Redwood Falls Gazette
  • TROY'S COLUMN — Making the most of Farmfest

  • I am not what you would call farmer material, but, like others who make their way to Farmfest year after year, I go for other reasons....
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  • When it comes down to it, most people think there is no reason for them to attend Farmfest. After all, they are not a farmer, nor are they involved in the ag industry. The majority of people don’t really like politicians, and so seeing swarms of people flock to get a moment of face time with them is not their idea of a good time. I can, on the surface, see their point. After all, the word “farm” is right there in the name. Yet, as I walk the streets of the annual farm show I see many more folks from our area who pass by, and I am pretty sure they have never driven a combine in their life. OK, I guess I would fit into that category, too. While I have spent some hours in the cab of a combine as a kid, I never sat behind the wheel of our old John Deere 55. I never really wanted to. I am not what you would call farmer material, but, like others who make their way to Farmfest year after year, I go for other reasons. Honestly, I look forward to being there each August. While this job requires that someone be there to cover the major stories of the show, and being the one guy on the staff who actually has some “farming” background, I would be the logical one to report on all things related to the industry. Yet, there is another appeal I find as I walk past machinery that has bigger front tires than those on the back of the old D17 Allis Chalmers I was permitted to drive. Just walking along, seeing and listening to salesmen pitch the latest in precision agriculture is mind boggling. I find myself shaking my head a lot when I visit Farmfest each year. Then again, I know I never could afford any of those machines and have no need whatsoever for them. So, what is Farmfest all about for me? It’s about the smell of mini-donuts as I walk through the commercial exhibit tents thinking to myself I am glad I’m not the guy in the booth next to the people who are trying to sell some kind of food product. Farmfest for me is about food – the cattlemen’s association meal, hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops, ice cream floats – it is all great. Yet, it’s not just the food I like. It’s seeing people like Mark Malecek and Grant Breitkreutz in the cattlemen’s tent and Bob Byrnes in the University of Minnesota booth – just saying “hi” to them and having that brief conversation with them. It’s about talking about my kids (and his) with Pete Smith over a bag of peanuts from the United FCS tent and seeing people I only see once a year at Gilfillan. Yes, readers, you are right when you mention the fact I have admitted how much I dislike being in big crowds, but for me Farmfest never seems that crowded. To me it’s like taking what’s good about the small-time atmosphere of a county fair and mixing it with all that is great about my memories of the state fair – especially Machinery Hill. (If only there were a few more things served on a stick.) I enjoy taking my sons out and letting them just run around knowing they have no interest in learning about the farm bill. They always seem to find the best yardsticks. I like being able to buy a bag of Kettle Korn and then to bring it home for my best half and getting a small toy for my boys that helps them stay connected to the farm in a very small way. I like watching them build birdhouses, and I love knowing there are other dads walking the grounds every year doing the same thing. Will I see you there?
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