Farmfest will feature an exciting line-up of feature forums in 2011, according to Kent Thiesse, Farmfest forum coordinator. The forums will be held August 2, 3 and 4, in the forum tent on the Farmfest site, which is located at the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, MN. Thiesse says the forum schedule for 2011 has a heavy emphasis on national and state agricultural policy issues, and on issues affecting rural Minnesota. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has been invited to make a keynote address on Thursday, Aug. 4. All of the forums will provide ample time for questions and follow-up discussion by panel members.
Designing the Next Farm Bill: Shaping the Future of Rural Americais the feature forum on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 10:30 a.m. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, Congressman Collin Peterson, ranking member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, and Congressman Tim Walz, also a U.S. House Ag Committee member, have been invited to participate in this panel discussion. They will be joined by Kevin Paap, Minnesota Farm Bureau president; Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union president; Chris Clayton, DTN ag policy analyst; and Dave Ladd, president of RDL & Associates, LLC.
Regulation: The Biggest Threat to Production Agriculture?is the forum scheduledfor Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 1:15 p.m. The forum will provide an overview of the potential impacts to farm operators and the agricultural industry of current and proposed federal and state regulations for water quality, air quality, use of antibiotics, transportation and other regulations. The panel of experts participating in this intriguing forum will include Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council; Warren Formo, executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Coalition; Matt Wohlman, assistant Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture; Don Schiefelbein, Minnesota State Cattleman’s Assn. President and MPCA Citizens board member; Bill Crawford, Minnesota Pork Board president; and Dave Pfarr, Minnesota Corn Growers Association board member.
Finding a Common Message for Agriculture is the morning forum on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 10:30 a.m. The focus will be on building collaboration within the agriculture industry, as well as communicating agriculture’s message to the non-farm public. Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, will make the opening comments. The panel members will include Brad Finstad, executive director of the Minnesota Rural Policy Center; Brian Greenslit, member of the U.S. Farm & Ranch Alliance; Staci Martin, firector of legislative affairs for AgStar; Karen Richter, National Pork Board treasurer; Donna Moenning, vice president of the Midwest Dairy Association; and Stacy Thoeny, dairy farm operator from Ogilvie, MN.
A special forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 1:15 p.m.: Designing State Agencies to Enhance the Agriculture Industry. This forum will focus on how various state agencies work independently and collaboratively to support the work of agricultural producers, processors and retailers. Panel members will include Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, Deputy Commissioners Paul Moe of Minnesota DEED and John Linc Stine of MPCA; Dennis Frederickson, Regional DNR director; Mike Barnes from MNDOT; and John Jaschke, BWSR executive director.
The feature forum on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 10:30 a.m. is Keeping the Land-Grant Mission Alive, and will focus on the importance of public agricultural research and extension outreach. Panel members will include Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota (U of M) Extension; Gene Stoel, chairman of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council; Gyles Randall, retired U of M soil scientist; and Jim Nesseth, crop consultant in southwest Minnesota.
A special forum, Presidential Elections: Electoral College or Popular Vote?, has been added on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 3 p.m. This forum will focus on efforts across the U.S. to change the way U.S. presidential elections are conducted, by switching from the current Electoral College system to electing the president by a national popular vote. It should be a very interesting discussion on a very timely topic.
The Minnesota Farm Bureau will host a free breakfast on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the forum tent at Farmfest. Special guest will be Eric Kaler, new president of the U of M. President Kaler will also give a keynote address at Farmfest at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3, just prior to the morning forum.
Three special Farmfest grain marketing forums will be held at 9 a.m. each day. The first marketing forum on Tuesday, Aug. 2, will feature Bryce Anderson, well-known DTN agricultural weather expert, and John Sanow, DTN grain marketing analyst. The marketing forum on Wednesday, Aug. 3, which will be part of the Minnesota Farm Bureau breakfast, will feature Mark Schultz from Northstar Commodities, and the Thursday marketing forum at 9:00 AM will feature Jacquie Voeks, marketing analyst with the Stewart-Peterson company.
The Farm Family of the Year Recognition Programwill be heldon Thursday, Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m., in the forum tent.Over 65 honored farm families from throughout Minnesota have been selected at the county level for this recognition. This recognition event is jointly sponsored by Farmfest and the University of Minnesota.
Other special events at Farmfest in the forum tent include the naming of the Minnesota State Pork Ambassadors on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 1 p.m., and the 4th annual Farmfest Auctioneering Championship on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 3 p.m. Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota Farmers Union Insurance Agency will sponsor free watermelon during the event.
For more information on the forums at Farmfest, please contact Kent Thiesse, Farmfest forum coordinator at 507-381-7960 or [email protected].
Editor’s note: 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]