Marshall, Minn. — More than 30 Minnesota meat processors, seeking to be a cut above the competition, attended an AURI-sponsored meat processing short course in April. Open to the state’s 500 licensed meat processors, the course was held in AURI’s meat lab.

“We wanted to get some of the processors together to teach the principles of meat processing because they’re trying to improve their products and increase sales,” says Ted Gillett, AURI animal product scientist. “We also wanted to connect them with suppliers and others who can be resources for them.”

The workshop included techniques for product development, nutritional labeling, waste product disposal and sausage manufacturing. Hands-on sessions in the meat lab trained processors on equipment use and product development.

“We want Minnesota’s processors to be better able to compete against out-of-state competition,” Gillett says.

Staff changes at meat lab

An AURI employee has hung up his carving knives for the last time.

Ted Gillett, meat technologist at AURI’s meat lab in Marshall, retired June 1. Gillett joined the staff in 1997 and helped develop AURI’s meat laboratory at the Southwest State University campus. He worked with numerous clients on product development and was instrumental in several Minnesota meat industry studies.

“We are grateful for the years of service Ted has offered to AURI and our clients,” says Edgar Olson, AURI executive director. “He brought many years of practical and industry experience that we will miss. But we’re confident that we’ve found a very talented person to fill that void.”

Hoffman native Brian Reuter has been hired to fill the meat technologist position vacated by Gillett’s retirement. Reuter holds a bachelor’s degree in animal and range sciences from South Dakota State University in Brookings. Reuter will complete his master’s degree, with a meat science emphasis, in July.

AURI hosts rural leadership group

In late February, agricultural leaders participating in the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program toured AURI’s meat lab and fats and oils lab in Marshall. The experience enabled them to learn first-hand about AURI’s services and projects.

The MARL program, based at Southwest State University, facilitates leadership development among people involved in agriculture. The two-year program involves intensive training and travel experience to help men and women realize their leadership potential and develop more effective ag organizations.

Among the 30 participants in this year’s inaugural class is AURI Financial Officer Teresa Spaeth.

AURI out and about

Value-added agriculture will be on display at Farmfest 2001 and the Minnesota State Fair. AURI will be participating in both events, showcasing new products and uses for the state’s agricultural products. At Farmfest, August 7-9 near Redwood Falls, Minn., AURI will be located in lot 610. At the State Fair, from August 23 to September 3, AURI will be at Agri-Land on the former Machinery Hill. AURI’s displays will include product samples, interactive activities and educational opportunities.