The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), Saint Paul, Minn., released its annual report detailing the organization’s progress and impact in fiscal year 2018.

The report highlights AURI’s endeavors, identifying key projects and business initiatives that furthered value-added agricultural opportunities and contributed to the state of Minnesota’s economy.

The collaborative work with producers, businesses and entrepreneurs that fostered long-term economic impact were broken down into five categories:

  • Food. AURI’s food team worked on 136 food projects and initiatives throughout the year, 80 of which were new.  
  • Co-products. AURI identified new uses for Minnesota’s commodities and agricultural residues through collaborations with clients and industry leaders. The co-products team worked on 47 projects and 12 initiatives, helping businesses expand product development to meet consumer demand.  
  • Bio-based products. AURI worked with clients and partners to develop new, innovative products that can replace petroleum-based ingredients. The bio-based products team worked on 11 projects and four public initiatives throughout the year. Of those, eight were initiated during the fiscal year.
  • Renewable energy. AURI explored opportunities for Minnesota businesses to use agricultural products in the production of renewable energy. The renewable energy team worked on 10 unique projects and initiatives, three of which were newly initiated. 
  • Innovation Network Program (INP). AURI improved the competitiveness of businesses and entrepreneurs through the connection of resources and partners along the value chain, and increased knowledge of opportunities, technologies and trends. AURI conducted 20 INP events in FY2018, reaching over 750 people, a 65% increase over 2017, including a 43% increase in new attendees.

“We’re proud to share the positive impacts generated across these categories for the over 230 projects conducted throughout fiscal year 2018, and we’re excited to look ahead. By building on our proven methods and collaborations, as well as our capabilities, AURI will provide greater support to the state’s agricultural landscape,” says Shannon Schlecht, executive director. “We’re positioned and prepared to further our service to Minnesota and the agricultural industry in fostering innovation that further utilizes the commodities and ag products produced here to strengthen the agricultural and state economy.”