The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has served our state for more than 125 years. The work we do touches every Minnesota citizen every day.

Our mission is to enhance all Minnesotans’ quality of life by equitably ensuring the integrity of our food supply, the health of our environment, and the strength and resilience of our agricultural economy.

Our three general areas of responsibility include:

  • Protecting our food supply;
  • Protecting our natural resources; and,
  • Cultivating our agricultural economy.

MDA Leadership

Thom Petersen, Commissioner
Andrea Vaubel, Deputy Commissioner
Patrice Bailey, Assistant Commissioner
Peder Kjeseth, Assistant Commissioner
Shannon Kesner, Tribal Liaison

Commissioner’s Office

651-201-6015 or 800-967-2474

The Commissioner’s Office is responsible for the administration, budget, and policy direction of the MDA. The Commissioner serves as a spokesperson for agriculture throughout the state and within the state’s executive branch. The Commissioner’s Office coordinates the legislative, policy, legal, tribal, and communications activities of the department.

MDA Divisions & Contact Information

Data Practices


The Data Practices office processes requests for data classified as public under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Public data is available to anyone who submits a valid data request. This includes private individuals, reporters, attorneys, and businesses.

Finance and Budget


Human Resources


The MDA Human Resources Division provides services in the areas of recruitment, selection, personnel transaction processing, job classification, compensation administration, benefits information and processing, labor relations, diversity, health/safety promotion, and facilities management.

MN.IT Services


Agricultural Marketing and Development


The Agricultural Marketing and Development Division assists farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses in adopting practices and technologies to address current challenges and global issues. Activities include the development, marketing, and promotion of local foods, organics, livestock, and renewable fuels as well as the development of domestic and international market opportunities for agricultural products. The division administers the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program which includes grant and cost-share programs that support the agricultural and renewable energy industries. The division fosters research on the use and protection of ag land and related natural resources, and identifies and demonstrates sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

Agricultural Statistics


USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) works in partnership with the MDA to provide Minnesota farmers, agribusinesses, government, and the general public with accurate data on major crops and livestock, farm income, farm costs and returns, and other special agricultural information. The NASS Minnesota Field Office measures the current and potential food supply by collection, analysis, and publication of agricultural statistics at both the state and county level. Reports are available on the NASS website.

Dairy and Meat Inspection


The Dairy and Meat Inspection Division is responsible for inspecting animal slaughter and meat processing facilities, dairy farms and dairy processing facilities, and shell egg facilities. The division provides education and enforcement of state laws and regulations at these businesses to ensure the production of safe and wholesome food. Additionally, the division operates a Drug Residue Prevention Program to educate livestock producers on preventing occurrences of antibiotic residues in meat and milk products, and a Venison Donation Program cooperatively with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to facilitate the donation of hunter-harvested venison to local food charities.

Food and Feed Safety Inspection


The Food and Feed Safety Inspection Division houses four regulatory inspection programs (Manufactured Food, Retail Food, Commercial Animal Feed, and Produce Safety) which enforce state laws and regulations related to the production and processing of foods, beverages, produce, and animal feed. The division inspects grocery stores, convenience stores, food processing facilities, feed mills, and pet food manufacturers to verify quality, condition, labeling, and sanitation of premises, equipment, and vehicles used in the sale, storage, or distribution of foods and beverages. The division also works with federal, state, and local health officials to investigate food contamination complaints and foodborne illness outbreaks.

Government Relations


The Government Relations office provides an essential link between the MDA and the state legislature, working with the Governor's Office, legislators, and department staff to shape and monitor agricultural policy. The Government Relations office and the Commissioners provide legislative recommendations on a wide variety of agricultural issues and work to implement policy working groups created by the legislature.

Laboratory Services


Laboratory Services Division provides microbiological and chemical analysis of samples to determine if the samples meet the standards established under law, regulation, or label. Additionally, the division performs analyses to fulfill contracts and cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal and state agencies.

Pesticide and Fertilizer Management 


The Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division regulates the sale and use of pesticides and fertilizers in Minnesota. Activities include permitting and inspection of ag chemical facilities, licensing of facilities, licensing of applicators, oversight of agricultural chemical site remediation, voluntary cleanups, and waste pesticide collection. Additionally, division personnel respond to emergencies, conduct pesticide misuse investigations, monitor surface water and ground water for agricultural chemicals, and develop and promote best management practices. 

Plant Protection 


The Plant Protection Division is responsible for preventing, detecting and responding to invasive plants, pathogens and pests that threaten Minnesota's agricultural and natural systems. The division regulates agricultural processes including the labeling and sale of seed, purchase and storage of grain, hemp production, sale of nursery stock, and seed potato certification. The division also inspects, grades, and certifies agricultural commodities for sale as well as importation into domestic or international markets. These activities contribute to the mission of the agency by protecting agriculture and the environment from pest threats, ensuring truth in labeling, and verifying the quality of Minnesota products for sale or export.

Rural Finance Authority


The Rural Finance Authority partners with local lenders to provide low-interest loan programs to farmers. These include Ag Best Management Practices loans for projects that help Minnesota landowners comply with local water quality plans, and loans to make improvements, expand livestock operations, recover from disasters, purchase real estate, and restructure debt.

Tribal Relations


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture seeks to foster and facilitate positive government-to-government relations with Minnesota's 11 Tribal Nations and recognizes their right to self-govern. The agency employs a Tribal Liaison to help develop, improve, and maintain collaborative relations with the Tribal Nations.

Contact Information

Commissioner’s Office ...... 651-201-6015

MDA General Information ...... 651-201-6000

MDA Hotline ...... 800-967-AGRI

Emerging Farmers Office Help Line...... 651-201-6200

Food Info/Complaint Desk ...... 651-201-6222

Minnesota Board of Animal Health ...... 651-296-2942

Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline ...... 833-600-2670

Minnesota Grown Answerline ...... 651-201-6050

Pesticide & Fertilizer Spills – 24-Hour Response

  • Minnesota Duty Officer ......  800-422-0798

Report a Pest Hotline ...... 888-545-6684


Updated: December 2023