MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a lot of uncertainty at Farmfest this year. Many farmers are hurting from trade war tariffs on Minnesota crops, especially soybeans.

But some are willing to give President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt.

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“Hopefully in the long run … this trade war hopefully will work itself out,” said Balaton resident Francis Timmerman.

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Tariffs were the most pressing issue at Farmfest’s U.S. Senate Forum. Democrats Tina Smith and Richard Painter sharply questioned the president’s purpose.

“What’s the plan here?” Smith said. “How are we going to get out of this endless round of disputes and into a permanent solution that goes beyond a $12-billion Band-Aid?”

“This president has conducted a reckless trade war, and farmers will lose their farms over it if we don’t turn this situation around,” Painter said.

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Farmfest’s 2018 U.S. Senate Forum (credit: CBS)

Republican Senate Candidate Karin Housley urged farmers to wait out the tariff pain.

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“We’ve got to be patient, and hopefully the president can get this done sooner rather than later to ease, ease the anxiety that’s happening,” Housley said.

But rural Minnesota may not be as patient as politicians want.

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“Tariffs hurt price. Farmers need price, and they need a market, and right now they’re losing both,” said Glencoe resident Tom Schoper.

How long can they wait for President Trump to win a trade war that they’re losing right now?

“Not very long [laughs]!” Timmerman said.

With all the uncertainty over tariffs and trade in farm country, it is really hard to know how long farmers are willing to wait for things to get better. Judgment could come on Election Day.

Farmfest will host Minnesota’s candidates for governor Wednesday.

You can get more political insight from Pat Kessler in his new podcast, Minnesota Politics 101. Click here for more information, or search “Pat Kessler” wherever you get your podcasts.

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