Half the fields out here are usually corn and the other half soy beans, flipped each year in an attempt at crop rotation aided by hefty helpings of nitrogen. In this spring of wet fields and Trump inducted low bean prices mosta the corn got planted and maybe half the beans, Trump having made “prevented planting” insurance payments the more attractive option despite Trump’s last minute “trade adjustment” bribes.
So my 70 mile drive to Farmfest was in my 69 years the first in which it seemed a quarter of the fields were bare, too saturated by years of herbicides to grow even a decent cover of weeds in the absence of beans. Bare fields tend to be a sign of deep trouble in a nation, and not seen so nationwide since the depression. Farmfest is a mega farm show in rural western Minnesota, usually brimming with anything a farmer might need or want including politicians. But Farmfest was even barer than the fields, with empty acres on the showgrounds where tractors, combines, and farm trucks were last year displayed. Republican politicians were scarce too, though nobody missed them.
But Minnesota democrats were there in full force, starting with both Governor Tim Walz and LG Peggy Flanagan yesterday morning, followed by what looked to be every democratic department commissioner in an afternoon forum. Today western Minnesota democratic congress member Collin Peterson dragged Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue to a public forum also attended by fellow MN democratic congress members Angie Craig and Dean Phillips despite their districts being mostly suburban. Sonny got an earful, even breaking down and pretty much admitting to global warming when retired dairy farmer and democrat James Kanne asked him about paying farmers to grow crops that sequester carbon. Sonny is probably undergoing reprogramming by big oil as we speak, and if that fails he’ll probably soon be spit out of the Trump administration’s executive revolving door…
But that was just our warm up, after Farmfest closes for the day democrats from far and wide head off to Ted Suss and Janet Marti’s nearby farm for the corn feed that matches anything our neighboring Iowa democrats can produce, ‘cept they got the two score plus presidential candidates speechifying for a couple hours. We had most of the state Farmers Union leadership in attendance as well as democratic party leaders aplenty, while congress member Angie Craig, Secretary of State Steve Simon and State Auditor Julie Blaha fired us up with their oration. The huge crowd of democrats, probably a record for an off year, roared their approval!
The GOPs electoral high water mark in rural Minnesota was 2016, and we took a good chunk of those votes back in 2018. In 2020 we democrats are taking rural Minnesota and America back!