For the third consecutive year, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton addressed attendees at Farmfest, and as he spoke Thursday morning he used the opportunity to share his perspective on agriculture and the state as a whole.
From his point of view both are heading in the right direction.
Granted, he added, farmers have seen their share of struggles, as is typical, whether it is drought conditions that damaged and at times devastated the 2012 crop or wet weather this past spring that made for cold, wet hay.
Yet, he said, because of the farmer’s “spines of platinum and nerves of steel,” things just continue to get done and are done very well.
Doing things well has always been the farming way, and Dayton said farming today requires so much intellectual mastery of everything from agronomy to meteorology.
Agriculture, added Dayton, has such a significant impact on all of the state’s economy, and he said Minne-sota’s farmers continue to demonstrate they are not only some of the best at what they do in the United States but also around the entire world.
Dayton said it is the example of farmers that can be exhibited in the rest of the state, and he said political leaders can follow suit in their roles.
That kind of success has been demonstrated recently, he added, as the state legislature has demonstrated its commitment to the state’s people.
One of those areas is in the area of education, and Dayton said it is in this area where Minnesota must regain its position on the cutting edge. Efforts to in-crease funding for education at all levels from early childhood through higher education must continue to be a priority, said Dayton.
The commitment to fund all day, every day kindergarten is one way the state, during its most recent session, showed it has put education at the top of the list. Focusing on finding ways to ensure students are at or above grade level in reading by the end of third grade is another way the state is pushing to help prepare Minne-sota’s students. Some have said, added Day-ton, we can’t afford to do more in education.
“I say we can’t afford to do less,” he said.
Like good farmers who practice good stewardship of the land they have been given for a while by striving to leave it better than when they got it, so the state must focus its efforts to do the same.
As we pass on this state and our world to the next generation we need to focus on the same thing – doing our best to make things better for others than we have experienced, he said..