How the Emerging Farmers Working Group began:

The Emerging Farmers Working Group, established by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture during the 2020 legislative session (Chapter 89 Section 2 [17.055]), embodies the department's commitment to uplift and empower emerging farmers in Minnesota. The group's definition of emerging farmers encompasses a range of identities, including women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian or Alaskan Natives, members of a community of color, young (35 and younger) farmers, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals, urban (reside in cities with a population over 5,000), and others as determined by the commissioner. This definition reflects the department's intention to foster inclusivity and equity within the agricultural sector.

The role of the working group is to recommend and advise to the Commissioner of how MDA can improve new and existing programs that make the lives of Emerging Farmers better. This goal of the group is not to learn about how MDA functions as an agency but also how to advocate legislatively as well. The formation of this group arises from the recognition that emerging farmers face distinct challenges and opportunities within the agricultural industry. Designed to address their specific needs and concerns, the Emerging Farmers Working Group seeks to ensure that the voices of these farmers are heard, and their contributions are acknowledged. By engaging with a diverse array of collaborators, including emerging farmers, agricultural organizations, community leaders, and experts, the group aims to shape policies and programs that directly impact emerging farmers. This collaborative approach enables the identification of effective strategies and solutions.

The Emerging Farmers Working Group has emerged as a crucial advocate for emerging farmers in Minnesota. By providing dedicated support and generating ideas that benefit the broader emerging farmer community, the group strives to create a more inclusive and supportive agricultural landscape. Regular engagement with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture ensures ongoing collaboration, allowing the group to contribute valuable insights and recommendations, further advancing the cause of emerging farmers throughout the state.

Thank you for taking time to fill out this application to become a member of the Emerging Farmers Working Group (EFWG). We look forward to hearing from you! 


Do you identify as any of the following (Check all that apply):
Do you consider yourself (Check all that apply):

Please elaborate further by answering the following questions.

Why do you want to be a part of the Emerging Farmers' Working Group? (500 words)

Please describe your understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by Emerging Farmers’ within Minnesota's agricultural industry and provide specific examples or experiences that highlight these challenges? (500 words)

Describe your experience working in diverse and collaborative environments and your comfortability with sharing diverse perspectives and engaging in constructive discussions? (500 words)

How do you see your role within the group advocating for the needs and interests of Emerging Farmers? (800 words)

What does the legislative process mean to you and your community? (300 words)

How will you embrace a wide spectrum of perspectives and insights that stem from the diverse experiences within the Emerging Farmer community? (400 words)

With Covid having now come to a close, we are going to move to a hybrid model which would entail meeting in person for 3 of our 6 meetings. Our aim is to hold these gatherings in the home communities of our Working Group members across the state.   Ideally, the meeting could take place at a public library, community center, or a similar venue equipped with high-speed internet. Additionally, the agenda could encompass activities like a local emerging farmer’s farm tour and visits to other vital agricultural sites in the area. We also anticipate inviting local Emerging Farmers and leaders to the meetings.  It's important to note that these in-person meetings would necessitate travel to the chosen location.

Are you available to participate in these meetings and possibly take on the role of a host?

The Emerging Farmers' Working Group will meet throughout the year. The meetings for the fourth year of the Working Group are as follows:

  • November 10, 2023-In person meeting (This will be the first meeting for NEW members).
  • January 12, 2024
  • March 8, 2024
  • May 10, 2024
  • June 14, 2024- In person meeting
  • August 9, 2024-In person meeting
Will you be able to attend all the meetings?
Would you like to be added to the Emerging Farmers' email listserv to receive updates related to emerging farmers (e.g. new programs, funding opportunities)?

Privacy Notice: The MDA is collecting this information to assess applicants’ suitability and qualifications to serve on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Emerging Farmers’ Working Group. The information applicants provide will be used by MDA staff to select members of the Working Group. Your decision to complete this application is voluntary and you are under no legal obligation to provide any of the requested information. However, only applicants that fully complete the application will be considered for a position on the Working Group.

Some data provided in this application is classified by Minnesota law as private data. Private data on individuals is legally accessible only to MDA staff that require access as part of a valid work assignment, the individual that is the subject of the data, any party legally authorized by the data subject or in a valid court order or federal subpoena, and those parties authorized by Minnesota or federal law, including the State Auditor, Legislative Auditor, Minnesota Management and Budget, and in some cases law enforcement agencies and the Office of the Attorney General.