Law provides: The department encourages and promotes agricultural industries, assists in the marketing of farm products, and exercises regulatory powers to ensure the continued high quality of Minnesota agricultural production. (Minnesota Statutes, Section 17.03)
Commissioner: Gene Hugoson Appointed: 1995 Salary: $108,400
90 Plato Blvd. W., St. Paul 55107(651)297-3219 Web site: www.mda.state.mn.us
Function: The department is the state’s farm-food regulatory and promotion agency. Its mission is to work toward a diverse agricultural industry that is economically profitable and environmentally sustainable; to protect public health and safety regarding food and agricultural products; to provide consumer protection on food product quality and content and to assure orderly commerce in agricultural and food products. To meet this vital mission, the department is organized into three program areas:
Protection Service Program is the state’s premier food safety agency protecting public health and safety and preventing fraud by regulating the manufacture, distribution, and sale of food, animal feeds, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, and other animal products. This program also administers programs to protect ground and surface water, clean up agricultural chemical spills, promote best management practices that protect the environment, and license and bond purchasers of agricultural products including grain, livestock, and fruits or vegetables.
Promotion and Marketing Program promotes and develops national markets for Minnesota agricultural products through farmers’ markets, food shows, and direct assistance to producers and small businesses; provides financial supervision to commodity research and promotion councils and Ag in the Classroom; educates producers on sustainable agriculture, manure management, and whole farm planning; encourages land stewardship programs that protect against unnecessary agricultural land conversion; and collects agricultural statistics.
Administration and Financial Assistance Program offers financial assistance programs that provide affordable financing to farmers and small agribusinesses and provides department-wide support services, including administration, personnel, office management, information services, accounting, and planning.
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