The AURI board of directors, which includes representatives of farm organizations, commodity groups, agribusinesses and state legislature agricultural committees has three new members:

Minnesota’s economy was built on our abundant natural resources and agricultural production. Yet citizens today are much less connected to agriculture than they were a generation ago.

Little Johnnie and Susie from the suburbs are not as likely to have Grandma and Grandpa’s farm to visit. Since the state’s majority population is urban, many have no idea where their food is grown, nor can they identify a soybean or sugar beet plant in a farm field.

But agriculture still has a big impact on urban folks.

Agriculture is the state’ second largest employer, and 80 percent of the industry’s jobs are in processing, distribution and supply, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Most of those off-farm jobs are in the Twin Cities and suburbs.

Not only jobs and food connect rural and urban Minnesota. The agricultural industry, as the state’s second largest economic sector, helps drive Minnesota’s overall economy. The industry remained strong through the recent recession because it continued to improve production, increase efficiency, identify markets, develop new opportunities and foster innovation.

AURI is proud of our part in keeping Minnesota’s economy growing by working with agriculture. We are helping this vital industry identify and develop ag-based innovations. We are working with processors to develop new markets and emerging technologies. The results are positive.

Susie and Johnnie may not be able to tell the difference between wheat and oats, but it is important they learn about agriculture’s positive impact on their lives.