NASDA Member Spotlight: Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

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Today we are highlighting Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson. Commissioner Frederickson has been a leader in NASDA since January 2011.

How do you start your day?

It does vary, but typically I spend my pre-office morning hours reading the local newspapers (hard copy) and the latest ag news clips (online) with a cup of coffee in hand.

What is your most memorable experience as Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture?

There have been many. I have been proud to serve in Governor Dayton’s cabinet and be his representative on major issues affecting Minnesota’s agriculture sector. I’ve had the opportunity to travel with the Governor or represent him on several international trade missions to Taiwan, Cuba, and Mexico, and other destinations around the globe, to promote Minnesota’s high quality agricultural products. I also had the pleasure of working with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on establishing the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program – a first of its kind state-federal partnership – that recognizes Minnesota farmers for their voluntary water quality conservation practices. These are some of the most rewarding highlights of my work as Minnesota’s ag commissioner.

What is the most rapidly expanding sector of agriculture or commodity in your state?

We’re seeing more interest in the development of new cropping systems (cover cropping) and growing of alternative crops due to a number of factors including commodity price instability, increased pesticide-resistances, and losses in genetic biodiversity.  Here at the MDA, our Industrial Hemp Program has entered its second year and growers are excited about the prospects of the marketability of this commodity.

What is the most important function of your department?

“The mission of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is to enhance Minnesotans’ quality of life by ensuring the integrity of our food supply, the health of our environment, and the strength of our agricultural economy.” We carry out our mission through a variety of regulatory and promotional activities including dairy, meat and food inspections, pesticide and fertilizer management, and finding new markets for Minnesota’s ag products.

In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow agriculturalists?

Don’t be afraid to collaborate, then congratulate.