11/10/2014 8:55:00 AM Political allies for agriculture Klobuchar, Peterson receive Friend of Farm Bureau award
Farm Bureau president, Kevin Paap, presents Senator Klobuchar with her “Friend of Farm Bureau” plaque Oct. 27 at Redhead Creamery near Brooten, Minn. PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN
Alise Sjostrom (left), Jerry Jennissen (center) and Linda Jennissen (right) visit with Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Peterson during a tour of their milking parlor on Oct. 27 near Brooten, Minn. PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN
By Missy Mussman
PADUA, Minn. - For Minnesota Farm Bureau president Kevin Paap, having political leaders follow through on their word is an important trait. "Any elected official can tell you what they will do," Paap said. "But actions speak louder than words. We ask our Minnesota delegates to be supportive of agriculture and follow what they have voted on." Two Minnesota officials, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Collin Peterson, have exemplified that important trait. Due to their commitment to Minnesota farmers and agriculture producers, both officials received the Friend of Farm Bureau award during a ceremony at Jerry and Linda Jennissen's dairy farm near Padua, Minn. The farm is also the location of Redhead Creamery operated by the Jennissens' daughter, Alise Sjostrom. "We appreciate what Klobuchar and Peterson have done, especially with the Farm Bill, and all their hard work," Paap said. "They both serve on the Ag Committee and are very good at working across the aisle." Their dedication to agriculture has been long standing. This marked Klobuchar's third time receiving the award and Peterson's ninth. "That says something. They did things they said they would do," Paap said. "It's very prestigious. Not everyone gets it." For Klobuchar, this award was very special. "It is an honor to receive this award because agriculture and dairy is an important part of our state's economy and heritage," Klobuchar said. "It is because of agriculture that our state remains stable." Peterson felt the same way. "Voting in favor of agriculture was not just to receive the award, but to do what was right," he said. "Receiving this award verifies we are doing something right in congress and doing our part to support agriculture. It's very rewarding." The Friend of Farm Bureau award is given every two years and is through the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We take this very seriously," Paap said. "It's a long, well thought out process." Each recipient is first nominated and approved by their state Farm Bureau based on how they voted on topics important to the Farm Bureau organization and approved by the American Farm Bureau Federation as well. "We are proud of agriculture in Minnesota," Klobuchar said. "It's the future of our state." Before the awards ceremony, the Jennissens and Sjostrom provided a tour of the milking parlor and creamery. "There is no better place to talk dairy policy than in the milking parlor," Paap said. Klobuchar was very impressed with the farm and creamery. "This is something near and dear to my heart," she said. "My grandparents were cheesemakers and had some cows. This exemplifies that women are emerging in farming." For Peterson, the tour brought him back to his roots of growing up on a farm. "You can't take the farm out of the kid," he said. For the Jennissens and Sjostrom, having these officials on their dairy farm was a unique opportunity. "We were excited to have them here," Sjostrom said. "For them to take the time to come out here and realize what is really happening is great." Her father, Jerry, agreed. "It was very nice," he said. "It is precious to see them in person on our farm."