Farmfest to Feature Candidate Forums and Other Events August 2-4 | New

Farmfest, the annual gathering of agricultural interests, will feature a full lineup of candidate forums this year. The forums will include Minnesota gubernatorial candidates, a special forum for Minnesota’s First Congressional District, and a Congressional Candidates Forum for Minnesota’s Second, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Congressional Districts.

“This is a very intriguing lineup of candidate forums, and the forums are quite timely, given that Minnesota’s statewide primary and special elections in the First Congressional District take place on next week,” according to Farmfest forum coordinator Kent Thiesse.

The forums will be held August 2-4 at the Wicks Buildings Farmfest Center, which is near the

center of the show site. Farmfest is located at Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls on US Highway 67.

The Governor Candidates Forum will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 3 and will feature the two leading candidates in the Minnesota 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 hosted by the station’s analyst, Blois Olson. Questions will be asked by rural leaders and will cover a variety of issues affecting the agriculture industry and greater Minnesota.

Farmfest will host a First District Congressional Candidates Forum at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2, which will feature Republican Brad Finstad and DFL candidate Jeff Ettinger. The two are vying for an open seat in the First Congressional District in a special election on August 9, which was created by the death of Congressman Jim Hagedorn earlier this year. A panel of farm leaders will ask candidates questions about a variety of issues affecting farmers and rural families.

The Congressional Candidates Forum on Agriculture and Rural Issues will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2. Candidates for Congress from Minnesota’s Second, Sixth,

The seventh and eighth congressional districts are confirmed to participate in the forum, including:

Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig (D) and her challenger Tyler Kistner (R); Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer (R) and his challenger Jeanne Hendricks (D); Michele Fischbach (R) and his challenger Jill Abahsain (D); and Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber (R) and his challenger Jen Schultz (D).

A panel of leaders representing various agricultural organizations and producer groups will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of agricultural and rural issues.

A special forum titled “The ‘Must Haves’ of the Next Farm Bill” will take place at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2 and will focus on many of the key policy issues under consideration.

as Congress crafts the 2023 Farm Bill. The forum panel will include: Scott VanderWal, Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union; Don Schiefelbein, president of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association; Terry Wolters, former president of the National Pork Producers Council; Tom Haag, first vice president of the National Corn Growers Association; American Soybean Association Board Member George Goblish; and Ian Cunningham, vice president of the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Another educational forum at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3 is titled: “Making the Most of Federal Farm Programs.” The forum panel will include several state and regional representatives representing various USDA agencies. Panel members include: Whitney Place, director of the Minnesota State Agricultural Services Agency; Colleen Landkammer, USDA Director of Rural Development; Troy Daniell, NRCS State Ecologist; Pam Stahlke, Regional Director of the USDA Risk Management Agency; Dan Loftus, state statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service; and Stephan Schaefbauer, USDA APHIS Zone Veterinarian. Panel members will provide an overview of current program efforts within their USDA agency and will be available for a question-and-answer session on the various USDA programs and issues that have arisen.

A free pancake breakfast sponsored by the Minnesota Farm Bureau will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 3, which will include a special “Farm Outlook Forum” beginning at 8:30 a.m. and will feature several information on grain marketing, weather, agricultural policy, crops and livestock specialists. Presenters will include Northstar Commodity Marketing Analyst Mark Schultz, American Farm Bureau Economist Bernt Nelson, University of Minnesota Crop Specialist Dave Nicolai; and American Farm Bureau policy analysts Courtney Briggs and RJ Layher.

The “Women in Ag Event” is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 4 and will feature keynote speaker Michelle Miller, The Farm Babe. His keynote address will help participants bridge the gap between farmers and consumers and asks, “How can we, as farmers and ranchers, better tell the story of agriculture? She will share her journey to social media stardom and inspire others to step up, fight misinformed activists, and communicate about tough topics and the success of modern agriculture. At the end of the panel, the five finalists for the 2022 Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year award will be introduced, ending with the announcement of this year’s winner.

A Farmfest tradition will continue with the annual “Farm Family of the Year” recognition program at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, August 4. Approximately 80 farm families from each county in Minnesota have been selected at the county level for this special recognition. This event is jointly sponsored by the University of Minnesota and Farmfest.

Jennifer C. Burleigh