Farmfest starts today

By Fritz Busch

Staff Writer

GILFILLAN ESTATE – Congressmen Collin Peterson and Tim Walz will talk about reaching an endpoint on the new Farm Bill beginning at 10:30 a.m., this morning as Farmfest 2013 gets under way in the new Wick forum building at Gilfillan Estate.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, American Farm Bureau Policy Director Dale Moore, and American Soybean Association Vice President Bob Worth will join the discussion.

Forum events begin at 9 a.m. today with a discussion on what’s ahead for grain markets and weather with DTN (Data Transmission Network).

Afternoon forums begin at 1:15 p.m. with a discussion on the future of renewable energy policy with U.S. Senator Al Franken, Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Corn Growers President Tom Haag and representatives from energy companies.

At 2:45 p.m. New Ulm water quality specialist Scott Sparlin will moderate a discussion on managed drainage systems with Minnesota Department of Agriculture Water Quality Specialist Mark Dittrich, Redwood County farmer Brian Hicks and Iowa-based Agri-Drain President Charlie Schaefer.


A free pancake breakfast begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday in the forum building.

Northstar Commodities Marketing Analyst Mark Schultz will talk at 9 a.m. A discussion on the agriculture industry from a media perspective begins at 10:30 a.m. Panel members include Minneapolis Star Tribune political reporter Lori Sturdevant, WCCO TV reporter John Lauritsen, Minnesota Public Radio reporter Mark Steil, and others.

An afternoon forum focuses on raising livestock. Participants are representatives from groups that represent producers of various commodities.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman will talk about the new Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program at 2;45 p.m. followed by a talk on understanding irrigation regulations and permitting from 3 to 4 p.m.


Jeff Littrell and Keith Schlapkohl of FHR Farms will discuss fertility program tools at 9 a.m. Thursday in the forum building.

Gov. Mark Dayton will give a keynote address at 10:15 a.m. A forum on future state agriculture opportunities begins at 10:30 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tent offers free activities including archery, fish printing and nest box building. Resources and experts on water quality, aquatic invasive species and habitat development and restoration will be available. Conservation officers will answer natural resource rules and regulations questions.

For more farmfest information, visit

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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