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Farmfest forums highlight election year, Farm Bill discussions

Farmfest 2022 will run from Aug. 2-4 on the site just outside of Redwood Falls, Minnesota.

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz talks to reporters at the 2021 Farmfest in Redwood County, Minnesota.
Noah Fish / Agweek
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MORGAN, Minn. — Demonstrations, political forums and a new “networking lounge” are on tap for the annual Farmfest ag show in Minnesota.

Farmfest 2022 will run from Aug. 2-4 on the site between Redwood Falls and Morgan in Redwood County.

Farmfest has become known for its Minnesota political candidate forums, this year headlined by the state’s candidates for governor with incumbent Democrat Tim Walz being challenged by Scott Jensen as the endorsed Republican candidate. That forum will be at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 3.

There also will be a forum for congressional candidates, one at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the 1st District that covers southern Minnesota followed by another at 10:30 for candidates in the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 8th districts to cover ag issues. In the 1st District, Republican Brad Finstad and Democrat Jeff Ettinger are running for the seat previously held by Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year.

“This is a very intriguing line-up of candidate forums, and the forums are quite timely, considering Minnesota’s statewide primary and special elections in the First Congressional District are being held the following week,” Kent Thiesse, Farmfest’s forum coordinator said in a news release.

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Other forums include the Ag Outlook Forum, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday; a discussion of the Farm Bill on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 1:15 p.m; and “Getting the Most from Federal Ag Programs” at 1:15 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Demos

Niki Jones of Farmfest also highlighted the numbers of demonstrations this year, which she said are always popular with attendees.

Ziegler Ag Equipment will have a few pieces of equipment available to ride or drive and Can-Am will have UTVs and ATVs available to ride. Kibble Equipment will be doing technology demonstrations and there will be a couple of spray drones flying around.

Then there are things like Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health safety demonstrations and seed plots.

“We have a ton of demos and things for people to do and see this year,” Jones said.

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Farmfest draws thousands of visitors to Redwood County, Minnesota, during the first week of August.
Katie Pinke / Agweek

Relax, enjoy

New this year is what Jones is calling the “networking lounge,” a tent with drinks, snacks and live music from noon to 4 every day.

“We just thought it would be nice to have a space for people to sit and chat and connect,” Jones said. “It’s kind of a fun relaxing space away from some of the seriousness of some of the other discussions that might be going on.”

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Another mainstay at the show is the announcement of the Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year on Thursday, Aug. 4.

The 2022 finalists are Dawn Breitkreutz of Redwood Falls, Nancy Hinricher of Pipestone, Karen Kasper of Owatonna, Emily Ponwith of Cleveland, and Kristin Reiman-Duden of Princeton.

A full schedule of events can be found at the Farmfest website .

A tradition

Farmfest was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but Jones said 2021 attendance was about the same as 2019.

“We thought that was pretty good,” Jones said, noting that many events have not quite bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.

With almost 400 exhibitors, it is one of the largest ag events in Minnesota.

“It starts to become a tradition for families in that area to attend Farmfest,” Jones said.

Related Topics: AGRICULTUREMINNESOTAEVENTS
Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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