Gov.-elect Walz picks Petersen as MDA commissioner

January 3, 2019 / Categories: Uncategorized

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) applauds the appointment of Thom Petersen as the incoming commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Gov.-elect Tim Walz named Petersen, the longtime government relations director for Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), during a Wednesday press conference at a dairy farm in Hastings, Minn.

“We congratulate Thom, and commend Gov.-elect Walz on selecting a farmer who is well versed in agriculture policy and knows the ins and out of the commodity groups in Minnesota,” says MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek. “We’ve worked alongside Thom on a host of issues throughout his time with MFU, and are eager to continue a fruitful working relationship as he transitions into a new role.”

Petersen has served as MFU government relations director since 2002, and led the organization’s lobbying and worked with farmer-members in both Washington D.C. and St. Paul. Petersen has long been involved electoral and political issues with his first job being working for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign. He’s served on various boards, including the Farmers Legal Action Group Board of Directors, the Minnesota Fair Plan and the University of Minnesota Citizens Advisory Committee. He has been involved in his family’s farming and ranching operation most of his life and he lives in Pine City, Minn., with his wife, Alana, and their sons, Dylan and Waylon, where they raise and train horses.

“Thom’s been around agriculture and understands it his whole life,” Walz said. “He’s worked in every corner of Minnesota and knows how diverse our farm economy is.”

During Wednesday’s announcement, Walz also named Laura Bishop to lead the Pollution Control Agency, and Sarah Strommen to run the Department of Natural Resources. Peterson will be replacing MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson, who is retiring when Walz is sworn into office on Jan. 7.

“I’m honored and humbled to stand before you today as the state’s next Department of Agriculture commissioner,” Petersen said. “I’ve represented farmers from Houston County to Kittson County, from Rock County to Cook County and all the different types of farms in between.”

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