A Plan for Rural Prosperity in Minnesota

Help our Farmers!

The Walz Administration has burdened farmers and agricultural businesses with complicated permits, a slow and unfriendly bureaucracy, high taxes, and a lack of leadership. We have a Plan to revive rural Minnesota.

The Plan

Tim Walz has been long on rhetoric and short on reality when it comes to solving these problems. He’s promised to make us “One Minnesota” – but his administration has been openly hostile toward our agricultural industries, farmers, and rural Minnesotans! Tim Walz’s government agencies are bigger, more expensive and have more employees than ever before. There’s no excuse for the lack of leadership we’ve seen in this unresponsive and indifferent St. Paul bureaucracy. A Jensen administration will LEAD and help communities throughout our state make a great turnaround. HERE IS OUR PLAN:

  • Increase Permit Responsiveness

    Enact an Executive Order to State Agencies to have responsive permit reviews and issuances, consolidation and simplicity of paperwork and processing and creating a “one stop shop” for permitting to stop multiple agencies from holding up progress for years and moving regulatory authority for all primary agricultural businesses to the Department of Agriculture. Agricultural processing ranging from sugar beets to livestock facilities to ethanol production have suffered extremely expensive and frustratingly slow permitting processes that have cost rural Minnesota economic growth, more expenses for consultants and less time to actually serve their farm clients and customers. Rural cities also have expensive mandates to comply with state agency requirements, forcing higher fees and property taxes onto residents who are often elderly and low income.

  • Build Rural Roads

    Fund Farm to Market Roads through the “Local Road and Bridge” Appropriation in the Minnesota Capital Investment bill and fund small city streets that are currently denied any funding in the Minnesota Gas Tax Formula. Minnesota cities under 5,000 in population get absolutely no street funding because of the formula, even though those citizens pay the gas tax. Under Tim Walz, the small city street program received no appropriations for three of four years and very little the one year it was funded. It has had strong, bipartisan support in the past and Scott Jensen will make this a priority.

  • Appoint Top Officials to Reflect Minnesota

    Utilize the talents of all Minnesotans by appointing people from rural Minnesota to the Cabinet and high level staff positions. An analysis shows that of over 34 members of the Cabinet and top staff officials under Tim Walz, a token 3 people from outside the seven county metro hold a position. Rural Minnesota has over 45% of the state’s population, but are outnumbered by an 11:1 margin by urban ultra-liberals in the Walz Administration. The other 80 counties in Minnesota have smart, thoughtful and talented people willing to serve. Scott Jensen will utilize the strengths of all Minnesotans.

  • Enhance Farmer Tax Credit

    Further enhance the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit to make it easier for the next generation to purchase the farm and expand the Agriculture Homestead Credit to allow farmers to keep more of their own property taxes. Model legislation is included and can be found below

  • Promote and Fund Value-Added Crops

    Promote and fund research and supply chain development of new and innovative value added crops, including cover crops being developed by the University of Minnesota. Minnesota has been a world leader in the expansion of crops and needs to continue with cutting edge research for the next generation of new agricultural commodities. Encourage planting and harvesting of new cover crops along mandated buffer strips, which naturally protect water. These crops filtrate 90% of nitrogen and phosphorus contaminants from the soil while assisting with erosion and soil protection. They are supported by both the agricultural and environmental communities. This “win-win” proposal allows farmers to have a better income from their land, while protecting the waterways of Minnesota. This initiative also provides excellent habitat for Minnesota wildlife.

  • Build Out Rural Broadband

    Finish linking rural Minnesota to broadband utilizing the combination of 2022 appropriations and federal matching funds. Develop remote and satellite internet connections for deep rural and isolated areas of Minnesota to connect them in a cost effective manner. The bureaucracy under Tim Walz has been slow to produce contracts, partnerships and move forward with getting broadband projects finished in a timely manner. Under Tim Walz, Minnesota ranks in the bottom half of states for broadband access for 2022.

  • Support E-15 Choices

    Support E-15 choices and pumps in Minnesota as an option for consumers to save 10-15 cents per gallon on their fuel. This assists with cleaner air, as well as helping local Minnesota farmers and businesses.

  • End Fertilizer Taxes

    End the extra Minnesota state tax on agricultural fertilizer, which will directly cut the cost of fertilizer for Minnesota farmers. Fertilizer costs are one of the largest input costs for farmers and have skyrocketed under Tim Walz and Joe Biden. In addition, promote best practices to reduce the need for fertilizer, as outlined by agricultural experts. Any group supported by the dedicated tax can compete for appropriations in the general fund or other special funds.

  • Reform Burdensome Estate Taxes

    Reform Minnesota Estate Taxes to allow family farms and equipment to be passed to the next generation without punitive treatment. Family farms of 600 acres or more can lead to very high taxes and a family may be forced to sell property or take out loans in order to keep the family farm. Many productive farms in southern Minnesota can sell for high prices and trigger Minnesota’s high estate taxes for families.

  • Support Producers and Fund Animal Disease Prevention

    Support Minnesota Livestock Producers by immediately halting the Walz Administrations doubling of water fees for livestock producers. This could cost some producers tens of thousands of dollars. Promote Public-Private Partnerships with appropriations to the Board of Animal Health to fund foreign animal disease preparedness prevention, including avian flu, African swine fever, foot and mouth disease, among others to protect Minnesota livestock. Replenish the Livestock Deprivation Fund for farmers in northern Minnesota that are being ravaged by Timberwolves, which are a protected species.

