WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 14, 2010, 08:48 AM

Rep. Peterson: Farm bill money could be used for retention projects

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Congressman Collin Peterson says he's using his pull as Ag Chair to possibly streamline 50 million dollars a year into the Red River Valley for flood protection. He says the money would be used to get the ball rolling on retention projects up and down the valley.

Money would come from a baseline fund from the farm bill. Peterson says the best part is its then mandatory and could be used to fund any projects in the valley. It'd be a baseline fund from the farm bill for the Red River Valley.

Peterson was in Fargo talking at the Farm Business Management conference about the next farm bill. He says over the lifespan of the new bill the baseline fund would bring 250 million dollars to the Red River Valley.

In the last bill he did something just like this for Chesapeake Bay because of water quality issues. He's talked to all North Dakota and Minnesota Senators about the idea and says they all agree this is a needed step forward to getting retention in the valley.

"It's not going to be easy, it means I’ll have to short someone else 250 million dollars, but I’m the chairman and I’ve got something to say about that."

Peterson has worked with the Red River Watershed board to plan out 50 to 60 retention projects throughout the valley. The total cost would be about 1 billion dollars. Peterson says they're hoping to get the projects done by the time the diversion is complete.