Circumstances kept me away from this year's Farmfest. Fortunately, Greater Minnesota's newspapers were there as Governor Dayton kicked off the forums in the usually sweltering big tent at the Redwood County farm show.
Sounds like the governor preached the gospel of ag to the choir.
The Marshall Independent reports in Dayton opens Farmfest; Gov. Mark Dayton gives keynote address at Farmfest on Tuesday:
Following a tradition as old as the event, Gov. Mark Dayton opened the 2011 Farmfest forums on Tuesday in the sweltering forum tent.
"Where else can you be 20 degrees hotter inside than outside?" Dayton said.
Dayton told the audience he was the great-grandson of farmers who moved to Minnesota from New York state. He pointed out agriculture was the second largest economic sector in the state after manufacturing. In Minnesota there are about 360,000 farm jobs, or about one in five of all jobs. . . .
The West Central Tribune reports in Agriculture remains vital component for the state:
. . .The governor told the producers gathered that he wants his office and the state Department of Agriculture to be “attentive and responsive” to producers. He gave out his home phone number, 651-201-3469, and asked producers to call with concerns.
“I can’t give out Dave Fredrickson’s home phone number, but here’s mine,” Dayton said. “It’s just me and my two German shepherds, Mesabi and Wanamingo, but they don’t know how to answer the phone.”
Write your own joke. The New Ulm Journal hits a slightly different note in Dayton promotes farm exports:
Despite cattle, hog and corn prices nearing all-time highs, an air of caution about the future of agriculture pervaded the forum tent as Farmfest '11 began Tuesday.
In a keynote address, Gov. Mark Dayton said he hopes to promote farm exports by leading a trade delegation to South Korea next month and a later visit to China.
Dayton said he will work on streamlining agriculture environmental regulation to make farm expansion easier. . . .
That last note might renew tensions in rural Minnesota that flaired in the "Hog Wars" in the 1990s. Both agriculture and environmental activistics of all stripes should monitor proposals carefully.
AgriNews/Post Bulletin ag reporter Janet Kubat notes in Dayton says farming is important to economy:
. . .It’s tradition that the governor comes to Farmfest, said Kent Thiesse, Farmfest forum coordinator.
Dayton gave a 15-minute speech and answered questions, wiping his brow with a blue folded handkerchief a couple times because of the heat and humidity. . . .
Following his speech, Dayton took a couple of questions from the audience, joking that Thiesse could handle the hard ones and he'd answer the easy ones. He was asked about the budget, beginning farmers, renewable fuels and the state’s regulatory climate.
Dayton plans to travel to Korea and China to promote ag exports to those nations, each paper reports.
Photos: First Lady Mingo Dayton won't take your call, but the governor might (above); Governor Dayton at the Minnesota Farmers Union booth with MFU membership director Bruce Miller (below, photo byGlen Stubbe, Star Tribune)