GILFILLAN ESTATES - Farmfest 2014 opens at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 5 at Gilfillan Estates, 28269 Highway 67, Morgan.
A forum for candidates for governor begins at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the Wicks Buildings Farmfest Center near the middle of the show site.
Gubernatorial candidates expected to answer questions from a panel of agricultural and rural leaders are incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat; and his Republican challengers, Jeff Johnson, Scott Honour, Marty Seifert and Kurt Zellers as well as Minnesota Independence candidate Hannah Nicollet. A forum on farm program decisions with the new Farm Bill follows at 1:15 p.m.
Following an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidates scheduled to talk at 10:30 a.m. are Democratic incumbent Democratic incumbent Al Franken, Republican challengers, Mike McFadden and Jim Abler and Kevin Terrell of the Independence Party.
Other Wednesday forum tent events are Big Data: A New Frontier in Agriculture, at 3 p.m.; and Drones: the Next Technology Breakthrough in Agriculture, at 3:45 p.m.
A congressional candidates forum on agriculture and rural issues includes 7th District Congressman Collin Peterson and Republican challenger Torrey Westrom; 1st District Congressman Tim Walz and Republican challengers Aaron Miller and Jim Hagedorn.
A forum on the impact of climate change on future agricultural production practices begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 in the forum tent.
A watermelon feed follows at 1 p.m. followed by the Farm Family of the Year recognition program for 74 farm families selected at the county level.
Farmfest special events include a drone demonstration by Haug Implement Co. of Willmar and Litchfield, in the field, across County Highway 13. Demonstrations take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) will serve free sweet corn ice cream and give away prizes including $1,000 worth of propane, a Phantom Quadcopter "drone" with HD video and high-resolution picture capability, four-packs of Minnesota Gophers football and Minnesota Twins tickets, plus wildflower seed packets.
Daily special events just inside the Farmfest entrance include herb gardening at 10 a.m.; farm trauma and injury prevention, 12:30 p.m.; and container gardening tips and techniques, 2:30 p.m.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).