Put together by the Minnesota Farmer's Union, Rural Issues Discussions takes state leaders in all aspects of government and brings them out to listen to the concerns of farmers, including one held at South Central College Wednesday.
Of all the topics that could create the most dramatic moment at an ag forum, health care is the unlikely, yet unchallenged dominant issue.

Farmers make too much money to qualify for subsidies, and live in places that have the worst case scenarios under the rules of Obamacare and the individual market.

Rules that end up costing this farmer and his wife $29,000 in premiums, with a $13,000 deductible, meaning he has to pay $42,000 before health insurance does him any good.
"This is dumped on us. When farmers go to a banker to do a cash flow analysis, they say we need to cut more out of our budgets. The obvious choice is to take the insurance off, because that's the one that's doing us nothing," Mower County Lon Baldus said.

Baldus received applause after sharing his story, one the panel had heard plenty on their travels.
"This is a huge issue. Probably the biggest issue. People say 'what's on farmers minds?' It's health care insurance," emcee Bruce Miller said.

The high cost comes down to a lack of options, as the Mayo Clinic Health System dominates the market in southeast Minnesota, and the sicker population that makes up the individual market.
"Southern Minnesota actually does have to pay more for health insurance than the rest of Minnesota. We see that the rates are much higher here," Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper said.

By no means was health care the only topic. Still plenty of heat left in the buffer strip battle, as well as basic bureaucratic confusion, including one gentleman who's received conflicting explanations for whether the land he rents out makes him an active farmer, and how that affects his Homestead Tax Credit.

-- KEYC News 12.