Kent Thiesse 1

July 22, 2014

5 Min Read

Farmfest 2014 will feature an exciting line-up of feature forums, including candidate forums for Minnesota governor, U.S. Senate and congressional candidates from Minnesota’s first, second, sixth and seventh districts. The forums will be held August 5, 6, and 7, in the Wicks Forum Building, near the center of the show site, which is located at the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. The forum schedule for 2014 has a heavy emphasis on national and State agricultural policy issues, and on issues affecting rural Minnesota.

The Governor Candidate’s Forum on Rural Minnesota will be held on Tuesday, August 5, at 10:30 a.m. Incumbent Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and all other major candidates have been invited to participate in the Forum. Republican candidates include Jeff Johnson, Scott Honour, Marty Seifert and Kurt Zellars, as well as Hannah Nicollet from the MN Independent Party. A panel of agriculture and rural leaders will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of issues affecting the agriculture industry and rural Minnesota.

The U.S. Senate Candidate’s Forum on Agriculture and Rural Issues is scheduled for Wednesday, August 6, at 10:30 a.m. The major candidates for U.S. Senate in Minnesota have agreed to participate in the forum. This includes incumbent Democratic Senator Al Franken, as well as challengers Mike McFadden and Jim Abler from the Republican Party, and Kevin Terrell from the MN Independent Party. A panel of agriculture media representatives will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of issues affecting farmers and rural families.

The Congressional Candidate’s Forum on Agriculture and Rural Issues will be held on Wednesday, August 6, at 1:15 p.m. Congressional Candidates from Minnesota’s first, second, sixth, seventh and eighth Congressional Districts were invited to participate in the Forum. Confirmed candidates for the Forum include Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson (D), and his challenger Torrey Westrom (R); First District Congressman Tim Walz (D) and his opponents Aaron Miller (R) and Jim Hagedorn (R); Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan; Sixth District Candidates Tom Emmer (R) Rhonda Sivarajah (R), Joe Perske (D), and John Denney (I); and Mike Obermueller (D), who is endorsed in the Second District to challenge Congressman John Kline. A panel of agriculture leaders representing various farm organizations and commodity groups will pose questions to the candidates on a variety of issues affecting agriculture and rural communities.

The feature forum on Tuesday, August 5, at 1:15 p.m. is Farm Program Decisions with the New Farm Bill. The forum panel will include Deb Crusoe, State Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director; Michelle Page, State FSA Ag Specialist; Duane Voy, State Risk Management Agency Director; Kevin Klair, U of M Center for Farm Financial Management; Paul Simonsen, Chair of the MN Soybean Research and Promotion Council, John Mages, Government Relations Committee Chair with the MN Corn Growers Assn.; and Paul Gorman, Farm Financial Consultant.

The feature forum on Thursday, August 7, at 10:30 a.m. is Climate Change: Impact on Future Ag Production Practices. The panel will include Brian Buhr, Dean of the U of M College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Sciences (CFANS), Mark Seeley, U of M climate specialist; Bryce Anderson, DTN ag weather and climate analyst and Todd Hultman, DTN grain marketing analyst. Anderson and Hultman will also present the DTN Grain Marketing and Ag Weather Update on Thursday, August 7, from 9 to 10 a.m. A special Grain Marketing Forum featuring Ed Usset, U of M grain marketing specialist, will be held on Tuesday, August 5, from 9 to 10 a.m.

Special keynote addresses at Farmfest will be presented by Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau president, on Tuesday, August 5 at 1 p.m., and by Eric Kaler, University of Minnesota president, on Wednesday, August 6, at 10 a.m. The free Minnesota Farm Bureau breakfast will be held in the forum building on Wednesday, August 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. Mary Kay Thatcher, senior policy analyst with American Farm Bureau, will provide a national ag policy update at 8:30 a.m. Tax Savings for Farm Families will be presented from 9 to 10 a.m., during the breakfast.

The Farm Family of the Year Recognition Program will be held on Thursday, August 7, at 1:30 p.m., in the Forum Building. Approximately 74 honored farm families from throughout Minnesota have been selected at the county level for this recognition. This event is jointly sponsored by Farmfest and the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota Farmers Union watermelon feed will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 7.

Another special event will be the Goldy Connect Agriculture Career Fair being hosted by the U of M CFANS and IDEAg, scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, at 3 p.m. Other special educational programs in the Farmfest forum building on Wednesday afternoon, August 6, include: Big Data: A New Frontier in Agriculture at 3 p.m., and Drones: the Next Technology Break-through in Agriculture, at 3:45.

The Minnesota Pork Ambassador recognition program will be held on Wednesday, August 6, at 11:50 a.m., as part of the noon show that day. On Thursday, August 7, a 4-H scholarship auction will be held during the noon show from 12 to 1 p.m. All proceeds from the auction will be used to support 4-H scholarships, which will be presented to deserving college-bound 4-H livestock project members at the MN State Fair 4-H Livestock Auction. Several nice items have already been donated to the 4-H auction on August 7. If any businesses or individuals are interested in donating items to the Farmfest 4-H Scholarship Auction, please contact Kent Thiesse, Farmfest forum coordinator via e-mail at [email protected], or phone at (507) 381-7960.

For more information on the Forums, exhibits, and other activities at Farmfest, including driving directions, refer to the IDEAg website at

About the Author(s)

Kent Thiesse 1

Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at [email protected].

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