Skip to main content

Energy policy at center of Senate candidates' Farmfest debate


The energy needs of Minnesota and the country were prominent when U.S. Senator Al Franken and four of his challengers took the stage at Farmfest Wednesday.

MinnPost reports Franken and the Republican-endorsed candidate, Mike McFadden, agreed on expanding a wind energy tax credit – and not much else.

McFadden emphasized the need for more pipelines to deliver oil and natural gas to Minnesota, at one point saying “We need to get pipelines built yesterday, and I’ll make sure that happens,” MinnPost reports.

Franken, meanwhile, spoke of the need for a diverse energy portfolio and said Minnesota should develop more renewable energy since the state does not produce its own oil or gas.

MPR News notes the three other candidates who took part in the forum were state Rep. Jim Abeler and Iraq War veteran David Carlson, both Republicans, and the Independence Party's Kevin Terrell. MPR says all of the challengers portrayed Franken as part of a dysfunctional federal government.

Farmfest is an annual agricultural convention. As the Star Tribune puts it, it has become a proving ground for political candidates trying to win over rural voters. The event is held near Redwood Falls, which McFadden initially called Redwood City in a tweet that was later modified.


One of the energy questions on the mind of rural Minnesotans is whether propane will be as scarce and expensive as it was last winter.

On that front there was some encouraging news when word spread at Farmfest that the Army Corps of Engineers approved a new storage facility in Benson that will hold 1 million gallons. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar tells Forum News Service that much propane is only one-third of the amount Minnesota recently lost when the owner of a major pipeline announced a change of plans.

The pipeline that formerly delivered Canadian propane to the Midwest will no longer carry propane and has been reversed to flow into Canada. The Des Moines Register says that line carried 38 percent of Minnesota's propane and 13 percent of Iowa's. The Iowa agriculture secretary warned rural residents to plan ahead for a possible propane crunch again this fall and winter.

The demand for propane surges in the autumn, when many farmers use it to power machinery to dry freshly harvested grain. Some also use propane to heat their homes and livestock barns.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.


Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.