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

Commissioner’s Office

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 / Food and Feed Safety Inspection


The Dairy and Meat Inspection Division and the Food and Feed Safety Division enforce state laws and regulations related to the production, processing and sale of milk and other dairy products, processed foods, meats, beverages, eggs, poultry and poultry products, and animal feed. The Food and Feed Safety Division is responsible for inspecting 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 Dairy and Meat Inspection Division inspects dairy farms, milk, cheese, and ice cream manufacturers as well as meat processing plants to ensure that meat, dairy, and poultry products are safe and wholesome. Both divisions work with federal, state, and local health officials to investigate food contamination complaints and food-borne illness outbreaks. 

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. 

Plant Protection 


The Plant Protection Division works to protect Minnesota’s agricultural crops and native plant species. The division surveys for agricultural and forest pests and diseases, and has overall responsibility for reducing or eliminating exotic and invasive plant pests. The 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 also inspects and certifies the seed industry and the seed potato industry. Additionally, the division manages the University of Minnesota/Minnesota Department of Agriculture bio-control and plant pathology containment research facility.

Laboratory Services


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.

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.

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.

Administrative Services

MNIT .......... 651-201-1118

Finance and Budget .......... 651-201-6002

Human Resources ............ 651-201-6023

MDA Leadership

Thom Petersen, Commissioner

Andrea Vaubel, Deputy Commissioner

Patrice Bailey, Assistant Commissioner

Whitney Place, Assistant Commissioner

Contact Information

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