Agbioscience industry poised to create long-term prosperity for Southwest Minnesota

Agbioscience is a critical component of Southwest Minnesota’s past and future. A new research report shows that in one year alone agbioscience supported $2.6 billion in economic impact—eight percent of the region’s total economic output. And with the right steps and action, agbioscience could drive additional long-term prosperity in this region of the state—potentially growing to $4.3 billion in economic output in 2016.

Agbioscience is the fusion of agriculture and the associated biosciences that encompasses agricultural innovation, research, and processing. It is the focus of a new report “Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry: Southwest Minnesota.” The research was cosponsored by the Southwest Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. It was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Extension Center for Community Vitality.

Food manufacturers are major contributors to the agbioscience industry in Southwest Minnesota, although chemical manufacturing also contributes a significant share. In comparison with other regions, the Southwest region is the second largest source of agbioscience output in Greater Minnesota.

“This research report reinforces what we know is a critical strength for our region—agriculture and the associated biosciences,” says Diana Anderson, president and CEO for the Southwest Initiative Foundation. “The southwest region has been proactively leading efforts to strengthen agbioscience including the Regional Bioscience Conference in Worthington, MinnWest Technology Campus and the Southern Minnesota Regional Competitiveness Study. We look forward to using this additional information about our region—and the opportunities to implement action around this core strength—in order to build a strong economic future.”

Key findings for Southwest Minnesota include:

  • In 2013, agbioscience companies in the region directly created an estimated $2.6 billion of economic output in the region
  • Of four agbioscience platforms identified as part of the agbioscience industry in Minnesota, the value-added food and health products platform dominates in the Southwest region. Businesses in the platform produced $1.9 billion in output.
  • Together, production agriculture and agbioscience companies created 26 percent of the output of the region.
  • In 2013, the Southwest’s agbioscience industry employed 3,364 workers and paid an estimated $289.1 million in salaries, wages and benefits.

The report on Southwest Minnesota is part of a statewide effort funded by the state’s Initiative Foundations and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute to assess the impact agbioscience has on the state. These efforts grew out of a previous report by the renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice that found agbioscience to be a critical strength and opportunity for the state. The Battelle report also suggested a strategy for the state to build on these strengths.

That initial research was commissioned by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

“Agbiosience presents an opportunity to create long-term prosperity in Minnesota. To do that, collaborative action needs to be taken. By working with Minnesota’s Initiative Foundations we can better understand Minnesota’s regional strengths and identify next steps that will help turn our historical strength in agriculture into a robust future,” says the Institute’s Senior Director of Innovation and Commercialization Jen Wagner-Lahr.

> Read the full report Economic Contribution of the Agbioscience Industry in Southwest Minnesota