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Farmfest kicks off with health care, Farm Bill discussions

Tribune photo by Gretchen Schlosser Rep. Collin Peterson, left, listens to a question Tuesday during a wide-ranging panel discussion of national issues under the forum tent at Farmfest. The 28th annual farm show opened Tuesday and continues Wednesday and Thursday at the Gilfillan Estate south of Red-wood Falls. Peterson and Rep. Tim Walz were the only lawmakers at the forum, as Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken remained in session in Washington, D.C.

By Gretchen Schlosser

West Central Tribune

GILFILLAN -- Serving in Congress has been like "drinking from a fire hose" since the new Farm Bill became law last May, Rep. Collin Peterson said Tuesday at Farmfest.

The 28th annual farm show kicked off Tuesday morning and Peterson and Rep. Tim Walz kept the rapid-fire pace up by discussing the economy, government stimulus actions, healthcare, the economy, energy and cap and trade legislation under the big forum tent.

The Congressmen were not joined by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as the Senate continues to meet this week.

Peterson, the chair of the House Ag Committee, does not expect the pace to slow, as lawmakers continue to grapple with weighty financial and healthcare regulation bills.

"We've been very busy, and I expect to be in the fall," Peterson said. While he and Walz, also an ag committee member, haven't been directly involved in the healthcare debate, but are meeting with stakeholders during the August recess.