It is difficult to gauge impact. A professional athlete’s statistics, for instance, may belie his true value to the team. His clubhouse contributions and ability to inspire greatness in other players may not be evident to fans, but those familiar with the team’s inner workings will have a better idea of the player’s worth.
In a similar way, all the impacts value-added projects have on the agricultural economy may not be evident at first. Yet the residual benefits of value-added processing affect many more segments of Minnesota’s economy than farming.
In 1998, more than 101,000 people earned their living from production agriculture. That is only about three percent of Minnesota’s employment. But include the number of people involved in ag processing and other ag-dependent industries and the amount of impact begins to emerge.
Value-added ag processing provides tens of thousands of jobs in Minnesota and adds billions to the economy. Add the construction, transportation, manufacturing and retail jobs that depend on agriculture, and it becomes clear how this industry impacts the rest of the state.
While the number of people directly involved in production agriculture has been declining for years, it is not difficult to see that Minnesota still depends heavily on agriculture. It is also not difficult to understand why continued investment in agriculture, and specifically value-added processing, is a key not only to the future of farming but to the long term health of Minnesota’s economy.
A troubled rural economy that spurred creation of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute 20 years ago differs from today’s troubles. But AURI’s key tool to help rev the economy is still innovation. The 1980s was a difficult decade for American farmers. In the Midwest, thousands of families lost their homes and farms amid a serious […]
Marshall, Minn. — AURI’s “oilman” retires July 1. Max Norris joined AURI in 1990, soon after it was founded. He organized the Institute’s laboratories and led fats and oils research and technical services for nearly two decades. Norris headed up AURI’s early biodiesel initiatives, the first such efforts in the state. And he guided successful […]
The time is right. After more than eight years as AURI executive director, it’s time for me to turn over the reins of this fine organization, move to the next chapter of my life and enjoy retirement. I leave AURI in a position of strength. By focusing on our core strengths of technical and feasibility […]
Crookston, Minn. — Fifteen years ago, Teresa Spaeth left suburban Indianapolis for rural Mahnomen to help take over her husband’s family farm. Today she is totally immersed in agriculture and rural life. Her expertise and devotion to rural economic development led to Spaeth’s appointment as AURI’s executive director in February. The position started March 5. […]
The phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is not necessarily true of agricultural products. Corn isn’t just corn. Soybeans aren’t just soybeans. Wheat isn’t just wheat. All these commodities contain smaller components — oil, starch, germ — that may have as much value as the whole grain, sometimes more. And […]