St. Joseph, Minn. — USA Solutions, designer of cornstalk-based hog mats, was presented the 2007 Ag Innovator of the Year Award by the AURI Board of Directors on June 21.

Founded in 2004 by Darryl Metcalfe and Tony Schmitt, the St. Joseph company produces Compost-A-Mat, a biodegradable mat used in swine nurseries and farrowing facilities.

The fibrous mat, an alternative to rubber, provides a comfortable bed that improves growing conditions and decreases mortality rates for baby and weaned pigs. Compost-A-Mats also add value to corn fibers.

“This is a win-win situation,” says Alan Doering, AURI associate scientist in Waseca. “They are using an ag-based material to make a new product that is beneficial to the livestock industry.”

The Ag Innovator Award is presented annually to an AURI client with an innovative product that has achieved market success and uses a significant amount of agricultural commodities. The 2007 award was presented at a luncheon in St. Joseph.

USA Solutions is the sixth recipient of the award, joining Pet Care Systems of Detroit Lakes, Mississippi Topsoils of Cold Spring, Minnesota Soybean Processors of Brewster, SoyMor of Glenville and FUMPA BioFuels of Redwood Falls.

Compost-A-Mats are marketed across the United States, Canada and Australia. Schmitt and Metcalfe hope to double last year’s sales of $1 million by the end of 2007.