Thumbs Up/Down

Brown County Fair

THUMBS UP: The Brown County Fair is going full blast this weekend. We encourage people to take the opportunity to stroll the fairgrounds and celebrate our farm roots.

Brown County, of course, is a rural area. Nobody here is very far from a farm field. We all rely on the health of the farming economy and have a great interest in making sure it continues to thrive.

Programs like 4-H and FFA are the feeder programs for tomorrow’s farmers. The Brown County Fair gives 4-H and FFA members a chance to show what they can do. We can all go and appreciate that.

ICE raid

THUMBS DOWN: ICE conducted a highly publicized sweep of midwest companies that it claims have been deliberately hiring illegal immigrant workers and taking advantage of them. Christensen Farms in Sleepy Eye is one of the companies caught up in the sweep, and we’re hoping the fallout is brief for this important local employer.

Christensen Farms says it appears a third-party vendor who contracts with them is the source of the problem for them, and it is cooperating with the investigation. For a company as large and as widespread as Christensen Farms, which relies heavily on contractors, it’s hard to keep track of the operations of all of them.

Farming progress

THUMBS UP: Farmfest took place this past week, and it is always gratifying to see the kind of progress being made in the growing and marketing of food.

The University of Minnesota is especially active in this field. This week it introduced a new variety of apple, “First Kiss,” an offshoot of its highly popular Honeycrisp.

The new variety is expected to have all the flavor and crispness of the Honeycrisp, but it will ripen much sooner, in mid- to late August. Congratulations to the U. We look forward to getting our “First Kiss.”

Vote on Tuesday

THUMBS UP: Minnesota voters have a lot to get excited about in Tuesday’s primary elections. There are hotly contested races for governor in both parties, the DFL Attorney General’s race is packed with candidates. Senate and Congressional races need to be decided. And locally, there is a hot four-way race for the Brown County Sheriff’s election, and for the Brown County 5th Commissioner’s District.

Early voting has already be going on, and that may help swell the number of votes cast for the primary, which traditionally doesn’t draw as many voters as the November elections. This year is an important mid-term election, however, and there should be plenty of interesting decisions coming out of this primary season.