Show me the money.

Cuba Gooding Jr.’s famous movie line could be the theme of Minnesota’s current funding battles. Don’t tell me how great you are — show me the results.

AURI is paying Minnesota dividends many times over the state’s investment. To check our progress and make sure we are positively impacting the rural economy, every year we survey businesses that are receiving AURI’s help. We have found that when Minnesota innovators receive targeted technical assistance, the state reaps more profits from our abundant agricultural resources.

The results confirm that AURI is making an impact on rural Minnesota and is creating a positive return on investment. From the survey of clients AURI helped just over the past two years, here is how AURI has affected Minnesota’s economy:

Jobs across the state

Current AURI clients expect to add more than 148 new jobs this next year as a result of AURI’s assistance. These businesses now employ 186 people and expect to more than double that workforce by 2005. During the past biennium, AURI-supported projects created nearly 300 jobs, most in rural areas.

Investment in production

Small and medium-sized Minnesota agri-processors working with AURI expect to soon invest nearly $40 million in their plants. This investment will expand plants, add equipment, improve processes and increase product lines. In the last biennieum, AURI-supported projects have invested more than $100 million in value-added processing. This includes the construction of several new ag-processing facilities.

Help for local economies

AURI currently assists more than 260 projects across the state — from Luverne to Cook, from Hallock to Harmony. These are real companies offering real jobs to real communities. Not only do these rural employers support their local communities, they offer value-added opportunities to area producers.

Ag-based processors and rural startups contribute to the local tax base, spin off jobs for support businesses, and contribute to rural Minnesota’s overall vitality.

Value added to commodities

Minnesota is the land of rich agricultural diversity. From the northwest’s sugar beets and wheat, to central Minnesota’s dairy and alfalfa, to the southern region’s corn, soybeans and hogs, more than 20 varieties of Minnesota-grown commodities have been impacted by AURI projects this past year.

Whether it’s ethanol from corn or cereals from wheat, each crop has its own supporting industry. That is why AURI has worked with nearly every Minnesota commodity group to develop value-added products.

More revenue for producers

Value-added ventures directly impact producers, as well as communities and rural economies. Over the past biennium, more than 14,000 producers have been directly impacted by AURI projects, including producers who have invested in farmer-owned enterprises. The institute has also led more than 40 producer and processor training sessions during the past two years.

Information shared statewide

AURI is an important information resource for people seeking information on innovative agriculture. The AURI Web site at www.auri.org receives more than 80,000 hits per month. Ag Innovation News is mailed to more than 14,000 Minnesotan subscribers.

The AURI difference

Throughout AURI’s 15-year history, hundreds of Minnesota businesses have been served by thousands of projects. Current clients place a high value on the resources AURI brings to rural Minnesota. Recent client survey results show:

  • 70 percent of respondents said AURI offered significant help addressing business concerns.
  • Nearly 50 percent said AURI greatly improved their product or process.
  • Nearly 65 percent made use of AURI laboratory facilities.
  • 40 percent saved money because of AURI’s help.
  • More than 20 percent significantly increased their profit margins.
  • 31 percent saw increased sales as a result of AURI’s involvement.
  • 28 percent avoided costly mistakes because they worked with AURI.
  • Nearly 70 percent place a higher value on AURI services now than when they started.

AURI and the projects it supports shows Minnesota the “money” every day.