Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 7/4/2014

Jul 3, 2014 Issues: Congressional Issues, Economy and Jobs


Reading of the Declaration
Frieze of American History, Capitol Rotunda

Dear Friends,

This week I had the opportunity to announce a targeted conservation funding initiative with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. I also toured the Pet Care Systems manufacturing plant with my colleague Senator Klobuchar, and attended the Red Lake County Fair where I spent some time visiting with the Red Lake County Committee on Aging. Included you will also find an important survey regarding flooding damage to MN businesses.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Red River Basin Water Retention Meeting

On Wednesday, I hosted a meeting in Moorhead with the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss efforts to reduce flooding in our region. At the meeting Secretary Vilsack and I announced targeted conservation funding of up to $50 million over the next five years in the Red River of the North Basin to minimize flooding, boost soil health, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat in the watershed. This announcement will build on water storage and retention efforts already underway through the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that I worked to include in the 2014 Farm Bill.

At the meeting, the Secretary also committed to working closely with stakeholders in the region to implement the RCPP program so that Minnesotans can fully reap the benefits of the new flood protection and conservation tools without being delayed by a bunch of red tape. The meeting was attended by water experts including members of the Red River Retention Authority and watershed board members. I was also happy to be joined by Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Hoeven, Heidi Heitkamp, and Congressman Kevin Cramer who I have worked with successfully on this issue.

With continued progress made through the RCPP program and the historic announcement of additional funds for water projects in our region this week, we will finally get the chance to get some retention projects on the ground. For more information about the conservation initiative, click here.

Pet Care Systems

Sen. Klobuchar, Tom Moses (Dir/Ops, Swheat Scoop), Sen. Eken, Rep. Marquart

On Tuesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar and I toured Pet Care Systems, the manufacturer of Swheat Scoop cat litter with the Director of Operations, Tom Moses in Detroit Lakes. Joining us were State Senator Kent Eken and State Representative Paul Marquart. More than 20 years ago, a family from Detroit Lakes, MN set out to create a litter that would be safer for cats, people and the environment. It is a natural clumping litter that is biodegradable and is available in over 25 countries. Today Swheat Scoop is run by parent company Pet Care Systems. They utilize secondary wheat from across the Midwest to manufacture its products.    

Prairie Ridge Hospital

Prairie Ridge Grand Opening

On Saturday, the Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services Campus in Elbow Lake held a grand opening ceremony in their new 20 bed facility, which was financed by USDA Rural Development through Community Facility Direct and Guaranteed Loans. As Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture that oversees USDA Rural Development, I am proud to support such programs to enhance and assist progressive improvements such as the Prairie Ridge Hospital in our rural communities. This new facility will result in increased services and technology advancements that will make the community hospital attractive to new physicians, support staff and community residents. Prairie Ridge is a critical access hospital.   

USDA MN Homeowner of the Year

Jane Schaumburg (USDA Single Family Housing Specialist), Lucy Payment (CROOKSTON)

Lucy Payment (CROOKSTON) received the Homeowner of the Year Award for the USDA Rural Development region in Minnesota that represents Crookston. It’s the first time someone from Crookston received this award.  Colleen Landkamer, State Director of USDA Rural Development in Minnesota, awarded the prize and was there to congratulate Lucy’s achievement. 

The Direct Home Loan Program not only benefits homeowners but also keeps jobs in the community and contributes to the local economic development. As the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, I will continue to work to make sure that Department of Agriculture’s housing programs are working to expand financing options so more rural Minnesotans can realize their dream of homeownership. More information about the program is available here.

MN County Fairs

Speaking at the Senior Citizen Program (Red Lake County Fair)

I attended the Senior Citizen Program at the Oklee Hall sponsored by the Red Lake County Committee on Aging during the Red Lake County Fair. The task of the Committee is to develop and provide activities for Senior Citizens throughout the County. 

 4-H Visit

4-H’ers from the 7th District visited my Washington office and the House Agriculture Committee hearing room as part of their Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) trip. While participating in this citizenship program, 4-H’ers (ages 14-19) from across the United States stay at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center for one week and take part in educational workshops and other activities that encourage commitment to citizen involvement. The CWF program gives participants the opportunity to work on their communication, leadership, and citizenship skills. This is a great program, and I’m happy to see that the 7th District is well-represented by these young people.

Every summer, thousands of 4-H kids participate in county fairs as they showcase their knowledge and skills while also educating the public about the subjects they have chosen. 

For a list of this year’s county fairs in Minnesota, including contact and website information, click here.

Businesses Impacted by Flooding

The MN Department of Employment and Economic Defense is seeking input from businesses across the state impacted by recent flooding to best prepare preliminary flood damage assessments. The online survey, closing July 7th, is available here.

This Week in American History

John Vessey was born in Minneapolis on June 29, 1922. After lying about his age to serve in the National Guard at the age of 17, Vessey fought in North Africa and Italy during WWII where he earned both a Bronze Star and a battlefield commission as an officer. After retiring from the Army, General Vessey became involved in efforts to account for military personnel listed as missing in action from the Vietnam War. He made several trips to Vietnam to search for remains as part of resolving the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. General Vessey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, and served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1985. 

Visitors from the 7th

Josh, Carla, Eli, and Scott Kuehn (PLATO), Marlan, Teresa, Ashley, and Lynsey Warne (MOORHEAD), Dan, Ethan, Christine, and Elizabeth Erdman (CROOKSTON)

Dean, Nic, Elizabeth, Charle, and Pam Aakre (BARNESVILLE), Abe, Shep, Reese, Jennie, and Mark Jensen (MARSHALL) 

Haylee Sandry (CLARA CITY)
2014 congressional Art Competition