–by Shannon Schlecht
AURI Executive Director

wsm_Shannon556I’m excited to formally unveil a refined mission statement that will guide AURI’s future innovation efforts. Through several discussions, the board of directors arrived at an overarching statement that conveys the existence and intended impact of AURI’s work:

Foster long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products.

During the planning phase, I was reminded of a fantastic quote by Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He said, “A mission statement is not something you write overnight…you will want to review it regularly and make minor changes as the years bring additional insights or changing circumstances. But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values.”

AURI provides applied research services and hands-on scientific assistance, works with clients on product and process development, provides cost-share funds, undertakes industry initiatives and creates innovation networks. We take on these activities to improve economic opportunities across the state.

More than 25 years ago, state leaders created AURI as an independent nonprofit organization after recognizing the need to strengthen rural Minnesota’s economy and utilize surplus grain supplies from increased production and difficult export markets. Conducting research, establishing new products and uses, expanding markets and providing facilities for various entities were the key elements directed to AURI at its inception to “…achieve maximum results for Minnesota agriculture.”

When the state created AURI in response to the grain surplus, it also positioned the organization to address needs in an evolving industry. Economic dynamics and new technologies may have shifted our services, but never our intent.

The revised mission statement clearly acknowledges AURI’s founding goals, while guiding future efforts in this ever changing industry. We look forward to engaging with more innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses and to supporting emerging industries utilizing agricultural commodities and products to create the maximum economic benefit for Minnesota.