United States Senator Amy Klobuchar came to Hallock and met with a few locals to discuss any concerns they have and to explain the items she is working on in the Senate. (Enterprise Photo by Margie Holmgren)
By Margie Holmgren
Senator Amy Klobuchar met with several citizens of Hallock including Mayor Dave Treumer, Kittson County Commissioner Betty Younggren and Bean and Brush owners, Kate and Frank Johnson.
On Aug. 9, Klobuchar’s informal visit included enjoying a smoothie from the Bean and Brush, where the meeting was held.
Klobuchar was making stops around Minnesota to talk to people and see what their concerns are for the area. She asked what concerns the area had in regards to the farm economy.
“Wheat is okay, soybeans and corn are really dry,” stated Younggren.
“We are seeing the same thing you are seeing – the wheat is doing pretty good but they are all pretty concerned with things going backwards,” stated Roger Quanbeck, United Valley Bank Hallock Market President.
Kelly Turgeon, Farm Service Agency County Executive Director, talked about meeting with Rep. Collin Peterson and county livestock growers and they are very concerned with the shortage of “forage” for their animals.
He explained, “we depleted the subsoil moisture reserves in 2017 and had low normal moisture in 2018 and the intense heat, above average temperatures, and most farmers have just about used up their forage.”
“We are really proud of the Senate farm bill and Collin (Peterson) supports the Senate farm bill,” stated Klobuchar.
“I think they are really looking at trying to strengthen that safety net through increased loan rates,” stated Turgeon
Klobuchar discussed some caps that were increased for various farm loans.
Turgeon stated “one of the no cost items to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is temporary short time financing in the form of commodity loans where a producer can pledge his wheat, or corn or soybeans for nine months and CCC will borrow that money and then give them time to pay it back and not be forced to market grain.”
“I think that before we were just hearing negatives on the farm bill,” stated Klobuchar, “but when we got 86 votes on the Senate it just makes it hard for the house to not support it.”
She explained they were able to save a billion by finding some duplication in funding.
“We got some more Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres open for grazing,” she added.
“We talked about that alot today,” Turgeon stated regarding the meeting they had that morning with Peterson.
“My bill said to allow 1/3 of the land for grazing,” explained Klobuchar.
“I think they were looking for half,” stated Quanbeck, “so that might be a compromise.”
Klobuchar talked about other items she’s been working on besides the farm bill, she was pleased with how that is going, infrastructure issues, broadband, working on the tariff’s with Canada and workforce training.
She discussed the importance of broadband in the remote areas of Minnesota for business uses including agriculture.
“We are at a time when we should be governing from opportunities, because the economy is so strong,” stated Klobuchar, “but we are governing from crisis and that’s not good.”
She is worried about the economy in the long run and the trade war and for states like ours where our economics are tied up with other countries, especially Canada,
She complemented Hallock on their entrepreneurship, not relying on larger business.
Economic Development Committee Member Jim Johnson stated the young entrepreneurs deserved the credit for having the ideas and wanting to make the effort in Hallock.
Tanner Samuelson talked about how the economic development committee and also the Hallock Mainstreet Committee helped his wife, Mandi and him purchase the flower shop and how it flowed smoothly.
“It’s been just phenomenal,” stated Samuelson “everything has gone well.”
However, Samuelson added, there are only so many people in the area so our main concern is how much can you extend yourself.
Other positive things happening in Hallock, Younggren mentioned was the auditorium addition at the school which was thanks in part to a private donation.
Klobuchar thanked everyone for their time and they thanked her for all she is doing to help our small community.
She then posed for a few pictures with individuals before heading to her next stop, Marvin Windows, Warroad, Minn.