Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/17/2018

August 20, 2018

Morgan – Redwood County

Dear Friends,

This week, I met with folks at Hugo’s in Thief River Falls to tour the marketplace and hear about issues affecting grocers in western Minnesota. On Wednesday, I attended the Stevens County Farm Bureau annual meeting to catch up with local producers and answer their questions about trade and the Farm Bill. I have heard from many of my constituents about the hay shortage in the district, and I have been working to find solutions for the counties affected by flooding and drought. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced on Thursday that Roseau, Kittson, and Lake of the Woods counties, in addition to others announced last week, are now eligible for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres through September 30th.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Emergency CRP Haying and Grazing Announced for Roseau, Kittson, and Lake of the Woods Counties

Folks across the seventh district have reached out to me concerned by the hay shortage in Minnesota. Excessive rain in some parts of the state, drought in other parts, has destroyed a large portion of this year’s natural pasture growth, forcing many cattle producers to purchase hay from expensive outside sources. I have been working with state and local FSA officials to open Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in affected areas for emergency haying and grazing to alleviate some of the burden caused by the shortage.

On Thursday, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced that seven counties in the seventh district are now eligible for emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres.

Kittson, Lake of the Woods and Roseau counties were approved for emergency haying and grazing in addition to Jackson, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine, and Cottonwood counties that were announced last week.

Emergency haying is available on general practice acres and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE)/CP 38 acres through August 31, and emergency grazing may continue on those same acres through September 30.

Landowners and operators should confirm details and availability with their local FSA offices.

Net Neutrality

In June 2018, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) officially repealed the net neutrality rules enacted by the Obama Administration in 2015. Many of you have expressed concern over the repeal, which gives internet service providers (ISPs) increased discretion over the content and prices available to their consumers.

In order to ensure equal access to all web content, I agreed to serve as an original co-sponsor to a resolution (H.J.Res. 129) under the Congressional Review Act that would fully restore the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Specifically, the resolution restores the ability of federal and state agencies to prevent ISPs from blocking online content. The resolution also restores restrictions on paid prioritization, which allows content owners to pay ISPs for faster service.

The Senate approved its version of the resolution in May 2018, but the House is yet to act. For that reason, I signed a discharge petition to force its consideration. At this time, the discharge petition is gathering the support it needs to pass under House rules.

I appreciate all of the input I have received from you regarding net neutrality. More than ever, it is important that any federal action serves to better connect rural residents, businesses, producers, and providers to each other and the world.

Stevens County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

I attended the Stevens County Farm Bureau annual meeting in Hancock on Wednesday. We enjoyed a picnic supper and talked about the latest happenings in Stevens County. I shared an update on the Farm Bill and answered as many questions as I could about trade and tariffs. The group had a good dialogue and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting a few new ones. I appreciate all the work that Farm Bureau and its members do for area farmers.


Chris Bruggeman and Store Director Jim Ranstrom

On Tuesday, I visited Hugo’s Family Marketplace in Thief River Falls. Store Director Jim Ranstrom gave me a tour of the market and told me about his experience with the business in Thief River Falls. Hugo’s first store opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1939 as Pure Food Market. Since then, it has expanded to 10 locations in North Dakota and Minnesota. I appreciate the folks at Hugo’s taking time to meet with me and chat about the issues facing their industry.

Disaster Assessment Meetings

My staff aid Meg Louwagie joined representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and Small Business Administration (SBA) as they began assessing the hardest hit areas in the Southern part of the district. Officials are working to determine if home owners will be able to qualify for individual assistance due to the flooding in June and July. I encourage the officials to efficiently complete assessments so our communities can begin to receive the resources they need to repair.

Drone Tech

Northland Community and Technical College sponsored a “Drone Tech” summer camp for students and teachers to learn about drones. A member of my staff was at this event and was able to take a lesson on flying drones with one of the instructors. Drones are becoming increasingly useful for our society as new technologies develop. Advanced camera systems and increased range is allowing drones to be used for applications in agriculture, transportation, military, and many other fields. I want to thank the dedicated Northland College Staff and students for creating learning opportunities throughout the year.

Red Lake Inauguration Ceremony

On Tuesday, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians held the inauguration of their 2018 elected officials. There were five Council Members, the Treasurer, Secretary and the Chairman. Darrell G. Seki Sr., Chairman, encouraged the Red Lake Nation to come together for the event. During his speech, Chairman Seki said that the Red Lake people have been through some tough times with the campaign, drug abuse and the storms. He stressed the community’s need to move forward from those hardships.

I congratulate Chairman Seki and the other elected Council members and Officers on their election. It is an honor to serve in elected office with the support of your community. Thank you all for your commitment and service.

This Week in American History

On August 13, 1893, the biggest fire in Minneapolis history burned twenty-three square blocks of the city and more than 150 buildings, leaving 1,500 people without shelter. Nearly three months of drought from June to August created perfect conditions for the fire to spread quickly across the city. Damages were estimated at $1 million – roughly $20 million in today’s dollars.

What’s the Story?

The two jars of politically themed barbecue sauce shown above were produced by Walnut Grove Mercantile in Marshall. They feature several light-hearted jokes aimed at our country’s two major political parties. Walnut Grove Mercantile offers many great products, most of which are produced locally. Some of their best-known products include honey, fudge, syrup and preserves.

Courtney Wolf
Clara City