ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan today announced Thom Petersen as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.

“Minnesota’s farmers and agriculture are vital to our economy and our way of life. With more than a decade of experience at the Minnesota Farmers Union, Thom Petersen understands how policy directly affects farmers’ daily lives,” said Walz. “We’re looking forward to working with him as our incoming Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture to ensure our farmers can compete in the global marketplace.”

“Thom has been an advocate for our agricultural economy for over 15 years, both here in Minnesota and in Washington, D.C.,” said Flanagan. “He understands the vast diversity of farming across our state, and actively works to lift up their voices so that all Minnesota family farms have the opportunity to compete and thrive.”

“I am honored, humbled, and excited for the opportunity to serve Minnesota’s farmers and agriculture in the Walz-Flanagan Administration,” said Petersen. “I look forward to working with Governor-elect Walz and Lt. Governor-elect Flanagan to address the diverse challenges Minnesota farmers face and promote opportunities available across the state to strengthen our agricultural economy.”

“Thom Peterson has been a tireless advocate for Minnesota's farmers, cooperatives, and rural communities throughout his career,” said Matthew Wohlman, Former Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and currently Senior Director of State and Industry Affairs at Land O'Lakes Inc. “We congratulate Thom and look forward to working collaboratively with him and the incoming Walz-Flanagan Administration to ensure Minnesota’s farmers, agribusinesses, and rural communities are well-positioned to compete in today's global economy.”

About Thom Petersen

Thom Petersen, 52, is a long-time resident of Royalton Township near Pine City where he lives on a horse farm. Thom has served as the Director of Government Relations for Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) since 2002, working on behalf of MFU’s farmer-members in both Washington, D.C. and St. Paul. Prior to his work at the Minnesota Farmers Union, Thom spent most of his life working for his family and his own horse and farm business. Thom has a wide range of experience in state and federal farm policy, and travels to almost every county in Minnesota each year to fully understand how these policies affect farmers’ daily lives. He has served on many boards and committees, including the University of Minnesota Extension Citizens Advisory Committee, Farmers Legal Action Group, Citizens Utility Board, Minnesota Ag in the Classroom, Minnesota State Organic Task Force, Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition, and the Minnesota Fair Plan.

Petersen received his Associate’s degree from Normandale Community College and studied at both the University of Minnesota and University of Georgia. Thom and his wife Alana live in Pine City with their two sons. The Petersen’s show horses around the state and have competed at the Minnesota State Fair for over 25 years.

About the Department of Agriculture

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture serves 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. The department works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Trade and Economic Development to develop international agriculture markets, while working to establish a program of agricultural diversification and provide farm crisis assistance here in Minnesota.

Finalists

In the interest of transparency, the incoming Walz-Flanagan Administration is releasing the names of the other finalists considered for the position. They are Pat Lunemann and Tina May.

For salary information visit https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/ss/ssagsal.pdf.