Questions and Answers

Question: Doesn’t this violate your promise to “give the surplus back” because there’s some spending in this plan

Answer: We should be able to pay for these items through leveraged federal funds, the bonding bill, which is off the general fund budget, use of incumbent, but unutilized appropriations and reallocations.  For example, Local Roads and Bridges are an account in the Bonding Bill, but Tim Walz has failed to bring the leadership needed to have a bill pass.  Many of these are policies that grow rural Minnesota instead of actually costing the state treasury.  They will add to the treasury by unleashing more economic growth and jobs, thus creating wealth and taxable income.

Question: How does the rural street funding idea work

Answer: The Minnesota Constitution dictates or distribution of gas tax revenues.  Unfortunately, the Constitution disallows cities under 5,000 population from getting any money, even thought those citizens pay the gas tax. For example, down the road from FarmFest is Redwood Falls.  It gets between $300,000 and $500,000 for street repair from the gas tax and its population is a little over 5,000.  Down the road in Windom, there’s just a little under 5,000 people, the number of streets is about the same and they get zero dollars.  I don’t think that’s fair. My proposal is to fund at least $30 million in appropriations from the Bonding Bill or a potential reallocation from the general fund to the Local Street Program.  The formula is established and in the document link on my website.  Tim Walz has not had any leadership to get this funded, so three of his four years, no money was allocated. Nothing.  This then raises property taxes on small towns in rural Minnesota.  I will make this a priority.

Question: Does allowing buffer strips to be farmed hurt the land and compromise water quality?

Answer:  Actually, it is the opposite.  This is good for the soil and the water. Ask the University of Minnesota, the Forever Green Partnership and any normal environmental group in Minnesota and they will tell you that these new emerging crops will take contaminants like phosphorus and nitrates out of the soil and protect the water naturally.  The farmers will tell you that they would like to actually get some income from their privately owned land. Matt Birk and I toured the U of M Ag Campus and were impressed with what we saw in this regard. The local governments can go through the redetermination process to calculate the differential for property taxes so there’s not a disconnect from the value of what is produced. 

Question: Doesn’t reducing or reforming the “Estate Tax” just reward the rich?

Answer: No, it punishes family farmers.  This is a death tax that has paid property taxes over and over for many years, as well as income tax off the products sold off of that land. The amount in an estate many be in the millions of dollars, but remember that productive family farms in southern Minnesota are worth over $10,000 per acre. A farm of 700 acres is not a huge farm, but may be valued highly.  Land like where I grew up near Sleepy Eye.  These families want to continue their farm ownership, but in some cases, are forced to sell assets to pay for the taxes.  I don’t think bureaucrats in St. Paul are entitled to someone’s farmland because of their government greed.

Question: Is it really fair to blame Tim Walz for agencies being slow with permits

Answer: Absolutely.  One of the main functions of the Governor is to be a leader.  Set expectations of your Commissioners and bureaucracy to follow the law, but be expeditious, friendly and responsive.  Tim Walz’s agencies have more bureaucrats than ever in Minnesota history, but are slow and unresponsive.  This costs our businesses in both rural and the metro time, money and forces them to decide if they want to grow jobs here in Minnesota.  I want to have a staff person in my office dedicated to casework to be a repository for problems with agency bureaucracy and inform me directly as to the problems so we can solve for that.  Tim Walz is indifferent at best on actually solving problems.  No innovation, new ideas or ability to lead. Matt Birk toured an ethanol plant recently and they said it can take years to get a permit in Minnesota where a similar type of permit can take less than 90 days.

Documentation and References

Tim Walz’s Metro Cabinet that denies rural Minnesota seats at the table: Administration / Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (mn.gov)

Tim Walz’s Proposal to dramatically increase water fees on livestock producers by more than double: Amendments to water quality fee rules | Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (state.mn.us)

Small city street program starved under Tim Walz: MnDOT Fact Sheet (state.mn.us)

Model legislation for enhancement of Beginning Farmer Tax Credits: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=sf1228&version=latest&session=ls92&session_year=2022&session_number=0

Model legislation for expansion of the Ag Homestead Credit: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=sf2233&version=latest&session=ls92&session_year=2022&session_number=0

Cover crop explanations and benefits from the University of Minnesota: Cover crops | UMN Extension

Economic and environmental benefits of Kernza from University of Minnesota: Improving the environment, igniting rural prosperity | College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (umn.edu)

Best Practices on agricultural fertilizer: Minnesota: 5 Tips to Reduce Fertilizer Costs This Spring – AgFax

Article about bipartisan frustration with state agencies: Why lawmakers want to fundamentally change how the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency does business | MinnPost

Minnesota Broadband Ranks Minnesota in bottom half under Walz: Internet Access in Minnesota: Stats & Figures (broadbandnow.com)

Benefits of E 15 as a consumer choice: The Benefits of E15 (hsoil.com)

Minnesota Fertilizer Tax: Tonnage Reporting & Inspection Fees | Minnesota Department of Agriculture (state.mn.us)

Minnesota’s High Estate Tax that punishes family farmers of 600 acres or more: Minnesota Estate Tax: Everything You Need to Know – SmartAsset

Rural Population Decline under Tim Walz: 2020 State of Rural Minnesota report | Center for Rural Policy and Development (ruralmn.org)

Ultra Liberal, inner city advisors dominate Walz’s inner circle with rural Minnesota left out: A power map of Gov. Tim Walz’s top staff | MinnPost

Get Involved

Join and Get Connected