AURI is all about helping businesses and entrepreneurs who use Minnesota’s agriculture products in areas such as food and renewable energy. In order to better serve these clients, the institute contracted with Russell Herder to complete a survey of the agriculture processing industry. With 235 surveys completed, the responses show that the industry is generally positive about the future and that there are several trends that provide great opportunity for growth.

67% of Minnesota manufacturers say their gross revenues will expand in the next two years

67% of Minnesota manufacturers
say their gross revenues will
expand in the next two years

A positive outlook

“The agriculture processing industry is optimistic about the future,” says Jen Wagner-Lahr, AURI senior director of innovation & commercialization, “Sixty-seven percent of the respondents foresee their gross revenues expanding in the next two years, and only five percent see their revenues decreasing. “In addition, 60 percent plan to increase their use of agriculture commodities. At a time when agriculture commodities are facing price challenges, this is good news.”

Consumer trends

One of the primary goals of the survey was to better understand how consumer trends are impacting the industry, and to know how AURI could help businesses take advantage of those trends to grow their businesses. “When asked about the impact of consumer trends on their business, 83 percent of respondents said that interest in new or innovative products would have a positive impact on their business,” explains Michael Sparby, AURI senior project strategist. “And it is clear that nutrition, health and the environment are huge opportunities for the Minnesota economy because so many businesses see those trends as having a positive impact on their business.”

“Agriculture processing is a tremendous industry for our state, as it takes what is being grown in the rural fields of our state and puts those commodities to use in innovative products and processes, made by people and businesses across the state,” explains Wagner-Lahr.

“The positive outlook for this industry paints a picture of an exciting future.” More information about this industry survey will be available in the near future on the AURI website and featured in the next issue of Ag Innovation News.