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      Spotlight on Reform: Faster Licensing of Grain and Produce at the Department of Agriculture

      Posted on November 17, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      Today, Governor Dayton announced his first Better Government for a Better Minnesota award winners.  This is part of a series highlighting those winners and their work to make state government work better, more efficiently and more effectively for Minnesotans. 

      One of the jobs of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is to license grain and produce dealers and wholesalers throughout the state of Minnesota. This is done to protect both those who will buy and sell these products, and the Minnesotans who will ultimately consume them, ensuring they are receiving a product that is safe and meets quality standards.

      Harley Olinske, the supervisor of both the grain and produce licensing programs at MDA conducted a thorough review of the two programs last year and enacted several procedural changes to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and licensing timelines.  Under Olinske’s leadership, staff roles for the licensing process were consolidated, language for the program was simplified and brought up to date, and online submission of applications via email and electronic filing were encouraged wherever possible.

      As a result of these improvements, MDA estimates it will save about $300,000 annually and the grain and produce licensing units are providing much more timely service to the Minnesota producers, wholesalers, and dealers they serve. In almost every case, grain and produce license renewals are now completed within a month, whereas before renewals often were not completed within 30 days of submission.

      Olinske’s continuous improvements at MDA offer a perfect example of reform at its finest, where smart thinking leads to better service for Minnesotans at a lower cost.