Michael Sparby

Michael Sparby

Michael Sparby is the Senior Project Strategist of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), responsible for developing projects, securing grant funds, assists in the program delivery, oversees the annual AURI stakeholder analysis process and is responsible for AURI’s Cooperative Development Center through USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant program.

Over the course of his more than 20 years at AURI, he has identified opportunities to develop and commercialize value‐added agricultural products throughout Minnesota. He has implemented and managed the development and coordination of AURI’s Renewable Energy Roundtable, presented more than 24 public presentations annually and aided in defining the direction of the organization.

Before joining AURI, Sparby held a variety of leadership positions, including Medicaid fraud investigator and consumer mediator for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Prior to his tenure with the attorney general’s office, he worked as a communications coordinator at the Minnesota Trade Center and as assistant director of Concordia Language Village’s Norwegian Village.

Sparby is a graduate of Moorhead State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in public relations and mass communications. He also holds an Economic Development Finance Professional certification from the National Development Council, which provides a foundation for financial and business credit analysis as well as deal structuring.

News related to Michael Sparby

Popcorn Pair: Smude’s introduces microwave popcorn made with heart-healthy sunflower oil

Posted on October 11, 2017, in Ag Innovation News

By Liz Morrison Business is popping at Smude’s Sunflower Oil in Pierz. Seven years ago, Tom and his wife, Jenni, central Minnesota cattle farmers, began working with AURI to develop Minnesota’s first cold-press sunflower oil manufacturing company. Now, Smude’s Sunflower Oil is expanding into microwave popcorn. The fast-growing company’s newest product is made with Smude’s […]

Innovation Celebration

Posted on January 4, 2017, in Ag Innovation News, News

Since 2002, AURI has recognized these kinds of businesses with the Ag Innovator of the Year award, presented to a Minnesota company that has shown innovation in the development of an ag-based product or process. The goal is to recognize the accomplishments of one deserving business and draw attention to value-added agriculture’s contributions to the state.

“We present this award to recognize innovation and excellence in Minnesota’s food and agriculture space,” says AURI Executive Director Shannon Schlecht. “AURI sees many great ideas from across the state and the award provides an opportunity to highlight a unique idea and innovative business.”

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