Technology saves debates at Farmfest

Like most other major gatherings this summer, Farmfest was canceled. Instead of thousands of farmers and others interested in agriculture traipsing around the Gillfillan Estate near Morton to look at the latest farming technology and products, and viewing test plots, everyone is staying home.

One of the most vital features of Farmfest is carrying on, however. The political forums and debates that have become “must see” for those interested in farm issues and “must participate” for those seeking the farm vote are still taking place on the Internet. Zoom is being used to bring the candidates together. Senate candidates Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Republican challenger Jason Lewis had a virtual debate last Tuesday, and congressional candidates faced off Wednesday. Their debates can be viewed on Vimeo.

These forums have been a vital source of information for farm voters, and a great chance for candidates to get to meet rural residents gathered together in one place for three days in August.

We hope the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control in time to allow Farmfest to return in its normal format next year. But we are grateful that internet technology has allowed these forums to continue.


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