AURI hit the road during the dog days of summer and promoted agricultural products at Farmfest and the Minnesota State Fair, two of the state’s biggest events.

More than 36,000 people attended Farmest on August 3-5 at Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. AURI’s large tent exhibit, with agricultural innovations and information, is a major presence at the three-day event. AURI clients, such as Environmental Dust Control, with an ag-based road dust suppressant, and BOLT Enterprises, makers of Prairie Smoke Barbecue Sauce, used the opportunity to showcase their products.

For nearly 20 years, AURI’s participation in Farmfest has helped the Institute connect with agricultural producers, policy makers and ag leaders to raise awareness of the value innovative agriculture brings to the state.

The 12-day Minnesota State Fair drew more than 1.7 million people who came to see farm animals, entertainers, merchandise, art exhibits, fish ponds and science demonstrations.

But mostly, they came to eat — and not everything deep fried on a stick.

For the eighth year, the Minnesota Cooks event on August 31 featured gourmet dishes such as pimento smoked pork belly, butternut squash puree and arugula salad with smoked bison. All were made by premier Minnesota chefs using fresh, local ingredients.

Each of Minnesota Cook’s eight 45-minute shows, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. present a different set of recipes. Chefs demonstrate cooking techniques and Minnesota farmers who produced the ingredients talk about their operations. Celebrity tasters and fair visitors are treated to samples.

This year’s tasters included Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Olympian Carrie Tollefson, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and AURI Executive Director Teresa Spaeth. The event is hosted by the Minnesota Farmers Union and Food Alliance Midwest, with major sponsorship from AURI and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.