MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Super Tuesday could be a gauge for how Minnesota farmers are feeling about the 2020 election. For them the daily struggle to stay in business is what drives them to the polls.

For the past few years they’ve been dealing with rough weather and lower prices for their crops that make it tough to turn a profit.

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“At their very core, they are very independent. They are businesspeople and they try to make money on this landscape,” said Dave Farr, a farmer and an agronomist.

For the past few years, Farr has watched them struggle with Mother Nature affecting their yields, and prices affecting their bottom lines.

“I think they want a fair shot in the marketplace. I think they want a level playing field worldwide to market their products,” he said.

That’s why Farr says many farmers initially supported President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Among them was Mike Penny, who farms near Le Center.

“I think we’re doing the right thing with this trade war, the only problem is it’s going to take some pain in the meantime,” Penny said.

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However, Penny believes there are some farmers who are growing more and more frustrated. Between September 2018 and September 2019, 31 Minnesota farms file for bankruptcy, a ten-year high.

Still, other political components — such as regulation and conservative views — will play a major role come November.

“I would say if you looked at that in the past, the rural part of Minnesota … and the people who farm the land and live in our rural communities have been a little bit more on the conservative side of that agenda,” Farr said. “So I don’t know if that moves a lot.”

Penny said he did not want to see us “quit what we’re doing, if we do elect a Democratic candidate, just stop what we’re doing and go back to the way it was, and show some weakness on our side.”

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WCCO also heard from other farmers who told us that farm prices also affect dealerships and lenders. They say candidates will have to prove they can help all aspects of the agriculture business in order to get their votes come November.

John Lauritsen