Former House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson has joined forces with Combest Sell & Associates, a lobbying firm with food and agriculture clients including several from Peterson’s native Minnesota. 

Peterson, who served 15 terms in the House of Representatives as a Minnesota Democrat, is barred from lobbying his former Capitol Hill colleagues until January 2022. He will advise the firm and its clients “who seek to promote and protect policies that bolster U.S. agriculture and rural America,” the firm said in a release.

“He wants to be active and he wants to still be a voice, and he still feels like he has so much to give,” Tom Sell, the firm’s co-founder and manager, told Agri-Pulse. “I think what he was comfortable about with us is we tend to operate on the big picture issues. It’s not like we’re going in asking for this or that earmark, we stand for agriculture generally.”

Sell was a staffer for former House Ag Committee Chair and Texas Republican Larry Combest before co-founding the firm with him in 2005. Several of the firm’s clients are representative of southern agriculture – rice, peanut, cotton, and sorghum groups, for instance – but Peterson will also be able to work with groups from his home state like the American Sugar Alliance and Minnesota Corn Growers. The firm also represents the Crop Insurance Professionals Association, an organization representing the nation’s crop insurance agents.

In an interview with the Red River Farm Network, Peterson said he also wanted to work to maintain the bipartisan tradition of farm policy through his outside efforts.

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“I have a good relationship with (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) and Rosa DeLauro, the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and so forth, so I can help in that regard,” he said. “Tom, of course, has very solid credentials on the other side of the committee, so we should bring a bipartisan force to this and maybe help the committee stay on a more bipartisan track as we go forward.”

Peterson plans to remain in Minnesota in his new role. He also has formed a consulting operation – The Peterson Group – that is currently a one-man band, but he said he’s open to expansion.

“As of right now, it’s me, but we’re hoping that as this rolls out there will be additional folks that want to utilize our advice and services, and as that progresses, there will probably be additions to our group,” he said. “There’s folks that I would like to bring in now, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself or get ahead of the situation. Right now, I’m it and we’ll see how it goes.”

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