Thumbs up to another engaging Farmfest, which attracts attendees from across the state and beyond.

Along with 50 acres of about 500 exhibits, the gathering offers important opportunities to hear a variety of ag and government leaders discuss current issues.

Panels and discussions occurring throughout the three-day event of Farmfest featured some heavy hitters. A roundtable discussion included American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and National Farmers Union Senior Vice President Rob Larew. Gov. Tim Walz delivered a keynote address.

Midway through Farmfest, farmers had a chance to tell U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that the effects of the country’s ongoing trade disputes and unfinished trade agreements.

Connecting farmers and agribusiness with the government leaders whose action or inaction has such profound effects is an important role at Farmfest, which has its roots in this area dating back to the 1970s.

Agriculture has been and remains a key driver in Minnesota’s economy. Farmfest provides a venue to explore the topics that are so important to the region as well as the nation.

Old buffalo fish

Thumbs up to North Dakota State University graduate student Alec Lackmann for giving us an amazing insight into the beleaguered buffalo fish.

He set out to study the bigmouth buffalo, a common, large fish that many mistake for a carp.

In a surprise finding, the kind that shows science continues to bring surprises, Lackmann used radiocarbon dating to show that a buffalo fish caught in Otter Tail County lived to be 112 years old, making it the oldest freshwater bony fish ever verified.

The startling discovery isn’t just something that puts us in awe, it gives attention to the fact that species such as buffalo fish, which many people see as garbage fish, deserve attention and protection. The buffalo competes with invasive carp and is important to Minnesota lakes’ ecosystem.

Aussie Peppers

Thumbs up to the Aussie Peppers and their coaches for an inaugural season as a Mankato area professional fastpitch softball team that provided some top notch sports entertainment to area fans.

The mostly Australian team spent its summer 15,000 away from home honing their skills and entertaining crowds as they make their bid to win a spot in the summer Olympics.

Longtime Mankato fastpitch favorite Coley Ries joined the team for the summer from her pro team playing to fans that knew her from her playing days at Mankato East and Minnesota State University.

The team drew crowds from the Twin Cities and the region as the only professional-level fastpitch team in the state.

The players say they enjoyed Mankato and felt very welcome in their adopted summer city.

There’s hope they will return next summer, and that would be a win-win for the team and the region.

Gun legislation

Thumbs up to the apparent movement by some key Republicans on common-sense gun legislation.

Assuming, of course, that their new-found interest in such measures as expanded background checks and red-flag restrictions is genuine.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had been dismissive of such proposals even after last weekend’s massacres, suddenly turned around Thursday and said the chamber would consider the measures after the August recess.

One can be forgiven for suspecting that McConnell calculates that in a few weeks the public outrage over the bloodshed will dissipate and his GOP majority can resume its NRA-mandated sloth on the topic.

But we hope not. The problem isn’t going away on its own.

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