PIERZ - Main street businesses as a pillar of our rural economy will be represented by Small Business Minnesota at the 35th Farm Picnic Sunday 2 p.m. Sunday at Pierz Park, Pierz. Minnesota COACT and Morrison County Farmers Union co-sponsor the Farm Picnic which annually urges support for local businesses because they support family farms.

Featured speaker will be Audrey Britton, chair of Small Business Minnesota and director of public and government relations. Britton will focus on the economic importance of Minnesota's small businesses which comprise the state's largest employer, and will update the issues they face, including rising health insurance deductibles, broadband internet access, tax inequity between small businesses and large corporations, transportation and infrastructure.

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Britton will be joined by Thom Petersen, Minnesota Farmers Union government relations director, who will update farm issues, some of which are business related.

Serving of the traditional country dinner of ham, sweet corn, and potato salad begins at 2 p.m. The Minnesota Farmers Union-NFO Direct Marketing Program is providing the ham and the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls are offering the potato salad, fresh-baked bread and garden vegetables. Morrison County Dairy Princesses will serve milk and ice cream.

Free tickets, compliments of local businesses, are available at businesses displaying the familiar Farm Picnic posters and will be available at the picnic. Also, they can be purchased at the picnic for $5, adults; $4.50, seniors; and $2, children (12 and under).