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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Agriculture Department

Also known as:
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Ag Department
Active dates:1919-

Assists and promotes the agricultural industries in Minnesota; assists agricultural cooperatives, investigates market conditions, enforces laws designed to protect public health and to prevent fraud and deception in the manufacture and distribution of food and other items; collects agricultural statistics (in cooperation with federal government); inspects agricultural products; conducts programs for insect and plant disease control and for weed control.


The Minnesota State Dairy Commission, a forerunner for the Department of Agriculture, was created in 1885 for the limited purpose of prohibiting the sale of adulterated milk and the sale of oleomargarine. The Commission was started with one department head, one assistant and one clerk who doubled as a chemist. The Commission budget was $6,000.

Dairy and Food Commissioner continued (1899 Minn. Laws Chap. 295). Dairy and Food Commissioner appointed by governor (1903 Minn. Laws Chap. 155). Established (1919 Minn. Laws Chap. 444). Reorganized (1925 Minn. Laws Chap. 426 Art. 7). Dairy and Food Department and Department of Agriculture consolidated into Agriculture, Dairy and Food Department (1929 Minn. Laws Chap. 387). Name changed to Agriculture Department (1961 Minn. Laws Chap. 113).

Agency heads:

Commissioner, appointed by the governor:

N.J. Holmberg, 1919-1931
Rollef A. Trovatten, 1931-1950
Myron W. Clark, 1950-1955
Byron Allen, 1955-1961
Duane A. Wilson, 1961-1964
Russell G. Schwandt, 1964-1969
Robert W. Carlson, 1969-1971
John Wefald, 1971-1977
William Walker, 1977-1978
Mark Seetin, 1978-1982
Jim Nichols, 1982-1990
Elton Redalen, 1990-1995
Gene Hugoson, 1995-2011
Dave Frederickson, 2011-2019
Thom Petersen, 2019-

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
From Harlem to the heartland: Profile of Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey. The Farmer, April/May 2024.
Patrice Bailey appointed to assistant commissioner job at Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Patrice Bailey wants to change how people of color view agribusiness.. Star Tribune, 6/11/2019.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1970-2019.
Record last updated: 04/22/2024

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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