Former Governor and current gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty is in Mankato Wednesday to speak to the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

Republican candidate for Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

He said Minnesota farmers feel like they didn’t have a seat at the table when the new buffer strip rules were put in place and, “If you’re going to ask them to have buffer strips then we should pay them for that. I think most farmers would say they are willing to do that as long as they get fairly compensated when you take land out of production.”

One of the biggest struggles for farmers right now is low commodity prices, and while Pawlenty said there isn’t a lot a governor can do to impact prices there are ways to keep other costs down, “Whether that’s property taxes or other taxes or whether that’s input costs – like the costs of regulations – those are things we can all impact.”

He said farmers and others in the middle class would be the focus of his administration because, “The rich are going to be fine. The poor in Minnesota have access to good programs compared to other states. The people who are feeling squeezed and are getting squeezed are those folks that are working every day but don’t seem to be getting ahead or are barely ahead.”

He said that includes driving down health care premiums, putting an end to taxing social security income, and education reform based not just on the money the state is providing to local schools but the result the investment has on school and student performance.