Agbioscience is a critical component of Northwest Minnesota’s past and future. A new research report shows that in 2013 agbioscience supported $789.4 million in economic impact—five percent of the region’s total economic output. And with the right steps and action, agbioscience could drive additional long-term prosperity in this region of the state—potentially growing to $1.3 billion in economic output in 2016.

Agbioscience is the fusion of agriculture and the associated biosciences that encompasses agricultural innovation, research and processing. It is the focus of a new report “Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry: Northwest Minnesota.” The research was cosponsored by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. It was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Extension Center for Community Vitality.

Agbioscience in the northwest region is based primarily on food products manufacturing, although chemical manufacturing also contributes a significant share.

“This report is going to garner the information to help us understand what the agbioscience industry contributes to our region’s economy,” says NMF President Nancy Vyskocil. “Through this information, we hope to better understand this industry and how we can work together to grow Northwest Minnesota’s economy.”

Key findings for Northwest Minnesota include:

  • Together, production agriculture, commercial forestry, and agbioscience companies created nearly $2.8 billion in economic output—18 percent of output in Northwest Minnesota—in 2013.
  • Of four agbioscience platforms identified as part of the agbioscience industry in Minnesota, the value-added food and health products is the largest of the platforms in the Northwest Minnesota region. Businesses in the platform produced $690.1 million in output.
  • In 2013, the Northwest’s agbioscience industry employed 1,670 people and paid an estimated $118.8 million in salaries, wages and benefits.

The report on Northwest Minnesota is part of a statewide effort funded by the state’s Initiative Foundations and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute to assess the impact agbioscience has on the state. These efforts grew out of a previous report by the renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice that found agbioscience to be a critical strength and opportunity for the state. The Battelle report also suggested a strategy for the state to build on these strengths.

That initial research was commissioned by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

“Agbiosience presents an opportunity to create long-term prosperty in Minnesota. To do that, collaborative action needs to be taken. By working with Minnesota’s Initiative Foundations we can better understand Minnesota’s regional strengths and identify next steps that will help turn our historical strength in agriculture into a robust future,” says the Institute’s Senior Director of Innovation and Commercialization Jen Wagner-Lahr.

> Read the full report Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry in Northwest Minnesota