ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is urging all Minnesota produce farmers to fill out the 2021 Grower Questionnaire. Produce farmers are asked to complete the questionnaire annually to determine how the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule applies to their operation and what steps they must take to comply with safety regulations which are based on several factors including sales outlets and volume.
By completing the questionnaire, farmers receive official notice from the MDA Produce Safety Program regarding their farm’s requirements, as well as get information about trainings and general on-farm produce safety. While participation in this questionnaire is voluntary, farmers who opt out will be contacted by the MDA to determine the farm’s regulatory status under the Produce Safety Rule.
Data collected from the annual questionnaire provide the MDA with a more accurate assessment of Minnesota’s expanding produce farming sector including the number of farms and annual sales. This information also assists the MDA in developing resources to meet the needs of produce farmers.
Data collected from approximately one third of the state’s estimated total number of produce farms has verified that Minnesota:
• Has at least 80,000 acres dedicated to produce production
• Has at least $39,000,000 in annual produce sales
• Has more than 1,600 produce growers and that number continues to increase each year
The privacy of questionnaire respondents is safeguarded; farm contact and location information are classified as private or nonpublic data. The 2021 MDA Grower Questionnaire is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ProduceSafety.
Farmers can contact the MDA Produce Safety Program at (651) 539-3648 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.