Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/23/2016

September 23, 2016

Renville County

Dear Friends,

As we start the beginning of fall, I have been hard at work here in Washington, D.C. for the people of Minnesota. I met with Organic Valley and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers to discuss issues important to the agriculture community, and sat down with the Minnesota Association of School Administrators on giving our students the tools they need to succeed. I was happy to share a message with Sioux Valley Energy on energy issues, and I was honored to receive the Fueling Growth Award from Growth Energy this week for my work supporting biofuels. Finally, please take this National Farm Safety Week to review safe and healthy farm practices that protect our farmers all across the 7th.

Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Organic Valley

On Wednesday, I met with Jerry Matzner, an organic dairy farmer from Clarkfield.  Jerry farms more than 1000 organic acres and manages a 130 cow organic dairy along with a business partner. Jerry was in Washington with Organic Valley. We talked about a number of issues, including the National Organic Program and beginning farmer programs.

Fueling Growth Award

I received the 2016 Fueling Growth Award from Growth Energy this week for my strong support of the ethanol and renewable fuels industry over the years. Ethanol is an excellent and renewable source of octane, which increases performance in vehicles. Today car companies are building higher compression engines that require higher octane ratings. I will continue to do what I can in Congress to support a strong renewable fuels industry as car manufacturers continue to innovate engines that benefit from the greater availability of biofuels.

Sioux Valley Energy

Last Saturday, the Sioux Valley Energy electric cooperative hosted an event in Pipestone, but unfortunately I was unable to attend so I shared an update from Washington by video. In the video I outlined my legislative priorities that help electric cooperatives keep their electricity rates low for Minnesotans. Sioux Valley Energy is based in South Dakota, but serves consumers in Pipestone County and has many of the same concerns shared by other rural electrics in the district.

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

On Wednesday, I met with several agriculture equipment manufactures from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and other states to discuss the state of the rural economy. Equipment manufacturers benefit from a strong agriculture economy so receiving updates from stakeholders is important as the Agriculture Committee enters the early stages of writing the next Farm Bill.

Minnesota Association of School Administrators

Last week I met with Dr. Gary Amoroso of St. Paul, Mary Clarkson of Richfield, and Dr. Christopher E. Mills of Stephen-Argyle from the MN Association of School Administrators. Our administrators and superintendents see the needs of our students on a daily basis, and I appreciate working with them to create an atmosphere that enables them to give the students tools to succeed.


Mike Stranz, Liz Ludwig (WILLMAR), Kayla Mattson (NEW YORK MILLS), Nathan Peterson (Bemidji), Rebekah Solem

On Wednesday, my staff aides met with Minnesota members of the National Association of FSA County Office Employees (NASCOE). The NASCOE delegation conveyed their appreciation for my support of agriculture and for the Farm Service Agency system in particular.  They talked about the PLC/ARC farm safety net programs, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the farm forecast.

Buffalo Red Tour

On Thursday Staff Aide Allison Myhre attended the annual Buffalo Red Watershed District bus tour. This year the group visited sites and projects in Becker and Clay Counties that are cooperative efforts among landowners and agencies to implement conservation practices that result in benefits for wildlife, water and landowners. Along Highway 10 near Lake Park, the Becker County Soil and Water Conservation District has a cover crop plot that is studying ways to slow soil erosion, improve soil health and control pests and disease, among other benefits. Cover crops are planted in the fall between harvest and the planting of spring crops, and in some cases are suitable for grazing by livestock and other wildlife.

Melrose Tour of Fire Damaged Properties

Michael Brethorst, City Administrator, leading the tour of the downtown area; buildings that sustained damage

On Thursday evening, my staff aide Toni Merdan, attended a walking tour in Melrose that recently sustained two devastating fires to their downtown area. On September 9th, eight apartment units and 11 businesses were affected by the fire.  No one was injured in the blaze, however estimated redevelopments costs are upwards of $3 million dollars.

Previously, on March 11th, St. Mary's Catholic Church interior was totally destroyed due to a fire caused by arson. Investigations are still pending, but the estimated redevelopment costs are approximately $6 million.  The City is working towards a complete redevelopment of the downtown area plus the improvement of Melrose Lake and the replacement of the 5th Avenue Bridge.  For more information visit

Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory

The grand opening of the new and remodeled $8.5 million Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory was held Thursday in Willmar. Last year’s devastating outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza prompted industry determination for rapid scientific response to disaster. The newly updated facility is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota Veterinary School and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.  In addition to new equipment that will allow additional, faster diagnostic testing, four additional staff will be hired. The lab will now be capable of testing for highly pathogenic flu as well as routine testing of poultry flocks. During the 2015 outbreak, samples had to be transported to St. Paul for testing, which delayed response to the crises. Dr. Dale Lauer is supervisor of the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory and Assistant Director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.


National Farm Safety Week

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.  The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that in 2013 farming accounted for 500 fatalities, or 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.  Many farm injuries and fatalities could be prevented through education. Since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week.  As we recognize National Farm Safety & Health Week this September, please join us in promoting safe and healthy practices on our farms and ranches across the U.S.

Airport Infrastructure

This week, I joined Senators Klobuchar and Franken in announcing funds allocated to the Detroit Lakes and Lac qui Parle County Airports by the Department of Transportation. Strong and safe regional airports are a connection between the region and other areas of the country, and these grants will provide both facilities with resources to improve existing infrastructure needs.

Renville 150th Anniversary

Renville County, founded in 1866 turns 150 this year. To honor the occasion, the county has interviewed 23 people, aged 14 to 95, who help define the past, present, and future of the county. To see the video and find more details on the Celebration Events visit the county’s website at and on Facebook at

This Week in American History

On September 23rd, 1805, Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike, while traveling up the Mississippi, reached the mouth of the Minnesota River and stopped at what is now know as Pike Island to raise the Stars and Stripes for the first time inside present-day Minnesota. He led two explorations with the U.S. Army, becoming the first to reach the source of the Mississippi River as well as to pass the Rocky Mountains into southern Colorado.

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 home of the first dictionary of the Dakota language and shares its location with two other items in this newsletter…

Congratulations to Laura Daak of Willmar for being the first to correctly identify our last location as the Corncob Gazebo in Olivia!

Share your guess on our website –

Paige Janorschke (LITCHFIELD)