The Minnesota State Agricultural Society was first organized in 1854 as the Minnesota [Territorial] Agricultural Society, an organization independent of the territorial government. In 1860, the legislature provided for the organization of agricultural societies (Laws 1860 c17), and the State Agricultural Society was apparently reorganized under this law. The society is now a public corporation operating under Minn. Stat. 37. The principal function of the society is the presentation of an annual state fair, an exhibition to encourage agriculture, horticulture, stock breeding, manufacturing, and other industry.
The State Agricultural Society is made up of delegates from each of the state's 87 county fairs, plus representatives of 43 statewide associations involved in agriculture, horticulture and education. The Society is a quasi-state agency charged exclusively with the production of the annual Minnesota State Fair and management of the historic 320-acre State Fairgrounds. The Society and State Fair are financially self-supporting and receives no public funding of any kind.