Candidate Forums Will Highlight Farmfest


July 25, 2022



In 2022, FARMFEST will feature a very intriguing line-up of candidate forums, as well as other feature forums on some very timely topics. The candidate forums will include candidates for Minnesota Governor, a special forum for Minnesota’s First Congressional District, and a Congressional Candidate Forum for Minnesota’s Second, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Congressional Districts. The candidate forums are especially timely, since Minnesota’s statewide primary and special election in the First Congressional District will held the following week on Tuesday, August 9.

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. All of the Farmfest forums will be held August 2, 3, and 4, in the Wick Buildings Farmfest Center, which is near the center of the show site. Farmfest is located near the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, Minnesota, on U.S. Highway 67.

The “Minnesota Governor Candidate’s Forum” is being held on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 10:30 a.m., and will feature the two major candidates in Minnesota’s gubernatorial race. Confirmed candidates are incumbent Governor Tim Walz, the DFL-endorsed candidate, and Dr. Scott Jensen, the Republican-endorsed candidate. The Forum will be broadcast live on WCCO radio, and the Forum will be moderated by the station’s analyst, Blois Olson. The questions will be asked by rural leaders and will focus on variety of issues affecting the agriculture industry and greater Minnesota.

Farmfest will host a special “First District Congressional Candidate Forum” for candidates from Minnesota’s First Congressional District. The Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 9:30 a.m., and will feature Republican candidate Brad Finstad and DFL candidate Jeff Ettinger. Both are vying for an open seat in the First Congressional District in a special election on Aug. 9, which was created by the death of Congressman Jim Hagedorn earlier this year. A panel of agriculture leaders 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, Aug. 2, at 10:30 a.m. The following Congressional candidates from Minnesota’s Second, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Congressional Districts are confirmed to participate in the Forum: Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig (D), and her challenger Tyler Kistner (R); Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer (R) and his challenger Jeanne Hendricks (D); Seventh District Congresswoman, Michelle Fischbach (R) and her challenger Jill Abahsain (D); and Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber (R) and his challenger Jen Schultz (D). A panel of leaders representing various farm organizations and commodity groups will offer questions to the candidates on a variety of agriculture and rural issues.

A special feature forum titled “The “Must-Have’s” in the Next Farm Bill” will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 1:15 p.m. The forum will focus on many of the key policy issues that are being considered as Congress develops the 2023 Farm Bill. The Forum panel will include: Scott VanderWal, American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President; Rob Larew, National Farmers Union President; Don Schiefelbein, National Cattleman’s Beef Assn. President; Terry Wolters, National Pork Producers Council Past President; Tom Haag, National Corn Growers Assn. First Vice President; George Goblish, American Soybean Assn. Executive Board; and Ian Cunningham, National Assn. of Conservation Districts Vice President.

Another feature educational Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 1:15 p.m. is titled: “Getting the Most from Federal Ag Programs”. The Forum Panel will include several state and regional officials representing various USDA agencies. Panel members include: Whitney Place, MN State Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director; Colleen Landkammer, MN USDA Rural Development Director; Troy Daniell, MN NRCS State Conservationist; Pam Stahlke, USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Director; Dan Loftus, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) State Statistician; and Stephan Schaefbauer, USDA APHIS Area Veterinarian in Charge. The Panel members will give an overview of current program efforts within their USDA agency and will be available for an audience question and answer session on the various USDA programs and issues that have arisen.

A free pancake breakfast sponsored by MN Farm Bureau will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 8:00-10:00 a.m. that will include a special “Ag Outlook Forum” beginning at 8:30 a.m. that will feature several grain marketing, weather, ag policy, crop and livestock experts. Presenters will include Mark Schultz, Marketing Analyst with Northstar Commodity, Bernt Nelson, American Farm Bureau Economist, Dave Nicolai, University of Minnesota Crop Specialist, Courtney Briggs and RJ Layher, both Directors of Government Affairs with the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Dan Lemke, Linder Farm Network Ag Weather Specialist.

The “Women in Ag Event” takes place on Thursday morning, Aug. 4, at 10:45 a.m., and will feature keynote speaker, Michelle Miller, The Farm Babe. Her keynote address will help attendees bridge the gap between farmers and consumers and asks, “how can we as farmers and ranchers better tell the story of agriculture?” At the conclusion of the panel, the five finalists for the 2022 Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year Award will be introduced, concluding with the announcement of this year’s winner. A Farmfest tradition will continue with the annual “Farm Family of the Year” Recognition Program on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 1:15 p.m., recognizing approximately 80 farm families from each county throughout Minnesota.

Special livestock-focused forums will be held each day at 12 noon in the Livestock Tent, near the north end of the Farmfest site. Tuesday’s forum is titled “Viewing the Livestock Industry from a National Perspective”, featuring Don Schiefelbein, National Cattleman’s Beef Assn. President and Terry Wolters, National Pork Producers Council Past President. Wednesday’s Forum is Titled “The Economics and Big Policy Issues of Today’s Livestock Industry”, featuring Bernt Nelson and RJ Layher from the American Farm Bureau Federation. On Thursday, Royalee Rhodes with the MN Beef Council will discuss “Beef Means Business for Retail, Foodservice and Consumers”. The University of Minnesota will also host a “Manure Applicator Certification Program” on Thursday, Aug. 4, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Wick Building.

The Linder Farm Network Noon Show will be held each day at Farmfest from 12:00-1:00 p.m., featuring many special guests each day. Other educational sessions include “Market Disruptors in 2022” on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 8:30 a.m., sponsored by CHS Hedging; “Changing Hands: Practical Tips in Farm Estate and Succession Planning” on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 2:45 p.m., sponsored by Farm Bureau Financial Services, and “Farm Transition Planning: Where to Start and How to Keep Momentum Going” on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 2:45 p.m., sponsored by Ag Country Farm credit Services.

All of the candidate forums and other feature forums at Farmfest will be livestreamed and archived for future reference. For more information on access to the livestreams, companies exhibiting, the full schedule of events, and other details at Farmfest, please refer to the IDEAg Farmfest website at: or contact Niki Jones, Director, Event Marketing at (816-863-3974) or For more details on the Farmfest candidate forums and other presentations, please contact Kent Thiesse, Farmfest Forum Coordinator at (507-381-7960) or


Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and Sr. Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. (Phone — (507) 381-7960) E-mail — Web Site —


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