to get started. The tour wrapped up with a walking presentation of the Safe Routes to School project that the UMVRDC is working on with the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg school district. The UMVRDC did a great job highlighting the important work being done with rural businesses, schools and communities.

Minnesota Farmers Union Listening Session

My staff aide Jacki Anderson attended the Farmers Union Listening Session on the next farm bill in Willmar on Thursday. The discussion covered a lot of topics including resources for new farmers, increasing CRP acres, keeping SNAP connected to the Farm Bill, supporting renewable energy, finding additional uses for agricultural products through research, and creating more opportunities to educate as many people as possible on the importance and the return on investment that comes from the Farm Bill.  In addition to farm programs, we heard about the need to continue working on healthcare solutions, broadband deployment, and sustaining funding for rural infrastructure. I look forward to continuing these conversations with area farmers next week at Farmfest.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Listening Session

My staff attended several public listening sessions on the state’s draft nitrogen fertilizer rule. Hundreds of people, mostly farmers and agri-businesses attended the meetings in northwest Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is the agency seeking input to develop guidelines to protect groundwater from excess nitrate-nitrogen. The information presented by the department and the questions asked by the public indicated a serious concern about the process. Many attendees believed there needed to be more testing of water wells in the region and more recognition of the unique local circumstances.

David Frederickson, the Commissioner of Agriculture, said he appreciated the large turnout and the specific information presented. He said, “I definitely was listening.” More information can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/nfr

Legislative Update

Agriculture Committee Update

The Agriculture Committee held a hearing, “Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture,” on Wednesday. During the hearing, a diverse group of industry representatives provided testimony regarding their opinions on changes to NAFTA. I’m supportive of efforts to renegotiate NAFTA but we need to make sure the end result will work for agriculture. I’m concerned about some of the issues arising with respect to our agricultural exports to Mexico as a result of some of the rhetoric and uncertainty around this negotiation. But my biggest issue with NAFTA is the fact that Canada has been allowed to continue its supply management system and now their new Class 7 pricing is disrupting U.S. and, potentially, world dairy markets. Our farmers need a good deal which is why this hearing was so important.

Newsstand

The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field

The House Agriculture Committee recently announced three farm bill listening sessions to gather stakeholder input, including a session at Farmfest on August 3. These listening sessions are a continuation of the Committee’s review of farm bill programs and I’m looking forward to hearing directly from farmers and others impacted by the farm bill. Real world examples of what is, and maybe isn’t, working will help better inform Committee members when we begin the task of writing a new farm bill. I hope to see many of you at Farmfest!

This Week in American History

On July 27, 1898, Governor Alexander Ramsey set the cornerstone of the present state Capitol building. The Capitol was designed as a memorial to Minnesota’s Civil War soldiers. Just this year, the Capitol completed a 4-year renovation to restore it to as much of its original condition as possible. Information on visiting the Capitol can be found on their website.

Spotted in the Seventh

Can YOU guess what was 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 landmark is a town in the Seventh, founded in 1927, that is themed around space, with street names named after planets and constellations...

Congratulations to Don Aanenson of Detroit Lakes for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes!

Share your guess on our website – https://collinpeterson.house.gov/contact-me/spotted-seventh


“Viking Winter”
Sylvia Venberg (FERGUS FALLS)