The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is asking produce farmers to fill out the annual Grower Questionnaire which will help farmers identify the federal food safety requirements that apply to their operations. Data from the questionnaire also provides the MDA with a more accurate assessment of Minnesota’s expanding produce farming sector.
“The Grower Questionnaire is an important tool to help Minnesota’s produce farmers navigate the federal produce safety requirements,” said Alexandra Cortes, MDA Produce Safety Program Outreach Analyst. “It also helps our program better understand farmers’ needs and improve resources and programs for them.”
The Grower Questionnaire should be filled out once per year, per produce farm. Participation is voluntary. Farm contact and location information is classified as private and not made public. Produce growers who opt out of the questionnaire will be contacted by the MDA Produce Safety Program to determine any inspection requirements.
The 2022 MDA Grower Questionnaire is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ProduceSafety.
Data gleaned from previous questionnaires has found that:
- 41% of Minnesota fruit and vegetable farmers are growing more than 5 crops – with some growing up to 80 fruit and vegetable crops in a season
- Tomatoes and apples are the top crops grown by produce farmers
- More than half the produce farms are under 10 acres in size
The most current data is available in the 2020 Produce Safety Program Report.
Approximately one third of Minnesota’s estimated 3,000 produce farmers participated in the previous Grower Questionnaire and the MDA encourages more farmers to complete the 2022 questionnaire to help raise awareness of their industry and strengthen its growth.
Farmers can contact the MDA Produce Safety Program at 651-539-3648 or email email@example.com to request a paper copy of the questionnaire, or for more information.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications