As I have traveled throughout Minnesota I’ve had the opportunity to learn from farmers, business owners, educators, lenders, health care providers and local elected officials who have shared with me the challenges and opportunities they face every day. Regardless of the issue, it is critical that we take a comprehensive look at the future of rural Minnesota – including its farms, its businesses and its communities so that we might address the long-term vitality of family farmers and rural Minnesota. A “cookie cutter” approach to addressing the issues facing agriculture and our rural communities just won’t work and instead of having directives imposed on them from Saint Paul, those who live and work in rural Minnesota should lead the way in crafting proposals that will improve their quality of life.
Among the core principles upon which I will focus as Governor are relieving the regulatory and tax burdens on our farmers, working to highlight the impact of our rural economy on the overall state economy, and local leaders to identify partnerships that will build stronger rural communities. I will also explore opportunities to enhance regional partnerships that will allow the private sector to grow and prosper in an ever-changing global economy.
We are no longer competing with Wisconsin, Iowa and other states. Instead we are part of an expanding global economy and our farmers and producers must be given every opportunity to flourish in this new international market. Our state is rich in creative, innovative and invested farmers and producers. They must be allowed to do what they do best – create jobs and provide quality products.
Minnesota is a place of rich agricultural resources, and we must protect this vital portion of Minnesota’s economy. Agriculture is the second largest employer in the state with more than 365,000 jobs. This $15 billion industry is essential to a positive future for Minnesota. We must streamline the regulatory processes farmers and producers must comply with, we must relieve the heavy tax burdens levied against farmers and most importantly we must empower local leaders to enhance regional partnerships with the private sector to grow and compete in a global economy.