Candidate Forums will Highlight Farmfest

July 30, 2018


In 2018, Minnesota will be the home of an open Governor’s race, two U.S. Senate seats, and some very competitive Congressional races. Many analysts have stressed the importance of this year’s mid-term elections on a national basis, and that will certainly be the case in Minnesota as well. It is important for farm operators, businesses, and other residents of greater Minnesota to know where the candidates stand on issues important to agriculture and rural areas of the State.

IDEAg FARMFEST will feature an exciting line-up of Candidate Forums in 2018 that will include candidates for Minnesota Governor, the two U.S. Senate seats, and for Minnesota’s First, Second, Sixth, and Seventh Districts. This is a very intriguing line-up of Candidate Forums, and the Forums are quite timely, considering Minnesota’s statewide primary election is the following week on August 14. The Forums will be held August 7, 8, and 9, in the Wicks Buildings FARMFEST Center, near the center of the show site. FARMFEST is located at the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, Minnesota, on Highway #67.

A highlight will be the “Minnesota Governor Candidate’s Forum” on Wednesday, August 8, at 10:30 AM, which will feature the five major candidates in Minnesota’s open gubernatorial race. Confirmed candidates include the two major Republican candidates: former Governor Tim Pawlenty and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the endorsed candidate; and the three major DFL candidates: Congressman Tim Walz, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and State Representative Erin Murphy, the endorsed candidate. The Forum will be broadcast live on WCCO radio, and candidate questions at the Forum will be asked by WCCO morning show hosts Dave Lee and Blois Olson. The questions will be derived from various agriculture and rural leaders and will focus on variety of issues affecting the agriculture industry and rural Minnesota.

FARMFEST will host two “U.S. Senate Candidate Forums”. The first Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, at 10:30 AM, and will feature incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith, along with her challengers, State Senator Karin Housley and Bob Anderson, who are both Republican candidates, and DFL candidates Richard Painter and Nick Leonard. The second U.S. Senate Candidate Forum will be held on Thursday, August 9, at 10:30 AM, with incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar participating, along with two of her challengers, Republicans Jim Newberger and Rae Hart Anderson. All major U.S. Senate candidates are confirmed to participate in the FARMFEST Forums. A panel of agriculture media representatives and leaders of farm organizations will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of issues affecting farmers and rural families.

The “Congressional Candidates Forum on Agriculture and Rural Issues” will be held on Tuesday, August 7, at 1:15 PM. The following Congressional candidates from Minnesota’s First, Second, Sixth, and Seventh Congressional Districts are confirmed to participate in the Forum: Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson (D), and his challenger Dave Hughes (R); Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer (R) and his challenger Ian Todd (D); First District candidates Jim Hagedorn (R), Carla Nelson (R) and Dan Feehan (D); and Second District candidate Angie Craig (D). Second District Congressman Jason Lewis has also been invited to participate. Moderators will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of issues affecting agriculture and rural communities, which will originate from agriculture leaders representing various farm organizations and commodity groups

There will also feature several other intriguing educational Forums during the three-day run of FARMFEST. The feature Forum on Wednesday, August 8, at 1:15 PM is titled: “Protecting Minnesota’s Water Resources …… Public Concern and Landowner Implications”. The Forum Panel will be headlined by Dennis Anderson, well-known Outdoor Columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Tom Landwehr, Minnesota DNR Commissioner. The will be joined on the Panel by Warren Formo, Executive Director of the MN Ag Water Resource Coalition; State Senator Bill Weber; Thom Peterson, MN Farmers Union Government Relations Director; and Amber Hanson Glaeser, MN Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy. The Forum will focus on a variety of water quality issues in Minnesota, possible solutions, and potential legislation that could affect farmers and landowners.

Another feature Forum on Thursday, August 9, at 9:00 AM, is titled: “Resources for Farm Families in Challenging Times”, which is very timely, considering the current financial struggles being faced by many Minnesota farm families. The panel will include Joe Martin, Minnesota State FSA Director, David Bau, University of MN Extension Educator, Mary Nell Preisler, State Director of the MN Farmer-Lender Mediation Program, David Hesse, MN Dept. of Ag Farm Advocate, Ryan Roles, Director of the MN Rural Finance Authority, and Meg Moynihan, Programs Administrator with the MN Dept. of Ag.

An additional special Forum on Tuesday, August 7, at 9:00 AM, is titled: “World Trade and Its Impact on U.S. Supply and Demand”. It will feature a presentation by Kent Beadle, Director of Risk Consulting for CHS Hedging. Another special Forum on Wednesday, August 8, at 3:00 PM, is titled: “Answering Your B20 Questions Before Harvest”. Panel members include State Representative Paul Anderson, Mike Youngerberg, MN Soybean Growers Assn., and Ron Jessen, CHS diesel fuel expert. There will also be a special Forum titled: “Farm Succession Planning”, presented by Farm Bureau Financial Services, which will be held on Tuesday, August 7, at 3:00 PM.

Mark Schultz, Commodity Marketing Analyst with Northstar Commodities, will provide a “Grain and Livestock Marketing Update” at 9:00 AM, on Wednesday, August 8, at 9:00 AM, during the free pancake breakfast sponsored by MN Farm Bureau, which will occur from 8:00-10:00 AM. A free sweet corn feed sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Assn. will occur Tuesday, August 7 during the noon hour at FARMFEST. The Linder Farm Network Noon Show will be held each day at FARMFEST from 12:00-1:00 PM, featuring many special guests each day. The Noon Show on Wednesday, August 8, will feature the naming of the 2018 MN State Pork Ambassadors.

A FARMFEST tradition will continue on Thursday, August 9, at 1:15 PM, with the annual “Farm Family of the Year” Recognition Program, which will feature comments by Eric Kaler, President of the University of Minnesota. Approximately 80 farm families from throughout Minnesota have been selected at the county level for this special recognition. This event is jointly sponsored by FARMFEST and the University of Minnesota.

For more information on the Forums, exhibits, and other highlights at FARMFEST, please refer to the IDEAg FARMFEST website at:, or contact Kent Thiesse, FARMFEST Forum Coordinator (507-381-7960) or (


Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Senior

Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. (Phone — (507) 381-7960);

E-mail —


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