Ag department open, but hampered, in shutdownby Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — On this first day of a government shutdown, most state agencies are operating with only essential staff — the lone exception being the state Department of Agriculture.
The Agriculture Department the only agency whose budget was signed during the legislative session.
Commisioner Dave Frederickson said his 388 employees are working, but they'll be held up on projects that require cooperation from other states agencies.
"County fairs are coming up," Frederickson said. "If food is delivered on a plate it's [the Department of Health's] responsibility, if food is delivered on a stick it becomes our responsibility."
Frederickson said the Agriculture Department's budget was trimmed by about 8 percent in the new two-year budget cycle.