By Shannon Schlecht
AURI Executive Director
AURI takes a long-term view of Minnesota’s agriculture industry and its entrepreneurs in each activity. We strive every day to achieve the economic impact intended by the state’s leaders over 25 years ago when they created this unique institute.
I never cease to be amazed by the caliber of ideas existing throughout the state. You read about a handful of these ideas here, in Ag Innovation News, but there is so much more happening at AURI and at our partner organizations. For example, the annual MN Cup effort is underway again, and its food, agriculture and beverage division has been this innovation competition’s fastest growing segment the past few years. The Midwest also continues to attract a consistent number of companies into its accelerator program, including food and agriculture innovations. Additionally, AURI’s project numbers for clients and initiatives have been up the past few years and the institute is on track to have roughly 125 new projects enter its doors in 2016.
The market value of Minnesota’s crop and livestock production has averaged around $20 billion in recent years and AURI is continually working with its clients and partners to add value to that already impressive number. A 2015 University of Minnesota Extension report sponsored by Minnesota’s various Initiative Foundations estimated the overall direct and indirect economic impact from the agbioscience industry to be $23.4 billion across greater Minnesota with an additional $12.5 billion in the metro area. Needless to say, a lot of value-added agribusiness activity is already underway here to create jobs and economic opportunities, but a sizeable potential exists to do more.
The innovators across the state provide a valuable economic service and AURI is proud to provide them with the essential tools and services needed to overcome constraints and technical hurdles along the road to commercialization.
Helping turn ideas into reality is what AURI does and we are proud of it.