As Webster puts it, innovation is the “introduction of something new.” Sounds simple enough, but being truly innovative is an arduous task. In business, it’s not enough to introduce something new, it has to be something people want and are willing to buy — not just once, but again and again. Then the cycle must be maintained for years. It’s easy to see why launching a venture is not for the faint of heart.

AURI is fortunate to have worked with many innovators. We think it’s time to recognize those contributions.

For the first time, we have named an Ag Innovator of the Year. The award is presented to an AURI client who has shown innovation in a product or process, successful entry and sustained success in the marketplace, significant utilization of Minnesota commodities, innovation in filling a market need, and positive impact on Minnesota agriculture.

This year’s award goes to Pet Care Systems, Inc. and its founder Mike Hughes. Pet Care Systems manufactures Swheat Scoop pet litters, made from nonfood grade wheat. First introduced eight years ago, Swheat Scoop has reached about 7,000 stores nationwide, including Target, several regional Wal-Mart stores and pet retailers like PetSmart and Petco.

AURI is proud to have assisted Pet Care Systems’ success over the years. Our staff has provided hours of assistance both on-site and in our labs to help develop and improve the wheat-based litters.

AURI can’t take all the credit, however; business savvy and tenacious work by the people at Pet Care Systems are the reasons for their success. And as their partners, we congratulate them on their innovative spirit and celebrate the opportunity to have had a hand in helping them achieve their goals.