Collin Peterson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Seventh Congressional District of Minnesota in 1990. His primarily rural and agricultural district reaches from the Canadian border in the north, almost to the Iowa state line in the south; along Minnesota’s border with North and South Dakota. Peterson is Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, which has jurisdiction over a wide range of agriculture and rural development issues, including the Farm Bill, renewable energy, disaster assistance, nutrition, crop insurance, conservation, rural development, international trade, futures market regulation, animal and plant health, agricultural research, bioterrorism, forestry, and others.
Congressman Peterson grew up on a farm near Glyndon, Minnesota and was educated in the local public schools. He graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead in 1966 with a double major in Business Administration and Accounting, and also served in the North Dakota National Guard from 1963 to 1969. Before being elected to the House of Representatives, he was a Certified Public Accountant and small business owner in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and also served for ten years in the Minnesota State Senate.
In the 1960’s, Peterson also found time to play guitar and sing with a band known as “Collin and the Establishment.” He is a musician, and in recent years he has performed with Willie Nelson at Farm Aid concerts, jazz legend Lonnie Brooks, with several other Members of Congress at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and with rock guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter at several Washington, D.C. venues. He is a member of the American Legion’s Ninth District Band.
Peterson has organized and played in Congressional rock bands, including The Amendments and the Second Amendments. He and his colleagues have performed at charity events in Washington DC. The Second Amendments also performed for U.S. troops in Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and performed at WE Fest in Minnesota and Farm Aid in Illinois.
Peterson is a private pilot who often flies his own single-engine plane to get around his large district and visit with his constituency. He also is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing whenever time permits.
During his public service career, Peterson has been a strong advocate for farmers and small business owners, and a leader on both federal tax policy and conservation issues. He has been a leader on the last three Farm Bills passed by Congress. He is a founding member of the conservative Democrats’ “Blue Dog” Coalition, which continues to be a voice for fiscal responsibility and pragmatic government policies. Peterson is the most senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture and currently serves as its Ranking Member. He previously served as Chairman in the 110th and 111th Congresses and as Ranking Member in the 109th Congress.
Peterson has taken a leading role in Congress promoting biofuels as a homegrown way for America to meet its growing energy needs, and he has introduced legislation to expand biofuel production and use. Peterson’s leadership led to the successful passage of the 2008 Farm Bill, which preserved the safety net for farmers while making historic new investments in food, farm and conservation programs that are priorities for all Americans.