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Sen. Klobuchar, middle, and Rep. Collin Peterson, right, met with American Crystal Sugar Company CEO Tom Astrup on Sunday, Oct. 21, to discuss a farm bill that would protect existing sugar programs. Emily Driscoll / The Forum

Klobuchar, Peterson visit Moorhead to discuss farm bill

MOORHEAD — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Collin Peterson met with American Crystal Sugar CEO Tom Astrup on Sunday, Oct. 21, to get an update on the beet harvest and emphasize the farm bill they are working to pass.

"We've been trying to push this thing," Peterson said, adding they hope to be ready to pass it shortly after the general election towards the end of the year.

The proposed bill would protect existing sugar programs, create an animal disease program and vaccine bank, identify gaps in high-speed internet as well as support beginning farmers.

"It keeps the sugar program as strong as it is and also does some great things for dairy," she said. "We want to get the administration to get back to the table to negotiate on the tariffs."

According to Klobuchar, it would also protect and expand crop insurance, preserve a strong safety net for farmers and maintain important access to food assistance for families in need while saving millions of taxpayer dollars by cracking down on fraud and abuse.

"Unfortunately, if you have a bill that every democratic senator is going to vote for, it's not going to pass the house," Peterson said, who is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. "People have to get off of their ideology. We can have a bipartisan bill on both sides that can pass."

"There's so many areas in Washington where there's gridlock and people are in opposite corners. Ag has tended to be an area where that's not so. We have really worked both of us across the aisle, we have track records doing that and that's exactly what we're going to need to get this done," Klobuchar said.

American Crystal Sugar Co. is owned by nearly 2,800 shareholders in the Red River Valley, employed 1,400 full-time workers.

Both Klobuchar and Peterson are up for re-election this November.

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