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Published August 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Farmfest kicks off Tuesday, forums include political debates, hot topics

The 29th annual Farmfest is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls.

GILFILLAN, Minn. — The 29th annual Farmfest is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls.

There will be a congressional candidate forum at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday under the forum tent. Participating are U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and his opponent in the 7th District, Republican Lee Byberg of Willmar; U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and Republican Randy Demmer and Independent Steven Wilson, his challengers in the 1st District. Also participating are Democratic challenger Tarryl Clark, who faces U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., plus his challenger, Democrat Dan Powers.

A panel of agriculture reporters for radio and newspaper will pose questions to the U.S. House candidates on a variety of issues affecting agriculture and rural communities.

All five of the major candidates for governor have confirmed they will participate in candidate forum at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday under the forum tent. This includes Republican Tom Emmer, Independent candidates Tom Horner and Rob Hahn and DFL candidates Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza.

A panel of Minnesota agricultural and rural leaders will pose questions to the gubernatorial candidates on a variety of issues affecting farm families and rural communities.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be the keynote speaker at the Forum Tent at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. There will also be a panel discussion on what the next governor needs to know about rural Minnesota at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Panel members include state Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson; King Banaian, economics professor at St. Cloud State; Jim Miller, executive director of the League of Minnesota Cities; and Lee Warne, executive director of the state Rural Education Association.

Farmfest will also include many forums on a wide range of ag-related topics including understanding carbon credits, the future of the livestock industry, weather and commodity outlooks and strategies for agricultural education.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $10 for adults and free for youth under age 18. Parking is free.

The West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn., is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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