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Hugoson to host listening sessions

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson will take to the road this month to hear what's on the minds of farmers and others involved in Minnesota agriculture as he hosts a series of listening sessions in Fergus Falls, Roseau and Grand Rapids.

The informal discussions typically touch on a range of topics, giving Commissioner Hugoson an opportunity not only to share his thoughts on pressing issues facing the agriculture community, but also to hear from farmers and business operators about the unique opportunities and challenges in their part of the state.

"The financial landscape has changed dramatically for farmers and our agribusiness community since last September," Commissioner Hugoson said.

"These people are the bedrock of rural Minnesota's economy, and as we look to emerge from the recent downturn it is important to hear straight from them about the issues affecting them. We welcome anyone who's interested to join us for the sessions."

The Fergus Falls listening session will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Ag Country Farm Credit Services, located at 311 North Tower Road.

The Roseau listening session will be held on Thursday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon at the City Center, located at 121 Center Street East, Suite 201.

The Grand Rapids listening session will be held on Friday, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Itasca County Fair Grounds, located at 1336 Fairgrounds Road.

Commissioner Hugoson and MDA Deputy Commissioner Jim Boerboom held similar sessions in 2008 in locations including Winona, St. Cloud, Worthington, Mankato, Crookston, and Faribault.

Future sessions are expected to be held in portions of central and southern Minnesota prior to harvest.

There is no cost to attend the listening sessions. More details are available by calling MDA's Brenda Fitzgerald at 651-201-6561.