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I survived Farmfest

August 7, 2013 - Karin Elton
Yesterday I drove to the Gilfillan farm near Redwood Falls to attend Farmfest. I had never been there before. It’s a three-day event and we usually have a reporter there each day to write a story for the next day’s paper. The “regular” (full-time) reporters were unavailable to attend the first day of Farmfest, so I was elected to go.

I was a little nervous at first of finding a place out in the country. I usually get lost, but it was easy — Highways 19 and 67 plus I had GPS as backup which I didn’t need. I drove my car onto the grass parking lot and then hopped onto a shuttle. One of the young men sitting on the shuttle decided to get off while the shuttle was still moving and he fell and rolled athletically backwards — a highlight of the day. After being deposited at the gate, I showed my press pass to get in without paying.

I don’t understand why people would pay $12 for the chance to walk among tent after tent of vendors. That’s like paying to watch an all commercials channel on TV. But I’m not a farmer, so the appeal is lost on me.

I made my way to the Wick building where the farm bill panel was to take place. I enjoyed listening to each person on the panel speak. I felt they didn’t just blow hot air, but spoke honestly and forthrightly about the problems of getting a farm bill to pass in Congress. Right wingers of the Republican party were putting the brakes on the bill, the panelists said, and compromise was needed. It’s too bad Republican congressmembers weren’t able to attend the forum. I would have liked to have heard their side of the story.

After the discussion, I was supposed to interview farmers to get their reaction. I would have liked their opinion of what the panelists had to say, but it was hard to get anybody on the record — they were reluctant to talk to a reporter or give their name. One farmer said he would have liked to see a more balanced panel and he said some issues are not “compromisable.”

After the forum I made my way to the parking lot. I soon realized I hadn’t paid attention to exactly where I had parked. I walked in the hot sun to where I kind of thought my vehicle would be but there were rows upon rows of mostly pickup trucks. I walked to the front gate and whined that I had lost my car. I told them I had entered the lot around 10 a.m. The person said look in Row I (oh, there were signs?). I walked down to Row I and sure enough, there it was. She knew her parking. I was grateful to get into the car.

On the way through Redwood I noticed that gas was $3.59 a gallon. I wished I had had the coin to fill ‘er up since gas is $3.69 in Marshall.

Back at the office in the cool air conditioning, I had to answer e-mails, write obituaries and prepare the Market page for the Wednesday paper, so I had only about an hour to write the story. I would have liked to revise my finished product, especially since it was going out to the Associated Press for whatever member newspapers wanted it, but I had to stop monkeying with it and file the story thus ending my Adventures in Farmland.


Article Comments

Aug-11-13 10:48 PM

Hello, glad to read you survived the open air "trade show". Did not start out that way but farming is bigger biz these days. I agree that the panel discussions should, as always include all sides...can hardly have a fruitful discussion without all sides. I grew up on a farm near Marshall and the NFO tried having those one sided discussions and they lost their support ... maybe that is what is happening here. I am glad you found your car without a's a miracle !


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