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Republican Scott Jensen pitches streamlined farm permits, broadband buildout in ag plan

The candidate for governor shared his proposal at Farmfest a day before he was set to face off with Gov. Tim Walz there on Wednesday.

Scott Jensen - Farmfest
Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, pitched his plan for boosting the Greater Minnesota economy at Farmfest.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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REDWOOD COUNTY, Minn. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen on Tuesday, Aug. 2, outlined a 10-step plan to support Greater Minnesota communities complete with proposals to expand broadband access and speed up the process of getting farm permits.

Jensen outlined some of the tenets of his agriculture priorities during a sweltering news conference at Farmfest. And he said that "urbanites" in the Twin Cities metro area shouldn't dictate to rural agriculture producers how they run their operations.

"When I hear from the people who are involved in farming in my area, they're really frustrated with the fact that — especially in St. Paul — they feel like people make assumptions that farmers don't want to steward the land," Jensen said. "There's got to be greater sensitivity coming from — if you will — the urbanites to Greater Minnesota," Jensen said. "

Among other ideas that could help bolster Minnesota farmers, Jensen said the state should end its tax on fertilizer, re-write estate tax policies, add tax credits for beginning farmers and add representation of Greater Minnesota experts in agency head positions.

The comments come a day before Jensen and Gov. Tim Walz are set to face off in their first debate at the farm expo in Redwood County.

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Walz has supported some of the efforts in his legislative priorities and budget plans at the Capitol, including building out access to biofuels and increasing funding for broadband.

But Republican lawmakers at the news conference who represent rural communities said Jensen's ideas would have a more profound impact for farmers and ranchers than what the Walz Administration had put forward. And they said speeding up the state's permitting process for agriculture operations could help keep them in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leaders on Tuesday said Jensen seemed to have pivoted from his prior positions on agriculture policy.

Earlier this year, Jensen urged Republicans at the Capitol to block a broad tax and supplemental spending package that included larger beginning farmer tax credits and the agriculture homestead credits.

“The tax relief for farmers that Scott Jensen now claims to support would already be law if he hadn’t pushed Senate Republicans to kill the bipartisan budget deal,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

Jensen and Walz are set to debate agriculture and rural issues at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

MORE FROM DANA FERGUSON:
Several incumbent state legislators, particularly in the Senate, edged out competitors with more extreme views on COVID-19, election security and more.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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