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.
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 three general areas of responsibility include:
- Protecting our food supply;
- Protecting our natural resources; and,
- Cultivating our agricultural economy.
651-201-6015 or 1-800-967-2474 (AGRI)
The Commissioner’s Office is responsible for the administration and policy direction of the agency. The Commissioner serves as a spokesperson for agriculture throughout the state and within the state’s executive branch. Every two years, the Commissioner and staff prepare the agency’s budget and present it to the state Legislature. Commissioner’s Office staff members coordinate the legislative, communications, legal, and policy activities of the department.
Dairy and Meat Inspection
The Dairy and Meat Inspection Division (DMID) 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 (DNR), to facilitate the donation of hunter-harvested venison to local food charities.
Food and Feed Safety Inspection
The Food and Feed Safety Division (FFSD) houses four regulatory inspection programs: Manufactured Food, Retail Food, Commercial Animal Feed, and Produce Safety. Each program enforces 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 FFSD also works with federal, state, and local health officials to investigate food contamination complaints and foodborne illness outbreaks through the Rapid Response Team (RRT). The division administers oversight of Cottage Food Producer Registration and the Governor’s Food Safety and Defense Task Force while maintaining conformance with National Regulatory Program Standards.
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 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.
The Plant Protection Division works to protect Minnesota’s agricultural crops and native plant species. They survey for agricultural and forest pests and diseases, carrying the responsibility for reducing or eliminating exotic and invasive terrestrial plant pests. The Plant Protection Division certifies, inspects, and regulates the nursery and apiary industries to protect against invasive or exotic pests, and provides certification services so nursery stock and bee colonies/equipment meet export requirements. The division is also responsible for certifying the seed industry and the seed potato industry and has United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) authority to confirm requirements through inspection and issue commodity certifications for international agriculture trade. Additionally, the division has the responsibility of protecting sellers and owners of grain through inspections and investigations, as well USDA inspection authority over fresh fruits and vegetables to help maintain fair trade practices.
Laboratory Services provides microbiological and chemical analysis of samples to determine if the samples meet the standards established under law, regulation, or label. Additionally, Laboratory Services performs analyses to fulfill contracts and cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal and state agencies. Laboratory Services also provides a certification program for private and commercial dairy-testing laboratories as required by the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.
Agricultural Marketing and Development
The Agricultural Marketing and Development Division focuses on strengthening Minnesota’s agricultural economy and ensuring the health of our environment by assisting farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses in adopting practices and technologies to address current challenges and global issues. Division 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 fosters research with stakeholders on the use and protection of agricultural land and related natural resources, and identifies and demonstrates sustainable agriculture practices and systems.
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.
Rural Finance Authority
The Rural Finance Authority (RFA) partners with local lenders to provide low-interest loan programs to farmers. These include loans for farmers to make improvements, expand livestock operations, respond to disasters, and restructure debt. Loans are also available for beginning farmers to purchase real estate. Ag Best Management Practices (AgBMP) loans provide low-cost funding for projects that help residents comply with local water quality plans.
MNIT .......... 651-201-1118
Finance and Budget .......... 651-201-6002
Human Resources ............ 651-201-6023
Thom Petersen, Commissioner
Andrea Vaubel, Deputy Commissioner
Patrice Bailey, Assistant Commissioner
Whitney Place, Assistant Commissioner
MDA General Information ............ 651-201-6000
Commissioner’s Office ............ 651-201-6015
MDA Hotline ............ 1-800-967-2474 (AGRI)
Board of Animal Health ............ 651-296-2942
Food Info/Complaint Desk ............ 651-201-6064
Minnesota Grown Answerline ............ 651-201-6050
Arrest the Pest Hotline
Metro ............ 651-201-MOTH
Greater Minnesota ............ 1-888-545-MOTH
Pesticide & Fertilizer Spills – 24-Hour Response
Metro ............ 651-649-5451
Greater Minnesota ............ 1-800-422-0798
Updated: June 2020