All state government data collected created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government agency in Minnesota are public unless otherwise classified by law.
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota State Statute, Chapter 13, establishes the following rights and responsibilities for access to government data.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture receives many requests for data each week. Submitting a request in writing not only provides you with a record that you sent us a request, but it helps us keep track of the status of your request.
It is our goal to process all requests for data in a timely and accurate manner. To help us reach that goal, your request should be legible and include your name, company or agency (if applicable), complete mailing address, telephone number, and if you have access to a fax machine and/or Email, your fax number and/or Email address.
Clearly specify the data that you are interested in receiving. If you are unsure or need assistance in determining what data might fit your needs, contact the MDA's Data Practices and Records Manager at 651-201-6435, or fax at 651-201-6118.
If you are requesting complaint or incident data please include, if you have it, the legal description of the property in question, the approximate date of occurrence, and any other information that might help us better identify the data in our records systems.
Requests for computer data should also specify a format (i.e. paper list, labels, or computer disk). If you are requesting a paper list, specify the order or index desired (i.e. alphabetical by name, Zip code, etc.).
Requests for company or site histories (inspections, investigations, storage and tank information, license information, violation and noncompliance issues) should include the last known name of the company or site and any previous names. Include the city and a street address if that is known.
You may review any file or other MDA data at no charge. However, we request that you make an appointment in advance for such a viewing. All appointments for viewing data must be made during normal MDA business hours (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, holidays excluded).
Appointments help us serve you better and:
State government data is presumed to be "public" unless a statute, federal law, or temporary classification specifically classifieds the data as "not public" or otherwise restricts the use or disclosure to the data. Everyone has a fundamental right to access "public" data. However, access to data that is "not public" is restricted. The term access refers to the right to view the data or to obtain a physical copy or verbal disclosure of the data.
You will be notified either by telephone or in writing of any data that you cannot legally access. In such cases, we will specify what was withheld and what statutory or legal authority prevents us from disclosing that data to you. You have the right to seek access to data that is not public, if by:
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act provides you with certain rights (M.S. Section 13.04, subdivision 4). These rights include, but are not limited to, the following provisions:
If you want copies of data certified as true and correct copies of original documents maintained by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, you must specify this in your request. Certified copies carry the same weight as the original document in a court of law. Document certification is an optional service. There is an additional per-page charge for this service and this additional charge is listed on our Data Request Fee Schedule.
Duplication of certain media (i.e. photographs) may involve the use of outside sources or vendors, whose fees we do not control and which are subject to change without notice. We do not publish these fees. However, when a request involves the duplication of special media, the duplication costs will be itemized in the data request cost estimate, along with any other duplication fees. Generally speaking, special media duplication will extend the time required to complete the processing of your request.
Minnesota Statute, Chapter 13, Section 13.03, subdivision 3, authorizes the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to charge a fee to recover our costs to provide data including, but not limited to, costs associated with searching, compiling, copying, mailing or otherwise shipping the data. Additionally, the same statute allows us to charge a reasonable fee for data with a commercial value. We do not charge for:
Except for that noted above, we do charge data request service fees for supplying data including, but not limited to, searching, retrieving, compiling, copy costs, certification costs, and shipping charges. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture uses two basic fee schedules for charging for data requests. One fee schedule is based upon data that is stored in our computer systems and the other is for data stored in our paper records. Charges from one or the other, or both, may apply to your data request depending upon where the data being requested is stored. A written estimate of the charges for your data request will be provided, either by fax, regular or Email, when these charges are calculated. Since the Minnesota Department of Agriculture requires the prepayment of all data request fees prior to shipping the material, we will not bill for data request services, except in very special circumstances involving extensive data research. In such cases, an estimate for a down payment must be prepaid prior to the Department of Agriculture starting the work on your data request.
Direct your request and all inquiries regarding data requests or the availability of data from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to:
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Attn: Data Practices Compliance Official
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155-2538