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Home > All About the MDA > Divisions Directory > Plant Protection Division

Plant Protection Division


Geir Friisoe, Director

Mark Abrahamson, Assistant Director

Staff Directory

The Plant Protection Division regulates and provides services intended to protect Minnesota agricultural crops and native plant species and also certifies plant material and commodities for export. The Division certifies, inspects and regulates the nursery and apiary industries to protect against invasive or exotic pests and also provides certification services so that Minnesota nursery stock and bee colonies/equipment meet interstate and international export requirements. The Division inspects and certifies the seed industry and the seed potato industry. The Division provides a voluntary grain (Duluth only) and fruit and vegetable grading program on a fee for service basis. The Division surveys the state for both endemic and invasive agricultural and forest pests and disease including targeted surveys and inspections for specific exotic plant pests. The Plant Protection Division has overall responsibility for excluding exotic or invasive plant pests through the use of quarantines and other regulatory actions. The Division undertakes regulatory, eradication or management actions to eliminate or minimize the impacts of potentially damaging exotic or invasive species.

Pest Detection & Response Unit

651-201-6448, Acting Supervisor. Unit staff monitors for and conducts initial response to invasive species that are new to Minnesota. Pest risk assessments are completed to determine the risk to our state for selected pests. The Unit has outreach programs targeted for plant health professionals and the general public, and responds to calls and reports from both on possible detections of new invasive species.
arrow icon Learn more about invasive species

Pest Mitigation and Biocontrol Unit

651-201-6329, Kimberly Thielen Cremers, Supervisor. Unit staff implements an annual survey for gypsy moth; collecting and analyzing data on moth populations, and determining treatment sites as needed. Biocontrol projects are conducted statewide to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species. Division needs for data management and GIS operations are met by unit staff and oversight of the Tree Care Registry is a unit responsibility.

Nursery Inspection & Export Certification Unit

651-201-6388, Mark Schreiber, Supervisor. The Nursery Inspection Program provides inspection and certification services to firms and individuals who buy and sell nursery stock ensuring that Minnesota-grown and imported nursery stock is free of serious plant pests. Nursery stock includes perennials, trees, and shrubs and does not include annuals, vegetable transplants or cut Christmas trees.
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The Export Certification Program provides export certificates and inspection and certification services for individuals exporting plant products (lumber, logs, wood products, milled grain, etc.) and plant material (grain, seed for propagation, nursery stock, etc.). Inspection services include field inspections, grain elevator inspections and houseplant inspections for citizens moving to other states. For more information call 651-201-6558.
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Seed Program

651-201-6531, Clifford Watrin, Supervisor. The Minnesota Seed Law affects seeds used to grow plants. Seeds that are sold must have a tag showing the buyer that the seeds are alive and will grow. The tag also shows the buyer if weeds seeds or other things are present. A person selling seed must obey the seed law by being honest about what the tag says. To make sure the tag is correct, both the state and counties inspect them and take samples of the seed to test.
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Screenings are things, including weed seeds, removed from seed or grain being prepared for sale. Screenings can have value as food for farm animals. Farmers that feed screenings to their animals must be able to destroy the weed seeds in order to get a permit to buy them. The permit gives farmers a way to obey the Minnesota Screenings Act and to use screenings safely.
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Minnesota regulates the release of all agriculturally related genetically engineered organisms. That means corn, cows, and bacteria used on crops are all regulated under Minnesota law.
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Weed Program

The Noxious Weed Law affects growing plants. Some plants are noxious because they can harm people, animals, the food we eat, and nature. People working for counties, cities, and townships inspect land and ask owners to destroy their noxious weeds. Destroying them stops them from spreading and harming neighbors. Land owners that refuse to destroy their noxious weeds can be forced to do so.
arrow icon Learn more about the noxious weeds

Fruit & Vegetable Inspection/Audit Program

651-201-6076, Nicholas Milanowski, Supervisor.  The Fruit, Vegetable & Grain Unit  provides inspection and certification of fruits and vegetables, food safety audits of fruit and vegetable growers and handlers, licensing, examination and verification of bonding of grain buyers, grain storage facilities, grain banks and general merchandise warehouse facilities and licensing and verification of bonding for wholesale produce dealers.  
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Potato Inspection Program

651-201-6076, Nicholas Milanowski, Supervisor. The Potato Inspection Program certifies seed potatoes to meet prescribed standards relating to disease and variety. It is advisable to contact the Potato Inspection Unit prior to planting if the applicant is unfamiliar with program requirements. The certification program is voluntary. For information or assistance, contact Potato Inspection Unit, 312 Fourth Avenue Northeast, East Grand Forks, MN 56721.
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Grain Program

The Grain Licensing Program provides licensing, examination, and verification of bonding of grain buyers and grain storage facilities within Minnesota. The Grain Licensing Program licenses grain buyers and grain warehouses to protect sellers and depositors of grain.
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General Merchandise Program

The General Merchandise Warehouse Licensing program provides licensing, examination and verification of bonding for all general merchandise warehouses within Minnesota. A general merchandise warehouse operator is a corporation, company or individual who operates or manages buildings which are used for the storage or warehousing of goods, wares, business or other records, or merchandise for compensation.
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Wholesale Produce Dealers Licensing

The Wholesale Produce Dealers Licensing program provides licensing and verification of bonding for all wholesale produce dealers. Produce is defined as perishable fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and cream and products manufactured from milk and cream, and poultry and poultry products.
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Other Programs & Resources