Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 8/31/2018
Our rural economy relies on trade to get Minnesota’s products to consumers around the world. This week, I headed back out to Washington, D.C. to continue work on the Farm Bill Conference Report. When I got back home, I had a number of opportunities to meet with farmers, producers, and businesses from the Seventh District regarding the Trump Administration’s recently announced Tariff Mitigation Plan, tariff product exclusions, and development on the farm bill conference report. I will continue to fight for trade policies that help our communities succeed and keep Minnesota businesses strong.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Farm Bill Timeline
(Left to right) Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Pat Roberts and Representative Mike Conaway
I was in Washington this week for a meeting of the “Four Corners” of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, Chairman Conaway, and I compared notes regarding staff progress on pulling together the farm bill conference report. We discussed how to fund the priorities House Members and Senators want to see in a final package as well as the timeline needed to get a bill done by October 1st.
I discussed this timeline on Agri-Pulse Open Mic – click here to hear the interview.
Minnesota is a major exporting state that depends on the global marketplace to sell a portion of its products. Our state ranks fourth in agricultural exports with the biggest customers in Canada, Mexico, China, and the EU.
The escalating trade war is significantly impacting Minnesota businesses and agriculture producers across a wide-range of sectors. I’ve heard from boat manufacturers, soybean growers, motorcycle makers, biofuel producers, electronics providers, and many more. In some cases, U.S. businesses that regularly purchase imported goods subject to tariffs can apply for exceptions if the increase in price is causing substantial financial difficulties.
The U.S. Trade Representative recently announced a process for businesses to request a product exclusion from U.S. Section 301 tariffs on Chinese products. The deadline to apply is October 9th, 2018. If your company is facing hardship due to these particular tariffs and would like to weigh in with my office, please contact my staff aide Zach Martin at Zach.Martin@mail.house.gov.
Roseau County Farm Bureau
I attended a Farm Bureau meeting in Roseau County on Wednesday. I enjoyed meeting with producers as they discussed issues in agriculture and the state of the industry in Roseau County. Folks continue to share their concerns about trade with me. For more information regarding the USDA’s Tariff Mitigation Plan, see my “Newstand” section below.
Former USDA Secretary Bergland
Bob and I had the opportunity to play guitar together at an event near Plummer in 2012
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to have a short visit with former USDA Secretary Bob Bergland while I was in Roseau. Bob is 90 years old and says he’s “feeling pretty good for being old”. Bob has been a mentor to me over the years and I’m proud to represent the district he held in Congress before being appointed to President Carter’s cabinet. Bob’s legacy is so important to agriculture across our country as he was the first farmer to become the Secretary of Agriculture, and he worked to make sure that crop insurance, rural development, conservation and research worked better for farmers and ranchers across the country. Bob and his wife Helen have been married for 68 years and have spent their retirement enjoying their children and grandchildren in Roseau.
Pennington and Red Lake County Farmers Union Conventions
The Farmer’s Union chapters of Pennington and Red Lake Counties held their annual convention at the Plummer American Legion and I was honored to be their guest speaker. There was lots of interest and questions on the outcome of the Ag Conference Committee and the supplemental aid to help farmers.
News and Views on KFGO
On Tuesday morning I was a guest on News and Views which is hosted by Joel Heitkamp on KFGO. We discussed the effects of the recent aid package being given to farmers across America. We also talked about proposed trade tariffs implemented on certain foreign countries and how they affect our agriculture markets. While I agree we need to renegotiate our trade agreements, we need to make sure they can work for our farmers and ranchers.
Listen to our conversation here.
Congratulations to Carrol Henderson on his upcoming retirement from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources after 44 years of public service. During my time in the State Senate I worked with Carrol to help introduce a state-wide conservation program commonly known as the “chickadee check-off.” This is a voluntary check-off box on Minnesota State tax forms that supports non-game conservation efforts. Since its implementation, over $35 million dollars have been directed towards the preservation of habitats for non-game wildlife which include songbirds, frogs, turtles, and pollinators. Minnesota Public Radio interviewed Carrol this week and he talked about our work together in the 1970s to implement this check-off program.
You can read about Carrol’s work and listen to the full story here.
Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act
This week, I introduced the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act with Representative David Young (R-IA-3) to require all group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services, including dental procedures, related to congenital anomalies and birth defects. Although many states require insurers to provide this type of coverage, health plans routinely and systematically deny claims under the pretense that they are cosmetic in nature. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that customers can afford costly reconstructive treatments, particularly when the healthy development of a child is at stake.
USDA Announces Tariff Mitigation Plan to Offset Losses from Administration’s Trade War
On Monday, USDA Secretary Perdue announced details of their response to the impact from retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural commodity exports.
The majority of the funds will come in the form of payments to the producers of crops impacted by the trade war. Soybean farmers will receive $1.65 a bushel, corn growers will receive $0.01 a bushel, dairy producers will receive $0.12 per hundredweight, pork producers will receive $8 per head, and wheat growers will receive $0.14 per bushel. Payments will be made on 2018 actual production.
Additional support will come in the form of purchases of a broad range of commodities including milk, pork and others for donation to feeding programs, as well as funding for overseas marketing activities to regain markets harmed by the trade war and expand new markets to offset what we’ve lost.
Full detail on the program can be found from USDA here.
I joined KFGO’s Joel Heitkamp this week to discuss USDA’s plan. That audio is available here.
This Week in American History
On August 30, 1813, Martin McLeod was born in Montreal. Arriving at Fort Snelling in 1837, he would trade furs in the Minnesota Valley for twenty years, be instrumental in persuading the Dakota to sign the treaties of Mendota and Traverse des Sioux, and, as a member of the legislature, write the law that created the Minnesota Public School Fund. McLeod County was named after him at its inception in 1856. Martin died in 1860.
What’s the Story?
Created in 2001 from the merging of Jennie-O Foods, Inc. and the Turkey Store Company, the Jennie-O Turkey Store has become one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of turkey products. Jennie-O Turkey Store is based in Willmar and employs nearly 7,000 people in its facilities. Jennie-O Foods and The Turkey Store Company were the source of many innovations in the turkey industry. Jennie-O Foods, Inc was among the first to develop the turkey hot dog, while The Turkey Store operated the first federally inspected, cooked-turkey processing plant. Jennie-O Turkey Store is a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation, another Minnesota based company. I have this book of Jennie-O Turkey Store history in my Washington, D.C. office.
Steven “Punky” Clark
June 17, 1953 – August 27, 2018
Former White Earth Tribal Council District 1 Representative Steven “Punky” Clark passed away this week on Monday, August 27. Clark was a lifelong resident of the White Earth Reservation, a father of five, and a person with a demonstrated commitment to serving his community. Throughout his life he was involved in various boards and committees, he served as president of the Title VII Indian Education Committee, as a board member on the White Earth Reservation Boys & Girls club, as president of the Bagley Youth Hockey Association, and as a foster parent.
White Earth Tribal Council Chairman Terrence Tibbetts ordered all flags at the White Earth Reservation Business Committee, Tribal Programs and entities to be flown at half-staff in Steven’s honor. My sympathies go out to the Clark family, and to the White Earth Nation, as they mourn Punky’s passing.