The MDA regulates the sale, use and disposal of pesticides. The State of Minnesota defines a pesticide as follows:
Pes·ti·cide (noun): a substance or mixture of substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate a pest, and a substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant.


Pesticides may be either chemical substances or biological agents, and have a broad range of uses. Pesticides are often used to control weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), and plant diseases (fungicides). Other pesticides registered for use in Minnesota are chemicals not commonly thought of as pest control agents, such as bleach and antimicrobial household sprays used to sanitize surfaces. 

Applicator License

Post emergence herbicide application on cornIndividuals wishing to apply pesticides commercially or those wishing to apply restricted-use pesticides privately to their agricultural fields must meet certain requirements. To determine the license and certificate type you need, review the Pesticide Applicator License Types

Selling Pesticides in Minnesota

Pesticides must first be registered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture before they can be sold or distributed in the state. Individuals wishing to sell or distribute pesticides must obtain a Pesticide Dealer License.  

Product Registration

Both agricultural pesticides and non-agricultural pesticides must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture before they can be sold or distributed in the state. Product registrations expire December 31 of each year. Renewal applications must be postmarked before January 1 to avoid a penalty fee. The MDA also conducts special registration reviews.

Use Complaints

A team of statewide inspectors is available to conduct routine inspections and enforcement checks, provide compliance assistance and investigate agricultural chemical use complaints. Learn more about the complaint process and access the complaint forms.

Pesticide Management

MDA pesticide field inspectorPesticide management is guided by a Pesticide Management Plan (PMP) to address impacts to the state's water resources and guide the prevention, evaluation and mitigation of nonpoint source occurrences of pesticides. As part of this the MDA has developed Pesticide Best Management Practices.

Monitoring Agricultural Chemicals in Water

MDA employee collecting a water sampleThe MDA collects and analyzes water samples from multiple locations throughout the agricultural areas of the state to determine the identity, magnitude of concentration and the frequency of pesticide presence in Minnesota's groundwater and surface water resources. Learn more about agricultural chemical monitoring.