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U of M President Eric Kaler returns to Farmfest

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 08/27/2012 2:27 PM

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GILFILLAN, Minn. — When University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler visited Farmfest last year, he was just 32 days into his office.

He returned to the farm show last week, talking to farmers and promoting the university's agriculture and research programs.

Kaler was part of a Farmfest panel featuring several U of M faculty discussing "Innovations in Agriculture..Opportunities from the University."

Kaler told the crowd he intends to talk to people and get to know what the institution can do to help farmers. The institution is the eighth largest research university in the country, he said.

Minnesota can be the Silicone Valley of ag research.

Brian Buhr head of the university's applied economics department who also oversees ag education, discussed the challenges of retaining ag teachers.

Ag education students are in demand by agribusinesses because of their strong ag knowledge. Businesses often offer good salaries to graduates.

Retaining ag instructors is a challenge, he said. Schools need to encourage and support those teachers.