Petersen reconfirmed as MDA commissioner

The Minnesota Senate reconfirmed Thom Petersen as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The unanimous vote was 63-0. This marks the second term for Petersen, who was first appointed in 2019 by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to serve as Agriculture Commissioner.

“Thom Petersen understands how policy directly affects farmers’ daily lives,” said Gov. Walz. “I look forward to continuing our work to support our farmers – from new farmers to the leaders of food and ag companies – while ensuring Minnesota remains a global leader in food and agriculture.”

“From supporting emerging farmers to helping communities recover from drought, I’m proud to work alongside Commissioner Petersen to listen to our farmers and invest in the future of agriculture right here in Minnesota,” said Lt. Gov. Flanagan.

Before being appointed Commissioner, Petersen served as the Director of Government Relations for Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) from 2002 to 2019, working on behalf of MFU’s farmer-members in both Washington, D.C., and St. Paul.

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Thom Petersen, pictured here in his St. Paul office, spoke at MSGA’s 60th anniversary celebration in August 2022

“It has been an honor to serve as commissioner these past four years, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, and all the dedicated MDA employees to strengthen and improve our ag economy,” said Commissioner Petersen. “Agriculture drives and shapes Minnesota, and I’m proud to represent our farmers, producers, and food makers in the four years to come.”

Commissioner Petersen is a long-time resident of Royalton Township near Pine City. He and his wife, Alana, have two sons. The Petersens show horses around the state and have competed at the Minnesota State Fair for over 25 years.

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association once again endorsed Petersen’s confirmation in a letter to lawmakers.

“We’ve long felt that the MDA commissioner should also be a farmer, and Mr. Petersen certainly fits the bill,” MSGA President Bob Worth wrote. “We championed his appointment back in 2019, and the Commissioner has proven time and time again over the past four years that he is a true champion for farmers across the state.”

MDA’s mission is to enhance all Minnesotans’ quality of life by equitably ensuring the integrity of our food supply, the health of our environment, and the strength and resilience of our agricultural economy. The MDA has served the state for more than 125 years and the work of the department touches every Minnesota citizen every day. Learn more at www.mda.state.mn.us.

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