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Ag. Sec. Perdue coming to Farmfest next week

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Vendors and visitors on the second day of Minnesota Farmfest 2018 enjoy clear skies and warm temps. Forum News Service file photo

MORGAN — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is coming to Minnesota to take part in a discussion about the farm economy.

He will participate in a U.S. House Ag Committee listening session on the farm economy beginning at 10:30 a.m Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Farmfest.

Farmfest, the state's largest gathering and show of all things related to farming, will run Aug. 6-8 at the Gilfillan Estates in Redwood County, just northwest of Morgan.

The farm economy is the top worry for many these days. Trade wars with China, Canada and Mexico have cut into the export of Minnesota's farm products, hurting the bottom line of many. Mother Nature, too, has not been kind to many farms — taking down multiple barns with snow, ice and wind this past winter and keeping farmers out of fields this spring with unrelenting rain. The rain kept some from planting at all and has drowned out others who did manage to get into the fields.

Ag committee chairman Rep. Collin Peterson from Minnesota's 7th District will lead the session in the Wick Building. Other Minnesota lawmakers joining him will be Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Angie Craig, Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Rep. Dean Phillips and Rep. Pete Stauber.

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From soybean and corn test plots to the latest in silos and cattle chutes, it's all on display at Farmfest. This year, there will be a hops demonstration plot.

Organizers say it is one place for farmers to network, experience and learn to grow their farming operations.

"We use 50 acres of land to showcase products, services and technologies from over 500 exhibitors and vendors ... we provide live product demonstrations, host smart and insightful educational sessions and organize fun family activities" according to the Minnesota Farmfest website : www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest .

Two other major policy and economic discussions will be held in the Wick Building.

The first, at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, will be an "Ag Policy Discussion with National Ag Leaders." Moderator will be Mark Dorenkamp of Ag News. The panelists include Zippy Duval, president of the American Farm Bureau; Rob Larew, vice president of the National Farmers Union; Tamera Nelsen from Agri-Growth; Harold Wolle from the National Corn Growers Association; and Joel Schreurs from the American Soybean Association.

At 1:15 the same day, shortly after an address by Gov. Tim Walz, "The State of Rural Minnesota and the Agriculture Industry" will feature moderator Blois Olson from Fluence Media and panel host Commissioner Thom Peterson of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Panel members will include Commissioner Laura Bishop from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly from the state's Department of Revenue, Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley, Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Commissioner Steve Grove of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Barb Naramore, Assistant Commissioner Courtney Jordan Baechler from the Department of Health, and a representative from the Department of Human Services.

Attendees can also take advantage of the free health care screenings at the Health and Safety Pavilion.

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The screenings will be provided by the Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield, HealthFair11 Community Healthmobile, and the Dermatology Interest Group of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children 17 and younger are free.

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