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With social distancing still en vogue, the annual Farmfest forums are taking a virtual, stay-at-home look this year. All forums are free and will be available for viewing on-line at, or on Farmfest’s Facebook page.

Attendees can register for the webinars on to have the opportunity to ask a question of the panelists. Questions submitted in the registration process will be reviewed and those selected will be asked of the panelists live in the session. The moderator will be asking some of the questions and others will be called on to ask questions live on the session. Questions can be submitted up through end of day July 30.

The first forum takes place on Aug. 4 at 9 a.m.

Farmers and farm operators face numerous health, safety and financial risks. Physically demanding work and high levels of uncertainty place a heavy burden on the health and wellbeing of farmers and farm operations. Covid-19 brings additional layers of risk and uncertainty.

“Staying Safe and Staying in Business,”

Is a virtual panel discussion. Hear from leaders and experts in agriculture as they discuss all matters of farm health. Co-hosted by the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) and the Minnesota Safety Council, the forum is moderated by Paul Aasen, President of the Minnesota Safety Council.

Panel members are scheduled to include Dr. Joni Scheftel, State Public Health veterinarian and infectious disease expert; Dr. Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, Agricultural Economics and Finance; Doris Mold, agricultural management and leadership consultant; and Emily Krekelberg, Farm Safety and Health Extension Educator with University of Minnesota Extension and Rural Stress Task Force Director.

Panel members will field questions after their discussion.

A U.S. Senate candidate forum will follow at 11:30 a.m. Virtual forum featured guests include Democrat incumbent Senator Tina Smith and Republican challenger Jason Lewis. The forum will be moderated by Blois Olson and emceed by Kent Thiesse.

At 1:30 p.m. will be  “The Current State of the Ag Economy.” Hear from ag industry economists for a review of the current state of the ag economy and an economic outlook. Panelists include Michael Nepveux, economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation; Jason Schwantz, Senior Vice President, Refined Fuels, CHS, Inc.; Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist with INTL FCStone Financial Inc.

On Aug. 5, register to take part in the AgTalk Town Hall. Join Minnesota ag leaders as they discuss trade, supply chains and global competitiveness. Discussions begin at 8:30 a.m.

Dialogue with leaders from ag production, processing and logistics to help redefine American agriculture trade policy and the solutions needed to help American agriculture rebound. Turning the tide will require comprehensive effort from products to customers — those that plant, make, deliver and sell American products around the world.

Two more political forums will take place on Aug. 5. At 10:30 a.m., candidates for U.S. Congressional seats in Districts 7 and 8 will be featured. Scheduled to take part are District 7 Representative Collin Peterson (Democrat); and Republican challengers Michelle Fischbach, Dave Hughes and Noel Collis. Representing the 8th District will be Republican incumbent Representative Pete Stauber and Democrat challenger Quinn Nystrom. The forum will be moderated by Lynn Ketelsen and emceed by Kent Thiesse.

Ketelsen and Thiesse return at 1 p.m. to host the candidate forum for U.S. Congressional Districts 1, 2 and 6. Panelists include, from the 1st District, incumbent Republican Jim Hagedorn and Democrat challenger Dan Feehan; 2nd District Representative Angie Craig (Democrat) and Republican challenger Tyler Kistner; and 6th District Republican Representative Tom Emmer along with Democrat challenger Tawnja Zahradka.

 “Your Money. Your Retirement.”

Join Jeff Mahoney, wealth management advisor from Farm Bureau Financial Services, as he discusses retirement options.

The session take place at 9 a.m. on Aug. 6.

In preparing for retirement, you want to be confident you'll have the resources in place to enjoy this stage of life on your terms. Understanding your options and how you can help fill income gaps are important parts of the plan.

New to Farmfest this year, on Aug. 6, is a “Women in Ag” event which takes place at 10:30 a.m. Join the webinar to hear from the American Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee Chair, Sherry Saylor, as she inspires women ag leaders and shares results from the recent Women in Ag survey.

Also, the first Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year will be named. The Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year award was created to honor hard-working female farmers across Minnesota. Five nominees will be chosen and honored at the Aug. 6 virtual ceremony where one will be awarded the Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year and receive a cash prize.  

Content of this article was submitted by IDEAg Group, LLC.